Restrictive Adjectives

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Alan Bunning
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Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Alan Bunning » April 24th, 2017, 8:59 am

Is it possible that all of the following could be translated as “the wicked man” or is there a great enough difference in meaning between them that should require a difference in translation? It seems like I have seen all of these patterns translated the same in some Bible translations, although I could be mistaken.

ο κακος ανθρωπος
ο κακος ο ανθρωπος
ο ανθρωπος ο κακος
ο ανθρωπος κακος

I was taught that the third pattern is restrictive (i.e. “the man, the wicked [one]”). But what about the fourth one? Assuming that it is not a predicate adjective, would that also be called restrictive? Or would that just be a different position of an ascriptive adjective.

Robert Emil Berge
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Robert Emil Berge » April 24th, 2017, 11:50 am

Both the first and third can be translated "the wicked man", the other two can't. The second is a bit strange but if I ever see such a construction I'll probably translate it as "the wicked one is the man". The last one would be "the man is wicked". I have never had the impression that the third way of putting the adjective is more restricted than the first one, but I have never thought about it either.

Alan Bunning
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Alan Bunning » April 30th, 2017, 10:17 am

So for these that follow the fourth pattern then, should they all be treated as predicate adjectives instead?

Matt. 14:30 τὸν ἄνεμον ἰσχυρὸν “but seeing the strong wind” or “but seeing the wind [was] strong”
John 5:36 τὴν μαρτυρίαν μείζω “but I have a greater witness [than] John” or “but I have a witness [that is] greater [than] John”
Acts 7:19 ὁ βρέφος ἔκθετος “to make exposed infants” or maybe treat this as a double direct object “to make the infants exposed”
1Thes. 3:13 ὁ καρδία ἄμεμπτος “establish your blameless hearts” or “establish your hearts [to be] blameless”
1Tim. 6:14 ὁ ἐντολή ἄσπιλος ἀνεπίλημπτος “to keep the unspotted irreproachable commandment” or “to keep the commandment [that is] unspotted and irreproachable”
Rev. 19:9 οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ “these are true words of God” or “these words [are] true [which] are of God”??? Not too sure what to do with this one.

S Walch
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by S Walch » April 30th, 2017, 10:00 pm

The Rev 19:9 one is probably more Hebrew influenced than Greek (in Hebrew, the adjective does usually follow the noun rather than precede, though it can precede in several cases).

Rev is well known for not really caring about Greek grammar-rules :)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 30th, 2017, 10:36 pm

I don't use the term "restrictive adjective", I'm used to asking whether an adjective is attributive (attributing a quality to the head noun) or predicate.

If there is an article anywhere in the construction then the rule is simple: if there is an article immediately before the adjective, then it is attributive; if there is no such article, then it is not attributive. (Strip out any post-positives before applying this rule.) So in your first examples, these are attributive because there is an article immediately before the adjective:

ο κακος ανθρωπος
ο ανθρωπος ο κακος

This would also be attributive if it occurred, but I suspect it is not grammatical:

ο κακος ο ανθρωπος

In the following example, "the fourth one" in your original post, there is no article before the adjective, so it is a predicate, not attributive:

ο ανθρωπος κακος

Micheal Palmer's grammar discusses this here.

The following sections of Smyth might be helpful for you:
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 30th, 2017, 10:57 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:17 am
Acts 7:19 ὁ βρέφος ἔκθετος “to make exposed infants” or maybe treat this as a double direct object “to make the infants exposed”
I take this the second way you suggest:

v.inf ποιεῖν
o τὰ βρέφη αὐτῶ*
o2 ἔκθετα
Alan Bunning wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:17 am
1Tim. 6:14 ὁ ἐντολή ἄσπιλος ἀνεπίλημπτος “to keep the unspotted irreproachable commandment” or “to keep the commandment [that is] unspotted and irreproachable”
I would give it the second interpretation, treating it as a predicate.
Alan Bunning wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:17 am
Rev. 19:9 οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ “these are true words of God” or “these words [are] true [which] are of God”??? Not too sure what to do with this one.
Aren't you missing a word?

Οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσιν.

Once that word is restored, it becomes more obvious:

s Οὗτοι
p οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ
v εἰσιν.

Two things are said about οἱ λόγοι. (1) they are true - and I suspect you can just read this as a predicate, and (2) they are of God. How you render that gracefully in English is a bit fiddly, but I think the Greek is easy enough to interpret using the traditional rules.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Alan Bunning
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Alan Bunning » May 1st, 2017, 7:39 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:36 pm
I don't use the term "restrictive adjective", I'm used to asking whether an adjective is attributive (attributing a quality to the head noun) or predicate.
Regardless of whether you use the term or not, do you agree with the concept? The classic example is John 10:11 which can be translated as “I am the good shepherd” which is a slightly different emphasis than “I am the shepherd, the good [one]” as opposed to a bad one. Is this second line of thinking no longer taught as a distinct category?
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:36 pm
If there is an article anywhere in the construction then the rule is simple: if there is an article immediately before the adjective, then it is attributive; if there is no such article, then it is not attributive.
Going back to my original point, I wonder how much of a rule it really is since the following are sometimes translated as regular adjectives, not predicate adjectives:

Matt. 14:30 τὸν ἄνεμον ἰσχυρὸν “but seeing the strong wind” [NLT, NET, NHEB]
John 5:36 τὴν μαρτυρίαν μείζω “but I have a greater witness [than] John” [NLT, KJB, CSB, etc.]
Rev. 19:9 οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ “these are true words of God” [NIV, NLT, ESV, etc.]

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 1st, 2017, 9:51 am

Alan Bunning wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 7:39 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:36 pm
I don't use the term "restrictive adjective", I'm used to asking whether an adjective is attributive (attributing a quality to the head noun) or predicate.
Regardless of whether you use the term or not, do you agree with the concept? The classic example is John 10:11 which can be translated as “I am the good shepherd” which is a slightly different emphasis than “I am the shepherd, the good [one]” as opposed to a bad one. Is this second line of thinking no longer taught as a distinct category?
What grammar did you learn from? Maybe others can weigh in whether this is a term that they teach or were taught.

I use these terms for English, but not with the meaning you give them. This page describes it as I understand it for English:

https://www.thoughtco.com/restrictive-a ... es-1689689
  • Nonrestrictive
    An adjective clause that can be omitted from a sentence without affecting the basic meaning of the sentence should be set off by commas.
  • Restrictive
    An adjective clause that cannot be omitted from a sentence without affecting the basic meaning of the sentence should not be set off by commas.
I really do think of the attributive use as ascribing a quality to a head noun. If I say that a woman is beautiful, I am describing her, not distinguishing her from those women who are not beautiful. I don't think of adjectives the way I think of Venn diagrams.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 10:36 pm
If there is an article anywhere in the construction then the rule is simple: if there is an article immediately before the adjective, then it is attributive; if there is no such article, then it is not attributive.
Alan Bunning wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 7:39 am
Going back to my original point, I wonder how much of a rule it really is since the following are sometimes translated as regular adjectives, not predicate adjectives:

Matt. 14:30 τὸν ἄνεμον ἰσχυρὸν “but seeing the strong wind” [NLT, NET, NHEB]
John 5:36 τὴν μαρτυρίαν μείζω “but I have a greater witness [than] John” [NLT, KJB, CSB, etc.]
Rev. 19:9 οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ “these are true words of God” [NIV, NLT, ESV, etc.]
I suspect that may mean that predicate adjectives sometimes translate more gracefully into regular adjectives in English. But I don't (at least yet) think these examples invalidate the rule I just mentioned. I might need more time to think about them in Greek, but at first blush ...

Matt. 14:30 βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον ἰσχυρὸν ἐφοβήθη - seeing that the wind is strong, he was afraid. I like the HCSB translation here - "seeing the strength of the wind".

John 5:36 ἐγὼ δὲ ἔχω τὴν μαρτυρίαν μείζω τοῦ Ἰωάννου makes perfect sense as a predicate, and you can translate it that way - "I have a witness that is greater than John's" - but the English is more graceful if you change it to an adjective.

Rev. 19:9 Οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσιν. I responded to this yesterday.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Alan Bunning
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Alan Bunning » May 1st, 2017, 10:33 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 9:51 am
What grammar did you learn from? Maybe others can weigh in whether this is a term that they teach or were taught.
Not sure where I picked that up from. A quick Google search shows the term being used here http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/adjectiv.htm and in a lot of different books.

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Restrictive Adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 1st, 2017, 10:01 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 10:33 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 9:51 am
What grammar did you learn from? Maybe others can weigh in whether this is a term that they teach or were taught.
Not sure where I picked that up from. A quick Google search shows the term being used here http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/adjectiv.htm and in a lot of different books.
One of the books that uses these terms is David Allen Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek, a book I like. He says that an adjective can be used (1) attributively, (2) predicatively, and (3) substantively, and that part is consistent with Smyth, Palmer, and the description I gave earlier. Like Smyth, he distinguishes the two attributive positions, saying they differ in emphasis. Let's compare what they say.

For Black, both ὁ άγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος and ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ άγαθός are attributive adjectives, and says "Observe that the adjective in the attributive position immediately follows the article". He calls the word order of ὁ άγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος - with the adjective between the article and the noun - ascriptive. He calls the word order of ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ άγαθός - with the articular adjective following the noun - restrictive, and says that restrictive use is more emphatic, and that ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ άγαθός implies that there are other men who may not be good.

Smyth also distinguishes these positions, but does not use the terms ascriptive and restrictive, and interprets the meaning differently. He believes that ὁ σοφὸς ἀνήρ puts the emphasis on the adjective σοφὸς, but ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ σοφός puts the emphasis on ἀνὴρ.

A.T. Robertson (p. 776, Position with Attributives) calls the word order of ὁ σοφὸς ἀνήρ "The Normal Position of the Adjective", as opposed to "The Other Construction (Repetition of the Article)". He agrees with Smyth that "the Normal Position" puts the emphasis on the adjective. For "the Other Construction" ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ σοφός, he says both the substantive and the adjective receive emphasis, with the adjective added "as a sort of climax".

I think most authorities agree on attributive, predicative, and substantive uses of the adjective, and on the word orders associated with attributive versus predicative use. I don't think everyone knows the words ascriptive and restrictive, and they are not found in all textbooks. I don't know which of the above authorities are right about the meaning of the different attributive word orders, or how you would prove something this subtle. Maybe someone here knows some good research on the subject.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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