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Thread: constructio ad sensum

  1. Default constructio ad sensum


    NOTES:

    Check work done on this on 1 Timothy 3:16 (done, it is mostly a different study, although it would be nice to keep them in the same mix)

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    constructio ad sensum
    constructio ad synesis
    constructio kata synesins
    sense figure
    sense construction
    „Konstruktion auf den Sinn hin“, auch Constructio kata synesin, Synesis oder Synese are terms occasionally used instead of constructio ad sensum.

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    Daniel Wallace Summary - context - Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit

    Since the purpose here was specialized, not to look at grammar in general and not to defend the CT, Wallace accidentally makes incredibly important arguments for the pure Bible text. W
    e acknowledge that Daniel Wallace does a fine job showing that an attempt used by even dozens of writers (including a couple of grammarians) does not work. This can also be seen as a warning about modern grammarians and interpreters, since almost all the problems began around 1870.

    The masculine grammar of the short earthly witnesses text can not be attributed to the "spirit" being seen as masculine. There are two stumbles in the Wallace attempt, the lesser one is the ultra-minority variant that has a foul spirit as personalized. The greater one is that he really does not have an answer for the earthly witnesses short text.

    After disarming the traditional attempt, Daniel Wallace shows us the oddball theory now in the lead, about a metaphor involving witnessing:

    it is possible that the masculine was used, almost subconsciously, because the only legitimate witnesses in Jewish courts would be male. (p. 119)

    the metaphor .. is thus driving the gender shift (p. 120)
    Wallace is clearly not going to hitch his grammatical star on this:

    Whatever the reason for the masculine participle in v. 7, it is evident that the grammaticization of the Spirit's personality is not the only, nor even the most plausible, explanation. p. 120
    Then he takes a "who knows" approach:

    Since this text also involves serious exegetical problems (i.e., a variety of reasons as to why the masculine participle is used), it cannot be marshaled as unambiguous syntactical proof of the Spirit's personality. (p. 120)
    Wallace never gets around to telling his readers the one consistent, sensible and likely reason, given by the far more fluent Eugenius Bulgaris:

    "some violence of language ... a most manifest grammatical solecism"
    Caused by a false alteration, and the earthly witnesses do not stand grammatically without the heavenly preceding.

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    Georg Benedikt Winer on constructio ad sensum - "some animate object is denoted by a Neuter or an abstract Feminine noun"

    Grammar of the New Testament Diction (1860)
    Georg Benedikt Winer (6th ed German, 1855, translated by Edward Masson)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=YQoOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA153


    Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms: Als sichere Grundlage der neutestamentlichen Exegese - 6th ed.
    https://archive.org/details/grammatikdesneu00lngoog


    Pronouns, whether personal, demonstrative, or relative, not unfrequently take a different gender from the nouns to which they refer. This is called constructio ad sensum, the meaning, and not the grammatical gender of the word, being mainly considered. It is used particularly when some animate object is denoted by a Neuter or an abstract Feminine noun. The pronoun is then made to agree grammatically with the object in question ...

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    My comment - http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...=1#post5772223
    And yes, constructio ad sensum is unremarkable for animate objects, things that have life, see Georg Benedikt Winer (1789-1858). Clearly, synesis can be seen as a grammatical construction used for people and groups of people. And I would be interested in any examples you have that do not relate to people (omitting any that are based on an ultra-minority Greek corruption text, as you often find in the CTs from Hort to NA-28. Also possibly in editions from Griesbach to Tischendorf.)

    Moses Stuart on constructio ad sensum - "the real gender or number"

    Moses Stuart (1780-1852) was a top grammar writer in the mid-1800s.

    A Grammar of the New Testament Dialect (1841)
    Moses Stuart

    https://books.google.com/books?id=qD4AAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA158

    Note. Whenever constructio ad sensum takes place, the gender or number of the word employed is overlooked, and the verb, adjective, etc., accords with the real gender or number of the thing or person intended to be expressed; thus _________________ minor: pic or Greek text of example can go in.

    Notice that there is nothing there about the metaphor. hmmmm

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    Kühner on constructio ad sensum

    Stuart also has a reference to see Raphael Kuhner (1802-1878)
    §418a,b for many constructio in the classics.

    German section

    Ausführliche grammatik der griechischen sprache, Volume 2, Part 1
    Raphael Kühner
    https://books.google.com/books?id=CGBXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA371

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...3Asmythp%3D418


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    Gildersleeve on constructio ad sensum

    After noting how difficult it was to find masculine grammar with neuter nouns in a couple of other sources, Wallace had mentioned Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924) in Personality

    7. Turner calls the incongruence of gender or number that is due to constructio ad sensum"good Greek" (Nigel Turner,Syntax, vol. 3 of J. H. Moulton et al.,A Grammar of New Testament Greek [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963], 311). BDF, well known as a grammar of exceptions, does not even list the use of masculine for neuter, presumably because it is so common. They do list, however, feminine for neuter, masculine for feminine, and neuter for persons, "if it is not the individuals but a general quality that is to be emphasized" (pp. 76-77 [§138]). This lacuna has not been filled with BDR (p. 115 [§138]). This instance of constructio ad sensum is also common enough in Classical Greek (cf. B. L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek from Homer to Demosthenes [New York: American Book, 1900-1911], 2.204-7 [§§499-502] for numerous examples of various kinds of pronominal incongruence).
    Syntax of Classical Greek from Homer to Demosthenes (1900)
    Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve
    https://books.google.com/books?id=XEItAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA204
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0074%3Asection%3 D18%3Asubsection%3D2%3Asmythp%3D498
    http://perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/navigate.pl?NewPerseusMonographs.4
    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.32106019440707;view=1up;seq=31


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    Daniel Wallace Summary
    - straight grammar sections, two books - (1 John 5:7-8 not an example)


    Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (2009)
    Daniel B. Wallace
    https://books.google.com/books?id=XlqoTVsk2wcC&pg=PA330

    Acts 8:10
    To whom they all gave heed,
    from the least to the greatest, saying,
    This man is the great power of God.

    Romans 2:14
    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law,
    do by nature the things contained in the law,
    these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:


    1 Corinthians 6:10-11 - masculine nouns, neuter demonstrative

    Acts 9:15 - Philippians 3:7 1 Peter 2:19 Jude 1:12

    The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar (2009)
    Daniel B. Wallace
    https://books.google.com/books?id=LtRYzGnRvdMC&pg=PT187

    These look uneven, however due to the relative clarity in explanation they really can help us to understand whatever is closest to the claims on the earthly witnesses.


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    Robertson on constructio ad sensum

    Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934)

    Grammar of the Greek New Testament (3rd ed 1919, orig 1914)
    Archibald Thomas Robertson
    https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted...eekgrammar.pdf


    p. 683-684 looks related, in the context of personal pronouns
    The three prefaces are interesting, however separately from the outside, you can study the politicization of NT grammar that had occurred in the 1800s around Winer's edition.


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    Additional Resources

    A brief Greek syntax and hints on Greek accidence (1867)
    Frederic William Ferrar
    https://books.google.com/books?id=GooCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA59
    The Sense-Construction

    Search term
    https://www.google.com/search?q=%22sense+figure%22+%22new+testament%22&ie =utf-8&oe=utf-8#tbs=bkv&tbm=bks&q=%22constructio+ad+sensum%22+%22new+test ament%22

    CARM
    Constructio ad Sensum 2013-07
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...ctio-ad-Sensum



    Constructio ad Sensum in the prologue of John
    b-greek - June 2012 - 5 pages - John Milton
    http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1314

  2. Default


    CARM - 2015-08-08
    how do the grammars address constructio ad sensum?

    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...=1#post7013313


    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery View Post
    The key question in all this is whether an idea like a constructio ad sensum for the metaphor of witnessing is a real feature of the Greek language. Or whether it is just offered as a type of special pleading hopeful monster. Part of a circular argumentation construct.
    Here is a sample that is directly about constructio ad sensum from Moses Stuart (emphasis added):

    A Grammar of the New Testament Dialect (1841)
    Moses Stuart

    https://books.google.com/books?id=qD4AAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA158

    Note. Whenever constructio ad sensum takes place, the gender or number of the word employed is overlooked, and the verb, adjective, etc., accords with the real gender or number of the thing or person intended to be expressed

    To help, we could also look at the actual cases proposed of constructio ad sensum in the New Testament. (Some of them may be simply based on an implied subject, which is barely relevant to our considerations.) Notice that Stewart says constructio applies in reference to the real gender or number, not any metaphorical gender. Are there any counter-examples? I have not seen one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
    I'm not sure what you're asking. This is something that would need to be established with examples from Greek literature, and I don't have the proper computer programs to do the searches.
    Ok. Although it is unclear how we would search to find such examples of gender discord. If the search is logically doable, I may be able to get assistance with Perseus and get a spreadsheet with some results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
    All we can do is go by what the grammars say.
    The grammars are definitely a starting point. Wallace has a little on constructio ad sensum. And he recommends Gildersleeve, which is online. Stuart is above. I think it would be a great exercise to see what we can pull out of the grammars, one or two at a time. You give Smyth here, although the context is not really constructio, it is more mixed gender nouns in a series of nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
    In this case, we may find some relevance in this portion of Smyth's grammar (§1058a):1058. When the substantives denote both persons and things, a predicate adjective is—a. plural, and follows the gender of the person, if the person is more important, or if the thing is treated as a person: γρᾴδια καὶ γερόντια καὶ πρόβατα ὀλίγα καὶ βοῦς καταλελειμμένους old women and old men and a few sheep and oxen that had been left behind X. A. 6.3.22....
    Taking this first and closer example, the first thing to note is that this looks like Smyth is talking about a mixed grammatical gender group of nouns, the cattle are masculine gender. (Note §1054 and §1056 which are specific to like gender nouns) Not a group of neuter nouns. However, even the use of old men and old woman (a neuter noun taking masculine or feminine grammar) in a constructio ad sensum would be precisely as given by Moses Stuart, the real gender or subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
    Could μαρτυροῦντες here be masculine because the three things are being anthropomorphized? Blood and water are said to be giving testimony, which is a strictly human ability. Similarly, if we take the spirit as a non-person, at least here it is being anthropomorphized along with the other two. Do you see this as likely?
    So far, no. I don't see any examples in the grammar, or given from Greek literature, that support these ideas:

    it is possible that the masculine was used, almost subconsciously, because the only legitimate witnesses in Jewish courts would be male. (Wallace p. 119)
    the metaphor .. is thus driving the gender shift (p. 120)
    Wallace himself seems to sense that this is very difficult, because even after he gives his proposal, he opens up the door to unstated other possibilities:

    Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit (2003)
    Daniel Wallace
    https://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/BBR_2003a_05_Wallace_HolySpirit.pdf

    Whatever the reason for the masculine participle in v. 7, it is evident that the grammaticization of the Spirit's personality is not the only, nor even the most plausible, explanation. p. 120
    This is true, but so far I do not see any plausible explanation having been given. If we take an Ockham approach, so far the most plausible is simply that the heavenly witnesses dropped out of the text, leaving:

    "some violence of language ... a most manifest grammatical solecism"
    as stated by Eugenius Bulgaris, who was totally familiar with the Greek literature.
    Wallace continued:

    Since this text also involves serious exegetical problems (i.e., a variety of reasons as to why the masculine participle is used), it cannot be marshaled as unambiguous syntactical proof of the Spirit's personality. (p. 120)
    Well, it could never be used as an unambiguous syntactical proof because the short text is very possibly a corrupted text missing the heavenly witnesses.

    However, it is quite unclear whether the metaphor of witnessing could supply any sort of reasonable alternative to explain the grammar in the short text.


    Thanks for actually getting involved constructively, Jameson.

    btw, it was pointed out that Robert Gundry discusses the verse. In his 2010 Commentary on the New Testament. And while saying the
    "water and blood came out of Jesus' side" Gundry says that John "personifies the witnesses alongside the Spirit". This is a hybrid attempt, perhaps partially influenced by Wallace, and again there is no analogy given in Greek literature for such a gender shift by personification of neuter nouns. And it is not very harmonious with the Wallace quite solid argument that the Spirit is not personified in 1 John 5:7-8. Gundry is implying that the personalization of the Spirit is leading the masculine crew.

    Gundry was discussed in a different context, being mangled by Jim's theories contra the grammarians. All well documented now anyway with Jim writing against the standard grammars. So the significance of the 1 Corinthians discussion with Gundry, where Jim tried to correct Gundry based on his own quirky natural gender (in any multiple nouns situation) theories that are not in harmony with the grammar books, is lessened.

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    This section is WIP - as we look over p. 98.

    Another point, Jameson. Wallace seems to indicate that he interprets BDF as if there are likely lots of masculine-for-neuter constructio ad sensum cases in the Greek literature (Note 7, p. 99) . Please read the note. This would be critical to our study. And I found the Wallace interpretation of BDF puzzling, even questionable.

    7. Turner calls the incongruence of gender or number that is due to constructio ad sensum"good Greek" (Nigel Turner,Syntax, vol. 3 of J. H. Moulton et al.,A Grammar of New Testament Greek [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963], 311). BDF, well known as a grammar of exceptions, does not even list the use of masculine for neuter, presumably because it is so common. They do list, however, feminine for neuter, masculine for feminine, and neuter for persons, "if it is not the individuals but a general quality that is to be emphasized" (pp. 76-77 [§138]). This lacuna has not been filled with BDR (p. 115 [§138]). This instance of constructio ad sensum is also common enough in Classical Greek (cf. B. L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek from Homer to Demosthenes [New York: American Book, 1900-1911], 2.204-7 [§§499-502] for numerous examples of various kinds of pronominal incongruence).
    Wallace is saying that BDF does not give a masculine-for-neuter constructio. (Per Eugenius Bulgaris these would be rare.) "Presumably because it is so common." Hmmm ... If it is so common, can we see a few? The next is BDR, and the "lacuna" so-called again seems to reference masculine-for-neuter. Oops. Missing again. Do any of the Gildersleeve examples cut the masculine-for-neuter mustard? Wallace does not say.

    Steven Avery

  3. Default natural gender - Colossians 2:19

    On p. 98 Wallace discusses some examples, beginning with:

    A word should be mentioned first about the use of natural grammmar in the NT.
    Many examples are simply pronouns matching the natural gender. Yet even looking at those is interesting. Let us take the first one:

    Colossians 2:19 (AV)
    And not holding the Head,
    from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together,
    increaseth with the increase of God.

    2:19 καὶ οὐ κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον αὔξει τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ θεοῦ

    Wallace has "the head (f) .. from whom (m)". Yet also B
    ut in the context, κεφαλήν refers to Christ (see Col 1:18; 2:10).

    A Greek grammar, and Greek and English scripture lexicon (1812)
    Greville Ewing
    https://books.google.com/books?id=RKkGAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA67
    (4.) Relatives, like adjectives, often agree, not with the antecedent expressed, but with one implied and understood

    says that the antecedent is an implied subject,
    Χριστός, which is like saying the antecedent is in Colossians 2:17:

    Colossians 2:17
    Which are a shadow of things to come;
    but the body is of Christ.

    Colossians 2:10
    And ye are complete in him,
    which is the head of all principality and power:

    Colossians 1:18
    And he is the head of the body, the church:
    who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;
    that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    With such a simple grammatical connection, do we call this implied subject a constructio ad sensum natural gender?

    Steven Avery


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