Granville Sharp’s Rule -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 01:2 (Fall 1997)
Article: Granville Sharp’s Rule
Author: Bruce A. Baker


Granville Sharp’s Rule

Bruce A. Baker

Pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Bates City, Missouri

In the year 1798, a layman who was completely self-taught published a small book that he had written twenty years earlier. In it he articulated six principles regarding the use of the article in the Greek New Testament. Despite the brevity of the work and the lack of formal education of the author, this book is now considered a classic in the specialty of Greek grammar. The layman’s name was Granville Sharp.

Granville Sharp’s accomplishments,1 considering his lack of formal education, are astounding. He filed and won several lawsuits in England aimed at ending the slave trade. Ultimately, slavery itself was abolished in England, due in no small part to his strenuous efforts behind the scenes. Although he never left his native England, his influence was felt well beyond its borders. Sharp’s pamphlet decrying the tyranny of taxation without representation was sent to America by Benjamin Franklin, where it was immediately reprinted in the thousands. Sharp founded the country of Sierra Leone in West Africa as a haven for homeless former slaves after he became aware of their plight on the streets of London. By the time of his death in 1813, he was a celebrated figure on three continents.

His book, 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, was as brief as the title was long—originally only sixty pages. Even though subsequent editions added a comparatively lengthy preface, the main impact of Sharp’s book continues to be Rule One.

When the copulative καί connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, (sic) and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill,] if the article ὁ, 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.2

After stating this rule, Sharp explained and expanded the parameters of this rule. According to Sharp, the construction article-substantive3 καί...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()