Try these references for starters:
E.C. Colwell, "A definite rule for the use of the article in the Greek New
Testament", Journal for Biblical Literature 52, 1933, pp.12-21
P. Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John
1:1", Journal for Biblical Literature 91, 1973, pp.75-87
Blass-Debrunner-Funk, 273 talks of predicate nouns being "as a rule"
anarthrous but it's pretty thin stuff.
Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp.257ff.
Brown's Anchor Commentary hesitates over the anarthrous predicate (p.5f)
but Hoskyns (141), Schnackenburg (234), Barrett (156) and Sanders (69f) are
happy with it. I don't think Bultmann bothers to mention it. Moloney
(Belief, 28) points out that the reader needs to be aware of the subtleties
of Greek grammar to get what he is on about.
Hope this helps.
New Testament Lecturer and Director of Studies,
Hope Valley, Derbyshire, UK
Tel: +44 1246 582321 x122
Fax: +44 1246 583739
From: Horace Jeffery Hodges [SMTP:jefferyhodges@...
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 03:40
Subject: RE: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question
Pete Phillips <p.m.phillips@...
> I've been following this thread over the last couple
> of days and have
> become increasingly perplexed by it. Has anybody
> read the secondary
> material on all this lot? Colwell's article on
> anarthrous predicates,
> Harner's redefinition of Colwell's rule, Wallace's
> extended discussion in
> his Grammar beyond the basics, Blass-Debrunner-Funk.
> How about the
> comments by Bultmann, Brown and Barrett? There is
> ample reading for the
> most avid bookworm in this lot - all defining why
> the translation should be
> "God" rather than "a god" or "the god" or "divine".
> There is a whole load
> of semantic evidence for translating this as a
> simple pre-verbal
> qualitative anarthrous predicate - the decision to
> translate it as anything
> else is the theological spin!
No, I haven't read all of those scholars on this
grammatical rule -- that's why I was asking about the
grammatical reason. Thanks for the references -- but
could you make them more specific, i.e., which texts,
etc? I'll keep them for future reference, i.e., when I
am again near a good library -- as I hope to be next
year if all goes well.
In retrospect, I think that I have probably confused
matters a bit. What I wanted was an explanation of the
grammatical rule that tells us whether to translate
with or without the indefinite article. If I have
understood others correctly, then Greek grammar allows
for either translation.
However, I agree that there are theological reasons
for choosing one or the other if there is a
grammatical choice -- and I agree with Malauf that the
fourth evangelist has a theology.
> And if we talk about pre-existence, as Meg Davies
> says, (Rhetoric and
> Reference in the Fourth Gospel) - there can be no
> such thing. You cannot
> exist before you exist. Eternally existent would be
If we understand "pre-existence" to mean that the Son
existed prior to his incarnation, then I see no reason
to discard the term. This also allows one the simple
formulation "eternal pre-existence". (I suppose
"pre-incarnational existence" is more explicit, but it
seems a mouthful to me.) The expression "eternally
existent", by contrast, is ambiguous because it leaves
unclear whether this means from past eternity to
future eternity or merely from a point in time to
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