Exceptions To Apollonius’ Canon In The New Testament: A Grammatical Study -- By: Sanford D. Hull

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 07:1 (Spring 1986)
Article: Exceptions To Apollonius’ Canon In The New Testament: A Grammatical Study
Author: Sanford D. Hull

Exceptions To Apollonius’ Canon In
The New Testament: A Grammatical Study

Sanford D. Hull

St. Joseph, Missouri

A. Introduction

The canon of Apollonius of Dyscolus, a second-century grammarian, states that two nouns in regimen are either both articular or both anarthrous.1 Grammarians have long recognized, however, that there are exceptions to this rule. Indeed, Apollonius himself admitted the existence of exceptions.2 The major modern NT grammars have noted several modifications necessary for the canon to hold, although there are some differences among the grammarians.

Blass and Debrunner cite Apollonius’ canon but note no exceptions, attributing the canon’s linking of two anarthrous nouns to Hebrew influence.3 Turner specifies as a modification that “the governing noun may be anarthrous while the governed is articular” and claims that this is “through Hebrew influence.”4 He makes special mention of anarthrous proper names and objects of prepositions. Robertson cites two exceptions to the canon: (1) when the genitive substantive is an anarthrous proper noun; (2) when the anarthrous nomen regens depends on a preposition.”5 These exceptions, however, are licit but not mandated. Moule also presses for two modifications: (1) “The governing noun may be anarthrous without necessitating the omission of the article of the governed” (therefore ὁ λόγος ἀληθείας “may be impossible” but λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας is permissable); (2) the article may be omitted with proper names and “national appellations.”6

Zerwick asserts that the canon (not so-called by him) is “almost a grammatical rule” for two anarthrous nouns.7 But he has elsewhere stated that nouns with a following genitive may omit the article after the manner of the Hebrew construct state, and he has already cited NT Greek’s propensity for anarthrous proper names.8

In summary, then, the major NT grammars allow for exceptions to Apollonius’ canon when the anarthrous noun is a proper name, when the nomen regens is the anarthrous object of a preposition, or, more broadly, when an anarthrous nomen regens precedes the nomen rectum. Most...

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