Sharp’s Rule Revisited: A Response To Stanley Porter -- By: Daniel B. Wallace

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 56:1 (Mar 2013)
Article: Sharp’s Rule Revisited: A Response To Stanley Porter
Author: Daniel B. Wallace


Sharp’s Rule Revisited:
A Response To Stanley Porter

Daniel B. Wallace*

* Daniel Wallace is professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204. He is also the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

In the December 2010 issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (vol. 53, pp. 828–32), Stanley Porter reviewed my monograph, Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance.1 I am thankful for the interaction and the opportunity it affords me for clarification. In his review, Porter offers little by way of positive assessment, with but one paragraph discussing the overall contents. The review is largely concerned with how I have apparently misunderstood Sharp’s rule: “the most important shortcoming of the book is Wallace’s failure to analyze Sharp’s rule adequately and to follow his own evidence where it leads.”2 In this response, I wish to take issue with this assessment.

I. My Understanding Of Sharp’s Rule

By way of background, Granville Sharp wrote a slender tome in 1798 that went through four editions in less than ten years. Titled Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament: Containing many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ, from Passages which are wrongly Translated in the Common English Version, this volume3 is the best-known and controversial of the scores of books that Sharp penned. Sharp articulated as his first of six rules4 the following:

When the copulative και connects two nouns of the same case [viz. nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill], if the article , 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.5

Sharp’s canon relates to a particular kind of article-substantive-καί-substantive construction (TSKS), which has a variety of uses. The...

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