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Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Holy Spirit — reprise

For the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about the Holy Spirit issue. Suzanne started us off in the Psalms asking about whether it is appropriate to capitalize the phrase or not. That led me to ponder about the categories that were around in the culture of the time. But being the linguist that I am, I began to wonder about whether there was direct textual evidence that the writers of the NT knew about the person of the Holy Spirit, or whether our understanding is by implication.

This is not a small matter to me because, as many of you know, I think we have fallen into a trap of reading theology into the text instead of letting the text speak to us directly. The question of the Holy Spirit seemed like a really good test case. Here’s what I found.
GEEK WARNING — what you are about to read is for serious Greek geeks. I will stay away from technical language as much as is possible, but this is a warning to fasten your linguistic seat belts and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD— if all the linguist’s detail isn’t your kettle of fish, I hereby give you permission to skip to the end and read the conclusion.
The various phrases that have been translated as Holy Spirit all contain two key words in Greek:
ἅγιος ‘holy’ (an adjective)
πνεῦμα ‘spirit’ (an noun)
They appear together either with the adjective first or with the adjective second:
ἅγιον πνεῦμα
πνεῦμα ἅγιον
This is typical of Koine adjectives. They can occur either before or after the noun they modify. Classical Greek grammars say the adjective normally comes first, but by the time of Roman era Koine the normal order is noun followed by adjective. (This was also recently noted by Mike at ἐν ἐφέσῳ.)

For example the phrase φωνὴ μεγάλη ‘(a) loud voice’ occurs 38 times in the NT, only three of which are in the order μεγάλη φωνή. And πνεῦμα ἅγιον occurs 78 times in the NT in that order. ἅγιον πνεῦμα only occurs 11 times. The order noun + adjective is the most frequent even in the LXX.

And if you have multiple modifiers then they all go after the noun. (Revelation is great for examples of this.) This is a very good indication of what the neutral order is.
δράκων μέγας πυρρός ‘a big, red dragon’ (lit. ‘dragon big red’)
βύσσινος λευκὸς καθαρός ‘clean, white linen cloth’ (lit. ‘linen-cloth white clean’
θρὶξ ξανθίζουσα λεπτή ‘a thin, yellow hair’ (lit. ‘hair yellow thin’)
Clearly the order noun + adjective is the normal case in Koine.

The question then arises, what is the difference between the neutral order (noun + adjective) and the other order (adjective + noun)? The standard answer seems always to be that the other order is “emphatic”, whatever that means.

But, at least in the case of ἅγιον πνεῦμα and πνεῦμα ἅγιον, there is a very interesting fact. There are eight instances in the NT with the order ἅγιον πνεῦμα and seven of them are possessive genitives and have the article.
There are 17 total instances of possessive genitives with ἅγιον and πνεῦμα in either order, 10 with the article and 7 without.
My considered opinion is that there is no meaning difference, or at least not what most people would think counts as meaning. I believe that it is simply that the fronted adjective sounds more “high-falutin’” because it harkens back to Classical Greek. The fact that it occurs almost exclusively in a single construction suggests that it’s not a matter of meaning difference at all, but just a marker of style.

Now let’s explore the second way factor we need to know about to interpret the phrases with ἅγιον and πνεῦμα. That is the presence (or absence) of the article, ὁ.

Combining the presence or absence of ὁ with the word order there are four possibilities, and it’s important to look at these features together because they interact as shown in the following table.


fronted modifier


πνεῦμα ἅγιον

ἅγιον πνεῦμα


τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον

τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα

Either order of noun and adjective is possible with or without the article, but if the order is noun + adjective and the article is present, then the article must be repeated before the adjective.

So the question about the meaning of τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον comes down to what the meanings are that are associated with the presence of the article.

There are many ways in which the Greek article ὁ functions like the English article the. In rough approximation it refers to an entity that the author believes the audience can uniquely identify.

One way that a referent is uniquely identifiable is because the entity was introduced earlier in the text. A clear example can be seen in the beginning of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:
19 ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον εὐφραινόμενος καθ' ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς — (The rich man is introduced with no article (≈ a in English). ἄνθρωπος τις ‘a certain man’)

20 πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος — (The poor man is introduced. πτωχὸς τις ‘a certain poor man’)

21 καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ — (The rich man is referred to with the definite article, here τοῦ.)

22 ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ — (The poor man is referred to with the definite article, here τὸν.)

ἀπέθανεν δὲ καὶ ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη — (The rich man is referred to with the definite article again, here .)
Often, however, the way an entity is identifiable is because the entity in question is a readily identifiable part of the world around us, like the sun, the clouds, the streets, the city. There are several such examples in this passage.
21 καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ (the dogs, which presumably roamed the streets of the city, not unlike many Third World cities today.)

22 ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ ἀπέθανεν δὲ καὶ ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη (the angels and the bosom of Abraham)
Note, however, that not all languages make the same choices regarding which of the things that are “around” get definite articles and which don’t. Hence, we say God, without an article but in Greek one says ὁ θεός. A related choice of this sort that is different between English and Greek is that many abstract nouns take definite articles in Greek, but not English
τὸ αγαθόν ‘good’
ὁ πονηρός ‘evil’
The last way that an entity can be treated as uniquely identifiable is if it is in a frame that is activated by some other word or phrase in the preceding context. If so, you can refer to it with a definite article, both in Greek and in English.
For those who don’t know what a frame is, a simple example should suffice.
A man walked into a restaurant. The maitre d’ seated him and handed him the menu. The waiter took his order and brought a plate of bread to the table.
In this example, you get to say the maitre d’, the menu, the waiter, the table, because once you mention restaurants, the frame of a restaurant is brought to mind, including all the things you find in the prototypical restaurant, like maitre d’s, menus and tables, waiters, and so on. In fact frames also include the kinds of things you expect to happen and in what order, but that’s too far afield for the purposes of this post.
In the Luke passage there are frame related definite articles.
20 πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος (Well, it’s really the gate of his house. Rich men live in houses nice enough to have gates.)

21 καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ (Those who eat sumptuously, eat at tables, and there is so much food that scraps fall to the ground, and beggars are dirty and have sores.)
There is much more to the use of the article in Greek, but this is the outline, and it provides all we need to know to tell from the text itself what the writers of the NT thought regarding the Holy Spirit.

For the folks who are skipping to the end, here’s the conclusion:

The writers of the NT must have been referring to an entity that they believed to be “around” when they used the definite article in passages like Acts 15:8
καὶ ὁ καρδιογνώστης θεὸς ἐμαρτύρησεν αὐτοῖς δοὺς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον καθὼς καὶ ἡμῖν

And God, who knows the heart, has testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us. (NET)
because it has no antecedant — no prior mention — to set up the use of the definite article, unless it (He) was a known entity in their conceptual world. Hence it is perfectly appropriate to think from the wording of passages such as this, that the Holy Spirit is a known entity in the mind of the author (here Luke), which he expects his audience will be able to identify.


• There is one quirk in the use of definite noun phrases in Greek which I haven’t seen discussed in the Koine grammar books. Many instances of noun + adjective as the object of a preposition or as a complement of an adjective lack the article even if they are understood definitely. This post has been technical enough. A full discussion of that issue will have to wait for some other time.

• If you look in the grammar books for word order help with nouns and adjectives, they don’t tell you much. For example the Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek just mentions it in passing (pg. 125). David Allen Black in It’s Still Greek to Me (quite a good book in spite of it being a little glib in presentation) only says:
The attributive adjective can usually be recognized by the article that precedes it: τὸ ζῶν ὕδωρ, “the living water.” Frequently the adjective follows the noun: τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν, “the living water” [literally, “the water, the living”] (John 4:11). The meaning is the same, but the later position is emphatic. Occasionally the attributive adjective is used without an article ὕδωρ ζῶν, “living water” (John 4:10). In such constructions the noun also does not have the article. (pp. 59-60)
and he’s got it backwards, noun - adjective is the normal (unmarked) order. Adjective - noun is the special order, as we showed above.


At Mon Apr 07, 03:18:00 AM, Blogger Carl W. Conrad said...

I don't find φωνὴ μέγας or μέγας φωνή at all in the GNT, but I find φωνὴ μεγάλη in various case forms 35x.

At Mon Apr 07, 08:10:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Now I feel like such a Greekgeek:

Aristotle writes explicit (perhaps prescriptive) instructions to his students on the use of articles and the fronting of adjectives. Here's one from the Rhetoric Book III, Chapter 6, v.5:

και μη ἐπιζευγνύναι, ἀλλ ἑκατε ρῳ ἑκα τερον, “τη̂ς γυναικος τη̂ς ἡμετέρας”: ἐὰν δὲ συντόμως, τοὐναντίον, “τη̂ς ἡμετέρας γυναικος”.

John Freese and George Kennedy see Aristotle's example here as so clear and so clearly important that neither translates it. Here respectively are Freese then Kennedy (who transliterates the Greek example):

"You should avoid linking up, but each word should have it's own article: τη̂ς γυναικος τη̂ς ἡμετέρας. But for conciseness, the reverse: τη̂ς ἡμετέρας γυναικος"

"And do not join [words with a single definite article] but use one article with each: tēs gynaikos tēs hēmeteras; but for conciseness the opposite: tēs hēmeteras gynaikos."

(and here's Rhys Roberts who does translate everything into English but who loses much in his translation: "Do not bracket two words under one article, but put one article with each; e.g. 'that wife of ours.' The reverse to secure conciseness; e.g. 'our wife.'")

At Mon Apr 07, 08:18:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Peter Kirk (in a comment earlier in this series) suggests that Isaiah 63:10,11 in LXX was one of the earliest Greek translations of the Hebrew OT. I want to suggest (given my note on Aristotle's prescription above), that Aristotle had great influence on students who, in Alexandria Egypt, authorized and began the Septuagint translation work. This then sets the precedent for Luke and others writing the NT to adopt (if to modify) some of the Greek grammar.

Compare Acts 15:8 (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) with Isaiah 63:10 (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) and 63:11 (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον). So if Luke or the LXX translators knew of Aristotle's rule, how might they have changed the phrase to make it more concise?

At Mon Apr 07, 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich, have you taken a look at Gordon Fee's discussion of almost this very same issue in the introduction to God's Empowering Presence?

He makes some interesting observations there. Unfortunately, I don't have it near me to summarize.


PS - I hope you saw my last comment about not intending to define the semantic significance of the two positions.

At Mon Apr 07, 10:31:00 AM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

I didn't mean finding φωνὴ μέγας or μέγας φωνή in the nominative. I meant finding the expression in some case (with or without the article). It is typical of concordances to list phrases that way. For example, Swanson, Kohlenberger, and Goodrick list multiple word expressions this way at the beginning of each entry.

For the expression under discussion they list:

μέγας φωνή (40) Mt. 27:46,50; Mk 1:26; 5:7; 15:34, 37; etc. etc.

I counted 38 rather than 40 as true NPs (as opposed to these words being in other construction), and the vast majority were in the dative, without an article, in neutral order, i.e., φωνὴ μεγάλη 'with a loud voice', 'with a shout'.

Does that answer your question?

At Mon Apr 07, 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

I tend not to look at the theologians precisely because I want to be sure that there is an argument for whatever position based on what can be derived from the text alone.

The other reason I want to dig deeper into the text sans theology is that all the available Greek grammar is decades (if not a century) old. We know enormously more about how to figure out how to interpret things in dead languages with large corpora than we knew even as recently as 20 years ago. None of this new information has gotten anywhere near the theologians. (Latin scholars tend to be better about this than Greek scholars, for some reason, although there are a few Greek scholars who are first rate at it. Unfortunatley, they work on Classical Greek rather than Koine.)

At Mon Apr 07, 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

I read Aristotle as simply trying to express what I put in my little table. Whatever the difference in meaning or emphasis in noun adjective order was to him, it was not so obvious that he could articulate it. (Not an uncommon reaction to certain kinds of subtle distinctions.)

I don't see that he has anything to say to us that we don't already know from the absence of art noun adjective (as NP) in the corpus.

I'd argue that accomplished Greek speakers arranged their articles and adjectives the way they did because this is part of "natural" Greek grammar, not because Aristotle told them to. I can, however, buy that there are things in both the LXX and NT (or at least those parts written by native speakers) that bear influences of Classical Greek, and not just Aristotle.

At Mon Apr 07, 02:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if i would consider Fee a theologian - he's first an textual critic, second an exegete, and third perhaps a theologian. His focus is very much on evidence though - chapter 2 of the book mentioned focuses on the statics of the HS in Paul, particularly with reference usage of the article. Its worth reading. The chapter is linguistic and exegetical - not theological.

At Mon Apr 07, 04:31:00 PM, Blogger tc said...

Carl W. Conrad, I very pleased to see you in these quarters. I really have enjoyed your Greek input on BGreek.

At Mon Apr 07, 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

A postscript.

Sorry I misread your original comment.

For some reason, Swanson, Kohlenberger, and Goodrick list multiple word expressions with citation forms instead of inflecting the forms appropriately, as if they wanted to write μεγάλ- φων(ή)-, but couldn't bring themselves to do so. I should have done the sensible thing, because, you're right. It's confusing otherwise.

(I'll make the correction forthwith.)

At Mon Apr 07, 08:59:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

I'll check out what Fee has to say.

At Wed Apr 09, 04:11:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

You say: "I read Aristotle as simply trying to express what I put in my little table.

I don't see that he has anything to say to us that we don't already know . . .

I'd argue that accomplished Greek speakers arranged their articles and adjectives the way they did because this is part of 'natural' Greek grammar, not because Aristotle told them to.

That certainly sounds like a postmodern perspective. We today come before Aristotle way back then, and he follows us.

As for your last statement (the third one here): of course Aristotle followed the ostensibly "natural"; that was his game--to name the "natural" as if he himself was not constructing it. The problem you make not assuming his influence is, I think, a huge problem. First, it ignores more generally the power and influence of the grammar handbook tradition of the Greeks (which Aristotle is all too eager to "correct" at various points; and which he even uses as the raison d'être for the Rhetoric, which opens with a complaint about "all" the other previous professors of the art of communication). We see this very power in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the the U.K. with the advent of prescriptive writing and rhetoric handbooks of Hugh Blair, George Campbell, and Richard Whately. To say that Aristotle or Blair, Campbell, and Whately were simply codifying the "common" and "natural" practices of grammar ignores their measurable influence. Second, the context in which Aristotle gives his prescription (the one I've quoted in comments here) shows that he is giving his prescriptions in contrast to named users of bad Greek grammar. Third, then, why does getting history right make a difference? Who cares if Aristotle influences us or if he's just doing, with us now, what "always" was done by most "everyone"? You tell me. The subtle influence of men on us, what's it's power over us if we can just project back on them some kind of benign and mere descriptivism that professor linguists would assume for themselves. I'd say we may want to be careful not to assume too much "objectivity."

Interestingly, and amusingly perhaps, Jesus had to address this whole question of influence when his practices and his preaching countered the "natural" traditions of the Law. (This was, of course, much higher stakes for everyone than where to put the Greek article or when to front a Greek adjective in a Greek noun phrase). In Mark 3:29, Mark (or is it Peter) translates Jesus' Aramaic as τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. But Luke (or is it Paul), in Lk 12:10 makes it the concise τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα.

Mark and Luke follow Aristotle's "natural" rule.

(And so we should just add that Aristotle also had natural rules about non-Greek barbarians, about slaves, and about females, which all too many have received as well. He had rules for syllogistic logic which we've not as easily questioned. Jesus practiced and preached against such "nature.")

At Wed Apr 09, 04:25:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Kurk wrote:

That certainly sounds like a postmodern perspective.

I don't think so, Kurk. What Rich stated was traditional descriptive linguistics which has been around a long time. Descriptive linguists focus on the data as it is, as people actually speak a language.

Postmodernism focuses on interpretation of what people say, as I understand it. Rich can speak for himself, but I doubt that he is a postmodernist. He has repeatedly emphasized how strongly he believes in the importance of the original text, its original meaning. I don't think he would want to be finding a variety of meanings within that text based on what different readers get from that text today. It is very anti-(and ante-)postmodern to emphasize natural language and authorial intentions.

At Thu Apr 10, 08:47:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Thanks Wayne. You said "I doubt that he is a postmodernist." I do hope Rich will speak for himself again, and I'm with you: "he's no postmodernist!"

But for him to say there's only one Greek grammar to describe, and that Aristotle is following Rich by simply describing "natural" Greek grammar is to transcend time too. Such conflating of past and present practices is what sounds postmodern. It's like Ishmael Reed having the U.S. slaves escape north on a jumbo jet in Flight to Canada. Well, they did get there somehow didn't they? Rich sounds like he's giving Aristotle a first class seat on the plane with him.

But there is a great history of prescriptive grammar influence of Aristotle. He's no descriptive linguist. He, with Plato, despises many of the poets, and most all of the sophists, for their Greek. Right before his gives his article use prescriptive, he denigrates the writing of Heraclitus. As he tells what to avoid in article usage, he praises other poets and names Antimachus. Then he turns again now against the poetry of Cleophon (taking a jab at Isocrates, who Plato teaches against).

The point? To look at just some Greek grammar as "natural" is dangerous. If you're Aristotle, a prescriptivist way back then, then you're trying to get people to write and speak as you think they should. If you're a linguist, a descriptivist now, who believes in the theological doctrine of plenary inspiration of the Bible, then you tend to say the grammar that's in the Bible is "natural"; you want it to be "natural" because it surely was always and only the way it is.

Maybe we don't want Aristotle to influence our Bible and its Greek translation and its "original" Greek so much. But to say he's not a giving grammar prescriptions (in the long tradition of Greek writing handbooks) and, rather, that he's simply trying to describe what's on Rich's descriptivist table is to miss much.

Rich could not as easily say Blair, Campbell, and Whately simply describe English grammar the way he does now. Why not? Because Rich will more easily admit to the many English language grammars outside of the prescriptive provinces of such handbook writers.

What I'd like to hear Rich deny (if he can distance himself from postmodern sounding practice) is that his theology of plenary inspiration does not get in the way of his would-be descriptive linguistics, when it comes to the Greek of the Bible.

At Thu Apr 10, 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

This just confirms to me that Aristotle was a very bad person. Not only was he sexist, racist and all sorts of other undesirable -ists, he was a prescriptive grammarian! Now he is right down there on my list of bad people with Grudem, Piper, Driscoll and Rowan Williams. ;-)

At Thu Apr 10, 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Hah, I told you so!

At Thu Apr 10, 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


At Sat Apr 12, 05:33:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

Time out, folks.

You can only tell the difference between descriptive and prescriptive grammar if there are options. The prescriptivist wants to limit the options because one is "good" and one is "bad".

So Miss Frump, your high school English teacher, says ain't is bad grammar, and that's prescriptive, because ain't is a perfectly legitimate (if somewhat marked) English word and there are times when it's, in fact, necessary to use it. It happens in non-essay writing all the time. If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

When Aristotle says what can loosely be translated/interpreted as: "Article noun adjective in that order is ungrammatical without a copy of the article between the noun and the adjective, or you can put the adjective in front of the noun", that's descriptive. Native speakers for hundreds of years never did otherwise, not because they read Aristotle but because long before they could read, they learned it that way at their mother's knee (which is what I was using "natural" to say). And recognizing what's natural is not dangerous at all.

The existence of grammatical pronouncements in the face of a need for language teaching in a prelinguistic era should hardly be taken amiss either. Fries (Pike's teacher) was not a prescriptivist by any means, but he wrote books telling you how to put English sentences together. He could easily be read as prescriptivist.

Kurk wrote:
If you're a linguist, a descriptivist now, who believes in the theological doctrine of plenary inspiration of the Bible, then you tend to say the grammar that's in the Bible is "natural"; you want it to be "natural" because it surely was always and only the way it is.

No. The "naturalness" has nothing to doing with the status of the Bible. One can say a lot about what's natural in Roman era eastern Mediterranean Greek because there is a lot of extra-Biblical evidence which tells us that the language that appears in the Bible is natural for the Greek of that area during that time.

It's also a mistake to infer that that I somehow think that Greek grammar is monolithic because the one "rule" I talk about (which addresses how attributives, nouns, and articles interact) remains stable for something like 600 years. There are lots of such "rules" in Elizabethan English that still work today.

And ... I don't really care if Aristotle was a pompous ass and mouthpiece for The Man (as Kurk will not let us forget), he can still make valid observations about points of Greek grammar, even if he phrases them as if they were prescriptive -- and we don't really get to rail at him for it.

Kurk, for my money you charge a lot of guilt by association. Aristotle was a jerk, therefore, everything he said is wrong -- even when he got it right. (And he got a lot right, or at least he got close enough to right for most purposes.)

Every time we say something that Aristotle happened to get right, then we're tarred with his brush.

That really doesn't help.

At Sun Apr 13, 09:28:00 PM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Aristotle was a jerk, therefore, everything he said is wrong -- even when he got it right.

Now did I really say that, Rich? REally, that sounds more like something Aristotle himself would say. He was hung up, wasn't he?, on getting everything right. And on telling his students he was always right. He hides behind his logical method, and "nature" which he observes objectively, and rightly, or so it seems. Let's agree not to call him a "prescriptivist" then. He wants so badly to be a "descriptivist." (He probably wouldn't care that we barbarians are quibbling over him. He'd be amused that Suzanne would agree with any non Greek man like Peter or me that he's a sexist and a racist.) But, by us, he gets so much "right"; let's agree to keep his brush as clean of tar as possible. Especially if we're going to use his brush now and again.

But why was Homer not "right" by Aristotle's description of Greek grammar, when in the epic Illiad (9.366) there's this:

ἠ γυναῖκας ἐϋζώνους

which Aristotle, by either a descriptive or a prescriptive rule, would want to make "right" as this:

ἠ γυναῖκας ἠ ἐϋζώνους

or more concisely as this:

ἠ ἐϋζώνους γυναῖκας


Compare that with Aristotle's rule in the Rhetoric as noted above.


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