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restrictive use of the attributive adjective

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restrictive use of the attributive adjective

Postby DugArt1968 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:41 pm

Hello, my Name is Douglas. I have written and sent an introductory post, but, it hasn't been approved, yet.
So, Let me tell you a little bit about myself and then ask my question. I like to read Christian fiction novels(Dee Henderson, Frank Peretti, etc.,) Love puzzles like Rubik's cube, Sudoku, and the like.

I am trying to learn Greek to better understand the Bible. I haven't gotten very far, but, while I am in the process of learning, I have been studying different passages of scripture.

My Question concerns John 10:11 where Jesus says: I am the shepherd the good.(Greek word order). I have been told, and have read in different places, that this is an example of what is called "the restrictive use of the attributive adjective". However, it seems that there is a difference of opinion on what the purpose of this is.

One website, http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/adjectiv.htm, says this:

"The Restrictive Use of the Attribute Adjective: For example John 10:11 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd". In Greek, the word order is "I am the shepherd the good", that is 'article', 'noun', 'article', 'adjective'. This is the second way the attributive adjective can be formed. The noun 'shepherd' is being modified by the adjective 'good'. Notice that 'good' still comes after the second definite article which modifies this noun. This position helps to emphasis the quality of "good" as if to say that not all shepherds are good. It could be translated, "I am the shepherd, that is, the good one (as opposed to the others who are not good)"."

To me, it seems that the author is saying that the Restrictive use of the Attribute Adjective is being used to emphasis the word "good" above the word "shepherd".

However, A. T. Robertson's A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page 776, has this to say when the definite article is repeated in John 10:11(this is under the heading of adjectives):

"2. The other Construction (Repetition of the Article): In the order I am the shepherd the good both the substantive and adjective receive emphasis and the adjective is added as a sort of climax in apposition with a separate article."

It seems to me that A. T. Robertson is saying that both the noun and the adjective are receiving equal emphasis.

I'm confused. Which way do we go with this?
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Re: restrictive use of the attributive adjective

Postby Andrew Chapman » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:02 pm

I think they might be saying roughly the same thing. The ntgreek author suggests that the restrictive position brings out an awareness in the reader that He is the good shepherd as opposed to other shepherds who are not good.

Robertson speaks of a climax - the shepherd.. the good shepherd. To me that also suggests - as opposed to the bad shepherd.

Matters of emphasis are highly subjective it seems to me. One person reads it one way, and one another. And how can one tell who is right?

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Re: restrictive use of the attributive adjective

Postby DugArt1968 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:43 pm

Thank you, Andrew, for your reply.

In this particular passage of scripture Jesus is talking about both an hireling and a shepherd. Which leaves me with the impression that if both the noun and the adjective are being emphasized, then, the word "shepherd" would be emphasized to point out he's not an hireling and the word "good", as you pointing out, would be emphasized to show that he is not a "bad" shepherd - but a good one.

I guess if only the word "good" were emphasized it wouldn't make that much of a difference. I just don't know Greek that well and wasn't sure if it made a difference or not.

Again, thanks for your reply. Appreciate it.
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Re: restrictive use of the attributive adjective

Postby Markos » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:38 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:Matters of emphasis are highly subjective it seems to me. One person reads it one way, and one another. And how can one tell who is right?

Boy, I sure do agree with this. Subjective and non-falsifiable. In the
John 10:11:Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός.

how could you prove that any of these words are NOT emphatic?
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Re: restrictive use of the attributive adjective

Postby mwh » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:41 am

“Emphasis” is not as elusive as all that, nor as subjective, but it’s not something a beginner should worry about too much. The thing Douglas will have to get on top of is the difference between attributive and predicative position. ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός and ὁ καλὸς ποιμὴν are pretty well equivalent, since in both cases the adjective is preceded by the definite article, and hence attributive. (Obviously they’re not exactly equivalent, and John’s text throws more weight on καλός than would the alternative. But let’s not argue about whether that’s true, or falsifiable, at least not here.)

Easy enough to prove that ειμι is not emphatic, and that εγω is.
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