the Greek grammar books of ancient Greece and modern times - "natural phenomenon that cannot be enclosed in a technical enchiridion"

Steven Avery


Vasileios Tsialas, Athens, Greek

"Grammar books do not make language; it is language that makes grammar books. In other words, language existed long before grammar books came into existence. So language is a natural phenomenon that cannot be enclosed in a technical enchiridion."


There is no reason to think that the writers of the New Testament needed grammar books, and there is no reason to think that any classical Greek grammars specialized on the ins and outs of gender discord.


And, since the question is interesting, using a little searching we find:

Dionysius Thrax, in the 2nd century bce, produced the first systematic grammar of Western tradition; it dealt only with word morphology.
Art of Grammar (Τέχνη γραμματική, Tékhnē grammatikē).
It concerns itself primarily with a morphological description of Greek, lacking any treatment of syntax.


Although several scholars (notably Pfeiffer and Erbsc) have tried to rebut Di Benedetto’s arguments, most specialists have now accepted
the view that Dionysius Thrax himself wrote only the very first part of the Techni Grammatiki, while the rest of the work, including the classification of the parts of speech, belongs to the 3rd or 4th century AD.6

  • (a) ἀνάγνωσις ἐντριβὴς κατὰ προσῳδίαν (anagnōsis...): reading aloud with correct pronunciation, accent and punctuation.
  • (b) ἐξήγησις κατὰ τοὺς ἐνυπάρχοντας ποιητικοὺς τρόπους (exēgēsis...): exposition of the tropes/τρόποι, the figurative language of texts.
  • (c) ἀπόδοσις πρόχειρος γλωσσῶν τε καὶ ἰστοριῶν (apodosis...): common exposition of obsolete words and subject matter.
  • (d) εὕρεσις ἐτυμολογίας (heuresis...): finding the correct meaning of words according to their origin (etymology).
  • (e) ἐκλογισμὸς ἀναλογίας (eklogismos...): setting forth or considering analogies.
  • (f) κρίσις ποιημάτων (krisis...): critical judgement of the works examined.[16][e][18]
ancient testimonies assert that he conflated proper nouns and appellatives, and classified the article together with pronouns.
In the text attributed to Dionysius, the eight classes. which Di Benedetto and others argue was probably developed by Tryphon several decades after Dionysius, are as follows:
  • (a) the proper noun (ὄνομα) and its three genders: masculine (ἀρσενικόν), feminine (θηλυκόν) and neutral (οὐδέτερον) are distinguished, together with the five case endings.[f] He also notes however that two other terms are also in use: κοινόν (common) designating those words whose gender varies depending on the sex of the creature, such as ἵππος (hippos/horse)) and ἐπίκοινον (epicene) used to define words whose gender is stable, but which can refer to either sex, instancing χελιδών (khelidōn/swallow).[23]

Steven Avery

Barry Hofstetter has Smyth

constructio ad sensum

Construction according to the Sense (926 a).—The real, not the grammatical, gender often determines the agreement: φίλτατ᾽, περισσὰ τιμηθεὶς τέκνον O dearest, O greatly honoured child E. Tro. 735 (this use of the attributive adjective is poetical), ““τὰ μειράκια πρὸς ἀλλήλους διαλεγόμενοι” the youths conversing with one another” P. Lach. 180e, ““ταῦτ᾽ ἔλεγεν ἀναιδὴς αὕτη κεφαλή, ἐξεληλυθώς” this shameless fellow spoke thus when he came out” D. 21.117. (A Greek Grammar for Colleges, 1920).

The first example that Smyth gives shows a neuter noun, τέκνον, teknon, modified by a masculine participle, τιμηθεὶς, timetheis. The second example shows a has a neuter plural substantive, μειράκια, meirakia, modified by a masculine plural participle, διαλεγόμενοι, dialegomenoi, and further referred to by a masculine plural pronoun, ἀλλήλους, allelous. The third example has a feminine noun, κεφαλή, kephale, modified by the masculine participle ἐξεληλυθώς, exeleluthos. This is wide spread enough that it is mentioned in the grammar with no need to list more examples, and notice Smyth’s use of the word “often.”

So the next question is whether or not there are any NT examples, and actually, they are fairly numerous. Matt 25:32 (all texts are taken from the TR, all translations from the KJV):

και συναχθησεται εμπροσθεν αυτου παντα τα εθνη και αφοριει αυτους απ αλληλων…

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another.”

Here, ἔθνη (ethne, nations) is neuter plural, but the pronoun referring to them, αύτούς (autous, them) is masculine. The neuter substantive is referred to by a masculine pronoun.

Luke 19:37 …ηρξαντο απαν το πληθος των μαθητων χαιροντες αινειν τον θεον φωνη μεγαλη περι πασων ων ειδον δυναμεων…

“the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen…”

Here πλῆθος (plethos) is neuter singular and is referred to by χαίροντες (chairontes, rejoicing) a masculine plural participle, so once again a neuter substantive is referenced by a masculine (plural) participle.
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Steven Avery

Kirk di Vietro - Similar different context ! As enchiridion

i don't see the controversy in Luke 23.46. I commend my spirit = I am commending my spirit for its future. It won't be contained in me for 3 days. I will trust you to take care of it.

FOR Some reason too many students of bible language get lost in precedent and morbid over inspection and forget that the purpose of language is to communicate an idea from one person in time to another person in another time]

they are too locked into their grammar assesments instead of just reading and understanding what is in front of them

they will spend hours trying to decide which "case conditional" or which implication of the aorist, etc without realizing these denotations are made by modern grammarians.

Paul did not sit there saying, "Which conditional sense should i use here


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