neuter series of nouns

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Steven Avery
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neuter series of nouns

Post by Steven Avery » July 31st, 2015, 10:51 am

Afaik, the New Testament has few verses that have a neuter series of nouns. One verse, perhaps the only verse of this nature that is relevant to grammatical gender studies, is the earthly witnesses of 1 John. And the text, the grammatical context, is different in the Received Text and the Critical Text.

5:7-8 (Received Text)
ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατὴρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν
καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν

5:7-8 (Critical Text)
καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν


The issue comes up as to whether the neuter nouns would be expected to have neuter grammar, and in what circumstances they might exceptionally be connected to a masculine or feminine participle.

An article by the learned Eugenius Bulgaris:


Eugenius Voulgaris (1716-1806)
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eugenios_Voulgaris


written in 1780 touches on this issue. And Eugenius emphasizes that the situation with neuter nouns is very different than that of masculine or feminine (and by implication, mixed) nouns.

Since there are few comparable examples of the grammar of neuter nouns in a series in the New Testament, I wonder if a search on the classics and the early church writers would be able to find a few examples of neuter nouns in a series, demonstrating the grammar? How many examples show them having neuter grammar? And how many, if any, have masculine or feminine grammar? And, if so, for what reasons.

Any assistance in researching this question is appreciated.


1 John 5:7-8 (Received Text - AV text)
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the spirit, and the water, and the blood:
and these three agree in one.


1 John 5:7-8 (Critical Text - NETBible)
For there are three that testify,
the Spirit and the water and the blood,
and these three are in agreement.


Steven Avery
Hyde Park, NY
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 31st, 2015, 11:07 am

Steven Avery wrote:The issue comes up as to whether the neuter nouns would be expected to have neuter grammar, and in what circumstances they might exceptionally be connected to a masculine or feminine participle.

An article by the learned Eugenius Bulgaris:


Eugenius Voulgaris (1716-1806)
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eugenios_Voulgaris


written in 1780 touches on this issue. And Eugenius emphasizes that the situation with neuter nouns is very different than that of masculine or feminine (and by implication, mixed) nouns.


I don't understand. Can you be more concrete about your grammatical question? What is the grammatical question that you want an answer to?
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Steven Avery
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Steven Avery » July 31st, 2015, 12:10 pm

Hi Jonathan,

The basic questions go like this:

=============================================

Is Eugenius Bulgaris right that a series of neuter nouns will normally connect to a participle with neuter grammatical gender.

Are there examples of this type of construction in the church writings and classics corpus (since there are so few in the NT).

If there is to be an occasional exception, would there be an agreed-upon cause?

=============================================

I understand that the question could also be asked about singular neuter nouns, that in fact we might agree that the principle is same. However, there are writers who look at multiple nouns as being very distinct, not comparable to singular, thus the emphasis here is on a multiple series of neuter nouns.

Thanks!

Steven Avery
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 31st, 2015, 1:31 pm

Steven Avery wrote:
1John 5:7-8 (Critical Text) wrote:καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν
The issue comes up as to whether the neuter nouns would be expected to have neuter grammar, and in what circumstances they might exceptionally be connected to a masculine or feminine participle.
οἱ τρεῖς is masculine, but is a numeral not a participle. Is what you are asking about why this is οἱ τρεῖς (masculine) not τὰ τρία (neuter)?
Steven Avery wrote:I understand that the question could also be asked about singular neuter nouns
Singular is a grammatical word, meaning that a noun / verb / adjective / etc. is referring to just one thing / person. I guess you are trying to ask whether the same question could be asked about an individual / stand alone neuter noun, not one in sequence / connected with others in a list.
Steven Avery wrote:How many examples show them having neuter grammar?
The way to ask this question would be something like, Are there examples where there is concord between the neuter nouns in a list and neuter participles / adjectives / etc.?

Am I reading you clearly?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 31st, 2015, 1:36 pm

OK, I understand the question now, you're asking why it isn't τἀ μαρτυροῦντα if all three of the witnesses are neuter nouns, and whether there are other examples like this.

A brief look at several commentaries shows several explanations, my guess is that this refers to the need for a testimony to be confirmed by "two or three witnesses", and μάρτυς is a masculine noun, so the participle is masculine ad sensum.

Deuteronomy 19:15 ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων καὶ ἐπὶ στόματος τριῶν μαρτύρων σταθήσεται πᾶν ῥῆμα.
Deuteronomy 17:6 ἐπὶ δυσὶν μάρτυσιν ἢ ἐπὶ τρισὶν μάρτυσιν ἀποθανεῖται ὁ ἀποθνῄσκων· οὐκ ἀποθανεῖται ἐφ᾿ ἑνὶ μάρτυρι.
Matthew 18:16 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσῃ, παράλαβε μετὰ σοῦ ἔτι ἕνα ἢ δύο, ἵνα ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων ἢ τριῶν σταθῇ πᾶν ῥῆμα·

Meyer sees this as a possibility, but says it's uncertain whether this reference is intended. He also has a sensible explanation for why the participle is used instead of οἱ μάρτυρες ...
Meyer wrote:τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες] The masculine is used because the three that are mentioned are regarded as concrete witnesses (Lücke, etc.), but not because they are “types of men representing these three” (Bengel),[313] or symbols of the Trinity (as they are interpreted in the Scholion of Matthaei, p. 138, mentioned in the critical notes). It is uncertain whether John brings out this triplicity of witnesses with reference to the well-known legal rule, Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, etc., as several commentators suppose. It is not to be deduced from the present that ὕδωρ and αἷμα are things still at present existing, and hence the sacraments, for by means of the witness of the Spirit the whole redemptive life of Christ is permanently present, so that the baptism and death of Jesus—although belonging to the past—prove Him constantly to be the Messiah who makes atonement for the world (so also Braune). The participle οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, instead of the substantive οἱ μάρτυρες, emphasizes more strongly the activity of the witnessing.
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Steven Avery
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Steven Avery » July 31st, 2015, 5:21 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks.
This is actually a different question than I was asking, however it is important, so let's work with it a bit.

We see there are many explanations of the masculine, when a grammarian must work with the Critical Text.

!!! SNIP !!!!

Moderator's note: let's please stick with the grammar, and with specific discussion of the features of Greek. I've edited out a bunch of stuff involving textual criticism, quotes in English translations, etc.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 31st, 2015, 5:31 pm

Steven Avery wrote:Hi Jonathan,

Thanks.
This is actually a different question than I was asking, however it is important, so let's work with it a bit.

We see there are many explanations of the masculine, when a grammarian must work with the Critical Text.
So far, I'm not convinced. Could you please reformulate your question in a way that sticks to the grammar? Feel free to quote any Greek text and ask about grammatical forms used in it, but let's stick with the grammar and not the debates about which text is better, and let's stick with Greek and not English translations.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Steven Avery
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Steven Avery » July 31st, 2015, 5:41 pm

Steven Avery wrote:1John 5:7-8 (Critical Text)"]καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, τὸ πνεῦμα, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ, καὶ τὸ αἷμα καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν
The issue comes up as to whether the neuter nouns would be expected to have neuter grammar, and in what circumstances they might exceptionally be connected to a masculine or feminine participle.
Stephen Hughes wrote:οἱ τρεῖς is masculine, but is a numeral not a participle. Is what you are asking about why this is οἱ τρεῖς (masculine) not τὰ τρία (neuter)?

Yes, however the participle μαρτυροῦντες, is similarly masculine.
Steven Avery wrote:I understand that the question could also be asked about singular neuter nouns
Stephen Hughes wrote:Singular is a grammatical word, meaning that a noun / verb / adjective / etc. is referring to just one thing / person. I guess you are trying to ask whether the same question could be asked about an individual / stand alone neuter noun, not one in sequence / connected with others in a list.

Right, singular, one noun. as compared to a series. Perhaps better would be something like a "one neuter noun phrase." (concord-unit :) ) Any ideas of what is best?
Steven Avery wrote:How many examples show them having neuter grammar?
Stephen Hughes wrote:The way to ask this question would be something like, Are there examples where there is concord between the neuter nouns in a list and neuter participles / adjectives / etc.?

Right. Understood. And also any examples of lack of concord, when you have a series of neuter nouns.

In the Greek body of literature as a whole, since, in terms of a series, there is a famous long feminine series in Philippians. However, not much after the earthly witnesses for a neuter series.

A related question could be asked about one-unit neuter nouns, where of course you would have many in concord, but where can we see examples of non-concord?

Steven Avery
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 31st, 2015, 6:20 pm

The first question you are asking is whether Greek can equate a masculine nominal with a neuter nominal. Here's another verse that is very similar, equating a neuter noun with a masculine one:
John 14:26 wrote:ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν.
1 John 5:7-8 wrote:ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.
Note the masculine for ὁ δὲ παράκλητος ... ἐκεῖνος, which is equated to τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ.

I'm pretty sure we could find quite a few such verses, this is one that comes to mind and is in the Johannine corpus. In the first verse the masculine nominal is singular and equates to one neuter noun, in the second the nominal is a plural participle and equates to a list of neuter nouns. Greek does this kind of thing.

The second question you are asking is why this is a participle. So what's the difference between these two sentences?
ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μάρτυρες, τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.
1 John 5:7-8 wrote:ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν.
The first uses a plural noun, the second uses a nominalized plural participle that acts a lot like a noun. But there's a difference in meaning - μαρτυροῦντες has imperfective aspect, which is what Meyer meant when he said that it emphasizes more strongly the activity of the witnessing. And I imagine that difference in meaning was intentional.

The third question you are asking is why οἱ μαρτυροῦντες is masculine when it is possible to formulate it in a way that is not masculine. The simple answer is that to the author, it had a masculine sense. That could be because witnesses were more likely to be male, because the Mosaic law to which this seems to refer used masculine forms for witnesses, because the almost equivalent οἱ μάρτυρες is necessarily masculine ... for whatever reason, the author describes these witnesses with a masculine form.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Steven Avery
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Re: neuter series of nouns

Post by Steven Avery » July 31st, 2015, 7:10 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote: Here's another verse that is very similar, equating a neuter noun with a masculine one:
John 14:26 wrote:ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν
.... Note the masculine for ὁ δὲ παράκλητος ... ἐκεῖνος, which is equated to τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ. ... the masculine nominal is singular and equates to one neuter noun.
Are you asserting a gender shift involving πνεῦμα or anything like a constructio ad sensum?

Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit (2003)
Daniel Wallace
https://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/BBR_2 ... Spirit.pdf

"the noun πνεῦμα is appositional to a masculine noun, rather than the subject of the verb. The gender of ἐκεῖνος thus has nothing to do with the natural gender of πνεῦμα. The antecedent of ἐκεῖνος , in each case, is παράκλητος [a masculine noun], not πνεῦμα” - p. 104


Steven Avery
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