JAMES HOPE MOULTON

                          M.A. (CANTAB.), D.LIT. (LOND.)






                             WESLEYAN COLLEGE, DIDSBURY






                                               VOL. I






                                      THIRD EDITION






     Digitized by Ted Hildebrandt, Gordon College, Wenham, MA

                                            March 2006




















                      IN PIAM MEMORIAM




                 LABORVM HERES DEDICO








THE call for a second edition of this work within six or seven

months of its first appearance gives me a welcome opportunity

of making a good many corrections and additions, without

altering in any way its general plan. Of the scope of these new

features I shall have something to say later; at this point I

have to explain the title-page, from which certain words have

disappeared, not without great reluctance on my part. The

statement in the first edition that the book was "based on

W. F. Moulton's edition of G. B. Winer's Grammar," claimed

for it connexion with a work which for thirty-five years had

been in constant use among New Testament students in this

country and elsewhere. I should hardly have yielded this

statement for excision, had not the suggestion come from one

whose motives for retaining it are only less strong than my

own. Sir John Clark, whose kindness throughout the progress

of this work it is a special pleasure to acknowledge on such

an opportunity, advised me that misapprehension was fre-

quently occurring with those whose knowledge of this book

was limited to the title. Since the present volume is entirely

new, and does not in any way follow the lines of its great

predecessor it seems better to confine the history of the

undertaking to the Preface, and take sole responsibility. I

have unhappily no means of divining what judgement either

Winer or his editor would have passed on my doctrines; and

it is therefore, perhaps, due to Pietat that I should drop what

Pietat mainly prompted.

            It is now forty years since my father, to whose memory

this book is dedicated, was invited by Messrs T. & T. Clark

to translate and edit G. B. Winer's epoch-making Grammatik

des neutestamentliehen Spraehidioms. The proposal originated

with Bishop Ellicott, afterwards Chairman of the New Testa-



viii                                    PREFACE.


ment Revision Company, and the last survivor of a band of

workers who, while the following pages were in the press,

became united once more. Dr Ellicott had been in corre-

spondence on biblical matters with the young Assistant Tutor

at the Wesleyan Theological College, Richmond; and his

estimate of his powers was shown first by the proposal as to

Winer, and not long after by the Bishop's large use of my

father's advice in selecting new members of the Revision

Company. Mr Moulton took his place in the Jerusalem

Chamber in 1870, the youngest member of the Company;

and in the same year his edition of Winer appeared. My

brother's Life of our father (Isbister, 1899) gives an account

of its reception. It would not be seemly for me to enlarge

on its merits, and it would be as superfluous as unbecoming.

I will only allow myself the satisfaction of quoting a few

words from one who may well be called the greatest New

Testament scholar this country has seen for generations. In

giving his Cambridge students a short list of reference books,

Dr Hort said (Romans and Ephesians, p. 71):—


            Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, as translated

            and enlarged by Dr Moulton, stands far above every

            other for this purpose. It does not need many minutes

            to learn the ready use of the admirable indices, of

            passages and of subjects: and when the book is con-

            sulted in this manner, its extremely useful contents

            become in most cases readily accessible. Dr Moulton's

            references to the notes of the best recent English com-

            mentaries are a helpful addition.


            In 1875 Dr Moulton was transferred to Cambridge,

charged by his Church with the heavy task of building up

from the foundation a great Public School. What time a

Head Master could spare to scholarship was for many years

almost entirely pledged to the New Testament and Apocrypha

Revision. Naturally it was not possible to do much to his

Grammar when the second edition was called for in 1877.

The third edition, five years later, was even less delayed for

the incorporation of new matter; and the book stands now,

in all essential points, just as it first came from its author's

pen. Meanwhile the conviction was growing that the next



edition must be a new book. Winer's own last edition,

though far from antiquated, was growing decidedly old;

its jubilee is in fact celebrated by its English descendant

of to-day. The very thoroughness of Winer's work had made

useless for the modern student many a disquisition against

grammatical heresies which no one would now wish to drag

from the lumber-room. The literature to which Winer

appealed was largely buried in inaccessible foreign periodicals.

And as the reputation of his editor grew, men asked for a

more compact, better arranged, more up-to-date volume, in

which the ripest and most modern work should no longer be

stowed away in compressed notes at the foot of the page.

Had time and strength permitted, Dr Moulton would have

consulted his most cherished wish by returning to the work

of his youth and rewriting his Grammar as an independent 

book. But "wisest Fate said No." He chose his junior col-

league, to whom he had given, at first as his pupil, and

afterwards during years of University training and colleague-

ship in teaching, an insight into his methods and principles,

and at least an eager enthusiasm for the subject to which he

had devoted his own life. But not a page of the new book

was written when, in February 1898, "God's finger touched

him, and he slept."

            Since heredity does not suffice to make a grammarian,

and there are many roads by which a student of New Testa-

ment language may come to his task, I must add a word

to explain in what special directions this book may perhaps

contribute to the understanding of the inexhaustible subject

with which it deals. Till four years ago, my own teaching

work scarcely touched the Greek Testament, classics and com-

parative philology claiming the major part of my time. But

I have not felt that this time was ill spent as a prepara-

tion for the teaching of the New Testament. The study of

the Science of Language in general, and especially in the field

of the languages which are nearest of kin to Greek, is well

adapted to provide points of view from which new light may

be shed on the words of Scripture. Theologians, adepts in

criticism, experts in early Christian literature, bring to a task

like this an equipment to which I can make no pretence.

But there are other studies, never more active than now,



which may help the biblical student in unexpected ways.

The life-history of the Greek language has been investi-

gated with minutest care, not only in the age of its glory,

but also throughout the centuries of its supposed senility

and decay. Its syntax has been illuminated by the com-

parative method; and scholars have arisen who have been

willing to desert the masterpieces of literature and trace the

humble development of the Hellenistic vernacular down to

its lineal descendant in the vulgar tongue of the present day.

Biblical scholars cannot study everything, and there are some

of them who have never heard of Brugmann and Thumb.

It may be some service to introduce them to the side-lights

which comparative philology can provide.

            But I hope this book may bring to the exegete material

yet more important for his purpose, which might not otherwise

come his way. The immense stores of illustration which have

been opened to us by the discoveries of Egyptian papyri, ac-

cessible to all on their lexical side in the brilliant Bible Studies

of Deissmann, have not hitherto been systematically treated

in their bearing on the grammar of New Testament Greek.

The main purpose of these Prolegomena has accordingly been

to provide a sketch of the language of the New Testament as

it appears to those who have followed Deissmann into a new

field of research. There are many matters of principle need-

ing detailed discussion, and much new illustrative material

from papyri and inscriptions, the presentation of which will, I

hope, be found helpful and suggestive. In the present volume,

therefore, I make no attempt at exhaustiveness, and of ten

omit important subjects on which I have nothing new to say.

By dint of much labour on the indices, I have tried to provide

a partial remedy for the manifold inconveniences of form

which the plan of these pages entails. My reviewers en-

courage me to hope that I have succeeded in one cherished

ambition, that of writing a Grammar which can be read.

The fascination of the Science of Language has possessed me

ever since in boyhood I read Max Muller's incomparable

Lectures; and I have made it my aim to communicate what

I could of this fascination before going on to dry statistics

and formulae. In the second volume I shall try to present

as concisely as I can the systematic facts of Hellenistic acci-

                                     PREFACE.                                 xi


dence and syntax, not in the form of an appendix to a

grammar of classical Greek, but giving the later language

the independent dignity which it deserves. Both Winer

himself and the other older scholars, whom a reviewer thinks

I have unduly neglected, will naturally bulk more largely

than they can do in chapters mainly intended to describe

the most modern work. But the mere citation of authori-

ties, in a handbook designed for practical utility, must

naturally be subordinated to the succinct presentation of

results. There will, I hope, be small danger of my readers'

overlooking my indebtedness to earlier workers, and least

of all that to my primary teacher, whose labours it is

my supreme object to preserve for the benefit of a new


            It remains to perform the pleasant duty of acknowledging

varied help which has contributed a large proportion of any-

thing that may be true or useful in this book. It would be

endless were I to name teachers, colleagues, and friends in

Cambridge, to whom through twenty years' residence I con-

tracted debts of those manifold and intangible kinds which

can only be summarised in the most inadequate way: no

Cantab who has lived as long within that home of exact

science and sincere research, will fail to understand what I

fail to express. Next to the Cambridge influences are those

which come from teachers and friends whom I have never

seen, and especially those great German scholars whose labours,

too little assisted by those of other countries, have established

the Science of Language on the firm basis it occupies to-day.

In fields where British scholarship is more on a level with

that of Germany, especially those of biblical exegesis and  

of Greek classical lore, I have also done my best to learn

what fellow-workers east of the Rhine contribute to the

common stock.   It is to a German professor, working

upon the material of which our own Drs Grenfell and

Hunt have provided so large a proportion, that I owe the

impulse which has produced the chief novelty of my work.

My appreciation of the memorable achievement of Dr Deiss-

mann is expressed in the body of the book; and I must

only add here my grateful acknowledgement of the many

encouragements he has given me in my efforts to glean

xii                               PREFACE.


after him in the field he has made his own. He has now

crowned them with the all too generous appreciations of

my work which he has contributed to the Theologische

Literaturzeitung and the Theologische Rundschau.  Another

great name figures on most of the pages of this book.

The services that Professor Blass has rendered to New

Testament study are already almost equal to those he has

rendered to classical scholarship. I have been frequently

obliged to record a difference of opinion, though never with-

out the inward voice whispering "impar congresses Achilli."

But the freshness of view which this great Hellenist brings

to the subject makes him almost as helpful when he fails

to convince as when he succeeds; and I have learned more

and more from him, the more earnestly I have studied for

myself. The name of another brilliant writer on New

Testament Grammar, Professor Schmiedel, will figure more

constantly in my second volume than my plan allows it to

do in this.

            The mention of the books which have been most fre-

quently used, recalls the need of one or two explanations

before closing this Preface. The text which is assumed

throughout is naturally that of Westcott and Hort. The

principles on which it is based, and the minute accuracy with

which they are followed out, seem to allow no alternative to

a grammatical worker, even if the B type of text were held

to be only the result of second century revision. But in

frequently quoting other readings, and especially those which

belong to what Dr Kenyon conveniently calls the d-text,

I follow very readily the precedent of Blass. I need not

say that Mr Geden's Concordance has been in continual

use. I have not felt bound to enter much into questions

of "higher criticism." In the case of the Synoptic Gospels,

the assumption of the "two-source hypothesis" has suggested

a number of grammaticul points of interest. Grammar helps

to rivet closer the links which bind together the writings of

Luke, and those of Paul (though the Pastorals often need

separate treatment): while the Johannine Gospel and Epistles

similarly form a single grammatical entity. Whether the

remaining Books add seven or nine to the tale of separate

authors, does not concern us here; for the Apocalypse,

                                     PREFACE.                                 xiii


1 Peter and 2 Peter must be treated individually as much

as Hebrews, whether the traditional authorship be accepted

or rejected.

            Last come the specific acknowledgements of most generous

and welcome help received directly in the preparation of this

volume. I count myself fortunate indeed in that three

scholars of the first rank in different lines of study have

read my proofs through, and helped me with invaluable

encouragement and advice. It is only due to them that I

should claim the sole responsibility for errors which I may

have failed to escape, in spite of their watchfulness on my

behalf. Two of them are old friends with whom I have

taken counsel for many years. Dr G. G. Findlay has gone

over my work with minute care, and has saved me from

many a loose and ambiguous statement, besides giving me the

fruit of his profound and accurate exegesis, which students

of his works on St. Paul's Epistles know well. Dr Bendel

Harris has brought me fresh lights from other points of

view and I have been particularly glad of criticism from a

specialist in Syriac, who speaks with authority on matters

which take a prominent place in my argument. The third

name is that of Professor Albert Thumb, of Marburg. The

kindness of this great scholar, in examining so carefully the

work of one who is still a]gnoou<menoj t&? prosw<p&, cannot

be adequately acknowledged here. Nearly every page of my

book owes its debt either to his writings or to the criticisms

and suggestions with which he has favoured me. At least

twice he has called my attention to important articles in

English which I had overlooked and in my illustrations

from Modern Greek I have felt myself able to venture often

into fields which might have been full of pitfalls, had I not

been secure in his expert guidance. Finally, in the necessary

drudgery of index-making I have had welcome aid at home.

By drawing up the index of Scripture quotations, my mother

has done for me what she did for my father nearly forty years

ago. My brother, the Rev. W. Fiddian Moulton, M.A., has

spared time from a busy pastor's life to make me the Greek

index. To all these who have helped me so freely, and to

many others whose encouragement and counsel has been a

constant stimulus—I would mention especially my Man-

xiv                                    PREFACE.


chester colleagues, Dr R. W. Moss and Professor A. S. Peake

—I tender my heartfelt thanks.

            The new features of  this edition are necessarily confined

within narrow range. The Additional Notes are suggested

by my own reading or by suggestions from various reviewers

and correspondents, whose kindness I gratefully acknowledge.

A new lecture by Professor Thumb, and reviews by such

scholars as Dr Marcus Dods, Dr H. A. A. Kennedy, and Dr

Souter, have naturally provided more material than I can at

present use. My special thanks are due to Mr H. Scott, of

Oxton, Birkenhead, who went over the index of texts and

two or three complicated numerical computations in the body

of the book, and sent me unsolicited some corrections and

additions, for which the reader will add his gratitude to

mine. As far as was possible, the numerous additions to the

Indices have been worked in at their place; but some pages

of Addenda have been necessary, which will not, I hope,

seriously inconvenience the reader. The unbroken kindness of

my reviewers makes it needless for me to reply to criticisms

here. I am tempted to enlarge upon one or two remarks in the

learned and helpful Athenaeum review, but will confine myself

to a comment on the "awkward results " which the writer

anticipates from the evidence of the papyri as set forth in my

work. My Prolegomena, he says, "really prove that there can

be no grammar of New Testament Greek, and that the grammar

of the Greek in the New Testament is one and the same with

the grammar of the 'common Greek' of the papyri." I agree

with everything except the "awkwardness" of this result

for me. To call this book a Grammar of the 'Common'

Greek, and enlarge it by including phenomena which do

not happen to be represented in the New Testament, would

certainly be more scientific. But the practical advantages of

confining attention to what concerns the grammatical inter-

pretation of a Book of unique importance, written in a language

which has absolutely no other literature worthy of the name,

need hardly be laboured here, and this foreword is already

long enough. I am as conscious as ever of the shortcomings

of this book when placed in the succession of, one which has

so many associations of learning and industry, of caution and

flawless accuracy. But I hope that its many deficiencies may

                   NOTE TO THE THIRD EDITION.                         xv


not prevent it from leading its readers nearer to the meaning

of the great literature which it strives to interpret. The

new tool is certain not to be all its maker fondly wished it

to be; but from a vein so rich in treasure even the poorest

instrument can hardly fail to bring out nuggets of pure gold.

                                                                                   J. H. M.


DIDSBURY COLLEGE, Avg. 13, 1906.





As it is not yet three years since this book first appeared,

I am spared the necessity of introducing very drastic change.

Several new collections of papyri have been published, and

other fresh material, of which I should have liked to avail

myself more fully. But the alterations and additions have

been limited by my wish not to disturb the pagination.

Within this limit, however, I have managed to bring in a

large number of small changes-removing obscurities, correcting

mistakes, or registering a change of opinion; while, by the use

of blank spaces, or the cutting down of superfluities, I have

added very many fresh references. For the convenience of

readers who possess former editions, I add below1 a note of

the pages on which changes or additions occur, other than

those that are quite trifling. No small proportion of my

time has been given to the Indices. Experience has shown

that I had planned the Greek Index on too small a scale.

In the expansion of this Index, as also for the correction of

many statistics in the body of the book, I have again to

acknowledge with hearty thanks the generous help of Mr


            1 See pp. xii., xx.-xxiii., 4, 7, 8, 10, 13-17, 19, 21, 26, 27, 29, 36, 38, 40,

41. 43, 45-50, 52-56, 64, 65, 67-69, 76-81, 86, 87, 93, 95-99, 101, 105, 107,

110, 113-115, 117, 119-121, 123, 125, 129, 130, 134, 135, 144, 145, 150, 156, 159,

161-163, 167, 168, 174, 176-179, 181, 185, 187, 188, 191;193-196, 198, 200, 204,

205, 214, 215, 223-225, 227-231, 234-237, 239-211, 213-249. Pp. 260-265

have many alterations, Index iii a few. Index ii and the Addenda are new.



H. Scott. To the kindness of many reviewers and corre-

spondents I must make a general acknowledgement for the

help they have given me. One debt of this kind, however,

I could not omit to mention, due to a learned member of

my own College, who is working in the same field. The

Accidence of Mr H. St. J. Thackeray's Septuagint Grammar

is now happily far advanced towards publication; and I have

had the privilege of reading it in MS, to my own great

profit. I only wish I could have succeeded in my endeavour

to provide ere now for my kind critics an instalment of the

systematic grammar to which this volume is intended to be

an introduction. It is small comfort that Prof. Schmiedel

is still in the middle of the sentence where he left off ten

years ago. The irreparable loss that Prof. Blass's death

inflicts on our studies makes me more than ever wishful

that Dr Schmiedel and his new coadjutor may not keep us

waiting long.

            Some important fields which I might have entered have

been pointed out by Prof. S. Dickey, in the Princeton Theological

Review for Jan. 1908, p. 151. Happily, I need not be

exhaustive in Prolegomena, though the temptation to rove

further is very strong. There is only one topic on which

I feel it essential to enlarge at present, touching as it does

my central position, that the New Testament was written

in the normal Koinh< of the Empire, except for certain parts

where over-literal translation from Semitic originals affected

its quality. I must not here defend afresh the general thesis

against attacks like that of Messrs Conybeare and Stock,

delivered in advance in their excellent Selections from the

Septuagint, p.  22 (1905), or Dr Nestle's review of my book in

the Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift for December 8, 1906.

There are many points in this learned and suggestive review

to which I hope to recur before long. But there is one new

line essayed by some leading critics of Deissmannism—if

I may coin a word on an obvious analogy—which claims

a few words here. In the first additional note appended to

my second edition (p. 242, below), I referred to the evidence

for a large Aramaic-speaking Jewish population in Egypt, and

anticipated the possibility that "Hebraists" might interpret

our parallels from the papyri as Aramaisms of home growth,

              NOTE TO THE THIRD EDITION.                           xvii


As this argument had not yet been advanced, I did not offer

an answer. But simultaneously Prof. Swete was bringing out

his monumental Commentary on the Apocalypse; and I

found on p. cxx that the veteran editor of the LXX was dis-

posed to take this very line. The late Dr H. A. Redpath also

wrote to me, referring to an article of his own in the American

Journal of Theology for January 1903, pp. 10 f., which I should

not have overlooked. With two such authorities to support

this suggestion, I cannot of course leave the matter as it

stands in the note referred to. Fuller discussion I must defer,

but I may point out that our case does not rest on the papyri

alone. Let it be granted, for the sake of argument, that we

have no right to delete from the list of Hebraisms uses for

which we can only quote Egyptian parallels, such as the use

of meta< referred to on p. 246. There will still remain a

multitude of uses in which we can support the papyri from

vernacular inscriptions of different countries, without encoun-

tering any probability of Jewish influence. Take, for example,

the case of instrumental e]n, where the Hebrew b; has naturally

been recognised by most scholars in the past. I have asserted

(p. 12) that Ptolemaic exx. of e]n maxai<r^ (Tb P 16 al.) rescue

Paul's e]n r[a<bd& from this category:  before their discovery

Dr Findlay (EGT on 1 Co 4 21) cited Lucian, Dial. Mort.

xxiii. 3. Now let us suppose that the Egyptian official who

wrote Tb P 16 was unconsciously using an idiom of the

Ghetto, and that Lucian's Syrian origin—credat Iudaeus.

was peeping out in a reminiscence of the nursery. We shall

still be able to cite examples of the reckless extension

of e]n in Hellenistic of other countries; and we shall find

that the roots of this particular extension go down deep into

classical uses loquendi: see the quotations in Kuhner-Gerth

i. 465, and especially note the Homeric e]n o]fqalmoi?si  

Fide<sqai (Il. i. 587 al.) and e]n puri> kai<ein (Il. xxiv. 38),

which are quite near enough to explain the development.

That some Biblical uses of e]n go beyond even the generous

limits of Hellenistic usage, neither Deissmann nor I seek to

deny (see p. 104). But evidence accumulates to forbid my

allowing Semitisin as a vera causa for the mass of Biblical

instances of e]n in senses which make the Atticist stare and

gasp. And on the general question I confess myself uncon-



vinced that Egyptian Greek differs materially from that

current in the Empire as a whole, or that the large Jewish

population left their stamp on the language of Greeks or

bilingual Egyptians in the Delta, any more than the perhaps

equally large proportion of Jews in Manchester affects the

speech of our Lancashire working men. There is another line

of argument which I personally believe to be sound, but I do

not press it here—the dogma of Thumb (see pp. 17 n. and

94 below), that a usage native in Modern Greek is ipso facto

no Semitism. It has been pressed by Psichari in his valuable

Essai sur le grec de la Septante (1908). But I have already

overstepped the limits of a Preface, and will only express

the earnest hope that the modest results of a laborious

revision may make this book more helpful to the great

company of Biblical students whom it is my ambition to


                                                                              J. H. M.













Chap.                                                                                                   Page

I.    GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS                                              1


II.   HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK                                22


III.  NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE                                                42


IV.  SYNTAX: THE NOUN                                                 57


V.   ADJECTIVES, PRONOUNS, PREPOSITIONS                       77




VII. THE VERB: VOICE                                                                   152


VIII. THE VERB: THE MOODS                                                      164


IX.   THE INFINITIVE AND PARTICIPLE                                     202


        ADDITIONAL NOTES                                                             233




            I. INDEX TO QUOTATIONS                                               250


            II. INDEX OF GREEK WORDS AND FORMS                 266


            III. INDEX OF SUBJECTS                                       278


         ADDENDA TO INDICES                                                        290







ABBREVIATIONS for the names of Books of Scripture will explain them-

selves. In the OT and Apocrypha the names of the Books follow the

English RV (except Ca for Song of Songs), as also do the numbers for

chapter and verse: the LXX numbering, where it differs, is added within


            Centuries are denoted iii/13 B.C.,  ii/A.D., etc., except when an exact date

is given. Where the date may fall within wider limits, the notation

is ii/i B.C., iv/v A.D., etc. Where papyri or inscriptions are not dated,

it may generally be taken that no date is given by the editor.

            The abbreviations for papyri and inscriptions are given in Index I (c)

and (d), pp. 251 ff. below, with the full titles of the collections quoted.

            The ordinary abbreviations for MSS, Versions, and patristic writers

are used in textual notes.

            Other abbreviations will, it is hoped, need no explanation: perhaps

MGr for Modern Greek should be mentioned. It should be observed

that references are to pages, unless otherwise stated: papyri and inscrip-

tions are generally cited by number. In all these documents the usual

notation is followed, and the original spelling preserved.

Abbott JG= Johannine Grammar, by E. A. Abbott. London 1906.

Abbott—see Index I (e) iii.

AJP=American Journal of Philology, ed. B. L. Gildersleeve, Baltimore

            1880 ft.

Archiv—see Index I (c).

Audollent—see Index I (c).

BCH— see Index I (c).

Blass= Grammar of NT Greek, by F. Blass. Second English edition,

            tr. H. St J. Thackeray, London 1905. (This differs from ed. 1 only

            by the addition of pp. 306-333.) Sometimes the reference is to notes

            in Blass's Acta Apostolorum (Gottingen 1895): the context will

            make it clear.

Brugmann Dist.= Die distributiven u. d. kollektiven Numeralia der idg.

            Sprachen, by K. Brugmann. (Abhandl. d. K. S. Ges. d. Wiss., xxv. v,

            Leipzig 1907.)

Burton MT= New Testament Moods and Tenses, by E. D. Burton.

            Second edition, Edinburgh 1894.

Buttmann= Grammar of New Testament Greek, by A. Buttmaun.

            English edition by J. H. Thayer, Andover 1876.



xxii                             ABBREVIATIONS.


BZ= Byzantinische Zeitschrift, ed. K. Krumbacher, Leipzig 1892

Cauer—see Index I (c).

CGT= Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges.

CR= Classical Review (London 1887 ff.). Especially reference is made

            to the writer's collection of forms and syntactical examples from the

            papyri, in CR xv. 31-38 and 434-442 (Feb. and Dec. 1901), and

            xviii. 106-112 and 151-155 (March and April 1904—to be continued).

CQ = Classical Quarterly. London 1907 f.

Dalman Words= The Words of Jesus, by G. Dalman. English edition,

            tr. D. M. Kay, Edinburgh 1902.

Dalman Gramm.= Grammatik des judisch-palastinischen Aramaisch, by

            G. Dalman, Leipzig 1894.

DB=Dictionary of the Bible, edited by J. Hastings. 5 vols., Edinburgh


Deissmann BS= Bible Studies, by G. A. Deissmann. English edition,

            including Bibelstudien and Neue Bibelstudien, tr. A. Grieve, Edinburgh


Deissmann In Christo =Die Die neutestamentliche Formel "in Christo Jesu,"

            by G. A. Deissmann, Marburg 1892.

Delbruck Grundr.= Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der

            indogermanischen Sprachen, by K. Brugmann and B. Delbruck:

            Dritter Band, Vergleichende Syntax, by Delbruck, Strassburg 1893-

            1900. (References to Brugmann's part, on phonology and morphology,

            are given to his own abridgement, Kurze vergleichende Grammatik,

            1904, which has also an abridged Comparative Syntax.)

Dieterich Unters.=Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der griechischen

            Sprache, von der hellenistischen Zeit bis zum 10. Jahrh. n. Chr., by

            K. Dieterich, Leipzig 1898.

DLZ= Deutsche Literaturzeitung, Leipzig.

EB=Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by T. K. Cheyne and J. S. Black.

            4 vols., London 1899-1903.

EGT=Expositor's Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.

            4 vols. (vol. iv. not yet published), London 1897-1903.

Exp B=Expositor's Bible, edited by W. R. Nicoll. 49 vols., London


Expos= The Expositor, edited by W. R. Nicoll. Cited by series, volume,

            and page. London 1875 ff.

Exp T= The Expository Times, edited by J. Hastings. Edinburgh 1889 ff.

Gildersleeve Studies= Studies in Honor of Professor Gildersleeve, Baltimore.

Gildersleeve Synt. = Syntax of Classical Greek, by B. L. Gildersleeve and

            C. W. E. Miller. Part i, New York 1900.

Giles Manual 2=A Short Manual of Comparative Philology for classical

            students, by P. Giles. Second edition, London 1901.

Goodwin MT = Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, by

            W. W. Goodwin. Third edition, London 1889.

Goodwin Greek Gram. = A Greek Grammar, by W. W. Goodwin. London


Grimm-Thayer =Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, translated and

                                  ABBREVIATIONS.                                  xxiii


            enlarged by J. H. Thayer, as " A Greek-English Lexicon of the New

            Testament." Edinburgh 1886.

Hatzidakis = Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik, by G. N.

            Hatzidakis. Leipzig 1892.

Hawkins HS= Howe Synopticce, by J. C. Hawkins. Oxford 1899.

HR= A Concordance to the Septuagint, by E. Hatch and H. A. Redpath.

            Oxford 1897.

IMA—see Index I (c).

Indog. Forsch.= Indogermanische Forschungen, edited by K. Brugmann

            and. W. Streitberg. Strassburg 1892

Jannaris HG= A Historical Greek Grammar, by A. N. Jannaris. London


JBL =Journal of Biblical Literature. Boston 1881 ff.

JHS—see Index I (c).

JTS =Journal of Theological Studies. London 1900 ff.

Julicher Introd.=Introduction to the New Testament, by A. Julicher.

            English edition, tr. by J. P. Ward, London 1904.

Kalker=Quaestiones de elocutione Polybiana, by F. Kaelker. In Leipziger

            Studien III.. ii., 1880.

Kuhner 3, or Kuhner-Blass, Kuhner-Gerth =Ausfuhrliche Grammatik der

            griechischen Sprache, by R. Kuhner. Third edition, Elementar-und

            Formenlehre, by F. Blass. 2 vols., Hannover 1890-2. Satzlehre, by

            B. Gerth. 2 vols., 1898, 1904.

Kuhring Praep. = De Praepusitionum Graec. in chards Aegyptiis usu, by

            W. Kuhring. Bonn 1906.

KZ=Kuhn’s Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung. Berlin and

            Gutersloh 1852 ff.

LS=A Greek-English Lexicon, by H. G. Liddell and R. Scott. Eighth

            edition, Oxford 1901.

Mayser= Grammatik der gr. Papyri aus der Ptolemilerzeit, by E. Mayser.

            Leipzig 1006.

Meisterhans 3= Grammatik der attischen Inschriften, by K. Meisterhans.

            Third edition by E. Schwyzer (see p. 29 n.), Berlin 1900.

MG=Concordance to the Greek Testament, by W. F. Moulton and A. S.

            Geden. Edinburgh 1897.

Milligan-Moulton Commentary on the Gospel of St John, by W. Milligan

            and W. F. Moulton. Edinburgh 1898.

Mithraslit.—see Index I (4

Monro HG= Homeric Grammar, by D. B. Monro. Second edition,

            Oxford 1891.

Nachmanson=Laute and Formen der Magnetischen Inschriften, by E.

            Nachmanson, Upsala 1903.

Ramsay Paul= Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen, by W. M. Ramsay

            Third edition, London 1897.

Ramsay C. and B.—see Index I (e).

RE 3 = Herzog-Hauck Realencyclopadie.         (In progress.) Leipzig.

REGr=Revue des Etudes grecques. Paris 188t ff.

Reinhold=De Graecitate Patrum, by H. Reinhold. Halle 1896.

xxiv                         ABBREVIATIONS.


RhM= Rheinisches Museum. Bonn 1827 ff.

Riddell = A Digest of Platonic Idioms, by J. Riddell (in his edition of

            the Apology, Oxford 1867).

Rutherford NP= The New Phrynichus, by W. G. Rutherford, London 1881.

Schanz Beitr.=Beitrage zur historischen Syntax der griechischen Sprache,

            edited by M. Schanz. Wurtzburg 1882 ff.

Schmid Attic. = Der Atticismus in seinen Hauptvertretern von Dionysius

            von Halikarnass his auf den zweiten Philostratus, by W. Schmid.

            4 vols. and Register, Stuttgart 1887-1897.

Schmidt Jos.= De Flavii Josephi elocutione, by W. Schmidt, Leipzig 1893.

Schulze Gr. Lat. =Graeca Latina, by W. Schulze, Gottingen 1901.

Schwyzer Perg.= Grammatik der pergamenischen Inschrif ten, by E.

            Schweizer (see p. 29 n.), Berlin 1898.

SH= The Epistle to the Romans, by W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam.

            Fifth edition, Edinburgh 1902.

ThLZ=Theologische Literaturzeitung, edited by A. Harnack and E.

            Schurer, Leipzig 1876 ff.

Thumb Hellen.= Die griechische Sprache im Zeitalter des Hellenismus,

            by A. Thumb, Strassburg 1901.

Thumb Handb.= Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache, by A.

            Thumb, Strassburg 1895.

Ti=Novum Testamentum Graece, by C. Tischendorf. Editio octava

            critica maior. 2 vols., Leipzig 1869-72. Also vol. iii, by C. R.

            Gregory, containing Prolegomena, 1894.

Viereck SG—see Index I (c).

Viteau = Etude sur le grec du Noveau Testament, by J. Viteau. Vol. i,

            Le Verbe: Syntaxe des Propositions, Paris 1893; vol. ii, Sujet,

            Complement et Attribut, 1896.

Volker = Syntax der griechischen Papyri. I. Der Artikel, by F. Volker,

            Munster i. W. 1903.

Votaw= The Use of the Infinitive in Biblical Greek, by C. W. Votaw.

            Chicago 1896.

Wellh.=Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, by J. Wellhausen.

            Berlin 1905.

WH= The New Testament in the Original Greek, by B. F. Westcott and

            F. J. A. Hort. Vol. i, Text (also ed. minor); vol. ii, Introduction.

            Cambridge and London 1881; second edition of vol. ii, 1896.

WH App= Appendix to WH, in vol. ii, containing Notes on Select

            Readings and on Orthography, etc.

Witk. = Epistulae Privatae Graecae, ed. S. Witkowski. Leipzig 1906.

WM= A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, regarded as

            a sure basis for New Testament Exegesis, by G. B. Winer. Trans-

            lated from the German, with large additions and full indices, by

W. F. Moulton. Third edition, Edinburgh 1882.

WS= G. B. Winer's Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidionis.

            Eighth edition, newly edited by P. W. Schinieclel, Gottingen 1894 ff.

            (In progress.)

ZNTW =Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, edited by

            E. Preuselien. Giessen 1900













                                      CHAPTER I.


                       GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.



New Lights.  As recently as 1895, in the opening chapter

                        of a beginner's manual of New Testament

Greek, the present writer defined the language as "Hebraic

Greek, colloquial Greek, and late Greek." In this definition

the characteristic features of the dialect were expressed

according to a formula which was not questioned then by

any of the leading writers on the subject. It was entirely

approved by Dr W. F. Moulton, who would undoubtedly at

that time have followed these familiar lines, had he been able

to achieve his long cherished purpose of rewriting his English

Winer as an independent work. It is not without impera-

tive reason that, in this first instalment of a work in which

I hoped to be my father's collaborator, I have been com-

pelled seriously to modify the position he took, in view of

fresh evidence which came too late for him to examine.

In the second edition of the manual referred to,1 "common

Greek " is substituted for the first element in the definition.

The disappearance of that word "Hebraic" from its pro-

minent place in our delineation of NT language marks a

change in our conceptions of the subject nothing less than re-

volutionary. This is not a revolution in theory alone. It


            1 Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek, with a First Reader.

Second Edition, 1904 (C. H. Kelly—now R. Culley).



touches exegesis at innumerable points. It demands large

modifications in our very latest grammars, and an overhauling

of our best and most trusted commentaries. To write a new

Grammar, so soon after the appearance of fresh light which

transforms in very important respects our whole point of

view, may seem a premature undertaking. But it must not

be supposed that we are concerned with a revolutionary

theory which needs time for readjusting our science to new

conditions. The development of the Greek language, in the

period which separates Plato and Demosthenes from our own

days, has been patiently studied for a generation, and the

main lines of a scientific history have been thoroughly estab-

lished. What has happened to our own particular study is

only the discovery of its unity with the larger science which

has been maturing steadily all the time. "Biblical Greek"

was long supposed to lie in a backwater:  it has now been

brought out into the full stream of progress. It follows that

we have now fresh material for illustrating our subject, and

a more certain methodology for the use of material which

we had already at hand.

"Biblical                   The isolated position of the Greek found

Greek."         in the LXX and the NT has been the problem

                        dividing grammatical students of this liter-

ature for generations past. That the Greek Scriptures, and

the small body of writings which in language go with

them, were written in the Koinh<, the "common" or "Hellen-

istic" Greek1 that superseded the dialects of the classical

period, was well enough known. But it was most obviously

different from the literary Koinh< of the period. It could not

be adequately paralleled from Plutarch or Arrian, and the

Jewish writers Philo and Josephus2 were no more helpful

than their "profane" contemporaries. Naturally the pecu-

liarities of Biblical Greek came to be explained from its own

conditions. The LXX was in "translation Greek," its syntax

determined perpetually by that of the original Hebrew.

Much the same was true of large parts of the NT, where


            1 I shall use the terms Hellenistic, Hellenist, and Hellenism throughout for

the Greek of the later period, which had become coextensive with Western


            2 See below, p. 233.

                   GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                     3


translation had taken place from an original Aramaic. But

even where this was not the case, it was argued, the writers

used Greek as foreigners, Aramaic thought underlying Greek

expression. Moreover, they were so familiar with the LXX

that its idiosyncrasies passed largely into their own style,

which accordingly was charged with Semitisms from two dis-

tinct sources. Hence this "Judaic" or "Biblical" Greek, this

"language of the Holy Ghost,"1 found in the sacred writings

and never profaned by common use. It was a phenomenon

against which the science of language could raise no a priori

objection. The Purist, who insisted on finding parallels in

classical Greek literature for everything in the Greek NT,

found his task impossible without straining language to the

breaking-point. His antagonist the Hebraist went absurdly

far in recognising Semitic influence where none was really

operative. But when a grammarian of balanced judgement

like G. B. Winer came to sum up the bygone controversy, he

was found admitting enough Semitisms to make the Biblical

Greek essentially an isolated language still.

Greek Papyri:              It is just this isolation which the new

Deissmann.               evidence comes in to destroy.a  The Greek

                                    papyri of Egypt are in themselves nothing

novel; but their importance for the historical study of the

language did not begin to be realised until, within the last

decade or so, the explorers began to enrich us with an output

of treasure which has been perpetually fruitful in surprises.

The attention of the classical world has been busy with the

lost treatise of Aristotle and the new poets Bacchylides and

Herodas, while theologians everywhere have eagerly dis-

cussed new "Sayings of Jesus." But even these last must

yield in importance to the spoil which has been gathered

from the wills, official reports, private letters, petitions,

accounts, and other trivial survivals from the rubbish-heaps

of antiquity.b  They were studied by a young investigator of

genius, at that time known only by one small treatise on the

Pauline formula e]n Xrist&?, which to those who read it now

shows abundantly the powers that were to achieve such


            1 So Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon of NT Greek, p. iv (E. T.), follow-

ing Rothe. (Cited by Thumb, Hellenismus 181.1              [a b See p. 242.



splendid pioneer work within three or four years. Deiss-

mann's Bibelstudien appeared in 1895, his Neue Bibelstudien1

in 1897.  It is needless to describe how these lexical researches

in the papyri and the later inscriptions proved that hundreds

of words, hitherto assumed to be “Biblical,”—technical words,

as it were, called into existence or minted afresh by the

language of Jewish religion,--were in reality normal first-

century spoken Greek, excluded from literature by the nice

canons of Atticising taste. Professor Deissmann dealt but

briefly with the grammatical features of this newly-discovered

Greek; but no one charged with the duty of editing a Gram-

mar of NT Greek could read his work without seeing that a

systematic grammatical study in this field was the indis-

pensable equipment for such a task. In that conviction the

present writer set himself to the study of the collections

which have poured with bewildering rapidity from the busy

workshops of Oxford and Berlin, and others, only less

conspicuous. The lexical gleanings after Deissmann which

these researches have produced, almost entirely in documents

published since his books were written, have enabled me

to confirm his conclusions from independent investigation.2

A large part of my grammatical material is collected in a

series of papers in the Classical Review (see p. xxi.), to which

I shall frequently have to make reference in the ensuing

pages as supplying in detail the evidence for the results here

to be described.

Vernacular                   The new linguistic facts now in evidence

Greek.                       show with startling clearness that we have

                                    at last before us the language in which the

apostles and evangelists wrote. The papyri exhibit in their

writers a variety of literary education even wider than that

observable in the NT, and we can match each sacred author

with documents that in respect of Greek stand on about the

same plane. The conclusion is that "Biblical" Greek, except

where it is translation Greek, was simply the vernacular of

daily life.3 Men who aspired to literary fame wrote in an


            1 See p. xxi. above.

            2 See Expositor for April 1901, Feb. and Dec. 1903 ; and new series in 1908.

            3 Cf Wellhausen (Einl. 9):  "In the Gospels, spoken Greek, and indeed

Greek spoken among the lower classes, makes its entrance into literature."

                  GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                      5


artificial dialect, a would-be revival of the language of Athens

in her prime, much as educated Greeks of the present day

profess to do. The NT writers had little idea that they

were writing literature. The Holy Ghost spoke absolutely

in the language of the people, as we might surely have

expected He would. The writings inspired of Him were


            Which he may read that binds the sheaf,

                 Or builds the house, or digs the grave,

                 And those wild eyes that watch the wave

            In roarings round the coral reef.


The very grammar and dictionary cry out against men who

would allow the Scriptures to appear in any other form than

that "understanded of the people."

A Universal                   There is one very striking fact brought out

Language.                 by the study of papyri and inscriptions which

                                    preserve for us the Hellenistic vernacular.

It was a language without serious dialectic differences,

except presumably in pronunciation. The history of this

lingua franca must be traced in a later chapter. Here it

suffices to point out that in the first centuries of our era

Greek covered a far larger proportion of the civilised world

than even English does to-day.a The well-known heroics of

Juvenal (iii. 60 f.)     

                        Non possum ferre, Quirites,

            Graecam Urbem—,

joined with the Greek "Ei]j  [Eauto<n" of the Roman Emperor

and the Greek Epistle to the Romans, serve as obvious evidence

that a man need have known little Latin to live in Rome itself.1

It was not Italy but Africa that first called for a Latin Bible.2

That the Greek then current in almost every part of the Em-

pire was virtually uniform is at first a startling fact, and to

no one so startling as to a student of the science of language.

Dialectic differentiation is the root principle of that science;3


            1 Cf  A. S. Wilkins, Roman Education 19; SH lii ff,

            2 So at least most critics believe. Dr Sanday, however, prefers Antioch,

which suits our point equally well. Rome is less likely. See Dr Kennedy in

Hastings' BD iii. 54.

            3 See, for instance, the writer's Two Lectures on the Science of Language,

pp. 21-23.                                                                          [a See p. 242.



and when we know how actively it works within the narrow

limits of Great Britain, it seems strange that it should ap-

parently be suspended in the vast area covered by Hellenistic

Greek. We shall return to this difficulty later (pp. 19-39)

for the present we must be content with the fact that any

dialect variation that did exist is mostly beyond the range

of our present knowledge to detect. Inscriptions, distributed

over the whole area, and dated with precision enough to

trace the slow development of the vernacular as it ad-

vanced towards Medieval and Modern Greek, present us

with a grammar which only lacks homogeneity according

as their authors varied in culture. As we have seen, the

papyri of Upper Egypt tally in their grammar with the

language seen in the NT, as well as with inscriptions like

those of Pergamum and Magnesia. No one can fail to

see how immeasurably important these conditions were for

the growth of Christianity. The historian marks the fact

that the Gospel began its career of conquest at the one

period in the world's annals when civilisation was concen-

trated under a single ruler. The grammarian adds that

this was the only period when a single language was under-

stood throughout the countries which counted for the history

of that Empire. The historian and the grammarian must of

course refrain from talking about "Providence."  They would

be suspected of "an apologetic bias" or "an edifying tone,"

and that is necessarily fatal to any reputation for scientific

attainment. We will only remark that some old-fashioned

people are disposed to see in these facts a shmei?on in its

way as instructive as the Gift of Tongues.

Bilingualism                             It is needless to observe that except in

                                    the Greek world, properly so called, Greek

did not hold a monopoly. Egypt throughout the long

period of the Greek papyri is very strongly bilingual, the

mixture of Greek and native names in the same family, and

the prevalence of double nomenclature, often making it diffi-

cult to tell the race of an individual A bilingual country


            1 It should be noted that in the papyri we have not to do only with

Egyptians and Greeks. In Par P 48 (153 B.C.) there is a letter addressed to an

Arab by two of his brothers. The editor, M. Brunet du Presle, remarks as

follows on this:—"It is worth our while to notice the rapid diffusion of Greek,

                  GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                7


is vividly presented to us in the narrative of Ac 14, where

the apostles preach in Greek and are unable to understand

the excited populace when they relapse into Lycaonian. What

the local Greek was like, we may gauge from such specimens

as the touching Christian epitaph published by Mr Cronin in

JHS; 1902, p. 369 (see Exp T xiv. 430), and dated "little

if at all later than iii/A.D." We need not develop the evidence

for other countries: it is more to the point if we look at the

conditions of a modern bilingual country, such as we have

at home in the country of Wales. Any popular English poli-

tician or preacher, visiting a place in the heart of the Princi-

pality, could be sure of an audience, even if it were assumed that

he would speak in English. If he did, they would understand

him. But should he unexpectedly address them in Welsh, we

may be very sure they would be "the more quiet"; and a

speaker anxious to conciliate a hostile meeting would gain a

great initial advantage if he could surprise them with the

sound of their native tongue.1  Now this is exactly what

happened when Paul addressed the Jerusalem mob from the

stairs of Antonia. They took for granted he would speak

                                    in Greek, and yet they made "a great

   in Palestine.          silence" when he faced them with the gesture

which indicated a wish to address them. Schurer nods, for

once, when he calls in Paul's Aramaic speech as a witness of

the people's ignorance of Greek.2 It does not prove even the

"inadequate" knowledge which he gives as the alternative

possibility for the lower classes, if by "inadequate know-


after Alexander's conquest, among a mass of people who in all other respects

jealously preserved their national characteristics under foreign masters. The

papyri show us Egyptians, Persians, Jews, and here Arabs, who do not appear

to belong to the upper classes, using the Greek language. We must not be too

exacting towards them in the matter of style. Nevertheless the letter which

follows is almost irreproachable in syntax and orthography, which does not

always happen even with men of Greek birth." If these remarks, published in

1865, had been followed up as they deserved, Deissmann would have come

too late. It is strange how little attention was aroused by the great collections

of papyri at Paris and London, until the recent flood of discovery set in.

            1 These words were written before I had read Dr T. K. Abbott's able, but

not always conclusive, article in his volume of Essays. On p. 164 he gives an

incident from bilingual Ireland exactly parallel with that imagined above. Prof.

T. H. Williams tells me he has often heard Welsh teachers illustrating the

narrative of Ac 21 40 222 in the same way: cf also A. S. Wilkins, CR ii. 142 f.

(On Lystra, see p. 233.)             2 Jewish People, II. i. 48 (=3 II. 63).



ledge" is implied that the crowd would have been unable to

follow a Greek speech. They thought and spoke among

themselves, like the Welsh, exclusively in their native tongue;

but we may well doubt if there were many of them who could

not understand the world-language, or even speak in it when

necessary.1 We have in fact a state of things essentially the

same as in Lystra. But the imperfect knowledge of Greek

which may be assumed for the masses in Jerusalem and

Lystra is decidedly less probable for Galilee and Peraea.

Hellenist Jews, ignorant of Aramaic, would be found there as

in Jerusalem; and the proportion of foreigners would be

much larger. That Jesus Himself and the Apostles regularly

used Aramaic is beyond question, but that Greek was also

at command is almost equally certain. There is not the

slightest presumption against the use of Greek in writings

purporting to emanate from the circle of the first believers.2

They would write as men who had used the language from

boyhood, not as foreigners painfully expressing themselves

in an imperfectly known idiom. Their Greek would differ

in quality according to their education, like that of the

private letters among the Egyptian papyri. But it does

not appear that any of them used Greek as we may some-

times find cultured foreigners using English, obviously trans-

lating out of their own language as they go along. Even

the Greek of the Apocalypse itself 3 does not seem to owe any


            1 The evidence for the use of Greek in Palestine is very fully stated by Zahn

in his Einl. in das NT, ch. ii. Cf also Julicher in EB ii. 2007 ff. Mahaffy

(Hellenism, 130 f.) overdoes it when he says, "Though we may believe that

in Galilee and among his intimates our Lord spoke Aramaic, and though we

know that some of his last words upon the cross were in that language, yet

his public teaching, his discussions with the Pharisees, his talk with Pontius

Pilate, were certainly carried on in Greek." Dr Nestle misunderstands me

when he supposes me to endorse in any way Prof. Mahaffy's exaggeration here.

It would be hard to persuade modern scholars that Christ's public teaching

was mainly in Greek; and I should not dream of questioning His daily use

of Aramaic. My own view is that which is authoritatively expressed in the

remarks of Profs. Driver and Sanday (DB iv. 583a) as to our Lord's occasional

use of Greek. Cf Ramsay, Pauline Studies 254; CR xx. 465; Mahaffy,

Silver Age 250; Mayor, St James xlii.

            2 Dr T. K. Abbott (Essays 170) points out that Justin Martyr, brought up

near Sichem early in ii/A.D., depends entirely on the LXX—a circumstance

which is ignored by Mgr Barnes in his attempt to make a different use of

Justin (JTS vi. 369). (See further below, p. 233.)

            3 On Prof. Swete's criticism here see my Preface, p. xvii.

                   GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                 9


Apocalypse.              of its blunders to "Hebraism." The author's

                                    uncertain use of cases is obvious to the most

casual reader. In any other writer we might be tempted to

spend time over ta>j luxni<aj in 120, where tw?n luxniw?n is

clearly needed:  for him it is enough to say that the

neighbouring ou!j may have produced the aberration. We

find him perpetually indifferent to concord. But the less

educated papyri give us plentiful parallels from a field where

Semitism cannot be suspected.1 After all, we do not suspect

Shakspere of foreign upbringing because he says "between

you and I."2  Neither he nor his unconscious imitators in

modern times would say "between I and you," any more

than the author of the Apocalypse would have said a]po> o[

ma<rtuj o[ pisto<j (15):  it is only that his grammatical sense

is satisfied when the governing word has affected the case of

one object.3 We shall find that other peculiarities of the

writer's Greek are on the same footing. Apart from places

where he may be definitely translating a Semitic document,

there is no reason to believe that his grammar would have

been materially different had he been a native of Oxyrhynchus,

assuming the extent of Greek education the same.4 Close to


            1 See my exx. of nom. in apposition to noun in another case, and of gender

neglected, in CR xviii. 151. Cf also below, p. 60. (  ]Apo> o[ w@n, 14, is of course

an intentional tour de force.) Note the same thing in the d-text of 2 Th 18,

  ]Ihsou? . . . didou<j (D*FG and some Latin authorities).

            2 Merchant of Venice, III. ii. (end—Antonio's letter).

            3 There are parallels to this in correct English. "Drive far away the

disastrous Keres, they who destroy " (Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of

Greek Religion, p. 163) would not be mended by substituting them.

            4 The grammatical peculiarities of the book are conveniently summarised

in a few lines by Julicher, Introd. to NT, p. 273: for a full account see the in-

troduction to Bousset's Commentary, in the Meyer series. It may be well to

observe, a propos of the curious Greek of Rev, that grammar here must play a

part in literary criticism. It will not do to appeal to grammar to prove that

the author is a Jew: as far as that goes, lie might just as well have been a

farmer of the Fayum. Thought and material must exclusively determine that

question. But as that point is hardly doubtful, we pass on to a more important

inference from the is Greek culture of this book. If its date was

95 A.D, the author cannot have written the fourth Gospel only a short time

after. Either, therefore, we must take the earlier date for Rev, which would

allow the Apostle to improve his Greek by constant use in a city like Ephesus

where his Aramaic would be useless; or we must suppose that someone (say,

the author of Jn 2124) mended his grammar for him throughout the Gospel.



the other end of the scale comes the learned Rabbi of Tarsus.

Paul, Luke,               "A Hebrew, the son of Hebrews," he calls

"Hebrews."              himself (Phil 35), and Zahn is no doubt right

                                    in inferring that he always claimed Aramaic

as his mother tongue. But he had probably used Greek from

childhood with entire freedom, and during the main part of

his life may have had few opportunities of using Aramaic at

all. It is highly precarious to argue with Zahn from "Abba,

Father" (Rom 815, Gal 46), that Aramaic was the language

of Paul's prayers. The peculiar sacredness of association

belonging to the first word of the Lord's Prayer in its original

tongue supplies a far more probable account of its liturgi-

cal use among Gentile Christians.1 Finally, we have the

Gentile Luke2 and the auctor ad Hebraeos, both of whom

may well have known no Aramaic at all: to the former we

must return presently. Between these extremes the NT

writers lie; and of them all we may assert with some con-

fidence that, where translation is not involved, we shall find

hardly any Greek expression used which would sound strangely

to speakers of the Koinh< in Gentile lands.

Genuine            To what extent then should we expect

Semitisms.    to find the style of Jewish Greek writers

                        coloured by the influence of Aramaic or Heb-

rew? Here our Welsh analogy helps us. Captain Fluellen is

marked in Shakspere not only by his Welsh pronunciation of

English, but also by his fondness for the phrase "look you."

Now "look you" is English:  I am told it is common in the

Dales, and if we could dissociate it from Shakspere's Welsh-

man we should probably not be struck by it as a bizarre

expression. But why does Fluellen use it so often? Because


Otherwise, we must join the Xwri<zontej.  Dr Bartlet (in Exp T for Feb. 1905,

p. 206) puts Rev under Vespasian and assigns it to the author of Jn: he thinks

that Prof. Ramsay's account (Seven Churches, p. 89) does not leave sufficient

time for the development of Greek style. We can now quote for the earlier

date the weightiest of all English authorities: see Hort's posthumous Com-

mentary (with Sanday's half consent in the Preface).

            1 Cf Bp Chase, in Texts and Studies, I. iii. 23. This is not very different from

the devout Roman Catholic's "saying Paternoster"; but Paul will not allow

even one word of prayer in a foreign tongue without adding an instant transla-

tion. Note that Pader is the Welsh name for the Lord's Prayer. (See p. 233.)

            2 Cf Dalman, Words. 40 f.

                 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                  11


it translates two or three Welsh phrases of nearly identical

meaning, which would be very much on his tongue when

talking with his own countrymen. For the same reason the

modern Welshman overdoes the word "indeed."  In exactly the

same way the good Attic interjection i]dou< is used by some NT

writers, with a frequency quite un-Attic, simply because they

were accustomed to the constant use of an equivalent inter-

jection in their own tongue.1 Probably this is the furthest

extent to which Semitisms went in the ordinary Greek speech

or writing of men whose native language was Semitic. It

brought into prominence locutions, correct enough as Greek, but

which would have remained in comparatively rare use but for

the accident of their answering to Hebrew or Aramaic phrases.

Occasionally, moreover, a word with some special metaphorical

meaning might be translated into the literally corresponding

Greek and used with the same connotation, as when the verb

jlh, in the ethical sense, was represented not by the exactly

answering a]nastre<fesqai, but by peripatei?n.2  But these

cases are very few, and may be transferred any day to the

other category, illustrated above in the case of i]dou<), by the

discovery of new papyrus texts. It must not be forgotten


            1 Note that James uses i]dou< 6 times in his short Epistle, Paul only 9 times

(including one quotation) in all his writings. In Ac 1-12 it appears 16 times,

in 13-28 only 7; its rarity in the Gentile atmosphere is characteristic. It is

instructive to note the figures for narrative as against speeches and OT quotations.

Mt has 33 in narrative, 4 in quotations, 24 in speeches; Mk 0/1/6; Lk 16/1/40;

Ac (1-12) 4/0/12, Ac (13-28) 1/0/6 ; Jn 0/1/3. Add that Heb has 4 OT quotations

and no other occurrence, and Rev has no less than 26 occurrences. It is

obvious that it was natural to Hebrews in speech, and to some of them (not

Mk or Jn) in narrative. Luke in the Palestinian atmosphere (Lk, Ac 1-12)

employs it freely, whether reproducing his sources or bringing in a trait of

local character like Shakspere with Fluellen. Hort (Ecclesia, p. 179) says i]dou<  

is "a phrase which when writing in his own person and sometimes even in

speeches [Luke] reserves for sudden and as it were providential interpositions."

He does not appear to include the Gospel, to which the remark is evidently in-

applicable, and this fact somewhat weakens its application to Ac 1-12. But

with this reservation we may accept the independent testimony of Hort's instinct

to our conclusion that Luke when writing without external influences upon

him would use i]dou? as a Greek would use it. The same is true of Paul. Let

me quote in conclusion a curiously close parallel, unfortunately late (iv/v A.D.)

to Lk 1316: BU 948 (a letter) ginw<skein e]qe<lw o!ti ei#pen o[ pragmateuth>j o!ti h[ mh<thr

sou a]sqeni?, ei]dou?, de<ka tri?j mh?nej.  (See p. 70.) It weakens the case for

Aramaism (Wellh. 29).

            2 Deissmann, BS 194. Poreu<omai is thus used in 1 Pet 43 al.  Cf stoixei?n.



that the instrumental e]n in e]n maxai<r^ (Lk 2249) and e]n r[a<bd&

(1 Co 421) was only rescued from the class of "Hebraisms"

by the publication of the Tebtunis Papyri (1902), which

presented us with half-a-dozen Ptolemaic citations for it.1

Grammatical                A very important distinction must be

and Lexical               drawn at this point between Semitisms con-

                                    cerning vocabulary and those which affect

syntax. The former have occupied us mainly so far, and

they are the principal subject of Deissmann's work. Gram-

matical Semitisms are a much more serious matter. We

might indeed range under this head all sins against native

Greek style and idiom, such as most NT books will show.

Co-ordination of clauses with the simple kai<,2 instead of the

use of participles or subordinate clauses, is a good example.

It is quite true that a Hebrew would find this style come

natural to him, and that an Egyptian might be more likely,

in equal absence of Greek culture, to pile up a series of geni-

tive absolutes. But in itself the phenomenon proves nothing

more than would a string of "ands" in an English rustic's

story--elementary culture, and not the hampering presence

of a foreign idiom that is being perpetually translated into

its most literal equivalent. A Semitism which definitely

contravenes Greek syntax is what we have to watch for.

We have seen that a]po>  ]Ihsou? Xristou? o[ ma<rtuj o[ pisto<j

does not come into this category. But Rev 213 e]n tai?j

h[me<raij  ]Anti<paj o[ ma<rtuj. . . o{j a]pekta<nqh would be a

glaring example, for it is impossible to conceive of   ]Anti<paj  

as an indeclinable. The Hebraist might be supposed to

argue that the nom. is unchanged became it would be un-

changed (stat. abs.) in Hebrew. But no one would seriously

imagine the text sound: it matters little whether we mend

it with Lachmann's conjecture  ]Anti<pa or with that of the

later copyists, who repeat ai$j after h[me<raij and drop o!j.

The typical case of e]ge<neto h#lqe will be discussed below;


            1 Expos. vi. vii. 112; cf CR xviii. 153, and Preface, p. xvii. above.

            2 Cf Hawkins HS 120 f., on the frequency of aai in Mk. Thumb observes

that Kai in place of hypotaxis is found in MGr—and in Aristotle (Hellenismus

129): here even Viteau gives way. So h#rqe kairo>j ki  ] a]rrw<sthsen (Abbott 70).

The simple parataxis of Mk 1525, Jn 435 1155, is illustrated by the uneducated

document Par P 18, e@ti du<o h[me<raj e@xomen kai> fqa<somen ei]j Phlou<si.

                       GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                        13


and in the course of our enquiry we shall dispose of others,

like h$j to> quga<trion au]th?j (Mk 725), which we now find occur-

ring in Greek that is beyond suspicion of Semitic influences.

            There remain Semitisms due to translation, from the

Hebrew of the OT, or from Aramaic "sources" underlying

parts of the Synoptists and Acts. The former case covers

Translation               all the usages which have been supposed

Greek.                       to arise from over-literal rendering in the

                                    LXX, the constant reading of which by Hel-

lenist Jews has unconsciously affected their Greek. In the

LXX we may have abnormal Greek produced by the effort of

Greek-speaking men to translate the already obsolete and

imperfectly understood Hebrew: when the Hebrew puzzled

them, they would often take refuge in a barbarous literalness.1

It is not antecedently probable that such "translation

Greek" would influence free Greek except by supplying

phrases for conscious or unconscious quotation: these phrases

would not become models to be followed by men who wrote

the language as their own. How far such foreign idioms

may get into a language, we may see by examining our own.

We have a few foreign phrases which have been literally

translated into English, and have maintained their place

Without consciousness of their origin:  "that goes without

saying," or "this gives furiously to think," will serve as

examples. Many more are retained as conscious quotations,

with no effort to assimilate them to English idiom.  "To return

to our muttons" illustrates one kind of these barbarisms; but

there are Biblical phrases taken over in a similar way without

sacrificing their unidiomatic form. We must notice, however,

that such phrases are sterile: we have only to imagine

another verb put for saying in our version of Cela va sans dire

to see how it has failed to take root in our syntax.

Hebraism in                 The general discussion of this important

Luke.                          subject may be clinched with an enquiry into

                                    the diction of Luke, whose varieties of style in

the different parts of his work form a particularly interesting


            1 My illustration here from Aquila (Gen 11) was unfortunate: of Swete's

Introd. 458 f. Better ones may be seen in Mr Thackeray's "Jer b" (see JTS

ix. 94). He gives me e]sqi<ein th>n tra<pezan in 2 K 1928 al—also in the Greek

additions to Esther (C28). Was this from some Greek original of Vergil's consumere

mensas, or was it a "Biblical" phrase perpetuated in the Biblical style?



and important problem.1  I restrict myself to grammatical

Hebraisms mainly, but it will be useful to recall Dalman's

list (Words 20 ff.) to see how far Luke is concerned in it.

He gives as pure Aramaisms (a) the superfluous a]feo>k or

katalipw<n and h@rcato, as more Aramaic than Hebrew the

use of ei#nai with participle as a narrative tense. Either

Aramaic or Hebrew will account for (b) the superfluous

e]lqw<n,2 kaqi<saj, e[stw<j, and a]nasta<j or e]gerqei<j. Pure

Hebraisms are (c) the periphrases with pro<swpon, the use of

e]n t&? with infinitive,3 the types a]ko^? a]kou<sete and ble<pontej

ble<yete (see below, pp. 75 f.), and the formulae kai> e]ge<neto,

e]la<lhsen lalw?n and a]pokriqei>j ei#pen.4  In class (a), we find

Luke unconcerned with the first case. The third we must

return to (see pp. 225 ff.): suffice to say now that it has its


            1 In assuming the unity of the two books ad Theophilum, I was quite

content to shield myself behind Blass; but Harnack has now stepped in with

decisive effect. The following pages will supply not a few grammatical points

to supplement Harnack's stylistic evidence in Litice the Physician.

            2 A fair vernacular parallel in Syll.2 807 (ii/A.D.) kai> e]sw<qh kai> e]lqw>n dhmosi<%

hu]xari<sthsen e@mprosqen tou? dh<mou.

            3 See Kalker 252, and below, p. 215. Add Par P 63 (ii/B.C.) ti<j ga>r ou!twj

e]sti>n a]na<lhtoj (?) h} a@litroj e]n t&? logi<zesqai kai> pra<gmatoj diafora>n eu[rei?n, o{j

ou]d ] au]to> tou? dunh<setai sunnoei?n; so utterly wanting in reason" (Mahaffy).

It is of course the frequency of this locution that is due to Semitic thought:

cf what is said of i]dou<, above, p. 11. But see p. 249.

            4 See Wellh. 16. To class (c) I may append a note on ei]j a]pa<nthsin,

which in Mt 2732 (d-text) and 1 Th 417 takes a genitive. This is of course a

very literal translation of txraq;li, which is given by HR as its original in 29

places, as against 16 with dative. (Variants sunan., u[pant., and others are

often occurring: I count all places where one of the primary authorities has

ei]j a]p. with gen. or dat. representing ‘’l. In addition there are a few places

where the phrase answers to a different original; also 1 ex. with gen. and

3 with dat. from the Apocrypha.) Luke (Ac 28 15) uses it with dat., and in

Mt 256 it appears absolutely, as once in LXX (1 Sa 1315). Now this last may

be directly paralleled in a Ptolemaic papyrus which certainly has no Semitism

—Tb P 43 (ii/B.C.) paregenh<qhmen ei]j a]pa<nthsin (a newly arriving magistrate).

In BU 362 (215 A.D.) pro>j [a]] pa<nth[sin tou?] h[gemo<noj has the very gen. we want.

One of Strack's Ptolemaic inscriptions (Archiv iii. 129) has i!n ] ei]dh?i h{n e@sxhken

pro>j au]to>n h[ po<lij eu]xa<riston a]pa<nthsin. It seems that the special idea of the

word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary—an idea singularly

in place in the NT exx. The case after it is entirely consistent with Greek

idiom, the gen. as in our "to his inauguration," the dat. as the case governed

by the verb. If in the LXX the use has been extended, it is only because it

seemed so literal a translation of the Hebrew. Note that in 1 Th 1.c. the

authorities of the d-text read the dat., which is I suspect better Greek. (What

has been said applies also to ei]j u[pa<nthsin au]t&?, as in Mt 834, Jn 1213: the two

words seem synonymous). See also p. 242.

                  GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                     15


roots in classical Greek, and is at most only a more liberal use

of what is correct enough, if less common. But h@rcato raises

an interesting question. In Lk 38 we find kai> mh> a@rchsqe

le<gein e]n e[autoi?j. Dalman (p. 27) shows that in narrative

"the Palestinian-Jewish literature uses the meaningless ‘he

began,’" a conventional locution which was evidently parallel

with our Middle-English auxiliary gan. It is very common

in the Synoptists, and occurs twice as often in Luke as in

Matthew. Dalman thinks that if this Aramaic yriwA with

participle had become practically meaningless, we might well

find the same use in direct speech, though no example

happens to be known. Now in the otherwise verbally

identical verse Mt 39 we find do<chte for a@rchsqe, "do not

presume to say," which is thoroughly idiomatic Greek, and

manifestly a deliberate improvement of an original preserved

more exactly by Luke.1 It seems to follow that this original

was a Greek translation of the Aramaic logia-document, used

in common by both Evangelists, but with greater freedom by

the first. If Luke was ignorant of Aramaic,2 he would be

led by his keen desire for accuracy to incorporate with a

minimum of change translations he was able to secure, even.

when they were executed by men whose Greek was not very

idiomatic. This conclusion, which is in harmony with our

general impressions of his methods of using his sources,

seems to me much more probable than to suppose that it was

he who misread Aramaic words in the manner illustrated

by Nestle on Lk 1141f. (Exp T xv. 528): we may just as

well accuse the (oral or written) translation he employed.

            Passing on to Dalman's (b) class, in which Luke is con-

cerned equally with the other Synoptists, we may observe that

only a very free translation would drop these pleonasms. In

a sense they are " meaningless," just as the first verb is in "He

went and did it all the same," or " He got up and went out,"

or (purposely to take a parallel from the vernacular) " So he


            1 But see E. Norden, Antike Kunstprosa ii. 487. Harnack (Sayings, p. 2)

cites my view without approving it. I cannot resist the conviction that

Harnack greatly overpresses his doctrine of Luke's stylistic alterations of Q.

            2 Luke "probably did not understand Aramaic," says Julicher, Introd. 359.

So Dalman, Words 38-41. Harnack (Luke, pp. 102 f.) observes that in ch.

1 and 2 Luke either himself translated from Aramaic sources or very freely

adapted oral materials to literary form. He prefers the second alternative.



ups and says." But however little additional information

they may add—and for us at least the "stand praying" is

not a superfluous touch—they add a distinct nuance to the

whole phrase, which Luke was not likely to sacrifice when he

met it in his translation or heard it from the au]to<ptai whose

story he was jotting down. The same may be said of the

pleonastic phrases which begin and end Dalman's list of

"pure Hebraisms." In this class (c) therefore there remains

only the construction with kai> e]ge<neto, answering to the

narrative yhiy;va, which is (strangely enough) almost peculiar to

Luke in the NT. There are three constructions:  (a) e]ge<neto

h#lqe, (b) e]ge<neto kai> h#lqe, (c) e]ge<neto (au]to>n)  e]lqei?n.  The

occurrences of these respectively are for Lk 22/11/5, for

Ac 0/0/17.2 It may be added that the construction occurs

almost always with a time clause (generally with e]n): in Lk

there is only one exception, 1622. The phrase was clearly

therefore temporal originally, like our  "It was in the days

of . . . that . . ." (This is (c), but we could use the

paratactic (a) form, or even (b), without transgressing our

idiom.) Driver (Tenses, § 78) describes the yhiy;va construction

as occurring when there is inserted "a clause specifying the

circumstances under which an action takes place,"—a descrip-

tion which will suit the Lucan usage everywhere, except

sometimes in the (c) class (as 1622), the only one of the three

which has no Hebrew parallel. We must infer that the

LXX translators used this locution as a just tolerable Greek

which literally represented the original;3 and that Lk (and

to a minute extent Mt and Mk) deliberately recalled the

Greek OT by using the phrase. The (a) form is used else-

where in the NT twice in Mk and five times in Mt, only

in the phrase e]ge<neto o!te e]te<lesen ktl.  Mt 910 has (b) and

Mk 223 has (c). There are (a) forms with e@stai, Ac 217.21 323,

Bona 926 (all OT citations); and (c) forms with gi<netai Mk 215,


            1 Once (Ac 1025), e]ge<neto tou? ei]selqei?n to>n Pe<tron.

            2 Blass cites Ac 45 D for (a), and finds (b) in 57. Certainly the latter sentence

may be thus construed (see below, p. 70); nor is it a fatal objection that the

construction is otherwise isolated in Ac. See p. 233.

            3 W. F. Moulton (WM 760 n.) gives LXX exx. for the (a) and (b) forms: the

only approach to the (c) form is 2 Mac 316, i e . . . h#n . . . o[rw?nta . . . titrw<skesqai.

Here Mr Thackeray thinks h#n=e@dei, "it was impossible not to . . ."

                       GENERAL  CHARACTERISTICS.                    17


e]a>n ge<nhtai Mt 1813, and o!pwj mh> ge<nhtai Ac 2016. Now

in what sense is any of this to be called "Hebraism"?  It is

obvious that (b) is a literal translation of the Hebrew, while

it is at least grammatical as Greek, however unidiomatic.

Its retention to a limited extent in Lk (with a single

doubtful case in Ac), and absence elsewhere in NT (except

for Mt 910, which is affected by the author's love for kai>

i]dou<), are best interpreted as meaning that in free Greek

it was rather an experiment, other constructions being

preferred even by a writer who set himself to copy the

LXX style. At first sight (a) would seem worse Greek still,

but we must note that it is apparently known in MGr:1 cf

Pallis's version of Mt 111, kai> sune<bhke, sa>n te<liwse . . .,

e@fuge . . . , etc. We cannot suppose that this is an inva-

sion of Biblical Greek, any more than our own idiomatic

"It happened I was at home that day." What then of (c),

which is characteristic of Luke, and adopted by him in Ac as

an exclusive substitute for the other two?  It starts from

Greek vernacular, beyond doubt. The normal Greek sune<bh  

still takes what represents the acc. et inf.:  sune<bh o!ti h#rqe

is idiomatic in modern Athenian speech, against e@tuxe na>

e@lq^ which, I am told, is commoner in the country districts.

But e]a>n ge<nhtai with inf. was good contemporary vernacular:

see AP 135, BM 970, and Pap. Catt. (in Achiv 60)—all

ii/A.D.  So was gi<netai (as Mk 215): cf Par P 49 (ii/B.C.) gi<netai  

ga>r e]ntraph?nai.  From this to e]ge<neto is but a step, which

Luke alone of NT writers seems to have taken:2 the isolated

ex. in Mk 223 is perhaps a primitive assimilation to Lk 61.3


            1 Cf Thumb, Hellenismus 123:  "What appears Hebraism or Aramaism in

the Bible must count as Greek if it shows itself as a natural development in the

MGr vernacular." Mr Thackeray well compares asyndeta like kalw?j poih<seij

gra<yeij in the papyri.

            2 An interesting suggestion is made by Prof. B. W. Bacon in Expos., April

1905, p. 174n., who thinks that the "Semitism" may be taken over from the,

"Gospel according to the Hebrews." The secondary character of this Gospel,

as judged from the extant fragments, has been sufficiently proved by Dr

Adeney (Hibbert Journal, pp. 139 ff.); but this does not prevent our positing

an earlier and purer form as one of Luke's sources. Bacon's quotation for this

is after the (a) form: "Factum est autem, cum ascendisset . . descenclit . . ."

(No. 4 in Preuschen's collection, Antilegomena, p. 4). The (a) form occurs in

frag. 2 of the " Ebionite Gospel" (Preuschen, p. 9).

            3 Paraporeu<esqai (xALD al) may be a relic of Mk's original text.



Conclusions as            By this time we have perhaps dealt suf-

to Semitism.             ficiently with the principles involved, and may

                                    leave details of alleged Semitisms to their

proper places in the grammar. We have seen that the

problem is only complicated in the Lucan writings: else-

where we have either pure vernacular or vernacular tempered

with "translation Greek." In Luke, the only NT writer

except the author of Heb to show any conscious attention to

Greek ideas of style, we find (1) rough Greek translations

from Aramaic left mainly as they reached him, perhaps

because their very roughness seemed too characteristic to be

refined away; and (2) a very limited imitation of the LXX

idiom, as specially appropriate while the story moves in the

Jewish world. The conscious adaptation of his own style to

that of sacred writings long current among his readers reminds

us of the rule which restricted our nineteenth century Biblical

Revisers to the English of the Elizabethan age.

            On the whole question, Thumb (p. 122) quotes with

approval Deissmann's dictum that "Semitisms which are in

common use belong mostly to the technical language of reli-

gion," like that of our sermons and Sunday magazines. Such

Semitisms "alter the scientific description of the language

as little as did a few Latinisms, or other booty from the

victorious march of Greek over the world around the Medi-

terranean."1 In summing up thus the issue of the long strife

over NT Hebraisms, we fully apprehend the danger of going

too far. Semitic thought, whose native literary dress was

necessarily foreign to the Hellenic genius, was bound to

fall sometimes into un-Hellenic language as well as style.

Moreover, if Deissmann has brought us a long way, we must

not forget the complementary researches of Dalman, which

have opened up a new world of possibilities in the scientific

reconstruction of Aramaic originals, and have warned us of

the importance of distinguishing very carefully between

Semitisms from two widely different sources. What we

can assert with assurance is that the papyri have finally

destroyed the figment of a NT Greek which in any

material respect differed from that spoken by ordinary


            1 Art. Hellenistisches Griechisch, in RE 3 vii. p. 633.

            GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                     19


people in daily life throughout the Roman world. If the

natural objection is raised that there must have been dialectic

variation where people of very different races, scattered over

an immense area, were learning the world language, and that

"Jewish-Greek" is thus made an a priori certainty, we can

meet the difficulty with a tolerably complete modern parallel.

Our own language is to-day spoken over a far vaster area;

and we have only to ask to what extent dialect difference

affects the modern Weltsprache. We find that pronuncia-

tion and vocabulary exhaust between them nearly all the

phenomena we could catalogue. Englishman, Welshman,

Hindu, Colonial, granted a tolerable primary education, can

interchange familiar letters without betraying except in

trifles the dialect of their daily speech.a  This fact should

help us to realise how few local peculiarities can be expected

to show themselves at such an interval in a language known

to us solely from writing. We may add that a highly

educated speaker of standard English, recognisable by his

intonation as hailing from London, Edinburgh, or New York,

can no longer thus be recognised when his words are written

down. The comparison will help us to realise the impression

made by the traveller Paul.                                       [a See p. 243.

A special. N. T.             There is one general consideration which

Diction?                    must detain us a little at the close of

                                    this introductory chapter. Those who have

studied some recent work upon Hellenistic Greek, such as

Blass's brilliant Grammar of NT Greek, will probably be led

to feel that modern methods result in a considerable levelling

of distinctions, grammatical and lexical, on which the exegesis

of the past has laid great stress. It seems necessary there-

fore at the outset to put in a plea for caution, lest an

exaggerated view should be taken of the extent to which

our new lights alter our conceptions of the NT language and

its interpretation. We have been showing that the NT

writers used the language of their time. But that does not

mean that they had not in a very real sense a language of

their own. Specific examples in which we feel bound to assert

this for them will come up from time to time in our inquiry.

In the light of the papyri and of MGr we are compelled to

give up some grammatical scruples which figure largely in



great commentators like Westcott, and colour many passages

of the RV. But it does not follow that we must promptly

obliterate every grammatical distinction that proves to have

been unfamiliar to the daily conversation of the first century

Egyptian farmer. We are in no danger now of reviving

Hatch's idea that phrases which could translate the same

Hebrew must be equivalent to one another. The papyri have

slain this very Euclid-like axiom, but they must not enslave us

to others as dangerous. The NT must still be studied largely

by light drawn from itself. Books written on the same subject

and within the same circle must always gather some amount

of identical style or idiom, a kind of technical terminology,

which may often preserve a usage of earlier language, obso-

lescent because not needed in more slovenly colloquial speech

of the same time. The various conservatisms of our own

religious dialect, even on the lips of uneducated people, may

serve as a parallel up to a certain point. The comparative

correctness and dignity of speech to which an unlettered man

will rise in prayer, is a very familiar phenomenon, lending

strong support to the expectation that even a]gra<mmatoi would

instinctively rise above their usual level of exactness in

expression, when dealing with such high themes as those

which fill the NT. We are justified by these considerations

in examining each NT writer's language first by itself, and

then in connexion with that of his fellow-contributors to the

sacred volume; and we may allow ourselves to retain the

original force of distinctions which were dying or dead in

every-day parlance, when there is a sufficient body of internal

evidence. Of course we shall not be tempted to use this

argument when the whole of our evidence denies a particular

survival to Hellenistic vernacular: in such a case we could

only find the locution as a definite literary revival, rarely

possible in Luke and the writer to the Hebrews, and just

conceivable in Paul.

Note on                It seems hardly worth while to discuss

Latinisins.    in a general way the supposition that Latin

                        has influenced the Koinh<; of the NT. In the

borrowing of Latin words of course we can see activity

enough, and there are even phrases literally translated, like

labei?n to> i[kanon Ac 179;  poiei?n to> i[. Mk 1515 (as early as


                      GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.                 21


Polybius); meta> polla>j tau<taj h[me<raj Ac 15, etc.    But

grammar we must regard as another matter, in spite of such

collections as Buttmann's (see his Index, s.v. Latinisms) or

Thayer's (Hastings' DB iii. 40). It will suffice to refer to

Prof. Thumb's judgement (Hellenismus 152 ff.). Romans writ-

ing Greek might be expected to have difficulties for example

with the article1—as I have noticed in the English efforts

of Japanese boys at school in this country; but even of this

there seems to be no very decisive proof. And though the

bulk of the NT comes to us from authors with Roman names,

no one will care to assert that Latin was the native language

of Paul2 or Luke or Mark. Apart from lexical matters, we

may be content with a general negative.  "Of any effective

grammatical influence [of Latin] upon Greek there can be no

question: at any rate I know nothing which could be

instanced to this effect with any probability."  So says Dr

Thumb, and the justification of his decision in each alleged

example may be safely left till the cases arise. It should

of course be noted that Prof. Blass (p. 4) is rather more

disposed to admit Latinisms in syntax. Greek and Latin

were so constantly in contact throughout the history of the

Koinh<, that the question of Latinisms in Greek or Graecisms

in Latin must often turn largely on general impressions of

the genius of each language.3


            1 Foreigners sometimes did find the article a stumbling block: witness the

long inscription of Antiochus I of Commagene, OGIS 383 (i/B.C.)—see Ditten-

berger's notes on p. 596 (vol. i.). We may here quote the lamented epigraphist's

note, on Syll.2 930 (p. 785), that a translator from Latin might fall into a

confusion between ti<j and o!j. In a linguist who can render quo minus by

&$ e@lasson (1. 57), we take such a mistake as a matter of course; yet we shall see

(p. 93) that its occurrence is very far from convicting a document of Latinising.

            2 This does not involve denying that Paul could speak Latin; see p. 233.

            3 How inextricably bound together were the fortunes of Greek and Latin in

the centuries following our era, is well shown in W. Schulze's pamphlet, Graeca

Latina. He does not, I think, prove any real action of Latin on Greek early

enough to affect the NT, except for some mere trifles. Brugmann (Dist. p. 9),

discussing the idiom du<o du<o (see below, p. 97), speaks of the theory of Semitism

and Thumb's denial of it, and proceeds:  "The truth lies between the two, as

it does in many similar cases—I am thinking among others of Graecisms in

Latin, and of Latinisms and Gallicisms in German. A locution already in

existence in Greek popular language, side by side with other forms (a]na> du<o,

kata> du<o), received new strength and wider circulation through the similar

Hebrew expression as it became known." I welcome such a confirmation of my

thesis from the acknowledged master of our craft.








                           CHAPTER II.








A New Study              WE proceed to examine the nature and

                                    history of the vernacular Greek itself. This

is a study which has almost come into existence in the

present generation. Classical scholars have studied the

Hellenistic literature for the sake of its matter: its language

was seldom considered worth noticing, except to chronicle

contemptuously its deviations from "good Greek." In so

suffering, perhaps the authors only received the treatment

they deserved for to write Attic was the object of them all,

pursued doubtless with varying degrees of zeal, but in all

cases removing them far from the language they used in

daily life. The pure study of the vernacular was hardly

possible, for the Biblical Greek was interpreted on lines of

its own, and the papyri were mostly reposing in their Egyptian

tombs, the collections that were published receiving but little

attention. (Cf above, p. 7 n.) Equally unknown was the

scientific study of modern Greek. To this day, even great

philologists like Hatzidakis decry as a mere patois, utterly

unfit for literary use, the living language upon whose history

they have spent their lives. The translation of the Gospels

into the Greek which descends directly from their original

idiom, is treated as sacrilege by the devotees of a "literary"

dialect which, in point of fact, no one ever spoke!  It is

left to foreigners to recognise the value of Pallis's version

for students who seek to understand NT Greek in the light

of the continuous development of the language from the age

of Alexander to our own time. See p. 243.

The Sources.                  As has been hinted in the preceding

                                    paragraph, the materials for our present-day

study of NT Greek are threefold:—(1) the prose literature




             HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.                    23


of the post-classical period, from Polybius down, and includ-

ing the LXX; (2) the Koinh< inscriptions, and the Egyptian

non-literary papyri; (3) modern vernacular Greek, with

especial reference to its dialectic variations, so far as these

are at present registered. Before we discuss the part which

each of these must play in our investigations, it will be

necessary to ask what was the Koinh<; and how it arose.

We should premise that we use the name here as a convenient

term for the spoken dialect of the period under review, using

"literary Koinh< and similar terms when the dialect of

Polybius, Josephus, and the rest, is referred to. Whether this

is the ancient use of the name we need not stay to examine:a

the curious will find a paper on the subject by Prof.

Jannaris in CR xvii. 93 ff., which may perhaps prove that he

and we have misused the ancient grammarians' phraseology.

Ou] fronti>j  [Ippoklei<d^.                                     [a See p. 243.

Greek and its                The history, geography, and ethnology

Dialects.                    of Hellas are jointly responsible for the

                                    remarkable phenomena which even the

literature of the classical period presents. The very school-

boy in his first two or three years at Greek has to realise

that "Greek" is anything but a unity. He has not thumbed

the Anabasis long before the merciful pedagogue takes him

on to Homer, and his painfully acquired irregular verbs de-

mand a great extension of their limits. When he develops

into a Tripos candidate, he knows well that Homer, Pindar,

Sappho, Herodotus and Aristotle are all of them in their

several ways defiant of the Attic grammar to which his own

composition must conform. And if his studies ultimately

invade the dialect inscriptions,1 he finds in Elis and Heraclea,

Lacedaemon and Thebes, Crete2 and Cyprus, forms of Greek

for which his literature has almost entirely failed to prepare

him. Yet the Theban who said Fi<ttw Deu<j and the

Athenian with his i@stw Zeu<j lived in towns exactly as far

apart as Liverpool and Manchester! The bewildering variety

of dialects within that little country arises partly from racial


            1 An extremely convenient little selection of dialect inscriptions is now

available in the Teubner series:—Inscriptiones Graecae ad inlustramdas Dialectos

selectae, by Felix Solmsen. The book has less than 100 pp., but its contents

might be relied on to perplex very tolerable scholars!                   2 See p. 233.



differences. Upon the indigenous population, represented

best (it would seem) by the Athenians of history, swept first

from Northern Europe1 the hordes of Homer's Achans, and

then, in post-Homeric days, the Dorian invaders. Dialectic

conditions were as inevitably complex as they became in our

own country a thousand years ago, when successive waves

of Germanic invaders, of different tribes and dialects, had

settled in the several parts of an island in which a Keltic

population still maintained itself to greater or less extent.

Had the Norman Conquest come before the Saxon, which

determined the language of the country, the parallel would

have been singularly complete. The conditions which in

England were largely supplied by distance, were supplied in

Greece by the mountain barriers which so effectively cut

off each little State from regular communication with its

neighbours—an effect and a cause at once of the passion for

autonomy which made of Hellas a heptarchy of heptarchies.

Survival of the             Meanwhile, a steady process was going

Fittest.                       on which determined finally the character

                                    literary Greek. Sparta might win the

hegemony of Greece at Aegospotami, and Thebes wrest it

from her at Leuktra. But Sparta could not produce a

man of letters,—Alkman (who was not a Spartan!) will

serve as the exception that proves the rule; and Pindar,

the lonely "Theban eagle," knew better than to try poetic

flights in Boeotian. The intellectual supremacy of Athens

was beyond challenge long before the political unification of

Greece was accomplished; and Attic was firmly established

as the only possible dialect for prose composition. The

post-classical writers wrote Attic according to their lights,

tempered generally with a plentiful admixture of gram-

matical and lexical elements drawn from the vernacular,

for which they had too hearty a contempt even to give it

a name. Strenuous efforts were made by precisians to

improve the Attic quality of this artificial literary dialect;

and we still possess the works of Atticists who cry out


            1 I am assuming as proved the thesis of Prof. Ridgeway's Early Age

of Greece, which seems to me a key that will unlock many problems of

Greek history, religion, and language.  0f course adhuc sub iudice lis est;

and with Prof. Thumb on the other side I should be sorry to dogmatise.

          HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.            25


against the "bad Greek" and "solecisms" of their con-

temporaries, thus incidentally providing us with information

concerning a Greek which interests us more than the artificial

Attic they prized so highly. All their scrupulousness did

not however prevent their deviating from Attic in matters

more important than vocabulary. The optative in Lucian

is perpetually misused, and no Atticist successfully attempts

to reproduce the ancient use of ou] and mh< with the participle.

Those writers who are less particular in their purism write

in a literary koinh< which admits without difficulty many

features of various origin, while generally recalling Attic.

No doubt the influence of Thucydides encouraged this

freedom. The true Attic, as spoken by educated people in

Athens, was hardly used in literature before iv/B.C.;

while the Ionic dialect had largely influenced the some-

what artificial idiom which the older writers at Athens

used. It was riot strange therefore that the standard for

most of the post-classical writers should go back, for

instance, to the pra<ssw of Thucydides rather than the

pra<ttw of Plato and Demosthenes.

Literary Koinh<.            Such, then, was the " Common Greek "

                                    of literature, from which we have still to

derive our illustrations for the NT to a very large extent.

Any lexicon will show how important for our purpose is

the vocabulary of the Koinh< writers, from Polybius down.

And even the most rigid Atticists found themselves unable

to avoid words and usages which Plato would not have

recognised. But side by side with this was a fondness for

obsolete words with literary associations. Take nau?j, for

example, which is freely found in Aelian, Josephus, and

other Koinh< writers. It does not appear in the indices

of eight volumes of Grenfell and Hunt's papyri—except

where literary fragments come in,—nor in those to vol. iii

of the Berlin collection and the small volume from Chicago.

(I am naming all the collections that I happen to have by

me.2) We turn to the NT and find it once, and that is


            1 Schwyzer, Die Weltsprachen dess Altertums, p. 15 n., cites as the earliest

extant prose monument of genuine Attic in literature, the pseudo-Xenophon's

De republica Atheniensi, which dates from before 413 B. C.                 2 In 1905.



in Luke's shipwreck narrative, in a phrase which Blass

(Philology 186) suspects to be a reminiscence of Homer.

In style and syntax the literary Common Greek diverges

more widely from the colloquial. The bearing of all this

on the subject of our study will come out frequently in the

course of our investigations. Here it will suffice to refer

to Blass, p. 5, for an interesting summary of phenomena

which are practically restricted to the author of Heb, and

to parts of Luke and Paul, where sundry lexical and

grammatical elements from the literary dialect invade the

colloquial style which is elsewhere universal in the NT.1

Modern            The writers who figure in Dr W.

“Attic.”         Schmid's well-known book, Der Atticismus,

                        were not the last to found a literary lan-

guage on the artificial resuscitation of the ancient Attic.

Essentially the same thing is being tried in our time.

"The purists of to-day," says Thumb (Hellenismus 180),

"are like the old Atticists to a hair."  Their "mummy-

language," as Krumbacher calls it, will not stand the test

of use in poetry; but in prose literature, in newspapers,

and in Biblical translation, it has the dominion, which is

vindicated by Athenian undergraduates with bloodshed

if need be.2  We have nothing to do with this curious

phenomenon, except to warn students that before citing MGr

in illustration of the NT, they must make sure whether

their source is kaqareu<ousa or o[miloume<nh, book Greek or

spoken Greek. The former may of course have borrowed

from ancient or modern sources—for it is a medley far

more mixed than we should get by compounding together

Cynewulf and Kipling--the particular feature for which it

is cited. But it obviously cannot stand in any line of his-

torical development, and it is just as valuable as Volapuk to


            1 For literary elements in NT writers, see especially E. Norden, Antike

Kunstprosa ii. 482 ff. In the paragraph above referred to, Blass suggests that

in Ac 2029 Luke misused the literary word a@ficij.  If so, he hardly sinned

alone: cf the citations in Grimm-Thayer, which are at least ambiguous, and add

Jos. Ant. ii. 18 fin. mh> prodhlw<santej t&? patri> th>n e]kei?se a@ficin, where departure

seems certain. See our note sub voce in Expositor vii. vi. 376. The meaning

"my home-coming" is hardly likely.

            2 See Krumbacher's vigorous polemic, Das Problem d. neugr. Schriftsprache,

summarised by the present writer in Exp T. xiv. 550 ff. Hatzidakis replies with

equal energy in REGr, 1903, pp. 210 ff., and further in an   ]Apa<nthsij (1905).

               HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.              27


the student of linguistic evolution. The popular patois, on

the other hand, is a living language, and we shall soon see

that it takes a very important part in the discussions on

which we are entering.

First Century               We pass on then to the spoken dialect

Koinh<: Sources.       of the first century Hellenists, its history

                                    and its peculiarities.  Our sources are, in

order of importance, (1) non-literary papyri, (2) inscriptions,

(3) modern vernacular Greek. The literary sources are

almost confined to the Biblical Greek. A few general words

may be said on these sources, before we examine the origin of

the Greek which they embody.

(1) Papyri                     The papyri have one very obvious dis-

                                    advantage, in that, with the not very import-

ant exception of Herculaneum,1 their provenance is limited

to one country, Egypt. We shall see, however, that the

disadvantage does not practically count. They date from

311 B.C. to vii/A.D. The monuments of the earliest period

are fairly abundant, and they give us specimens of the spoken

Koinh< from a time when the dialect was still a novelty.

The papyri, to be sure, are not to be treated as a unity.

Those which alone concern us come from the tombs and waste

paper heaps of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt; and their style

has the same degree of unity as we should see in the contents

of the sacks of waste paper sent to an English paper-mill

from a solicitor's office, a farm, a school, a shop, a manse, and

a house in Downing Street. Each contribution has to be

considered separately. Wills, law-reports, contracts, census-

returns, marriage-settlements, receipts and official orders

largely ran along stereotyped lines; and, as formula tend

to be permanent, we have a degree of conservatism in the

language which is not seen in documents free from these

trammels. Petitions contain this element in greater or less

extent, but naturally show more freedom in the recitation of

the particular grievances for which redress is claimed.

Private letters are our most valuable sources; and they

are all the better for the immense differences that betray


            1 On these see the monumental work of W. Cronert, Memoria Graeca Her-

culanensis (Teulmer, 1903); also E. L. Hicks in CR i. 186.



themselves in the education of their writers. The well-worn

epistolary formulae show variety mostly in their spelling; and

their value for the student lies primarily in their remarkable

resemblances to the conventional phraseology which even the

NT letter-writers were content to use.1 That part of the

letter which is free from formula is perhaps most instructive

when its grammar is weakest, for it shows which way the

language was tending. Few papyri are more suggestive than

the letter of the lower-school-boy to his father, OP 119

(ii/iii. A.D.). It would have surprised Theon père, when he

applied the well-merited cane, to learn that seventeen centuries

afterwards there might be scholars who would count his boy's

audacious missive greater treasure than a new fragment of

Sappho!  But this is by the way. It must not be inferred

from our laudation of the ungrammatical papyri that the

NT writers are at all comparable to these scribes in lack of

education.  The indifference to concord, which we noted

in Rev, is almost isolated in this connexion. But the

illiterates show us by their exaggerations the tendencies

which the better schooled writers keep in restraint. With

writings from farmers and from emperors, and every class

between, we can form a kind of "grammatometer" by which

to estimate how the language stands in the development of

any particular use we may wish to investigate.

(2) Inscriptions.          Inscriptions come second to papyri, in

                                    this connexion, mainly because their very

material shows that they were meant to last. Their Greek

may not be of the purest; but we see it, such as it is, in its best

clothes, while that of the papyri is in corduroys. The special

value of the Common Greek inscriptions lies in their corroborat-

ing the papyri, for they practically show that there was but

little dialectic difference between the Greek of Egypt and that of

Asia Minor, Italy, and Syria. There would probably be varieties

of pronunciation, and we have evidence that districts differed

in their preferences among sundry equivalent locutions; but

a speaker of Greek would be understood without the slightest

difficulty wherever he went throughout the immense area


            1 On this point see Deissmann, BS 21 ff.; J. R. Harris, in Expos. v. viii.

161; G. G. Findlay, Thess. (CGT), lxi.; Robinson, Eph. 275-284.

              HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.         29


over which the Greek world-speech reigned. With the caveat

already implied, that inscription-Greek may contain literary

elements which are absent from an unstudied private letter,

we may use without misgiving the immense and ever-growing

collections of later Greek epigraphy. How much may be

made of them is well seen in the Preisschrift of Dr E.

Schwyzer,1 Grammatik der Pergamenischen Inschriften, an

invaluable guide to the accidence of the Koinh<. (It has been

followed up by E. Nachmanson in his Laute und Formen der

Magnetischen Inschriften (1903), which does the same work,

section by section, for the corpus from Magnesia.) Next to

the papyrus collections, there is no tool the student of the

NT Koinh< will find so useful as a book of late inscriptions,

such as Dittenberger's Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones selectae, or

the larger part of his Sylloge (ed. 2).

(3) Modern                    Finally we have MGr to bring in.2 The

Greek.                       discovery that the vernacular of to-day goes

                                    back historically to the Koinh< was made in

1834 by Heilmaier, in a book on the origin of the

"Romaic."  This discovery once established, it became clear

that we could work back from MGr to reconstruct the

otherwise imperfectly known oral Greek of the Hellenistic

age.3  It is however only in the last generation that the

importance of this method has been adequately recognised.

We had not indeed till recently acquired trustworthy materials.

Mullach's grammar, upon which the editor of Winer had to

depend for one of the most fruitful innovations of his work,4

started from wrong premisses as to the relation between the

old language and the new.5 We have now, in such books


            1 He was Schweizer in 1898, when this book was published, but has changed

since, to our confusion. He has edited Meisterhans' Grammatik der attischem

Inschrifien3, and written the interesting lecture on Die Weltsprache named


            2 I must enter here a caveat as to the use of G. F. Abbott's charming little

volume, Songs of Modern Greece, as a source for scientific purposes. Prof.

Psichari and Dr Rouse show me that I have trusted it too much.

            3 I cite from Kretschmer, Die Entstehung der Koinh<, p. 4.

            4 Cf. WM index s. v. "Greek (modern)," p. 824.

            5 Cf Krumbacher in KZ xxvii. 488. Krumbacher uses the epithet "dilet-

tante" about Mullach, ib. p. 497, but rather (I fancy) for his theories than his

facts. After all, Mullach came too early to be blameworthy for his unscientific




as Thumb's Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache and

Hatzidakis's Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik, the

means of checking not a few statements about MGr which were

really based on the artificial Greek of the schools. The per-

petual references to the NT in the latter work will indicate

forcibly how many of the developments of modern vernacular

had their roots in that of two thousand years ago. The

gulf between the ancient and the modern is bridged by the

material collected and arranged by Jannaris in his Historical

Greek Grammar. The study of a Gospel in the vernacular

version of Pallis1 will at first produce the impression that

the gulf is very wide indeed; but the strong points of con-

tact will become very evident in time. Hatzidakis indeed

even goes so far as to assert that "the language generally

spoken to-day in the towns differs less from the common

language of Polybius than this last differs from the language

of Homer."2

The Birth of                   We are now ready to enquire how this

the Koinh<.                 Common Greek of the NT rose out of the

                                    classical language. Some features of its

development are undoubted, and may be noted first. The

impulse which produced it lay, beyond question, in the work

of Alexander the Great. The unification of Hellas was a

necessary first step in the accomplishment of his dream of

Hellenising the world which he had marked out for conquest.

To achieve unity of speech throughout the little country

which his father's diplomatic and military triumphs had

virtually conquered for him, was a task too serious for

Alexander himself to face. But unconsciously he effected

this, as a by-product of his colossal achievement; and the

next generation found that not only had a common language

emerged from the chaos of Hellenic dialects, but a new and


            1   [H Ne<a Diaqh<kh, metafrasme<nh a]po> to>n   ]Alec.  Pa<llh (Liverpool, 1902).

(Pallis has now translated the Iliad, and even some of Kant—with striking

success, in Thumb's opinion, DLZ, 1905, pp. 2084-6.) Unfortunately the

B.F.B.S. version contains so much of the artificial Greek that it is beyond

the comprehension of the common people:  the bitter prejudice of the

educated classes at present has closed the door even to this, much more to

Pallis's version.

            2 REGr, 1903, p. 220. (See a further note below, pp. 233f.)

            HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.               31


nearly homogeneous world-speech had been created, in which

Persian and Egyptian might do business together, and

Roman proconsuls issue their commands to the subjects of a

mightier empire than Alexander's own. His army was in

itself a powerful agent in the levelling process which ulti-

mately destroyed nearly all the Greek dialects. The

Anabasis of the Ten Thousand Greeks, seventy years before,

had doubtless produced results of the same kind on a small

scale. Clearchus the Lacedaemonian, Menon the Thessalian,

Socrates the Arcadian, Proxenus the Bceotian, and the rest,

would find it difficult to preserve their native brogue very

long free from the solvent influences of perpetual association

during their march; and when Cheirisophus of Sparta and

Xenophon of Athens had safely brought the host home, it is

not strange that the historian himself had suffered in the

purity of his Attic, which has some peculiarities distinctly

foreshadowing the Koinh<.1 The assimilating process would

go much further in the camp of Alexander, where, during

prolonged campaigns, men from all parts of Greece were

tent-fellows and messmates, with no choice but to accom-

modate their mode of speech in its more individual character-

istics to the average Greek which was gradually being

evolved among their comrades. In this process naturally

those features which were peculiar to a single dialect would

have the smallest chance of surviving, and those which most

successfully combined the characteristics of many dialects

would be surest of a place in the resultant "common speech."

The army by itself only furnished a nucleus for the new growth.

As Hellenism swept victoriously into Asia, and established

itself on all the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, the

mixture of nationalities in the new-rising communities de-

manded a common language as the medium of intercourse,


            1 Cf Rutherford, NP 160-174. The same may be said of the language of

the lower classes in Athens herself in v/B.C., consisting as they did of immigrants

from all parts. So [Xenophon] Constitution, of Athens 11. 3:—"The Greeks

have an individual dialect, and manner of life and fashion of their own; but

the Athenians have what is compounded from all the Greeks and barbarians."

The vase-inscriptions abundantly evidence this. (Kretschrner, Entstehung d.

p. 34.) The importance of Xenophon as a forerunner of Hellenism is  

well brought out by Mahaffy, Progress of Hellenism in Alexander's Empire,

Lecture i.



and the Greek of the victorious armies of Alexander was

ready for the purpose. In the country districts of the

motherland, the old dialects lived on for generations; but by

this time Greece herself was only one factor in the great

Hellenising movement to which the world was to owe so

much. Besides, the dialects which strikingly differed from

the new Koinh< were spoken by races that mostly lay outside

the movement. History gives an almost pathetic interest to

an inscription like that from Larissa (Michel 41—end of

iii/B.C.), where the citizens record a resolutions from King

Philip V, and their own consequent resolutions:—

            Tageuo<ntoun   ]Anagki<ppoi Petqalei<oi k.t.l., 

Fili<ppoi toi? basilei?oj e[pistola>n a]puste<llantoj po>t

to>j tago>j kai> ta>n

po<lin ta>n u[pogegramme<nan:

            Basileu>j Fi<lippoj Larisai<wn toi?j tagoi?j kai> th?i po<lei

xai<rein (and so on in normal Koinh<).

   Decay of the                The old and the new survived thus side

    Dialects.                by side into the imperial age; but Christianity

                                    had only a brief opportunity of speaking in

the old dialects of Greece. In one corner of Hellas alone did

the dialect live on. To-day scholars recognise a single modern

idiom, the Zaconian, which does not directly descend from

the Koinh<.  As we might expect, this is nothing but the

ancient Laconian, whose broad ā holds its ground still in the

speech of a race impervious to literature and proudly con-

servative of a language that was always abnormal to an

extreme. Apart from this the dialects died out entirely.a

They contributed their share to the resultant Common Greek;

but it is an assured result of MGr philology that there are

no elements of speech whatever now existing, due to the

ancient dialects, which did not find their way into the stream

of development through the channel of the vernacular Koinh<  

of more than two thousand years ago.                     [a See p. 243.

Relative Contri-           So far we may go without difference

butions to the           of opinion. The only serious dispute arises

Resultant.                 when we ask what were the relative magni-

                                    of the contributions of the several

dialects to the new resultant speech. That the literary

Koinh< was predominantly Attic has been already stated, and

is of course beyond doubt. But was Attic muse than one

            HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.            33


among many elements assimilated in the new vernacular?

It has always been taken for granted that the intellectual

queen of Greece was the predominant partner in the busi-

ness of establishing a new dialect based on a combination of

the old ones. This conclusion has recently been challenged

by Dr Paul Kretschmer, a brilliant comparative philologist,

previously distinguished for his studies on the language of

the Greek vase-inscriptions and on the dialects of the Greeks'

nearest neighbours.1 In his tractate entitled Die Entstehung

der Koinh<, published in the Transactions of the Vienna

Academy for 1900, he undertook to show that the oral

Koinh< contained elements from Boeotian, Ionic, and even

North-west Greek, to a larger extent than from Attic. His

argument affects pronunciation mainly. That Boeotian

monophthongising of the diphthongs, Doric softening of b,

d and g, and Ionic de-aspiration of words beginning with h,

affected the spoken language more than any Attic influence

of this nature, might perhaps be allowed. But when we turn

to features which had to be represented in writing, as contrasted

with mere variant pronunciations of the same written word,

the case becomes less striking. Boeotian may have supplied

3 plur. forms in -san for imperfect and optative, but these do

not appear to any considerable extent outside the LXX: the

NT exx. are precarious, and they are surprisingly rare in

the papyri.2 North-west Greek has the accusative plural in

-ej, found freely in papyri and (for the word te<ssarej) in

MSS of the NT; also the middle conjugation of ei]mi<, and the

confusion of forms from –a<w and –e<w verbs. Doric contri-

butes some guttural forms from verbs in -zw, and a few lexical

items. Ionic supplies a fair number of isolated forms, and

may be responsible for many -w or –w? flexions from -mi

verbs, and sonic uncontracted noun-forms like o]ste<wn or

xruse<&.  But the one peculiarly Attic feature of the Koinh<;

which Kretschmer does allow, its treatment of original a, in

contrast with Ionic phonology on one side and that of the

remaining dialects on the other, is so far-reaching in its effects


            1 Die griech. Vaseninschriften, 1894; Einleitung in die Geschichte der griech.

Sprache, 1896.

            2 See CR xv. 36, and the addenda in xviii. 110.



that we cannot but give it more weight than to any other

feature. And while the accidence of Attic has bequeathed

to the vernacular much matter which it shared with other

dialects, one may question whether the accidence of any

single dialect would present anything like the same similarity

to that of the Koinh< as the Attic does. We can hardly resist

the conclusion of the experts that Kretschmer has failed to

prove his point. At the same time we may allow that the

influence of the other dialects on pronunciation has been

commonly underestimated. Kretschmer necessarily recognises

that Attic supplied the orthography of the Koinh<, except for

those uneducated persons to whom we owe so much for their

instructive mis-spellings. Consequently, he says, when the

Hellenist wrote xai<rei and pronounced it cheri, his language

was really Boeotian and not Attic.1 It is obvious that the

question does not seriously concern us, since we are dealing

with a language which, despite its vernacular character, comes

to us in a written and therefore largely Atticised form.a For

our purpose we may assume that we have before us a Greek

which includes important contributions from various dialects,

but with Attic as the basis, although the exclusive peculiarities

of Attic make but a small show in it. We shall see later on

(pp. 213 ff.) that syntax tells a clearer story in at least one

matter of importance, the articular infinitive.

Pronunciation              At this point it should be observed that

and MS                      pronunciation is not to be passed over as a

Tradition.                 matter of no practical importance by the

                                    modern student of Hellenistic. The undeni-

able fact that phonetic spelling—which during the reign of

the old dialects was a blessing common to all—was entirely

abandoned by educated people generations before the Christian

era, has some very obvious results for both grammar and

textual criticism. That ai and e, ei (^) and i, oi and u were

identities for the scribes of our MSS, is certain.2 The scribe

made his choice according to the grammar and the sense,


            1 Against this emphasising of Bmotian, see Thumb, Hellenismus 228.

            2 On the date of the levelling of quantity, so notable a feature in MGr, see

Hatzidakis in   ]Aqhna? for 1901 (xiii. 247). He decides that it began outside

Greece, and established itself very gradually. It must have been complete, or

nearly so, before the scribes of x and B wrote.                           [a See p. 243.

              HISTORY OF THE “COMMON" GREEK.                 35


just as we choose between kings, king's, and kings', or

between bow and bough. He wrote su< nominative and soi<  

dative; lu<sasqai infinitive and lu<sasqe imperative filei?j,

ei]domen indicative, and fil^?j, i@dwmen subjunctive; bou<lei verb,

but boul^? noun--here of course there was the accentual

difference, if he wrote to dictation. There was nothing

however to prevent him from writing e]ce<fnhj, e]fni<dioj,

a]feirhme<noj, etc., if his antiquarian knowledge failed; while

there were times when his choice between (for example)

infinitive and imperative, as in Lk 1913, was determined only

by his own or perhaps a traditional exegesis. It will be seen

therefore that we cannot regard our best MSS as decisive

on such questions, except as far as we may see reason to

trust their general accuracy in grammatical tradition. WH

may be justified in printing i!na . . . e]piskia<sei in Ac 515,

after B and some cursives; but the passage is wholly useless

for any argument as to the use of  i!na with a future. Or let

us take the constructions of ou] mh< as exhibited for WH text

in the concordance (MG). There are 71 occurrences with aor.

subj., and 2 more in which the -sw might theoretically be

future. Against these we find 8 cases of the future, and 15

in which the parsing depends on our choice between ei and ^.

It is evident that editors cannot hope to decide here what

was the autograph spelling. Even supposing they had the

autograph before them, it would be no evidence as to the

author's grammar if he dictated the text. To this we may

add that by the time and B were written o and w were no

longer distinct in pronunciation, which transfers two more

cases to the list of the indeterminates. It is not therefore

simply the overwhelming manuscript authority which decides

us for e@xwmen in Rom 51. Without the help of the versions

and patristic citations, it would be difficult to prove that the

orthography of the MSS is really based on a very ancient

traditional interpretation. It is indeed quite possible that

the Apostle's own pronunciation did not distinguish o and w

sufficiently to give Tertius a clear lead, without his making

inquiry.1 In all these matters we may fairly recognise a


            1 o and w were confused in various quarters before this date: of Schwyzer,

Pergam. 95; Nachmanson, Magnet. 64; Thumb. Hellenismus 143. We have



case nearly parallel with the editor's choice between such

alternatives as ti<nej and tine<j in Heb 316, where the tradition

varies. The modern expositor feels himself entirely at

liberty to decide according to his view of the context. On

our choice in Rom, 1.c., see below, (p. 110).

Contributions               Before we leave dialectology, it may be

of NW Greek,           well to make a few more remarks on the

                                    nature of the contributions which we have

noted. Some surprise may be felt at the importance of

the elements alleged to have been brought into the language

by the "North-west Greek," which lies altogether outside

the literary limits. The group embraces as its main consti-

tuents the dialects of Epirus, Aetolia, Locris and Phokis, and

Achaia, and is known to us only from inscriptions, amongst

which those of Delphi are conspicuous. It is the very last

we should have expected to influence the resultant language,

but it is soon observed that its part (on Kretschmer's theory)

has been very marked. The characteristic Achaian accus.

plur. in -ej successfully established itself in the common

Greek, as its presence in the vernacular of to-day sufficiently

shows. Its prominence in the papyri2 indicates that it was

making a good fight, which in the case of te<ssarej had

already become a fairly assured victory. In the NT te<ssaraj  

never occurs without some excellent authority for te<ssarej.3

cf WH App2 157.a Moreover we find that A, in Rev 116, has

a]ste<rej—with omission of e@xwn, it is true, but this may

well be an effort to mend the grammar. It is of course

impossible to build on this example; but taking into account

the obvious fact that the author of Rev was still decidedly

a]gra<mmatoj in Greek, and remembering the similar phen-

omena of the papyri, we might expect his autograph to

exhibit accusatives in -ej, and in other instances beside

te<ssarej.   The middle conjugation of ei]mi< is given by


confusion of this very word in BU 607 (ii/A.D.). See p. 244, and the copious

early papyrus evidence in Mayser, pp. 98 f., 139.

            1 Brugmann, Gr. Gramm.3 17.                            [a See pp. 243 f.

            2 See CR xv. 34, 435, xviii. 109 (where by a curious mistake I cited Dr Thumb

for, instead of against, Kretschmer's argument on this point).

            3 Jn 1117 x D; Ac 2729 and Rev 914; Rev 44 ti A (WHmg), 71 A bis P semel.

Mr Thackeray says te<ssarej acc. is constant in the B text of the Octateuch.

      HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.                      37


Kretschmer as a NW Greek feature; but the Delphian h#tai

and e@wntai are balanced by Messenian h#ntai, and Lesbian

e@sso, which looks as if some middle forms had existed in the

earliest Greek. But the confusion of the –a<w and –e<w verbs,

which is frequent in the papyri1 and NT, and is complete in

MGr, may well have come from the NW Greek, though

encouraged by Ionic. We cannot attempt here to discuss the

question between Thumb and Kretschmer; but an a priori

argument might be found for the latter in the well-known

fact that between iii/ and i/B.C. the political importance of

Aetolia and Achaia produced an Achaian-Dorian Koinh<, which

yielded to the wider Koinh< about a hundred years before Paul

began to write: it seems antecedently probable that this

dialect would leave some traces on that which superseded

it. Possibly the extension of the 3rd plur. -san, and even

the perfect -an, may be due to the same source:2 the former

is also Boeotian. The peculiarities just mentioned have in

common their sporadic acceptance in the Hellenistic of i/A.D.,

which is just what we should expect where a dialect like this

contended for survival with one that had already spread over a

very large area. The elements we have tentatively set down

to the NW Greek secured their ultimate victory through

their practical convenience. The fusion of –a<w and –e<w verbs

amalgamated two grammatical categories which served no

useful purpose by their distinctness. The accus. in –ej

reduced the number of case-forms to be remembered, at the

cost of a confusion which English bears without difficulty,

and even Attic bore in po<leij, basilei?j, plei<ouj, etc.; while

the other novelties both reduced the tale of equivalent

suffixes and (in the case of -san) provided a useful means of

distinction between 1st sing. and 3rd plur.

and of Ionic.                   We come to securer ground when we

                                    estimate the part taken by Ionic in the

formation of the Koinh<, for here Thumb and Kretschmer

are at one. The former shows that we cannot safely trace

any feature of Common Greek to the influence of some


            1 See CR xv. 36, 435, xviii. 110. Thumb suggests that the common aor. in

-hsa started the process of fusion.        .

            2 The -san suffix is found in Delphian (Valaori, Delph. Dial. 60) rather pro-

minently, both in indic. and opt. The case for -an (ibid.) is weaker.



particular dialect, unless it appears in that dialect as a distinct

new type, and not a mere survival. The nouns in –a?ja?doj

and –ou?jou?doj are by this principle recognised as a clear

debt of MGr to Ionic elements in the Koinh<. Like the

other elements which came from a single ancient dialect,

they had to struggle for existence. We find them in the

Egyptian Greek; but in the NT –a?j makes gen. –a?, as often

even in Asia Minor, where naturally –a?doj was at home.1

Kretschmer gives as Ionic factors in the Koinh<; the forms

kiqw<n, (=xitw<n) and the like,2 psilosis (which the Ionians

shared with their Aeolic neighbours), the uncontracted noun

and verb forms already alluded to, and the invasion of the

-mi verbs by thematic forms (contract or ordinary).3 He

explains the declension spei?ra spei<rhj (normal in the Koinh<

from i/B.c.) as due not to Ionism, but to the analogy of glw?ssa  

glw<sshj. To his argument on this point we might add the

consideration that the declension –ra -rhj is both earlier and

more stable than –ui?a, -ui<hj, a difference which I would connect

with the fact that the combination ih continued to be barred

in Attic at a time when rh (from rFa) was no longer objected

to (contrast u[gia?, and ko<rh):a if Ionic forms had been simply

taken over, ei]dui<hj would have come in as early as spei<rhj.

Did dialectic                             But such discussion may be left to the

differences                philological journals. What concerns the NT

persist?                     student is the question of dialectic varieties

                                    within the Koinh<; itself rather than in its

previous history. Are we to expect persistence of Ionic

features in Asia Minor; and will the Greek of Egypt, Syria,


            1 But –a?doj is rare both at Pergamum and at Magnesia: Schwyzer 139 f.,

Nachmanson 120.

            2 Kiqw<n, ku<qra and e]nqau?ta occur not seldom in papyri; and it is rather

curious that they are practically absent from NT MSS. I can only find in Ti

xeiqw?naj D.' (Mt 1010) and kitw?naj B* (Mk 1463—"ut alibi x," says the editor).

Ku<qra occurs in Clem. Rom. 17 fin. (see Lightfoot); also three times in the

LXX, according to great uncials (Thackeray).  Ba<qrakoj, which is found in

MGr (as Abbott 56) I cannot trace, nor pa<qnh. Cf. Hatzidakis 160 f.

            3 The perfect e!wka from i!hmi (NT afe<wntai) is noted as Ionic rather than

Done by Thumb, ThLZ xxviii. 421 n. Since this was a prehistoric form (cf

Gothic saiso from saia, "sow"), we cannot determine the question certainly.

But note that the imperative a]few<sqw occurs in an Arcadian inscription (Michel

58515—iii/?B.C.). Its survival in Hellenistic is the more easily understood, if it

really existed in two or three dialects of the classical period.            [a See p. 244.

              HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.                              39


Macedonia, and Italy differ to an extent which we can detect

after two thousand years? Speaking generally, we may

reply in the negative. Dialectic differences there must have

been in a language spoken over so large an area. But they

need not theoretically be greater than those between British

and American English, to refer again to the helpful parallel

we examined above (p. 19). We saw there that in the

modern Weltsprache the educated colloquial closely approxi-

mates everywhere when written down, differing locally to

some extent, but in vocabulary and orthography rather than

in grammar. The uneducated vernacular differs more, but

its differences still show least in the grammar. The study

of the papyri and the Koinh< inscriptions of Asia Minor dis-

closes essentially the same phenomena in Hellenistic. There

are few points of grammar in which the NT language differs

from that which we see in other specimens of Common Greek

vernacular, from whatever province derived. We have already

mentioned instances in which what may have been quite

possible Hellenistic is heavily overworked because it happens

to coincide with a Semitic idiom. Apart from these, we

have a few small matters in which the NT differs from the

usage of the papyri. The weakening of ou] mh< is the most

important of these, for certainly the papyri lend no coun-

tenance whatever to any theory that of ou] mh< was a normal

unemphatic negative in Hellenistic. We shall return to this

at a later stage (see pp. 187 ff.); but meanwhile we may note

that in the NT ou] mh< seems nearly always connected with

"translation Greek"—the places where no Semitic original

can be suspected show it only in the very emphatic sense

which is common to classical and Hellenistic use. Among

smaller points are the NT construction of e@noxoj with gen.

of penalty, and the prevailing use of a]pekri<qhn for a]pekri-

na<mhn: in both of these the papyri wholly or mainly agree

with the classical usage; but that in the latter case the

NT has good Hellenistic warrant, is shown by Phrynichus

(see Rutherford, NP 186 ff.), by the witness of Polybius, and

by the MGr a]pokri<qhka.

Thumb's Verdict.        The whole question of dialectic differ-

                                    ences within the spoken Koinh< is judicially

summed up by our greatest living authority, Dr Albert



Thumb, in chap. v. of his book on Greek in the Hel-

lenistic Age, already often quoted.1  He thinks that such

differences must have existed largely, in Asia Minor especially;

but that writings like the Greek Bible, intended for general

circulation, employed a Darchschnittsprache which avoided local

peculiarities, though intended for single localities. (The letters

of Paul are no exception to this rule, for he could not be

familiar with the peculiarities of Galatian or Achaian, still

less of Roman, Koinh<.)  To the question whether our autho-

rities are right in speaking of a special Alexandrian Greek,

Thumb practically returns a negative. For nearly all the

purposes of our own special study, Hellenistic Greek may be

regarded as a unity, hardly varying except with the education

of the writer, his tendency to use or ignore specialities of

literary language, and the degree of his dependence upon

foreign originals which might be either freely or slavishly

rendered into the current Greek.

            It is however to be noted that the minute dialectic

differences which can be detected in NT Greek are some-

times significant to the literary critic. In an article in

ThLZ, 1903, p. 421, Thumb calls attention to the promin-

ence of e]mo<j in Jn, as against mou elsewhere.2 He tells us

that e]mo<j and its like survive in modern Pontic-Cappadocian

Greek, while the gen. of the personal pronoun has replaced it

in other parts of the Greek-speaking area. This circumstance

contributes something to the evidence that the Fourth

Gospel came from Asia Minor. We might add that on the

same showing Luke should come from Macedonia, or some

other country outside Asia Minor, for he hardly uses  e]mo<j;

while Rev, in which out of the four possessive pronouns e]mo<j

alone occurs, and that but once, seems to be from the pen of

a recent immigrant. Valeat quantum! In the same paper

Thumb shows that the infinitive still survives in Pontic,


            1 Cf. Blass 4 n.; and Thumb's paper in Neue Jahrb. for 1906.

            2   ]Emo<j occurs 41 times in Jn, once each in 3 Jn and Rev, and 34 times in

the rest of the NT. It must be admitted that the other possessives do not tell

the same story: the three together appear 12 times in Jn (Ev and Epp), 12 in

Lk, and 21 in the rest of NT. Blass (p. 168) notes how u[mw?n in Paul (in the

position of the attribute) ousts the emphatic u[me<teroj. (For that position cf.

h[ sou? ou]si<a, Mithraslit. p. 17 and note.)

          HISTORY OF THE "COMMON" GREEK.                41


while in Greece proper it yields entirely to the periphrasis.

The syntactical conditions under which the infinitive is found

in Poetic answer very well to those which appear in the NT: in

such uses Western Greek tended to enlarge the sphere of  i!na.

This test, applied to Jn, rather neutralises that from e]mo<j:

see below, p. 205, 211. Probably the careful study of local

MGr patois will reveal more of these minutia. Another field

for research is presented by the orthographical peculiarities of

the NT uncials, which, in comparison with the papyri and

inscriptions, will help to fix the provenance of the MSS, and

thus supply criteria for that localising of textual types which

is an indispensable step towards the ultimate goal of criticism.1


            1 One or two hints in this direction are given by Thumb, Hellenismus 179.

Cf Prof. Lake's Leiden inaugural (Oxford, 1904). See also p. 244.

            ADDITIONAL NOTE. —A few new points may be added on the subjects of this

chapter. First conies the important fact—noted by Thumb in his Hellenismus,

p. 9, and again in reviewing Mayser (Archiv iv. 487)—that the pre-Byzantine

history of the Koinh< divides about the date A.D. The NT falls accordingly in the

early years of a new period, which does not, however, differ from its predecessor

in anything that ordinary observers would notice. The fact needs bearing in

mind, nevertheless, when we are comparing the Greek of the LXX and the NT.

            There are difficulties as to the relations of h, ^, and ei, which have some

importance in view of the matters noted on p. 35. In Attic ^ and ei were fused

at an early date; whereas h remained distinct, being the open e, while in the

diphthong it had become close. Ionic inscriptions show the same fusion. In

papyri ^, like & and %, sheds its i just as h (w and a) can add it, regardless of

grammar; so that h and ^ are equivalent, and they remain distinct from ei

(=i) till a late period. It is difficult to correlate these facts; but it must be

remembered that the papyri only represent Egypt, which was not necessarily

at one with all other Greek-speaking countries as to the quality of h. There is

also the probability that the ^ which alternates with h is often hysterogenous-

boulei? was replaced by a newly formed boul^? because of the h that runs through

the rest of the singular flexion. (I owe many suggestions here to a letter from

Prof. Thumb, March 1908.) See further Mayser 126 ff.

            On the question of the contributions of the old dialects to the Koinh<, research

seems progressively emphasising the preponderance of Attic. There are pheno-

mena which are plausibly treated as Doric in origin ; but Thumb reasonably

points to Mayser's evidence, showing that these did not emerge till the later

period of the Koinh<, as a serious difficulty in such an account of their history.

On the other hand, he rightly criticises Mayser's tendency to minimise the Ionic

influence: he believes that dialectic elements, and especially Ionisms, found

their way into the spoken Attic of the lower classes, which spread itself largely

through the operation of trade. "The first people to speak a Koinh< were Ionians,

who used the speech of their Athenian lords. . . . Outside the Athenian empire,

the Macedonians were the first to take up the new language, and joined their

subject Greeks, especially Ionians, in spreading it through the world." The

old dialects worked still in producing local differentiations in the Koinh< itself.




                                CHAPTER III.




                NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.




The Uncials and       BEFORE we begin to examine the conditions

the Papyri.                of Hellenistic syntax, we must devote a

                                    short chapter to the accidence. To treat

the forms in any detail would be obviously out of place in

these Prolegomena. The humble but necessary work of

gathering into small compass the accidence of the NT writers

I have done in my little Introduction (see above, p. 1 n.); and

it will have to be done again more minutely in the second

part of this Grammar. In the present chapter we shall try

to prepare ourselves for answering a preliminary question of

great importance, viz., what was the position occupied by the

NT writers between the literary and illiterate Greek of their

time. For this purpose the forms give us a more easily

applied test than the syntax. But before we can use them

we must make sure that we have them substantially as they

stood in the autographs. May not such MSS as x and B-

and D still more—have conformed their orthography to the

popular style, just as those of the "Syrian" revision con-

formed it in some respects to the literary standards? We

cannot give a universal answer to this question, for we have

seen already that an artificial orthography left the door open

for not a few uncertainties. But there are some suggestive

signs that the great uncials, in this respect as in others,

are not far away from the autographs. A very instruc-

tive phenomenon is the curious substitution of e]a<n for a@n

after o!j, o!pou, etc., which WH have faithfully reproduced

in numberless places from the MSS. This was so little recog-

nised as a genuine feature of vernacular Greek, that the

editors of the volumes of papyri began by gravely subscribing

"1. a@n" wherever the abnormal e]a<n showed, itself.  They



                  NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                       43


were soon compelled to save themselves the trouble. Deiss-

mann, BS 204, gave a considerable list from the papyri,

which abundantly proved the genuineness of this e]a<n; and

four years later (1901) the material had grown so much

that it was possible to determine the time-limits of the

peculiarity with fair certainty. If my count is right,1 the

proportion of e]a<n to a@n is 13 : 29 in papyri dated B.C.  The

proportion was soon reversed, the figures being 25 : 7 for

i/A.D., 76 : 9 for ii/, 9 : 3 for iii./, 4 : 8 for iv/.  This e]a<n

occurs last in a vi/ papyrus. It will be seen that the above

construction was specially common in i/ and ii/, when e]a<n  

greatly predominated, and that the fashion had almost died

away before the great uncials were written. It seems

that in this small point the uncials faithfully reproduce

originals written under conditions long obsolete.2  This

particular example affords us a very fair test; but we

may reinforce it with a variety of cases where the MSS

accurately reproduce the spelling of i/A.D. We will follow

the order of the material in WH App2 148 ff. ("Notes on

Orthography"): it is unnecessary to give detailed references

for the papyrus evidence, which will be found fully stated

in the papers from CR, already cited. We must bear

in mind throughout Hort's caution (p. 148) that "all our

MSS have to a greater or less extent suffered from the


            1 CR xv. 32, xv. 434: for the exx. B.C. I have added figures from papyri

read up to 1905. See further on p. 231; and compare Mr Thackeray's inde-

pendent statistics in JTS ix. 95, which give the same result.

            2 The case of a@n, if, is separate. In the NT this is confined apparently to Jn,

where it occurs six times. In the papyri it is decidedly a symptom of illiteracy.

With this agrees what Meisterhans3 255 f. says:  "Only six times is a@n found

from v/ to iii./B.C.  The form a@n is entirely foreign to the Attic inscrip-

tions, though it is often found in the Ionicising literary prose of v/

(Thucydides:  cf the Tragedians)."  Since a@n is the modern form, we may

perhaps regard it as a dialectic variant which ultimately ousted the Attic e]a<n.

It is not clear to what dialect it is to be assigned. Against Meisterhans'

suggestion of Ionic stands the opinion of H. W. Smyth (Ionic Dialect, p. 609)

that its occasional appearances in Ionic are due to Atticising! Certainly h@n is

the normal Ionic form, but a@n may have been Ionic as well, though rarer. (So

Dr P. Giles.) Nachmanson (p. 68) gives e]a<n as the only form from Magnesia.

Some peculiar local distribution is needed to explain why a@n (if) is absent

from the incorrectly written Rev, and reserved for the correct Jn. Both

a@n and e]a<n are found promiscuously in the Herculaneum rolls (Cronert




effacement of unclassical forms of words." Note also his

statement that the "Western" MSS show the reverse

tendency. "The orthography of common life, which to a

certain extent was used by all the writers of the NT, though

in unequal degrees, would naturally be introduced more

freely in texts affected by an instinct of popular adaptation."

He would be a bold man who should claim that even Hort

has said the last word on the problem of the d-text; and

with our new knowledge of the essentially popular character

of NT Greek as a whole, we shall naturally pay special

attention to documents which desert the classical spelling

for that which we find prevailing in those papyri that were

written by men of education approximately parallel with that

of the apostolic writers.

Orthography.                We begin with the " unusual aspirated

                                    forms " (p. 150), e]f ] e[lpi<di, etc., kaq ]  i[di<an,

a@fide etc., and ou]x o[li<goj.a  For all these there is a large

body of evidence from papyri and inscriptions. There are a

good many other words affected thus, the commonest of

which, e@toj, shows no trace of the aspiration in NT uncials.

Sins of commission as well as omission seem to be inevitable

when initial h has become as weak as in later Greek or in

modern English. Hence in a period when de-aspiration

was the prevailing tendency, analogy produced some cases of

reaction,-- kaq ] e!toj due to kaq ] h[me<ran, a@fide, to a]fora?n,

etc.;1 and the two types struggled for survival. MGr e]fe<to  

shows that the aspirated form did not always yield. The

uncertainty of the MS spelling thus naturally follows from

the history of the aspirate. It is here impossible to determine

the spelling of the autographs, but the wisdom of following the

great uncials becomes clearer as we go on. The reverse

phenomenon, psilosis, exx. of which figure on p. 151, is

part of the general tendency which started from the Ionic

and Aeolic of Asia Minor and became universal, as MGr

shows. The mention of tamei?on (p. 152—add pei?n from


            1 The curious coincidence that many, but by no means all, of these words

once began with F, led to the fancy (repeated by Hort) that the lost con-

sonant had to do with the aspiration. I need not stay to explain why this

cannot be accepted. The explanation by analogy within the Koinh< is that

favoured by Thumb. (See additional note, p. 234.)                    [a See p. 244.

                        NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                         45


p. 177) brings up a Hellenistic sound-law, universal after A.D.,

viz. the coalescence of two successive i sounds; the inf. diasei?n  

for --sei<ein (LPg—i/B.C.) will serve as a good example—cf

a]nasi? in Lk 235 x.1  Tamei?on, pei?n and u[gei<a are overwhelm-

ingly attested by the papyri of the Roman age, where we

seldom find the reversion seen in Mt 2022.  In a[leei?j (Mk 117 al)

we have dissimilation instead of contraction. Under the head

of Elision (p. 153), it may be worth while to mention that

the neglect of this even in a verse citation, as in the MSS

at 1 Co 1533, is in accord with an exceedingly common

practice in inscriptions. The presence or absence of mov-

able n (pp. 153 f.) cannot be reduced to any visible rule:

the evanescence of the nasal in pronunciation makes this

natural. Cf p. 49 below. Among the spellings recorded on

pp. 155 f. we note sfuri<j, ge<nhma, (vegetable product), and

-xu<nnw2 as well attested in the papyri; while the wavering of

usage between rr and rs is traceable down through Hellen-

istic to MGr.3  The case of the spelling a]rabw<n ("only

Western") is instructive. Deissmann (BS 183) gives but

one ex. of the rr form, and nine of the single consonant,

from three documents.  His natural questioning of Hort's

orthography is curiously discounted by the papyri published

up to 1905, which make the totals 11 for the "Western"

and 15 for rr.4  The word will serve as a reminder that

only the unanimity of the papyri can make us really sure

of our autographs' spelling: cf Deissmann, BS 181. The

wavering of inscriptional testimony as to Zmu<rna (ib. 185)

makes it impossible to be decisive; but the coincidence of

Smyraean coins makes it seem difficult to reject the witness

of x, on suspicion of "Western" taint. In words with ss the

papyri show the Attic tt in about the same small proportion

as the NT uncials, and with much the same absence of

intelligible principle.    @Ornic (Lk 1334  xD, also banned as

"Western") has some papyrus warrant, and survives in the

MGr (Cappadocian) o]rni<x: cf Thumb, Hellen. 90. It started

in Doric Greek. Coming to the note on te<ssarej and tessa-


            1 Buresch RhM xlvi. 213 n. Correct Ti in loc. So a]poklei?n, OP 265 (i/A.D.).

            2 So MGr (Cyprus), says Thumb in ThLZ xxviii. 423.

            3 Thumb 1.c. 422. On this and the ss, tt, see now Wackernagel’s Hellen-

istica (1907).                                                    4 CR xv. 33, since supplemented.



ra<konta (p. 157), we meet our first dissonance between NT

uncials and papyri. The e forms are in the latter relatively

few, and distinctly illiterate, in the first centuries A.D. Indeed

the evidence for te<ssera or te<sseraj is virtually nil before

the Byzantine age,1 and there does not seem to be the

smallest probability that the Apostles wrote anything but

the Attic form. For tessera<konta the case is a little better,

but it is hopelessly outnumbered by the -ar- form in docu-

ments antedating the NT uncials; the modern sera<nta, side

by side with sara<nta, shows that the strife continued. No

doubt before iv/A.D.  te<sserej -a (not tesse<rwn) had begun to

establish themselves in the place they hold to-day.   ]Erauna<w

is certain from i/A.D. onward;2 and Mayser (pp. 42, 56)

gives a ii/B.C. papyrus parallel for a]na<qhma  ]Attikw?j, a]na<qema (x bis, B

semel).  Spellings like kri<ma (p. 158) are supported by a great multi-

plication in Koinh< documents of -ma nouns with shortened

penultimate.  Cf Moeris (p. 28), a]na<qhma  ]Attikw?j, a]na<qema

[Ellhnikw?j, and note a]feu<rema bis in Par P 62 (ii/B.C.).

Even su<stema is found (not *su<stama), Gen 110, which shows

how late and mechanical this process was.  The convenient

differentiation of meaning between a]na<qhma and a]na<qema3

preserved the former intact, though xADX are quotable for

the levelling in its one NT occurrence.  The complete estab-

lishment of ei# mh<n after iii/B.C. is an interesting confirmation

of the best uncials. Despite Hort (p. 158), we must make

the difference between a ei# mh<n and h# mh<n "strictly orthograph-

ical" after all, if the alternative is to suppose any connexion

with ei], if.  Numerous early citations make this last assump-

tion impossible.4  On ei and i (p. 153) the papyri are


            1 Te<ssarej acc. is another matter: see above, p. 36.

            2 But e@reuna in the Ptolemaic PP iii. 65 bis, Par P 602, and Tb P 38, al.

So also MGr.   @Erauna was limited in range. See Buresch, RhM xlvi. 213 f.;

but note also Thumb, Hellen. 176 f., who disposes of the notion that it was an

Alexandrinism. Kretschmer, DLZ, 1901, p. 1049, brings parallels from Thera

(au]- in compounds of eri). See papyrus citations in CR xv. 34, xviii. 107.

            3 Deissmann has shown that a]na<qema, curse, is not an innovation of "Biblical

Greek" (ZNTW ii. 342).

            4 The syntax is decisive in the Messenian "Mysteries" inscription (91 B.C.,

Syll. 653, Michel 694): o]rkizo<ntw to>n gunaikono<mon: ei# ma>n e!cein e]pime<leian, ktl.

(The same inscription has ei#ten for ei#ta, as in Mk 428: this is also Ionic.) Add

Syll. 578 (iii/B.c.), and note. PP iii. 56 (before 260 Ex.) has h#, but I have

11 papyrus exx. of ei# from ii/B.C. to i/A.D.

                   NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                     47


entirely indecisive:  ei even for i is an everyday occurrence.

At any rate they give no encouragement to our introducing

gei<nomai and geinw<skw, as WH would like to do: to judge

from mere impressions, gi<nomai, is at least as common as

gei<nomai.  This matter of the notorious equivalence of a

and i is adduced by Thumb (reviewing Blass2, ThLZ, 1903,

421) as a specimen of philological facts which are not always

present to the minds of theological text-critics:  he cites

Brooke and M’Lean (JTS, 1902, 601 ff.), who seriously treat

i@den, i@don, as various readings deserving a place in the LXX

text.  Ti did the same in Rev, where even WH (see App2 169)

marked i@don, etc., as alternative.  In this matter no reader

of the papyri would care to set much store by some of the

minutiae which WH so conscientiously gather from the great

uncials. It would probably be safer in general to spell

according to tradition; for even WH admit that their para-

mount witness, B, "has little authority on behalf of a as

against i."  Finally might be mentioned a notable matter

of pronunciation to which Hort does not refer. The less

educated papyrus writers very frequently use a for au, before

consonants, from ii/B.C. onwards.1  Its frequent appearance in

Attic inscriptions after 74 B.C. is noted by Meisterhans3

154. In Lk 21 ( ]Agou<stou) this pronunciation shows itself,

according to xC*D; but we do not seem to find a]to<j, e[ato<n,

etc., in the MSS, as we should have expected.2 An excellent

suggestion is made by Dr J. B. Mayor (Expos. IV. x. 289)—

following up one of Hort's   that a]katapa<stouj in 2 Pet

214 AB may be thus explained: he compares a]xmhr&? 119 A.

In arguing his case, he fails to see that the dropping of a u

(or rather F) between vowels is altogether another thing; but

his remaining exx. (to which add those cited from papyri in

CR xv. 33, 434, xviii. 107) are enough to prove his point.

Laurent remarks (BCH 1903, p. 356) that this phenomenon

was common in the latter half of i/B.C.  We need not assume

its existence in the NT autographs.


            1 The same tendency appeared in late vulgar Latin, and perpetuated itself

in Romance: see Lindsay, Latin Language 41 f. See early exx. in Mayser 114.

            2 In MGr (see Thumb, Handbuch,, p. 59) we find au]to<j (pronounced aftos)

side by side with a]to<j (obsolete except in Pontus), whence the short form to<,

etc. There was therefore a grammatical difference in the Koinh< itself.



Inflexion :--                 We pass on to the noun flexion (p. 163).

 Nouns.                       Nouns in -ra and participles in –ui?a in the

                                    papyri regularly form genitive and dative in

-hj -^, except that –ui<aj, -ui<% are still found in the Ptolemaic

period. Here again the oldest uncials alone (in NT, but very

rarely in LXX) generally support the unmistakable verdict of

the contemporary documents of the Koinh<. We saw reason

(above, p. 38) to regard this as the analogical assimilation of

-ra nouns (and—somewhat later and less markedly— -ui?a  

participles) to the other -a flexions of the first declension,

rather than as an Ionic survival. We may add that as ma<xaira  

produced maxai<rhj on the model of do<ca do<chj, so, by a

reverse analogy process, the gen. Nu<mfhj as a proper name

produced what may be read as Nu<mfa Numfan in nom. and

acc.:  the best reading of Col 415 (au]th?j B) may thus stand,

without postulating a Doric Nu<mfan, the improbability of

which decides Lightfoot for the alternative.1 The heteroclite

proper names, which fluctuate between 1st and 3rd decl., are

paralleled by Egyptian place-names in papyri. Critics, like

Clemen, whose keen scent has differentiated documents by the

evidence of Lu<stran and Lu<stroij in Ac 146.8 (see Knowling,

EGT in loc.),2 might be invited to track down the "redactor"

who presumably perpetrated either Kerkesou<x^ or Kerxe-

sou<xwn in Gil 46 (ii/A.D.). Ramsay (Paul 129) shows that

Mu<ra acc. -an and gen. -wn.  Uncritical people may

perhaps feel encouraged thus to believe that Mt 21 and

Mt 23, despite the heteroclisis, are from the same hand.a  The

variations between 1st and 2nd decl. in words like e[kato<ntar-

xoj (-hj) are found passim, in papyri: for conscientious labour

wasted thereon see Schmiedel's amusing note in his Preface

to WS. In contracted nouns and adjectives we have

abundant parallels for forms like o]ste<wn, xruse<wn, and for

xrusa?n (formed by analogy of a]rgura?n). The good attesta-

tion of the type noo<j noi~, after the analogy of bou?j, may

be observed in passing. The fact that we do not find

short forms of nouns in -ioj -ion (e.g. ku<rij, paidi<n)b is a


            1 See the writer's paper in Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. Oct. 1898, p. 12, where

the archaic vocative in -ă is suggested as the connecting link. Cf  Dou?la as a

proper name (Dieterich, Unters. 172), and Ei]rh?na in a Christian inscr. (Ramsay,

C. & B. ii. 497 n.).                     2 Cf Harnack, Apostelg). 86 n.   [ab See p. 244.

                      NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                       49


noteworthy test of the educational standard of the writers,

for the papyri show them even as early as and always

in company with other indications of comparative illiteracy.

These forms, the origin of which seems to me as perplexed as

ever, despite the various efforts of such scholars as Thumb,

Hatzidakis, and Brugmann to unravel it, ultimately won a

monopoly, as MGr shows everywhere. We must not omit

mention of the "Mixed Declension," which arose from

analogies in the –a- and -o- nouns, and spread rapidly because

of its convenience, especially for foreign names. The stem

ends in a long vowel or diphthong, which receives -j for nom.

and -n for acc., remaining unchanged in voc., gen. and dat.

sing.   ]Ihsou?j is the most conspicuous of many NT exx. It

plays a large part in MGr.1 Passing lightly over the exact

correspondence between uncials and papyri in the accusatives

of klei<j and xa<rij (p. 164), we may pause on xei?ran in

Jn 2025 xAB. The great frequency of this formation in

uneducated papyri, which adequately foreshadows its victory

in MGr,2 naturally produced sporadic examples in our MSS,

but it is not at all likely that the autographs showed it (unless

possibly in Rev). Gregory (in Ti, vol. iii. 118 f.) registers

forms like a]sssfalh?n and podh<rhn, which also have papyrus

parallels, but could be explained more easily from the analogy

of 1st decl. nouns. Mei<zwn acc. (Jn 536 ABEGMD) is a good

example of the irrational addition of n, which seems to have

been added after long vowels almost as freely as the equally

unpronounced i.3  One further noun calls for comment, viz.,

]Elaiw?noj in Ac 112 (p. 165). The noun e]laiw<n = olivetum

occurs at least thirty times in papyri between i/ and iii/A.D.,

which prompts surprise at Blass's continued scepticism.

[Elikw<n (salicetum) is an ancient example of the turning of

a similar word into a proper name.4


            1 See CR xviii. 109, Kuhner-Blass § 136.

            2 It seems most probable that the modern levelling of 1st and 3rd decl.

started with this accusative. See Thumb, Handbuch 28, 35; also p. 18 for

the pronunciation. of -n final. The formation occurs often in LXX.

            3 Thus a!lwi is acc. sing., while h#n (=^#) is sometimes subjunctive. For

exx. see CR xviii. 108. So o!sa e]a>n h#n in Gen 617 E. See p. 168.

            4 See Deissmann, BS 208 if., and the addenda in Expos. vii. 111, viii.

429; also below, pp. 69 and 235.  See also p. 244, on suggeneu?si (App.2 165).



Indeclinable                              Two curious incleclinables meet us period-

Adjectives.                ically among the adjectives. Plh<rhj should

                                    be read in Mk 428 (C*, Hort) and Ac 65

(xAC*DEHP al.), and is probably to be recognised in Jn 114

(-rh D).  Cf 2 Jn 8 (L), Mk 819 (AFGM al.), Ac 63 (AEHP al.)

1928 (AEL 13).  Thus in almost every NT occurrence of an

oblique case of this word we meet with the indeclinable form

in good uncials.  The papyrus citations for this begin with

LPc (ii/B.C.), which suits its appearance in the LXX. We

cannot well credit educated writers, such as Luke, with this

vulgar form; but I readily concede to Deissmann (Licht v.

Osten 85 f.) that it is possible in Jn. (Here B. Weiss and

others would make the adj. depend in sense upon au]tou?, but  

do<can seems more appropriate, from the whole trend of the

sentence: it is the "glory" or "self-revelation" of the Word

that is "full of grace and truth.")  One might fairly

doubt whether expositors would have thought of making

kai> e]qeasa<meqa . . . patro<j a parenthesis, had it not been

for the supposed necessity of construing plh<rhj as a nomina-

tive. We restore the popular form also in Mk.1  The other

indeclinables in question are plei<w and the other forms in -w

from the old comparative base in -yos. Cronert (in Philologus

lxi. 161 ff.) has shown how frequently in papyri and even

in literature these forms are used, like plh<rhj and h!misu,

without modification for case.  In Mt 2653 we have a

good example preserved in xBD, the later MSS duly mend-

ing the grammar with plei<ouj. Is it possible that the

false reading in Jn 1029 started from an original mei<zw of

this kind?

            Many more noun forms might be cited in which the

MSS prove to have retained the genuine Hellenistic, as evi-

denced by the papyri; but these typical examples will serve.


            1 See the full evidence in Cronert Mem. 179: add CR xv. 35, 435, xviii. 109

also C. H. Turner in JTS i. 120 ff. and 561 f. ; Radermacher in RhM lvii. 151; 

Reinhold 53. Deissmann, New Light 44 f., deals briefly with Jn 1.c. Winer, 

p. 705, compares the "grammatically independent" plh<rhj clause with the

nom. seen in Phil 319, Mk 1249.  W. F. Moulton makes no remark there, but

in the note on Jn 114 (Milligan-Moulton in loc.) he accepts the construction

found in the RV, or permits his colleague to do so. At that date the ease

for the indeclinable plh<rhj was before him only in the LXX (as Job 2124

xBAC); See Blass 81 n.: Mr R. R. Ottley adds a probable ex. in Is 632 B.

                      NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                       51


Verbs naturally supply yet more abundant material, but we

need not cite it fully here. Pursuing the order of WH App2

Verbs :—                   we pause a moment on the dropped augments,

                                    etc., in pp. 168 f., which are well illustrated

in papyri. This phenomenon goes back to Herodotus, and

Augments.                 well be a contribution of Ionic to the

                                    Common Greek. Diphthongs are naturally the

first to show the tendency: it is not likely, for example, that

Drs Grenfell and Hunt would now, as in the editio princeps

of the Oxyrhynchus Logia (1897, p. 7), call oi]kodomhme<nh a

"more serious error" than ai for e or ei for i. The double

augment of a]pekatesta<qh in papyri and NT may be noted as

a suggestive trifle under this head of augments before we pass

Person                       on. Very satisfactory confirmation of our

endings.                     uncial tradition is supplied by the person-

                                    endings. The functionally useless difference

of ending between the strong and the weak aorist began to

disappear in our period. The strong aorist act. or mid. is

only found in some thirty -w verbs (and their compounds) in

the NT; and while the great frequency of their occurrence

protected the root-form, the overwhelming predominance of

the sigmatic aorist tended to drive off the field its rival's

person-endings. The limits of this usage in the NT text are

entirely in accord with the better-written papyri. Thus we

find little encouragement for gena<menoj,1 for which any number

of papyrus citations may be made. But when we notice gena  

[. . .] in BU 1033 (ii/A.D.) corrected to geno . . . by a second

hand,2 we see that education still rebelled against this develop-

ment, which had begun with the Attic ei#paj centuries before.

The tendency, in fairly cultured speech, mainly concerned the

act., and the indic. middle. For the details see the careful

note in WS p. 111. Whether the same intrusion should


            1 So Lk 2244 x, Lk 2422 B, and Mk 626 and 1542 D: there is no further uncial

support, if Ti is reliable, throughout Mt, Mk, and Lk, in a total of 40 occur

rences. The ptc. does not occur in Jn. I have not looked further.

            2 Eu[ra<menoj in Heb 912 (all uncials except D2 is perhaps due to the frequency

of 1st aor. in -ra. The ptc. itself appears in an inscr. of the Roman age,

IMA iii. 1119. P. Buttmaim cites gena<menoj from Archimedes (iii/B.C.), though

Wilamowitz-Mollendorf in his extracts from the Psammiles (Lesebuch 243 ff.)

edits geno<menoj seven times. But in a Doric author the question concerns us

little MGr shows that gena<menoj came to stay.



be allowed in the imperf., eg. ei#xan Mk 87, is doubtful,

view of the scanty warrant from the papyri. It is for the

same reason more than doubtful whether we can accept

parela<bosan 2 Th 36 xAD*: I have only 4 imperf. and

2 aor. exx. from Ptolemaic times, and the forms e]lamba<-

nesan and a]fi<lesan (BM 18, 41, 161 B.C.—cited by WM

91 n.5) show that the innovation had not attained great

fixity before i/A.D. The ocular confusion suggested by Hort

in 2 Th l.c. would be furthered by the later currency of this

convenient ending. What we find it hard to allow in a

writer of Paul's culture is a little easier in Jn (1522. 24

xBL etc.); and e]doliou?san Rom 313 (LXX) might have been

written by Paul himself, apart from quotation—we can

hardly cite any other 3 pl. imperf. from –o<w verbs. As

early as ii/B.C. we find h]ciou?san in Magn. 47: see Nach-

manson's parallels, pp. 148 f.  The –ej of 2 sg. perf., read

by WH in Rev 23.5 1117, and in 1st aor. Rev 24, may

perhaps be allowed in Rev as a mark of imperfect Greek:

it has no warrant from educated writing outside.1 The

3 pl. perf. in -an is well attested in Ac 1636 and Ro 167

xAB, Lk 936 BLX, Col 21 x*ABCD*P , as well as in Jn, Jas

and Rev, where it raises less difficulty. It certainly makes

a fair show in the papyri, from 164 B.C. down (see Mayser

323), but not in documents which would encourage us to

receive it for Luke or even Paul. As the only difference

between perf. and 1 aor.-endings, the -asi was foredoomed to

yield to the assimilating tendency; but possible occurrences

of –an are relatively few, and the witness of the papyri inde-

cisive, and it is safer, except in Rev, to suppose it a vulgarism

due to the occasional lapse of an early scribe.2 If it were

really Alexandrian, as Sextus Empiricus says, we could

understand its comparative frequency in the papyri; but

Thumb decisively rejects this (Hellenismus 170), on the

ground of its frequent appearance elsewhere.3  The termina-


            1 Even B shows it, in Ac 2122. Note also a]peka<luyej Mt 1125 D.

            2 Ge<gonan formed the starting-point of a valuable paper by K. Buresch in

RhM, 1891, pp. 193 ff., which should not be missed by the student of Hellenistic,

though it needs some modification in the light of newer knowledge. Thus he

accepts the Alexandrian provenance of this and the -osan type.

            3 At Delphi, for example, with imperf. and aor. -osan (see p. 37).

                   NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                   53


tion -asi invades what is formally, though not in meaning, a

present, in the case of h!kasi, which is a genuine vernacular

form (cf. h!kamen in Pal P 48 (ii/B.C.). WH (App2 176) reject

it as "Western" in Mk 83, regarding it as a paraphrase

of ei]si<n (BLD); but it must be observed that the Lewis

Syriac is now to be added to xADN, with the Latin and

other versions, which support it. It is after all a form

which we might expect in Mk, and equally expect to find

removed by revisers, whether Alexandrian or Syrian. By

way of completing the person-endings, we may observe that

the pluperf. act. has exclusively the later -ein form, with

-ei- even in 3 pl.;1 and that the 3 pl. imper. in -twsan and

-sqwsan are unchallenged.

            Taking up the contract verbs, we note how the confusions

between –a<w and –e<w forms (p. 173) are supported by our

external evidence, and by MGr. Our first serious revolt from

WH concerns the infinitive in –oi?n (and by analogy -%?n). The

evidence for it is "small, but of good quality" (p. 173—cf

Introd. § 410): it is in fact confined to B*D in Mt 1332, B*

in Mk 432, x* in 1 Pet 215, BD* in Heb 75 (where see Ti),

and a lectionary in Lk 931. This evidence may pass if our

object is merely to reproduce the spelling of the age of B;

but absolutely no corroboration seems discoverable, earlier

than the date of B itself, except an inscription cited in

Hatzidakis (p. 193),2 and two papyri, BM iii. p. 136 bis

(18 A.D.), and PFi 24 (ii/A.D.). Blass (p. 48) does not regard

the form as established for the NT. We can quote against

it from i—iv/A.D. plentiful exx. of –ou?n in papyri. (That –ou?n

and –a?n (not %?n) are the correct Attic forms, may be seen from

Meisterhans3 175 f., which Hort's hesitation as to –a?n

prompts me to quote: for the reason of the apparent

irregularity see Brugmann, Gr. Gramm.3 61, or WS 42.)

Next may be named, for –a<w verbs, the 2nd sing. pres. mid. in

-a?sai (kauxa?sai, o]duna?sai), which has been formed afresh

in the Koinh< with the help of the -sai that answers to 3rd


            1 There are isolated exceptions in the papyri.

            2 So WS 116 n. Two other inscriptions are cited by Hatzidakis, but

without dates. Vitelli (on PFi. l.c.) refers to Cronert 220 n., who corrects

Schmieders philology: the form is of course a simple product of analogy--

lu<ei:  lu<ein :: dhloi? : dhloi?n,



sing. -tai in the perfect.1 It is well paralleled by the early

fut. xariei?sai in GH 14 c (iii/B.C.), for which xari<esai appears

in OP 292 (i/A.D.). Fa<gesai and pi<esai, which naturally went

together, give us the only exx. outside –a<w verbs, to which

the quotations in G. Meyer Gr. Gram.3 549 suggest that

the innovation was mainly confined. The later extensions

may be noted in Hatzidakis 188. Note the converse change

in du<n^. Unfortunately we do not seem to have exx. of the

subj. of –o<w verbs, to help the parsing of i!na zhlou?te and

the like (p. 167). Blass (Kuhner3 i. 2. 587, and Gr. 48)

accepts Hort's view that the subj. of these verbs became

identical with the indic., just as it always was in the –a<w  

verbs. (See W. F. Moulton's note, WM 363. Ex 116 o!tan

maiou?sqe . . . kai> w#si, there cited, is a very good example.)

But Blass rightly, I think, rejects the supposition that

eu]odw?tai (1 Co 162) can be anything but a pres. subj. To

read eu]o<dwtai, as perf. indic., is possible, though the editors

do not seem by their printing to have favoured that

alternative. That it is a perf. subj. is extremely unlikely.

The parallels on which Hort (p. 179) relies—set forth with

important additions in Blass's Kuhner i. 2. 100 f.--do

nothing to make it likely that the Koinh< had any perf. subj.

apart from the ordinary periphrastic form.2  It is hard,

moreover, to see why the pres. subj. is not satisfactory here:

see Dr Findlay's note in loc. (EGT vol. ii.). Finally we

note the disappearance of the –h<w verbs from the Koinh<,

with the exception of zh<w and xrh<omai3 (as we ought to call

them); also the sporadic appearance of the uncontracted

e]de<eto Lk 838 (B and a few others –ei?to, which looks like a

correction). It is supported by Esth 143A, BU 926 (ii/A.D.)

and the Mithras Liturgy (p. 12): it is probably, as Blass

suggests, a mere analogy-product from de<omai conjugated


            1 To suppose this (or fa<gesai, similarly formed from fa<getai) a genuine

survival of the pre-Greek -esai, is characteristic of the antediluvian philology

which still frequently does duty for science in this country. Krumbacher, KZ

xxvii. 497, scoffs at E. Curtius for talking of an "uralte" –sai.

            2 To argue this would demand a very technical discussion. It is enough

to say that the Attic kektw?mai and memnw?mai are not derivative verbs, and that

the three derivative verbs which can be quoted, from Doric, Cretan and

Ionic respectively, supply slender justification for the supposed Koinh< parallel.

            3 Xra?sqai was the Hellenistic infin., but there is no example of it in NT.

                   NOTES ON THE ACCIDENCE.                        55


like lu<omai,1 and owes nothing to Ionic. It affords no

warrant for suspecting uncontracted forms elsewhere: kate<xeen

Mk 143 is an aor., as in Attic.

            The verbs in -mi, continued in Hellenistic to suffer from

the process of gradual extinction which began even in

Homeric Greek, and in MGr has eliminated every form

outside the verb "be."  The papyri agree with the NT

Verbs in -mi.             uncials in showing forms like du<nomai, and

                                    -e<deto (as well as –e<doto), and various

flexions after contract verb types. New verbs like i[sta<nw2

are formed, and new tenses like –e!staka (transitive). The

most important novelty apart from these is the aor. subj.

doi? and gnoi?,3 as to which W. F. Moulton's view (WM 360 n.)

is finally established by good attestation from papyri. The

pres. subj. didoi?, after the –o<w verbs, set the analogy at

work. That in much later documents such forms may be

opt. need not trouble us. The form d&<h is more difficult.

Schwyzer (p. 191) quotes Moeris for poi&<h in Common

Greek, and calls in the analogy of tim&<h: the further step

to d&<h (also attested by Moeris) was eased by the fact

that doi<h drew towards cliff, and would consequently become

monosyllabic: see p. 45.  Dw<^ (subj.) seems a syntact-

ical necessity in Eph 117 (B d&?), 2 Tim 225 (cf later

uncials in Eph 316 and Jn 1516):  this form, well known in

Homer, survives in Boeotian and Delphian inscriptions, as

Michel 1411 (ii/B.C., Delphi), 1409 (do).4  It is quite intel-

ligible that NW Greek (cf above, p. 36 f.) should have

thus contributed to the Koinh<; an item which (like other

contributions from a single quarter, e.g. te<ssarej acc.) kept

only a precarious existence by the side of other forms. We

return to this later (pp. 193 f.). From oi#da we have in papyri,

as in NT, ordinary perfect indic. flexion,5 and pluperf. for

^@dein, with occasional literary revival of the older irregular

forms. Finally, in the conjugation of ei]mi<, the middle forms


            1 See below, p. 234.

            2 The form –sta<nw in x and D (p. 175) is interesting in that it exactly antici-

pates the MGr. So NP 53 (iii/A.D.), in Wilcken's reading; Syl/. 73776 (ii/A.D.):

            3 So in 2nd person also, a]podoi?j Lk 1259 D (as papyri).

            4 See G. Meyer3 656. Witkowski, p. xxii, reads a]podou<hi (subj.) in Par P 58.

            5 Probably Ionic: so Herodotus, and even our texts of Homer (0d. i. 337).



are well established (h@mhn, h@meqa—see above, p. 37), as to a

still further extent in MGr. Even the MGr present ei#mai is

found already in a Phrygian inscription v. Ramsay C. and B.

ii. 565 (early iv/A.D.). G. Meyer (3 569) regarded e@stai as

the 3rd sing. of this, transferred to future meaning. Note

that the old 1st sing. h#n reappears in D at Ac 2018: elsewhere

h@mhn stands alone. The rarer h@tw alternates with e@stw, in

papyri and late inscriptions, as in NT.

Miscellaneous         It is needless to add any details as to

                                    noteworthy forms among the "principal

parts" of verbs. Papyrus parallels may be cited for h]noi<ghn,

for the double formation of a[rpa<zw and basta<zw (h[rpa<ghn

and h[rpa<sqhn, e]ba<stasa and e]ba<staca1), for the alternative

perf. of tugxa<nw (see Ti on Heb 86), for the 1 aor. of a@gw, etc.

Note especially the intrusion of the m, from the present of lam-

ba<nw into various parts of the verb, and into derivative nouns

(p. 149). This is normal in the papyri after the Ptolemaic

period, in which there is still some lingering of the older forms.

The same phenomenon occurred partially in Ionic; but the

Ionic fut. la<myomai, by taking over the a as well as the nasal

of the present, shows that it was an independent development

in the Koinh<. This will serve as a final example to show that

the late uncials and cursives, in restoring classical forms which

the best MSS set aside, were deserting the Greek of the NT

period in the interests of an artificial grammar.


            1 So P 1 38 (? rightly) in Rev 22; cf dusba<staktoj Lk 1146. It is MGr.

          ADDITIONAL Noms.—Superficially parallel with te<ssera, etc. is the curious

variant e]kaqeri<sqh, which in Mk 141f. immediately follows kaqari<sqhti. WH

(App.2 157) note that this occurs only in augmented or reduplicated tense-forms:

so also in LXX (Thackeray). Clearly the e came in as a second augment, follow-

ing what looked like kata<. For the itacism of ai and e (WH ib.), cf Mayser

107, who shows that the change of ai was illiterate, and quite rare in Ptolemaic

times. Later it became normal, till ai and e were only distinguished ortho-

graphically. Mr Thackeray sends me statistics as to ou]qei<j, supplement-

ing the tables of Mayser (pp. 180 ff.). The phenomenon seems to be of Attic

origin, appearing early in iv/B.C. Thence it spread to the Koinh<, where in

ii/B.C. it greatly predominated. But in i/A.D. ou]dei<j was markedly recovering,

and before 111/A.D. it had driven out ou]qei<j. The survival of ou]qei<j in NT uncials

is therefore significant. The compound e]couqenei?n, born perhaps in ii/B.C., is

found in the more literary LXX writers, and in Luke and Paul: the later LXX

books show e]coudenou?n coined when ou]dei<j was reasserting itself. The 3 pl.

opt. in -san may be noted in D (Ac 1727 bis). The agreement of D with the

LXX in a formation markedly absent from the NT is curious; but it must not

(says Dr Thumb) be used to support any theory of Egyptian origin for the MS.






                                   CHAPTER IV.



                           SYNTAX: THE NOUN.



WE address ourselves to the syntax, beginning with that of

the Noun.  There are grammatical categories here that

Number:—               scarcely ask for more than bare mention.

                                    On the subject of Number there is one

obvious thing to say  the dual has gone. Many Greek

dialects, Ionic conspicuously, had discarded this hoary luxury

The Dual.                   long before the Common Greek was born

Neuter Plurals.        and no theory of the relation of the Koinh< to

                                    the dialects would allow Attic to force on

the resultant speech a set of forms so useless as these. The

dual may well have arisen in prehistoric days when men could

not count beyond two; and it is evidently suffering from

senile decay in the very earliest monuments we possess of

Indo-Germanic language. It had somewhat revived in Attic—

witness the inscriptions, and folk-songs like the "Harmodius";

but it never invaded Hellenistic, not even when a Hebrew

dual might have been exactly rendered by its aid. We shall

see when we come to the adjectives that the disappearance

of the distinction between duality and plurality had wider

results than the mere banishment of the dual number from

declensions and conjugations. The significant new flexion of

du<o should be noted here: there is a pluralised dative dusi<,

but in other respects du<o is indeclinable.   @Amfw has dis-

appeared in favour of the normally declined    @amfo<teroj.

Apart from this matter the only noteworthy point under

Number is the marked weakening of the old principle that

neuter plurals (in their origin identical with collectives in

-a1) took a singular verb. In the NT we have a large


            1 See Giles, Manual2, 264 ff.  I might add here that Dr Giles thinks the

dual may have been originally a specialised form of the plural, used (as in

Homer always) to describe natural or artificial pairs. That this is its earliest




extension of what in classical Greek was a comparatively rare

licence, the plural verb being allowed when the individual

items in the subject are separately in view, while the singular

treats the subject as a collective unity.1 The liberty of using

the plural freely makes the use of the singular distinctly

more significant than it could be in classical Greek.

"Pindaric"                 It may be added that the converse

Construction.           phenomenon, known as the sxh?ma Pinda-

                                    riko<n, is found in the NT: see Mk 441, Mt 519

619, 1 Co 1550, Rev 912. It is really only a special case of

anacoluthon, no more peculiar to Pindar than to Shakspere.

An interesting communication by Prof. Skeat to the Cam-

bridge Philological Society (Proceedings, lxvii. p. 2) describes

a rule in English, from Alfred downwards, that "when a verb

occurs in the 3rd person in an introductory manner . . . ,

it is often used in the singular number, though the subject

may be in the plural.  "Thus" what cares these roarers for

the name of king?"-- "and now abideth faith, hope, [love],

these three,"—etc.; the last being as true to English idiom

as to its original Greek. That the construction is also pos-

sible with order inverted, is shown by another citation, "For

thy three thousand ducats here is six." (See also p. 234.)

Impersonal                    An idiomatic use of the plural appears

Plural.                       in passages like Mt 220 teqnh<kasin, Lk 1220

                                    ai]tou?sin, where there is such a suppression

of the subject in bringing emphasis on the action, that

we get the effect of a passive, or of French on, German

man. Our "they say" is like it. Lightfoot compares the

"rhetorical plural" in Euripides IT 1359, kle<ptontej e]k

gh?j co<ana kai> quhpo<louj (i.e. Iphigenia).  Add Livy ix. 1,

"auctores belli [one man] dedidimus."  Winer gives other

parallels, but rightly refuses to put Mt 98 2744, 1 Co 1529

163 into this category. If Heb 101  has not a primitive

error (as Hort suspected), the plural subject of prosfe<rousin


extant use is certain, but its origin may very well have been as suggested above.

There are savages still who cannot count beyond two: see Tylor, Primitive

Culture, i. 242 f. The Indo-Germans had numerals up to 100 before their

separation; but the superfluous dual, I suggest, had been already utilised for a

new purpose.

            1 This is conspicuous in D (Wellh. 12).

                          SYNTAX:  THE NOUN.                       59


and du<nantai might fairly be described in this way; for the

priests are certainly not prominent in the writer's thought,

and a passive construction would have given the meaning

exactly. So Westcott (for prosf.) who quotes Jn 156 202,

Rev 126, Mt 716, Mk 1013, Lk.1723. See also p. 163, n. 2.

Gender:—                     On Gender likewise there is not much to

                                    say. There are sundry differences in the

gender of particular words; but even MGr is nearly as much

under the domination of this outworn excrescence on language

as was its classical ancestor. That English should still be almost

the only European language to discard gender, indicating only

distinction of sex, is exceedingly strange. As in the case of

Number, we have to refer to ordinary grammars for some

uses of gender which NT Greek shares with the classical.

One or two cases of slavish translation should be mentioned.

In Rom 114 the LXX t&? Ba<al is cited as t^? B., which

occurs however three times in LXX, and in Ascensio Isaiae 12.

Prof. F. C. Burkitt (CR xiv. 458), in commenting on this last

passage, accepts the explanation that the gender is deter-

mined by the Q’ri tw,Bo, translated ai]sxu<nh.  In Mk 1211  

and Mt 2142 we have the LXX au!th=txzo:  the translators

may perhaps have interpreted their own Greek by recalling

Breach of                  kefalh>n gwni<aj. Breach of concord in Gender

Concord.                   has been already alluded to in a note on the

                                    Greek of Rev (p. 9).a  The very difficult ei@ tij

spla<gxna kai> oi]ktirmo< of Phil 21 comes in here, involving

as it does both number and gender. We might quote in illus-

tration Par P 15 (ii/B.C.) e]pi ti mi<an tw?n . . . .oi]kiw?n, and

BU 326 (ii/A.D.) ei] de< ti perissa> gra<mmata . . . katali<pw.b

But Blass's ei@ ti, read throughout, is a great improvement:

si quid valet is the sense required, as Lightfoot practically

shows by his translation. H. A. A. Kennedy (EGT in loc.)

makes independently the same suggestion. Note that the Codex

Amiatinus (and others) read si quid viscera.             [a b See p. 241.

            A significant remark may be quoted from the great

Byzantinist, K. Krumbacher, a propos of these breaches of

concord. In his Problem. d. neugr. Schriftsprache (p. 50) he

observes:  "If one finds in Greek literature, between the early

Byzantine age and the present day, mistakes like leainw?n mh>

sugxwrou<ntwn, fulai> katalabo<ntej, pa<ntwn tw?n gunaikwn,



etc., it shows that we have to do with a half-dead form, in

which mistakes slip in as soon as grammatical vigilance nods."

When we remember that the MGr present participle, e.g.

de<nontaj, is as indeclinable as our own equivalent "binding,"

we can see some reason for the frequency of non-agreement

in this part of the verb. What became common in the early

Byzantine literature would naturally be incipient in the

vernacular of imperfectly educated persons centuries before,

like the author of Rev.1 A few nouns wavering in gender

may be named.  Limo<j is masculine in Par P 22 (ii/B.C.) and

feminine in 26, which is written by the same hand; further

parallels need not be sought for the inconsistency between

Lk 425 and Ac 1128, Lk 1514.  The apparently purposeless

variation between h[ qeo<j and h[ qea< in Ac 19 is explained by

inscriptions.2 Some masculine -oj nouns like e@leoj, h#xoj,

plou?toj, passed into the neuter declension in Hellenistic,

and remain there in MGr: see Hatzidakis, pp. 356

Case:—                            We are free now to examine the pheno-

Disappearance         mena of Case. To estimate the position of

of the                          Hellenistic cases along the line of develop-

Local Cases.             ment, we may sum up briefly what may be seen

at the two ends of this line. MGr has only the three cases

we ourselves possess—nominative, accusative, and genitive.

(The survival of a few vocative forms, in which MGr and

Hellenistic are on practically the same footing, does not affect

this point, for the vocative is not really a case.) At the

very dawn of Greek language history, as we know it, there is

only one more, the dative, though we can detect a few

moribund traces of instrumental, locative, and ablative. For

all practical purposes, we may say that Greek lost in pre-


            1 Cf Reinhold 57 f., and p. 234 below. We may cite typical breaches of con-

cord from the papyri. Firstly, case:—KP 37 (ii/A.D.)   !Hrwn e@graya u[pe>r au]tou?

mh> ei]dw>j gr(a<mmata):—this is quite true as it stands, but Heron meant ei]do<toj!

So BU 31 (ei]do<j!). BU 1002 (i/B.C.)   ]Antifi<lou   !Ellhn . . . i[ppa<rxhj. Letr.

149 (ii/A.D.) tou? a]delfou? . . . o[ dia<toxoj (=diad.). OP 527 (ii–iii/A.D.) peri>

Serh<nou tou? gnafe<wj o[ sunergazo<menoj.a  Then gender:—BU 997 (ii/B.C.) th<n,

u[pa<rxon au]tw?i oi]ki<an.  Th. 577 (iii/A.D.) stolh>n leinou?n. Ib. 1013

(i/A.D.) h[ o[mologw?n.  Ib. 1036 (ii/A.D.) stolh>n leinou?n.  LPu (ii/B.C.) th>n tw?n

qew?n a@nasson a]kou<santa. AP 113 (ii/A.D.) o[ teteleuthkw>j au]th?j mh<thr.

            2 Cf Blass on 1927:  "Usitate dicitur h[ qeo<j (ut v.37); verum etiam inscriptio

Ephesia . . . t^? megi<st^ qe%?  ]Efesi<%   ]Arte<midi, cum alibi . . . h[ qeo<j eadem dicatur.

. . . Itaque formulam sollemnem h[ mega<lh qea>.  "A. mira diligentia L. conservavit."

                        ab See p. 244.



                            SYNTAX: THE NOUN.                     61


historic times three out of the primitive seven cases (or eight,

if we include the vocative), viz., the from case (ablative), the

with case (instrumental1), and the at or in case (locative), all

of which survived in Sanskrit, and appreciably in Latin,

though obscured in the latter by the formal syncretism of

ablative, instrumental, and (except in singular of -a- and

-o- nouns) locative. In other words, the purely local cases,

in which the meaning could be brought out by a place-

adverb (for this purpose called a preposition), sacrificed their

distinct forms and usages.2 Greek is accordingly marked,

Encroachment         like English, by the very free use of preposi-

of Prepositions.       tions. This characteristic is most obviously

                                    intensified in Hellenistic, where we are per-

petually finding prepositional phrases used to express rela-

tions which in classical Greek would have been adequately

given by a case alone.  It is needless to illustrate this fact,

except with one typical example which will fitly introduce

the next point to be discussed. We have already (pp. 11 f.)

referred to the instrumental e]n, formerly regarded as a trans-

lation of the familiar Hebrew B;, but now well established as

vernacular Greek of Ptolemaic and later times. The examples

adduced all happen to be from the category "armed with";

but it seems fair to argue that an instrumental sense for e]n

is generally available if the context strongly pleads for it,

without regarding this restriction or assuming Hebraism.3

Nor is the intrusion of e]n exclusively a feature of "Biblical"

Greek, in the places where the prep. seems to be superfluous.

Thus in Gal 51 the simple dative appears with e]ne<xomai:

Par P 63 (ii/B.C.—a royal letter) gives us tou>j e]nesxhme<nouj


            1 The instrumental proper all but coincided with the dative in form

throughout the sing. of the 1st and 2nd decl., so that the still surviving

dative of instrument may in these declensions be regarded as the ancient case:

the comitative "with," however, was always expressed by a preposition, except

in the idiom au]toi?j a]ndra<si, and the "military dative.'

            2 Note that the to case also disappeared, the "terminal acculsative" seen in

ire Romam,. The surviving Greek cases thus represent purely grammatical

relations, those of subject, object, possession, remoter object, and instrument.

            3 I should not wish to exclude the possibility that this e]n, although correct

vernacular Greek, came to be used rather excessively by translators from

Hebrew, or by men whose mother tongue was Aramaic. The use would be

explained on the same lines as that of i]dou< on p. 11.



e@n tisin a]gnoh<masin.  In Par P 22 (ii/B.C.) we have t&? lim&?

dialuqh?nai, while the contemporary 28 has dialuo<menai e]n  

t&? lim&?.  What gave birth to this extension of the uses

of e]n?  It seems certainly to imply a growing lack of

clearness in the simple dative, resulting in an unwilling-

ness to trust it to express the required meaning without

further definition. We may see in the multiplied use of pre-

positions an incipient symptom of that simplification of cases

which culminates in the abbreviated case system of to-day.

Decay of the                   The NT student may easily overlook the

Dative :—                 fact that the dative has already entered

                                    the way that leads to extinction. I take

a page at random from Mk in WH, and count 21 datives

against 23 genitives and 25 accusatives. A random page

from the Teubner Herodotus gives me only 10, against

23 and 29 respectively one from Plato 11, against 12

and 25. Such figures could obviously prove nothing con-

clusive until they were continued over a large area, but

they may be taken as evidence that the dative is not dead

Uses with                  yet. Taking the NT as a whole, the dative

Prepositions.                       with prepositions falls behind the accusative

                                    and genitive in the proportion 15 to 19 and

17 respectively. This makes the dative considerably more

prominent than in classical and post-classical historians.1

The preponderance is, however, due solely to e]n, the commonest

of all the prepositions, outnumbering ei]j by about three to

two: were both these omitted, the dative would come down

to 2 ½ in the above proportion, while the accusative would still

be 10. And although e]n, has greatly enlarged its sphere of

influence2 in the NT as compared with literary Koinh<, we


            1 Helbing, in Schanz's Beitrage, No. 16 (1904), p. 11, gives a table for the

respective frequency of dat., gen., and accus. with prepositions, which works out

for Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, taken together, at 1 : 1 2 : 3 ; for

twelve post-classical historians, from Polybius to Zosimus, at 1 : 15 : 24.

            2 This is well seen by comparing the statistics of Helbing, pp. 8 f. He gives

the figures for the three favourite prepositions of the historians.  ]En is one of

the three in every author except Polybius, Diodorus, and Josephus;  ei]j falls out

of the list in Eusebius only. The total occurrences of ei]j in the three classical

historians amount to 6,531, those of e]n to 6,031; while in the twelve Hellenistic

writers ei]j comes to 31,651, and e]n, to only 17,130. Contrast the NT, where

ei]j is preferred to e]n, only in Mk and Heb, and the total occurrences amount to

1,743 and 2,698 respectively.  See the list in p. 98 below: note there also the

                           SYNTAX: THE NOUN.                  63


find very clear examples of ei]j encroaching on its domain.a

There are many NT passages where a real distinction between

ei]j and e]n is impossible to draw without excessive subtlety,

for which all the motive is gone when we find in MGr sto<

with accusative ( = ei]j to<n) the substitute for the now obsolete

dative; while the language in its intermediate stages steadily

tends towards this ultimate goal.1 By the side of this we

may put the disappearance of u[po< with the dative, the

accusative serving to express both motion and rest: in the

classical historians the dative is nearly as frequent as the

accusative, and some of their successors, notably Appian and

Herodian, made it greatly outnumber its rival--see Helbing,

op. cit., p. 22. Similarly pro<j with dative stands in NT in

the ratio of less than 01 to pro<j with accusative: in the three

classical historians it averages nearly 12; in the later twelve,

01 again.   ]Epi<, and para< are the only prepositions in which

the use with three cases is really alive; and even e]pi<, rather

illustrates our tendency than contradicts it—see p. 107.

Other cases                   We pass on to other symptoms of sen-

substituted.               escence in the dative. In the papyri there

                                    are some clear examples of an accusative

expressing point of time instead of duration (see CR xviii.

152); and in Ac 2016 and Jn 452, Rev 33 we may recognise the

same thing.2  Of course the dative of "time when" was still

very much more common. There were not wanting, indeed,

instances where a classical use of the accusative, such as that of

specification (Goodwin Greek Gram. § 1058), has yielded to a

dative of reference (instrumental).3 We have examples of

its survival in Jn 610 al (WM 288 f.); but, as in the papyri,

the dative is very much commoner. The evidence of the

decay of the dative was examined with great minuteness by

F. Krebs in his three pamphlets, Zur Rection der Casus in der

spateren historischen Gracitat (1887-1890).  He deals only


marked drop in the total for e]pi<  which in the twelve writers of literary Koinh<

comes not far behind e]n, (14,093).

            1 See below, p. 234.

            2 Thus OP 477 (ii/A.D.) to> pe<mpton e@toj, "in the fifth year"—a recurrent

formula. Add Gen 4316 (Dieterich, Unters. 151). With w!ran, however, the

use began in classical times: see Blass 94. See also p. 245.

            3 Of CR. xv. 438, xviii. 153, and the useful Program b Compernass, De

Sermome Gr. Volg. Pisidiae Phrygiaeque meridionalis, pp. 2 f.            [a See p. 245.




with the literary Koinh<; but we may profitably take up his

points in order and show from the NT how these tendencies

of the artificial dialect are really derived from the vernacular.

Krebs starts with verbs which are beginning to take the

accusative, having been confined to the dative in the earlier

language. The distinction in meaning between transitive

verbs and verbs whose complement was properly instrumental

(as with xra?sqai--which itself takes an abnormal accus. in

1 Co 731),a or the dative of person interested, inevitably faded

away with time, and the grammatical distinction became

accordingly a useless survival. Of Krebs' exx., polemei?n

takes accus. also in vernacular, e]nedreu<ein and eu]dokei?n in the

NT; but ceni<zesqai, a]panta?n and u[panta?n retain the dative

there.1 The movement was accompanied with various

symptoms of reaction. Proskunei?n in the NT takes the

dative about twice as often as the accusative.2  The phrase

paraba<llesqai t^? yux^? (Polybius) is matched in respect of

its innovating dative by paraboleu<esqai in Phil 230. We

will dismiss the decay of the dative with the remark that

the more illiterate papyri and inscriptions decidedly show it

before the NT had acquired any antiquity. The schoolboy

of OP 119, referred to already (p. 28), uses se< for soi< after

gra<fw; while later samples (see CR as above) include such

monstrosities as ti<ni lo<gou, su>n tw?n ui[w?n, xari<zete e]mou?.3b

Dittenberger would actually recognise the same thing in

OGIS 17   ]Aqhna?i Swtei<r% Ni<k^ kai> basile<wj Ptolemai<ou.

But at the beginning of iii B.C. this confusion is surely

unthinkable, and there is a curious asyndeton left: should

the kai<, be transposed?4  Even OP 811 (A.D. 1), eu]xaristw?n  

 [Ermi<ppou, seems much too early to be intentional. We may

follow Krebs further as he shows the encroachments of the

accusative upon the genitive, and upon the field of verbs

which were formerly intransitive. It will be seen that the


            1 Also, we may add, peiqarxei?n, which takes a gen. (like a]kou<w) in Tb P 104

(i/B.C.), OP 265 (i/A.D.), and the "Gadatas" inscr. (Michel 32). For the dat.,

as in NT, cf Magn. 114, etc. Eu]dokei?n. acc. is only in a quotation (Mt 1218).

            2 Contrast the inscriptions: see CR xv. 436. But note Par P 51 (ii/B.C.)

i!na proskunh<s^j au]to<n                  3 See other exx. in Dieterich, Unters. 150.

            4 D.'s further ex., No. 87 (iii/B.C.) u[pe>r basile<wj . . . kai> basili<sshj . . .

kai> Ptolemai<wi tw?i ui[w?i seems merely a mason's carelessness. See his note on

No. 364 (18 B.C.), and exx. in his hide, p. 238.                [a b  See p. 245.


                      SYNTAX:  THE NOUN.                                 65


NT does not tally in details with the literary Koinh<, though

it independently shows the same tendencies at work. In

Accusative gains      his second part Krebs turns to the genitive.

from genitive,          The first verb in which we are interested is

                                    the late compound a]pelpi<zein, [which gene-

rally takes acc. instead of the natural gen. This it seems

to do in Lk 635, if we read mhde<na with x etc. and the

Lewis Syriac:1 so Ti WHmg RVmg.  Kratei?n (Krebs

ii. 14) takes the gen. only 8 times in NT, out of 46 occur-

rences, but diafe<rein ("surpass") has gen. always.  ]En-

tre<pesqai (p. 15) takes only the acc.,2 and so does klhronomei?n.

Dra<ssomai (p. 17) has the acc. in the only place where it

occurs (1 Co 319, altered from LXX).  ]Epiqumw? may be added

to this list, if we may follow BD al. in Mt 528. Add likewise

the sporadic exx. of acc. with verbs of filling (Rev 173 al.;

see Blass 102): Thumb observes (ThLZ 422) that

the usage lives on in MGr.3 There follows a category

from intransitive    of intransitive verbs which in Hellenistic

construction,            have begun to take a direct object in the

                                    acc. Of these we recognise as NT examples

e]nergei?n (six times), sunergei?n, (in Rom 828 AB and Origen),

pleonektei?n (four times, and once in passive), and xorhgei?n.

and from dat.            The third part of Krebs' work' deals with

and gen. after           compound verbs and their cases.  Here

compounds.              prosfwnei?n c. acc. may claim 613, but it

                                    has the dat. four times; u[potre<xein has acc.

in its only occurrence;  e]pe<rxesqai, has only dat. or prepositional

phrase; katabarei?n occurs once, c. acc.;  katalalei?n takes gen. in

NT, but is once passive, as is kataponei?n in its two occurrences;

while katisxu<ein shows no sign of the acc. construction.

Limits of the                            It would of course be easy to supplement

blurring of old.        from the NT grammar these illustrations of

distinctions.             a general tendency, but exhaustive discussion

                                    is not needed here. We must (proceed to

note a few special characteristics of the individual cases as

they appear in NT Greek, in uses deviating from earlier


            1 Mhde<n, if not to be read mhde<n', is an internal accus., nil desperantes.

            2 A passage from Dionysius (Krebs 16), ou@te qei?on fobhqe<ntej xo<lon ou@te

a]nqrwpi<nhn e]ntrape<ntej ne<mesin, bears a curiously close resemblance to Lk 182.

            3 See further, p. 235.




language. Before doing so, however, we must make some

general observations, by way of applying to noun syntax the

principles noted above, p. 20. We should not assume, from

the evidence just presented as to variation of case with verbs,

that the old distinctions of case-meaning have vanished, or

that we may treat as mere equivalents those constructions

which are found in common with the same word. The very

fact that in Jn 423 proskunei?n is found with dat. and then

with acc. is enough to prove the existence of a difference,

subtle no doubt but real, between the two, unless the writer

is guilty of a most improbable slovenliness. The fact that

the maintenance of an old and well-known distinction between

the acc. and the gen. with a]kou<w saves the author of Ac 97

and 229 from a patent self-contradiction, should by itself be

enough to make us recognise it for Luke, and for other writers

until it is proved wrong. So with the subtle and suggestive

variation in Heb 64f. from gen. to acc. with geu<esqai.1a

Further, the argument that because ei]j often denotes rest

in or at, and sometimes represents that motion towards (as

distinguished from motion to) which may perhaps have been

the primitive differentia of the dat., therefore it is immaterial

whether ei]j or e]n or the simple dat. be used with any par-

ticular word, would be entirely unwarrantable. It depends

upon the character of the word itself. If its content be

limited, it may well happen that hardly any appreciable

difference is made by placing it in one or another of cer-

tain nearly equivalent relations to a noun. But if it is a

word of large content and extensive use, we naturally expect

to find these alternative expressions made use of to define the

different ideas connected with the word they qualify, so as to

set up a series of phrases having a perfectly distinct meaning.

In such a case we should expect to see the original force of

these expressions, obsolete in contexts where there was no-


            1 To illustrate with a lexical example, we need not think that the evidence

which proves e]rwta?n in the vernacular no longer restricted to the meaning

question (cf Expos. vi. viii. 431), compromises the antithesis between the verbs

in Jn 1623, rightly given by RVmg. Our English ask is the complete equivalent

of the Hellenistic e]rwta?n; and if we translated ai]th<shte by some other word, say

beg or petition, we should naturally take ask to mean question there. See West-

cott or Milligan-Moulton in loc., or Loisy, Le Quatribne Eeangile, p. 789.

                                    a See p. 245.

                    SYNTAX:   THE NOUN.                               67


thing to quicken it, brought out vividly where the need of a

distinction stimulated it into new life. A critical example

is afforded by the construction of pisteu<w, as to which Blass

Construction of       (p. 110) declares that (beside the prepositional

pisteu<w.                   construction, with the meaning "believe in")

                                    it takes the dat. "passim even in the sense

'to believe in,' as in Ac 514 188."1  Again, p. 123, "pisteu<ein

ei]j alternates with pist. e]n (Mk 115) and pist. e]pi<, in

addition to which the correct classical pist. tini< appears."

Let us examine this. In classical Greeks as LS observe,

"the two notions [believe and believe in] run into each

other." To be unable to distinguish ideas so vitally different

in the scheme of Christianity would certainly have been a

serious matter for the NT writers. Blass allows that with

the preposition the meaning is believe in. Is this meaning

ever found with the simple dat., or is pisteu<ein tini< appro-

priated entirely for the other idea? The answer must, it

would seem, come from examination of the NT passages,

rather than from outside. There are about forty occurrences

of pisteu<ein with dat., apart from those where the verb means

entrust.  It will be admitted that in the great majority of

these passages the meaning is believe. There remain a few

passages where the alternative is arguable, such as Jn 524. 38

(in which the lo<goj just preceding shows that believe is more

appropriate), 831 (where the variation from the previous p. ei]j  

cannot be merely accidental), Ac 514 (where the dat. may be

construed with proseti<qento, as in RV), 1634 and 188 (where

accepting the truth of God's word satisfies the connexion).

(See p. 235.) It might be said that the influence of the

LXX tends to weaken the normal distinction in the phrase

p. t&? qe&?. But it is very clear that the LXX is not re-

sponsible for the NT use of pisteu<ein.  The only pre-

positional phrase used in the LXX is that with which

is itself very rare, and this occurs in only one NT passage,2

Mk 115, where there can be little doubt hat Deissmann

is right3 in translating " believe in (the sphere of)a the


            1 The second passage is dropped in 2, but not in the English edition.

            2 Eph 113 is only an apparent exception, for the second e]n &$ is assimilated to

the first, and its sense is determined by e]sfragi<sqhte. (P. e]pi< se in Wis 122.)

            3 In Christo 46 f Cf Gal 321 (B) e]n no<m&.                                  [a See p. 245.



Gospel": he compares 1 Th 32, Rom 19, 2 Co 818 1014, etc.

The construction pist. e]pi<, which outside John is commoner

than ei]j, is found in Is 2816, where B omits e]pi<, and conformity

to the NT application of the passage may well have occasioned

its insertion in xAQ. It would seem therefore as if the

substitution of ei]j or e]pi<, for the simple dative may have ob-

tained currency mainly in Christian circles, where the import-

ance of the difference between mere belief (l;; Nymix<h,) and personal

trust (B; "h) was keenly realised. The prepositional construc-

tion was suggested no doubt by its being a more literal

translation of the Hebrew phrase with B;.  But in itself it

was entirely on the lines of development of the Greek

language, as we have seen. There was, moreover, a fitness

in it for the use for which it was specialised. To repose

one's trust upon God or Christ was well expressed by pisteu<ein

the dative suggesting more of the state, and the accus-

ative more of the initial act of faith; while ei]j recalls at once

the bringing of the soul into that mystical union which Paul

loved to express by e]n Xrist&?.  But as between e]pi<, and

cis, we may freely admit that it is not safe to refine too

much: the difference may amount to little more than that

between our own believe on and believe in.1 The really im-

portant matter is the recognition of a clear distinction between

believe on or in and believe with the dative simply.2


            1 For a closely allied equivalence, cf that of e]n and e]pi> t&? o]no<mati, as de-

monstrated by Heitmuller, Im Namen Jesu (1903), 1. ch. i.

            2 We may give a table of the constructions of pisteu<w, when not absolute, and

not= entrust. As elsewhere, it depends on WH text, ignoring passages in [[ ]].


                                    c. ei]j        c. e]pi<           c. e]n                 c. dat.               Total.

                                                dat.       acc.                             

Mt                                1                  1          --                      4                      6

Mk.                                                      1                      1                      2

Lk and Ac                    3          1          4                              9                      17

Jn and 1 Jn.                   37                                             18                     55

Paul                              3          4          2                              6                      15

Jas                                                                           1                      1

1 Pet                            1          1                                                          2

Total                             45         6          7          1                      39                     98


1 Jn 416 is omitted, as e]gnw<kamen determines the construction; also Ac 514 and

Eph 113, for reasons given above. See Thumb, Neue Jahrb. 1906, p. 253.

                              SYNTAX:  THE NOUN.                      69


Special. uses                  We have still to gather some noteworthy

of the Cases:--          points in the use of the cases, particularly

 Nominative.             the Nominative, on which nothing has been

                                    said hitherto. The case has a certain tend-

ency to be residuary legatee of case-relations not obviously

appropriated by other cases. We have its use as the name-

case, unaltered by the construction of the sentence, in Rev

911: the fact that this has classical parallels (see Blass 85)

is perhaps only accidental, for we have already seen that

ungrammatical nominatives are prevalent in Rev (see p. 9),

and the general NT usage is certainly assimilation (Mt 121,

Mk 316, Ac 271). The classical parallels may serve for a

writer such as Luke, if we are to write e]laiw<n in Lk

1929 2137.  In WH and the RV it is e]laiw?n, gen. pl., and so

Blass. We noted above (p. 49) the conclusive evidence which

compels us to accept the noun e]laiw<n, olivetum, as a word

current in the Koinh<. WH (App2 165) regard the presence

of   ]Elaiw?noj in Ac 112 as corroborating the argument drawn

from the unambiguous to> o@roj tw?n e]laiw?n.  Tertullian's in

Elaeonem secedebat, the prevalence of olivetum in the Latin

versions, and the new fact (unknown to WH) that e]laiw<n is

a word abundantly occurring in the vernacular, may together

perhaps incline us rather to the other view, with Deissmann,

Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Weiss (cf W. F. Moulton's note in

WM 227). Certainly, if we were forced to emend on

conjecture, to substitute  ]Elaiw?na in Lk ll.cc.     in one of which

places the initial a]. following makes it especially easy—would

cause much less disturbance than to force Blass e]laiw?n

upon Acts and Josephus. (See further on p. 235.)

"Nominativus                The nominative which stands at the

    Pendens.                head of a clause without construction is

                                    a familiar phenomenon hardly needing to

be illustrated: it is one of the easiest of anacolutha,

and as much at home in English as in Greek. The

special case in which the participle is concerned will en-

gage our attention later (p. 225). Typical text. are Lk 216,

Ac 740, Mt 540 D (o[ qe<lwn . . . a@fej au]t&?—a plausible

reading, as t&? qe<lonti, is an easy correction), 1 Jn 224,

Rev 226, etc. Note Mt 1714 and Mk 134 in D.

            The parenthetic nominative in expressions of time is well



seen in Mt 1532, Mk 82, also Lk 928. In popular Attic the

construction goes as far back as v/B.C.1  Viteau (Sujet 41) cites

Parenthetic              Eccles 216 (note emendation in A and xc.a.) and

Nominative               Jos 111. On the latter Nestle notes (Exp T

                                    xvi. 429) that B (e@ti h[me<rai trei?j kai> dia-

bai<nete) gives the rationale.a Deissmann adds from the Acta

Pauli et Theclae (in OP p. 9) h[me<rai ga>r h@dh trei?j kai> nu<ktej

trei?j Qe<kla ou]k e]gh<gertai.2  We must leave it an open ques-

tion whether Ac 57 (see p. 16) belongs to this category: it

means an isolated return to the construction of e]ge<neto which

Luke used in his Gospel, but then abandoned. This may not

however be quite decisive. The use of parenthetic nominat-

ives appears in the papyri most abundantly in descriptions

with ou]lh< or gei<tonej.  Thus "ei]ko<nej"2 will run, "to A.,

long-faced, straight-nosed, a scar on his right wrist"; and a

piece of land or a house is inventoried with " belonging to

A., its neighbours on the south the open street, on the west

the house of B."—all nominatives without construction. We

compare such examples as Jn 16.

Articular                        There is a very marked increase in the

Nominative               use of the articular nominative in address.

in address.                Nearly sixty examples of it are found in the

                                    NT. There seems no sufficient reason for

assigning any influence to the coincident Hebrew use, for

classical Greek shows the idiom well established. The rough

and peremptory tone which characterises most of the other

examples seems to have disappeared. Contrast the Aristo-

phanic o[ pai?j a]kolou<qei, "you there! the lad, I mean"

(Blass), with the tender h[ pai?j e@geire2 in Lk 854:  we may

still recognise a survival of the decisiveness of the older use.

Descriptiveness, however, is rather the note of the articular

nom. of address in the NT:  so in Lk 1232, Jn 193, where we

may represent the nuance by "Fear not, you little flock!

"Hail, you 'King'!"  In the latter passage we can easily

feel the inappropriateness of the basileu? found in x, which

would admit the royal right, as in Ac 267. Its appearance


            1 Meisterhans3 203.  See CR xvii. 197, where Cronert reads in BM ii. 299

(no. 417—iv/A.D.) e]peidh> a]sxolw? e]lqi?n pro>j se>n au]te>  (=-ai>) h[me<re, "his diebus"

—a violent example if true. Cf p. 11 n.1 ad fin.                                       [a See p. 245.

            2 See p. 235.

                           SYNTAX:  THE NOUN.                 71


in Mk 1518 is merely a note of the writer's imperfect

sensibility to the more delicate shades of Greek idiom.

Vocative.       Note that Lk, and perhaps Mt (xAL), cor-

                        rect Mk here. The anarthrous nom. should

probably be regarded as a mere substitute for the vocative,

which begins from the earliest times to be supplanted by

the nominative. In MGr the forms in -e are practically the

only separate vocatives surviving. Hellenistic has little

more, retaining some in -a and –eu?, with the isolated gu<nai,

pa<ter, and qu<gater; but the nom. is beginning to assert

itself even here, for path<r1a and quga<thr are well attested

(see the evidence in Blass 86 n.). The vocative itself need

not detain us, the presence or absence of w# being the only

feature calling for comment. In the Lucan writings only is

the interjection used in the classical manner without emphasis.

Elsewhere it is mostly used as we use 0, except that this is

with us appropriate in prayer, from which it is markedly

absent in the NT, though not entirely in the translation

Greek of the OT. The progressive omission of w# is not wholly

easy to explain, for the classical examples (see Gerth's

Kuhner3 § 357. 4) show that the simple voc. has normally

a touch of dignity or reserve.  A specially good ex. occurs in

Plato Crito 52A, tau<taij dh< famen kai> de<, Sw<kratej, tai?j

ai]ti<aij e]ne<cesqai, where "the effect of omitting w# is to

increase the impressiveness, since w# Sw<kratej is the regular

mode of address: in English we obtain the same effect by

exactly the opposite means" (Adam). NT use has thus

approximated to our own, and may well have travelled upon

the same path without any outside interference, such as A.

Buttmann would find in Latinism.2

            Common to nominative and accusative is the use of ei]j  

with acc. to replace a predicate, in such phraes as ei#nai ei]j

and e]gei<rein ei]j (Ac 823 1322 ).  This cannot fairly be described


            1 There seems no adequate reason to write pa<thr, as WH (App2 165).

            2 J. A. Scott, in AJP xxvi. 32-43, has a careful study of the classical use

of w#.  He shows that w#, "with the vocative was familiar, and was not freely

used until the familiar language of comedy, dialectic, and the law courts became

the language of literature, when the vocative rarely appears without the inter-

jection." The Attic sermo valgaris in this case did not determine the usage of

the Hellenistic vernacular.                                                                      [a See p. 245.



as a Hebraism, for the vernacular shows a similar extension

of the old use of ei]j, expressing destination: so for example

   Predicates             KP 46 (ii/A.D.), e@sxon par ] u[mw?n ei]j da<(neion)

   with ei]j.                 spe<rmata, a recurrent formula. It is obvious

                                    that "I received it as a loan" and "for a

loan" do not differ except in grammar. The fact that this

ei]j is mainly found in translation falls into line with other

phenomena already discussed—the overdoing of a correct

locution in passages based on a Semitic original, simply

because it has the advantage of being a literal rendering.

     Genitive.                  We may pass over the accusative, as

                                    little remains to be said of it except on

points of detail. As to the genitive, readers of Winer will

perhaps hardly need reminding now-a-days that to call the

case "unquestionably the whence-case" is an utterly obsolete

procedure. The Greek genitive is syncretic (cf p. 61); and

the ablative, the only case which answers to Winer's "case

of proceeding from or out of," is responsible for a part of the

uses of the genitive in which it was merged. Most of the

ordinary divisions of the case we find still in extensive use.

The objective gen. is very prominent, and exegesis has often

to discuss the application of this or the subjective label to a

particular phrase. It is as well to remember that in Greek

this question is entirely one of exegesis, not of grammar.

There is no approximation to the development by which we

have restricted the inflexional genitive in our language almost

entirely to the subjective use. The partitive gen. is largely

replaced by the abl. with a]po< or e]k,a but is still used freely,

sometimes in peculiar phrases. In Mt 281 (RV) we have

o]ye< with this gen.,"late on the sabbath:" cf Tb P 230 (ii/B.C.)

o]yi<teron th?j w!raj, and Par P 35, 37 (ii/B.C.) o]ye> th?j w!raj, and

Philostratus (ap. Blass2 312) o]ye> tw?n Trwikw?n, "at a late

stage in the Trojan war." This last writer however has also

o]ye> tou<twn, “after these thing,” and Blass now (l.c.) adopts

this meaning in Mt, giving other quotations. This use of

after involves an ablative gen., "late from."  There

remains the vespere sabbati of the Latt. and the Lewis Syr.,

favoured by Weiss, Wright, etc. Since o]ye< could be used

practically as au indeclinable noun (see Mk 1111 al), this seems

a natural development, but the question is not easy to


                        a See p 245.

                         SYNTAX:  THE NOUN.                                      73


decide.1 How freely the partitive gen. was used in the Koinh<

may be seen in passages like Ac 2116, where it is subject of a

sentence.  See WM 253 for classical parallel: add OGIS 5659

o[ profh<thj h@ tw?n . . . i[ere<wn . . . oi@sei. How unnecessary

it was there for Dittenberger to insert tij, may be seen from

the standing phrase o[ dei?na tw?n fi<lwn, " X., one of the Privy

Council" (as Par P 15 (ii/B.C.), etc.).

   Genitive of                             The papyri show us abundantly the

  Time and Place.     genitive of time and place like no<tou "on

                                    the south," e@touj b "in the 2nd year." It

comes most naturally from the simplest of all genitives, that

of possession, "belonging to"; but the abl. is possible, as we

find the place idea expressed in Rev 2113 by a]po> no<tou.

"Time or place within which"—cf tou? o@ntoj mhno<j "within

the current month," FP 124 (ii/A.D.)—is the normal differentia

of this genitive, which has thus perhaps its closest affinity

with the partitive. For time, this genitive is common in

NT, as in phrases like nukto<j, xeimw?noj, o@rqrou baqe<wj, tou?

loipou?.  For place, we have mostly stereotyped words and

phrases like poi<aj Lk 519, and ancient words like au]tou?,

pou?.  It is strange that the commentators and grammarians

have so much neglected the difficult gen. in Ac 1926.  Dr

Knowling merely declines Hackett's suggestion that  ]Efe<sou

and pa<shj th?j  ]Asi<aj depend on o@xlon, for which however

we might quote a good parallel in Sophocles OT 236 (see

Jebb). The gloss e!wj (D), "within," may possibly express

the meaning; but the vernacular supplies no parallel, except

the stereotyped phrases for points of the compass, nor was it

ever normal in classical Greek after the Epic period: see the

exx., nearly all poetical, in Kuhner-Gerth i. 384 f. On the

whole, one feels disposed to make o@xlon responsible after all.

            The question of Hebraism is raised again by the genitive

of definition. Some of the "long series of phrases" coming


            1 See below, p. 101, for a construction which may be parallel. There is a