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Thread: grammatical notes from 1500-1780

  1. Default grammatical notes from 1500-1780

    This thread will handle from the Reformation period until the incredible Eugenius Bulgaris exposition.

    We will see that there was a real awareness of the grammatical problem.

  2. Default Erasmus and the tortuted grammarians


    It will torture the grammarians that the Spirit, water and blood are described by the phrases "there are three" and "these are one/' especially since the words "Spirit," "water" and "blood" are grammatically neuter in Greek. Indeed, the Apostle pays more regard to the sense than to the words, and for three witnesses, as if they were three people, he substitutes three things: Spirit, water and blood. You use the same construction if you say: "The building is a witness to the kind of builder you are."
    Clearly, the analogy is a stretch, the example is nothing like the three witnesses verse, lacking the direct element of the participle that connects to neuter nouns.

    It is fascinating that Erasmus was willing to acknowledge that the grammatical problem cuts deep. The fact that this only shows up once in his writings, indicates that he wanted to keep it from view, as it undercut his personal preference against inclusion of the heavenly witnesses verse.

    American Church Review
    Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall

    And here, now, it seems worth while to refer to some remarks of Erasmus, on the grammar of I. John, v. 8. When he had concluded to "replace" verse seven, because the manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, varied, and he thought it not perilous to embrace either reading, he said that the peculiar use of genders in verse eight would still make grammarians squirm,—"torquebit grammaticos " (Crit. Annot. viii. 274), and added, that "the Apostle had respect rather to the sense than the words." Now the last of these remarks would have been very rash for such a scholar, while he rejected the seventh verse, and thus left the grammar of the passage lax beyond all precedent. And both of them were over-nice and needless, after he had "replaced" that verse, which gives the passage a fair form of grammar. But they serve to show that Erasmus, in all his investigations, was scrupulous to a fault, in setting the external evidence of manuscripts above the internal evidence of grammatical structure, and that he had good reason tor his conclusion in favor of the disputed passage. They show, also, further, that an objection to the peculiar use of genders in the eighth verse, or an attempt to explain it, would not, at any time, prove or imply that the objector, or the answerer, was ignorant of the seventh verse.
    Steven Avery
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 01-30-2018 at 12:42 AM.

  3. Default

    Thomas Naogeorgus (1508-1563) or (1511-1578)

    Miror etiam, quamobrem Ioannes tribus neutris masculina & postposuerit, & praeposuerit, irata Grammatica, nisi fortasis scriptura est deprauata
    Google translate, tweaked

    I wonder, too, why John three are neither male & , prefer angry grammar, except perhaps writing is distorted

    Better translation in process, text given in The Ghost of Arius, Dissertation, Grantley McDonald


    "I also wonder how John came to put masculine [words, scil. "tres...tres"] after and before neuter things, to the annoyance of Grammar, unless perhaps the writing is corrupt."

    I carelessly left tribus out of the translation entirely, and talking simply of "masculines" and neuters" is clearly closer in sense to what the Latin actually says.


    “why John put masculines both after and before three neuters” (or “the three neuters”). (We would say “both before and after”.) Preceding the three neuters (το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα) is τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες (masc.), following them is και οι τρεις … (also masc.).


    From the Ghost of Arius p. 149-150 , 1544, Commentary on the First Epistle of John - Kirchmeyer
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 02-15-2017 at 03:30 AM.

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