(Note to Administrator/Moderator: This is the revised post.)
Substantives in apposition do not agree in number and gender, but each substantive retains its own qualities.
That is true but it is beside the point. Let me explain again. I wrote in my last post:
In Revelation 17:16 we have two neuter nouns referred to by a masculine pronoun: καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα ἃ εἶδες καὶ τὸ θηρίον, οὗτοι μισήσουσι τὴν πόρνην. This is because τὰ δέκα κέρατα and τὸ θηρίον both symbolize persons.
What I want to know is, Is it possible to have a construction like this: καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα ἃ εἶδες καὶ τὸ θηρίον καὶ (another neuter noun but not representing a person), οὗτοι
...," where there are two neuter nouns to which constructio ad sensum
is applicable and one noun (the unnamed one within parenthesis above) to which it is not. That is the type of construction The Expositors Greek Testament assumes exists in 1 John 5:7-8 except that here there are two
nouns to which constructio ad sensum is not applicable.
I have checked with Robertson and A Grammar of New Testament Greek by Moulton (Turner) and there is nothing in them covering my concern. Wallace has only the following relevant to my interest:
The masculine participle in τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες refers to τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα (v 8), all neuter nouns. Some see this as an oblique reference to the Spirit's personality (so...) , but the fact that the author has personified water and blood, turning them into witnesses along with the Spirit, may be enough to account for the masculine gender. This interpretation also has in its behalf the allusion to Deut. 19:15....
Even Wallace offers no help to me because he does nolt comment on the validity of the construction that is assumed by those who see τρεῖς and οἱ μαρτυροῦντες as implying the personality of the holy spirit. I suspect that there are no parallels to such a construction in Greek literature and those who see constructio ad sensum
in 1 John 5:7-8 simply assume it on the analogy of constructions like the following:
καὶ ποιήσας φραγέλλιον ἐκ σχοινίων πάντας ἐξέβαλεν ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ τά τε πρόβατα καὶ τοὺς βόας (John 2:15)
where πάντας agrees with βόας, but not πρόβατα. This is because in a sentence like this the writer has to make a choice as to which gender he is going to use for the pronoun (or whatever) and Greek grammars mention various rules that govern such choices. The reader understands that it is only a matter of grammatical gender but with constructio ad sensum
with a series of coordinated nouns how is the reader to be sure which noun or nouns is/are treated as persons if it was not the intention of the writer to treat all as persons? For example in a sentence like the following:
ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ to teknon, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν
is τὸ πνεῦμα a person or a non-personal entity if the writer did not intend to treat all nouns as persons?
Do you now understand my problem?
(By the way, ha marturounta
in my last post should correctly read as ta marturounta
. In place of ho lithos
in my example sentence, read "a neuter noun not representing a person.")