Granville Sharp's Rule

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by mckestev, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. mckestev

    mckestev
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    I've been looking at Granville Sharp's rule lately and was wondering if I could get some help from fellow baptists in understanding it. It was my understanding that the rule applied when you had "article noun kai noun." Also, it is my understanding that the nouns need to be personal and singular.

    However, my Greek professor (who is not a Baptist) is applying the rule in John 3:5 "ex hudatos kai pneumatos" to say that "water and spirit" refer to baptism as the point when one is born again/from above. But can Granville sharp be applied this way, with a preposition instead of an article?

    Help, please!

    Love in Christ,
    Steven
     
  2. jrscott

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    Steven,

    The recent interest in GS's rule has led to a lot of imprecision and misunderstanding of his orginal articule and the restrictions that he set forth with his rule, which has stood both the tests of time and scrutiny. I would highly suggest you find his original article and read it. Wallace complains that most of the grammars that American students have studied under, including the venerable Dana-Mantey grammar, have done some injustice on this rule, by "neglecting to specify more clearly the limitations." (WGG, 273) You are correct that in the GS construction requires that there are three very important limitations - the substantives must be non-plural, they must be impersonal, and they must not be proper names.

    GS would be more like saying, "This is THE worship center AND sanctuary of our church." The two substantives are obviously referring to the same thing.

    Perhaps a better way to understand this passage (Although GOOD teachers DO disagree) is when you have a construction formed by the prep-substantive-conj-substantive, it is meant as two separate entities working together as a unit. Thus, these two units are working together somehow toward being born again/from above. So the question isn't solved by grammar, but by lexical and exegetical considerations.

    It is significant that the article does not appear with the term pneumatos, meaning that it is not necessarily a direct reference to the Holy Spirit, but both water and wind are well-known figures that represent the life giving regeneration of the Spirit (the whole point of the conversation). This is found specifically in Ez. 37.9-10 and Is. 44.3-5. Thus, these two figures are being used as a unit to describe the Spirit's giving life, the fulfillment of OT passages such as those mentioned above. Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, should have known this.

    Thus, the idea that this is referring to water baptism is highly unlikely. It simply doesn't work in the context of the conversation with Nicodemus. In fact, notice that this phrase is given in contrast to Nicodemus' question, "He cannot ENTER a second time into his mother's womb..." Nicodemus simply cannot shake the idea of effort for salvation. To make "water" referring to water baptism would completely miss the point of the conversation.

    See the NET Bible's article on this point. I hope this helps.

    Randy
     
  3. HankD

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    I have had that question cross my mind as well and I think like your professor, that John 3:5 is indeed an example of the Granville Sharp rule as is Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 (check the Greek, there is no definite article with pneuma) the definite article is implied or can be substituted with a preposition to fullfill the Granville Sharp Rule.

    My opinion of course.

    Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:​

    The definite article before pneuma hagio and the last "with" in Matthew 3:11 are not part of the inspired text.

    Another point of interest is that the preposition translated as "with" is in Matthew 3:11 is actually "en" while John 3:5 uses "ex" for "of".

    HankD
     
    #3 HankD, Sep 14, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  4. jrscott

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    Do you have a source or could you qoute a grammar that states this? I am unaware of the ability of a preposition to take the place of an article for a GS construction. Semantically, I suppose it's possible, but awkward. (For instance, "I just came from the worship center and sanctuary of our church.") Even then, you must have the article for it to work. (In English of course - I suppose it's possible in Greek, but I know of no clear, non-debated examples. (That doesn't mean much.)

    There is a grammatical ability for the prepositional objects of a compound prepositional phrase to act together as a unit or entity, however, they do not imply identical referrents, which is what GS implies. For example, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Of course, theologically God the Father and Christ are the same - but in this passage, their distinction is emphasized, not their unity. However, they are acting in concert together to bring grace and peace to the readers.

    Here is the rule stated from the Sharp's article.
    "When the copulative kai connects two nouns o the same case,... if the article ho, or any of its cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle: i.e. it denotes a farther description of the first named person..." (Remarks on the Uses of the Definite Article, 3)

    There has been a lot of confusion about this rule as interest of it grew in the last century. There are many people who are familiar with GS but a little fuzzy on the limitations of the rule.

    Randy
     
  5. Truth Files

    Truth Files
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    I would suggest that argument over language applications to the extreme in order to prove or disprove subject material presented in scripture is futile

    There is significance of knowing certain word definitions of language for assisting in one's understanding with the proper application

    A good concordance is available for this study, but nothing can compare to the Lord's guidance through His holy spirit for opening up the scriptures of His truths

    The subject at hand can be understood within the full context of the passage and a number of other related scriptures

    Put simply, being born "again" of the Lord's holy spirit is conrasted with the physical birth [flesh and blood] of the unregenerated human

    The human who remains in a lost condition without a vital connection to the Lord cannot and will not enter into His kingdom

    This baptism of the the holy spirit has nothing to do with symbolic water baptism

    Once one has experienced this rebirth, one is saved and in a position to learn and properly interpret the written word of the Lord
     
    #5 Truth Files, Sep 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  6. HankD

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    No, I have no source or grammar to support my opinion and I did affirm that it is my opinion.

    I have several Koine Greek grammars and none of them support the assertion that a preposition can replace the definite article (or that the definite article is understood from the context) in the case of the Granville Sharp Rule.

    It's a "gut feeling".

    Perhaps I should have added FWIW (probably not much).

    HankD
     
  7. jrscott

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    HankD,

    I apologize if I came across as smart-alek (spelling?) or "know-it-all." I was really wanting to know if there is some support for that because it would be interesting to find out about.

    Have you ever considered doing a syntax search to try and go through the usage in the NT? That would be a good study (I'm not sure if it's been done or not in the past). Personally, I don't see how GS could apply to a compound prepositional phrase, but I suppose there are instances when it could be done. It'd be interesting to find out.

    Randy
     
  8. HankD

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    Oh, I didn't feel that you were being a smart-alek at all.

    Koine Greek is not as demanding as classical or Attic Greek and is very flexible and forgiving as to its limited grammar and syntax (as compared to earlier more formal forms) so allowing prepositions to function as or absorb the definite article doesn't surprise me. Also dropping definite articles where they would be understood is not technically a grammatical error in Koine.

    That this can apply to the GSR is my own opinion and no, I have never done an in depth study of the Granville Sharp Rule and it's occurrences in the NT but it is on my list of things-to-do-when-you-find-the-time-and-motivation.

    HankD
     
  9. John of Japan

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    No, a preposition cannot replace the article in the Granville Sharp rule. This rule is very precise, and old Granville said nothing about a preposition in his rule, compiled after hundreds of hours studying Greek texts.

    Sorry, HankD. Any more questions, class?
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    This is (almost) exactly what I was going to say...though you said it better than I would have said it.

    Here is a free copy of (pdf) of his text for future reference: http://www.biblefood.com/and2.html#sharppdf
     
  11. HankD

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    Oh well, wrong again...

    Thanks piJ and JoJ.

    HankD
     
  12. Greektim

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    Your conclusions might be right, but it would not be GSR construction. It is not a matter of a preposition taking the place of an article or an implied article. GS did not deal with that phenomenon. If you think the RESULT is similar to the GSR, then you have a completely different rule with a different construction. So this is actually a mistake in wording. The GSR is only applied to the TSKS construction. Anything else, while possibly (and I use that loosely) having the same resultant meaning as the TSKS formula, is not the GSR construction. So that is this professor's first mistake - a misrepresentation of the GSR.

    It does pique my interest in studying other constructions that would lead to the same GSR conclusions. Anyone need a dissertation idea??? :D
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Nice try, Hank. :smilewinkgrin:

    The deal is (and I should have said this before), the roles of a preposition and an article in Greek syntax are so different that one cannot replace the other.

    In Japanese, believe it or not, an adjective can become a verb under certain circumstances and vice versa. Greek verbs also have some elasticity. But not the preposition and article, alas.
     
  14. HankD

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    Hi Greektim (and JoJ)

    That leads to another point, I have noticed that often times koine drops the article (anarthrous).

    My Dana and Mantey Grammar says when the noun is anarthrous that "this places stress upon the qualitative aspect of the noun rather than mere identity". I had underlined this so many years ago, I have forgotten why.

    So do either of you think that this situation, although not technically GSR compliant, might serve a similar function (two anarthrous kai linked nouns having the same qualitative meaning rather than identity)?

    Is that what you are suggesting Tim?

    What do you think John?

    Thanks
    HankD
     
    #14 HankD, Sep 22, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  15. jrscott

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    HankD,

    There is a SIMILAR construction known as Apollonius' Corrolary. It tends to only focus upon a genitive construction. This rule simply states that when you have a genitive and head noun construction together, it usually makes little difference whether the article is present or not. They will have the same semantic force. So for example, "ho logos tou theou" would translate the same as "logos theou". Where this is real significant is in texts that deal with the Spirit. (ie. pneuma theou should still be translated "THE Spirit of God," regardless of the absence of the article,as opposed to "A spirit of God." )

    However, there is no anarthrous version of GS that I know of.

    Randy
     
  16. HankD

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    Thanks Randy.

    HankD
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Hi, Hank.

    I had to run to Sapporo to interpret yesterday and haven't had time to look at this. (The guy preached for 1 1/2 hours!) Can you give me the page number in D & M?
     
  18. HankD

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    Sure, Copyright 1955. Section 149 on Pg 149 The Absence of the Article.

    HankD
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Hi again Hank.

    Something sounded a little off with the quote from D&M. So I checked a couple of other grammars. Brooks and Winbury say, "Substantives with the article are definite or generic, while those without the article are indefinite or qualitative" (Syntax of NT Greek, p. 67). And Wallace: "When a substantive is anarthrous, it may have one of three forces: indefinite, qualitative, or definite" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 243). D&M didn't go far enough.

    I see two possibilites in John 3:5, qualitative or definite. From the context ("Spirit" with the article in v. 6, etc.) I think the force of our nouns there has to be definite, referring to the Holy Spirit and His washing of our hearts at regeneration.

    If you take pneuma in v. 5 as qualitative, which is possible, then the text refers to salvation as spiritual. Either way, the fact that two nouns are linked by kai in the syntax doesn't affect the meaning, IMO. :type:
     
  20. HankD

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    Thanks John.

    It would appear then that "water" probably wouldn't refer to the "water" of biological birth (as some view this passage) but as you say the washing of regeneration.

    Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 have a similar construction RE:

    baptisei en pneumati hagio kai puri

    HankD
     

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