John 1:12 case of τέκνα

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Timothy Peterson
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John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Timothy Peterson » March 19th, 2018, 11:31 am

I understand that in John 1:12 τέκνα completes / is the object of the verb γενέσθαι.


ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι,

τέκνα is not a part of a standard double-accusative, since the indirect object is in the dative (αὐτοῖς).

Is there any pressing reason to argue that τέκνα must be accusative instead of nominative? My parser says is must be accusative, but I can't understand why.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 19th, 2018, 7:53 pm

The subject of an infinitive is usually in the accusative, unless the subject of the main clause is the same as the subject of the infinitive, which is clearly not the case here.
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » March 20th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Wouldn't the subject of the infinitive be them (with αὐτοῖς its antecedent) and τέκνα be the subject complement?
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Robert Crowe
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Robert Crowe » March 20th, 2018, 2:55 pm

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
March 20th, 2018, 1:55 pm
Wouldn't the subject of the infinitive be them (with αὐτοῖς its antecedent) and τέκνα be the subject complement?
No. τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι qualifies ἐξουσίαν. Both τέκνα and γενέσθαι are in accusative agreement with ἐξουσίαν.
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » March 21st, 2018, 3:18 am

Robert Crowe wrote:
March 20th, 2018, 2:55 pm
No. τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι qualifies ἐξουσίαν. Both τέκνα and γενέσθαι are in accusative agreement with ἐξουσίαν.
This is a different perspective than I've ever encountered. Can you elucidate?
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Robert Crowe
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Robert Crowe » March 21st, 2018, 7:24 am

The construction is lexically determined by words like ἐξουσία that demand further explanation. It begs the question ´What kind of ἐξουσία?´. The infinitive is sometimes called ´epexegetical’ or ´prolative’.
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » March 21st, 2018, 7:12 pm

I get the concept of the epexegetical infinitive. But I'm not seeing how the subject of γενέσθαι is not identical with the subject of ελαβον earlier in the verse, and τέκνα the predicate of the embedded sentence. I don't see how the accusative case of ἐξουσίαν has anything to do with τέκνα being accusative.
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Timothy Peterson
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Timothy Peterson » March 22nd, 2018, 5:09 am

I am with Tim McMahon on this.

I suspect we should imagine an autous as the accusative subject of the verb, and treat tekna as the verb’s object, taking the same case (acc).

Would this solve the problem?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 22nd, 2018, 5:40 am

It usually helps to cite the entire verse:

 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ...

Avoid calling the predicates of intransitive verbs "objects" since that can lead to confusion. Other than that, whatever we want to call the usage of the infinitive, It's probably best as noted above to supply αὐτούς as an understood subject and see τέκνα as the predicate. My earlier response was Q&D without looking at the syntax of the verse carefully.
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DennisKenaga
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Re: John 1:12 case of τέκνα

Post by DennisKenaga » July 11th, 2018, 10:28 am

Why is τέκνα, the predicate complement of the infinitive γενέσθαι, accusative in John 1:12?

Predicate complements of the infinitive are nominative if they have the same subject as the head verb of the infinitive, and the infinitive lacks an explicit accusative subject. Otherwise, if the infinitive has an accusative subject or the two verbs have different subjects, predicate complements of the infinitive are accusative.

Most predicate complements of infinitives are accusative. For examples of nominative predicative complements, see MT20:27, MK 9:35, MK10:44, LK10:36, LK22:24,JN 5:6, AC17:18, AC26:23, RM 1:22, RM 9:3, 2C 5:9, GA 2:9, PP 4:11, 1TH 1:6-7, HB11:4, JM 1:26. They all meet both conditions for nominative.

In John 1:12 the implicit subject of γενέσθαι is ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν or αὐτοῖς. Jesus is the subject of ἔδωκεν, the head verb of γενέσθαι. Since the subjects are different and thus do not meet the nominative condition, the predicate complement τέκνα is accusative, as usual. For similar constructions, see MT16:14, MK 1:7, MK 14:64, AC10:40, AC18:3, RM 4:12, GA 2:6, TI 2:4-5.

Romans 9:3, ηὐχόμην γὰρ ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ I could wish my own self to be cursed has the neuter predicate complement ἀνάθεμα like John 1:12. However, ηὐχόμην and εἶναι have the same subject, and εἶναι lacks an accusative subject. So ἀνάθεμα is nominative here. However, αὐτὸς ἐγὼ could be replaced by ἐμαυτὸν. Then ἀνάθεμα would become accusative. The pattern that is well established for masculine and feminine is naturally extended to neuter.

Although the case of the infinitive and its subject and predicate complement are often all accusative, the infinitive case does not determine its predicate complement or subject case. Accusative infinitives sometimes have nominative predicate complements, and nominative, dative or genitive infinitives usually take accusative predicate complements.
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