Sharp Redivivus? - A Reexamination of the Granville Sharp RuleRelated Media
I. Granville Sharp and his Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article
A. Sharp’s Rule
B. Nearly Two Centuries of Abuse
II. Linguistic-Phenomenological Analysis
A. The Nature of the Construction in General
B. The Construction Involving Personal, Singular, Non-Proper Substantives
1. A Proper Semantic Grid
2. The Empirical Data
a. The Phenomena in the NT
b. The Phenomena in Extra-NT Greek Literature
Usage in the Non-Literary Papyri
Exceptions to the Rule Outside the NT
III. The Christologically Significant Texts
A. Sharp’s Application to Christologically Significant Texts
B. Extra-Syntactical Confirmation
1. Patristic Usage of Christological Texts
2. Θεὸς Σωτήρ in the Milieu of the First Century
C. Arguments against the Application of the Rule to the Christologically Significant Texts
1. General Syntactical Considerations
2. Text-Specific and Theological Considerations
a. Θεός as a Proper Name
b. Titus 2:13
c. Second Peter 1:1
3. Patristic Exceptions
Few today would take issue with Rudolf Bultmann’s oft-quoted line that “In describing Christ as ‘God’ the New Testament still exercises great restraint.”2 The list of passages which seem explicitly to identify Christ with God varies from scholar to scholar, but the number is almost never more than a half dozen or so.3 As is well known, almost all of the texts are disputed as to their affirmation—due to textual or grammatical glitches—John 1:1 and 20:28 being the only two which are usually conceded without discussion.4 Among the more highly regarded passages are Rom 9:5; 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 2 Pet 1:1.
Remarkably, three of these seven involve the construction article-noun-καί-noun (TSKS [“‘the’-substantive-καί-substantive”]) in the very assertion itself (2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1). Occasionally, Acts 20:28; Gal 2:20; Eph 5:5; Col 2:2; 1 John 5:20; and Jude 4 are also listed as explicit texts—and these, too, involve the same syntactical form.5 This is where Granville Sharp enters the picture. Sharp developed a grammatical principle in which he discussed the semantics of this very construction. He then applied his “rule” to several christologically significant texts and argued that the construction could only be interpreted as affirming the deity of Christ.
But Sharp’s rule has been almost totally neglected, discounted, or misapplied in recent discussions on these passages. In light of this, our purpose in this essay is threefold: (1) to give a brief historical sketch of the articulation and discussion of Sharp’s canon, from Sharp to the present day; (2) to test the validity of Sharp’s rule against the data, both within the NT and elsewhere; and (3) to reassess the application of the rule to two christologically significant texts.
I. Granville Sharp and His
Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article
A. Sharp’s Rule
In 1798 Granville Sharp published a monograph entitled, 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 Version6—a work which was to play the major role in applying TSKS to the christologically significant passages. The slender volume (which, when originally published, contained less than sixty pages) had actually been written twenty years earlier,7 but remained dormant until a friend and scholar urged Sharp to get it into print.8 Most likely an outgrowth of his extensive treatise on the Trinity published in 1777,9 this little book was destined to become the center of a linguistic and theological storm and the only piece in biblical studies for which Sharp is remembered.
The Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article went through four editions in ten years.10 What may be of interest to note here is that the second and subsequent editions include excerpts from a lengthy rebuttal of Sharp’s Remarks by one pseudonymously named Gregory Blunt.11 The pun was not missed by Sharp: his last edition (1807) adds a twenty-six page preface (ix-xxxiv) in which he interacts with Blunt. Several exchanges were more rhetorical than substantive, dealing with the word-play between the two surnames.
In this work Sharp articulated six principles of syntax involving the Greek article, though what has commonly become known as “Sharp’s rule” is the first of these. It is the only rule which directly impacts the christologically significant passages and hence, “it is of much more consequence than the rest . . .”12 As the weapon by which Sharp made his theological jabs against Socinians, it is this rule which has been largely debated, misunderstood, and abused. Sharp’s expanded definition of it is as follows.
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 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: i.e. it denotes a farther description of the first-named person . . . .13
In the statement of this rule, Sharp only discussed substantives (i.e., nouns, substantival adjectives, substantival participles) of personal description, not those which referred to things, and only in the singular, not the plural. But whether he intended the rule to apply to impersonal nouns and/or plurals can hardly be determined from this definition. As well, he did not clearly exclude proper names from the rule’s application. However, a perusal of his monograph reveals that he felt the rule could be applied absolutely only to personal, singular, non-proper nouns. For example, two pages later he points out that “there is no exception or instance of the like mode of expression, that I know of, which necessarily requires a construction different from what is here laid down, EXCEPT the nouns be proper names, or in the plural number; in which case there are many exceptions . . . .”14 Later on he explicitly states that impersonal constructions are within the purview of his second, third, fifth, and sixth rules, but not the first.15 In an appendix Sharp chastises Blunt for bringing in impersonal constructions as exceptions to the rule.16
In other words, in the construction article-noun-καί-noun, Sharp delineated four requirements which he felt needed to be met if the two nouns were necessarily to be seen as having the same referent:17 both nouns must be (1) personal—i.e., they must refer to a person, not a thing; (2) common epithets—i.e., not proper names; (3) in the same case;18 and (4) singular in number.19 The significance of these requirements can hardly be overestimated, for those who have misunderstood Sharp’s rule have done so almost without exception because they were unaware of the restrictions that Sharp set forth.20
The rationale for such strictures will be discussed later; suffice it to say here that a proper articulation of Sharp’s rule includes them. The rule may or may not be valid, but any accurate representation of it must include these criteria.
The bulk of Sharp’s Remarks was a discussion of eight christologically significant texts (Acts 20:28; Eph 5:5; 2 Thess 1:12; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 4), encompassing more than two-thirds of the body of the work.21 Sharp backed up the validity of his arguments with twenty-five non-christologically-significant examples which he believed were undisputed in their semantic force.22 Included in his disquisition are the following illustrations.23
2 Cor 1:3 (bis) Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεός
2 Cor 11:31 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ
Eph 6:21 Τυχικὸς ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος
Phil 4:20 τῷ δὲ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ ἡμῶν ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων
Heb 3:1 τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν
Jas 3:9 ἐν αὐτῇ εὐλογοῦμεν τὸν κύριον καὶ πατέρα
2 Pet 2:20 ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
Rev 16:15 μακάριος ὁ γρηγορῶν καὶ τηρῶν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ
Sharp’s judgment was that in these texts “the sense is so plain that there can be no controversy.”24 As is evident even without a context, his assessment was correct. None of the rest of Sharp’s examples required any discussion either, as is obvious from the reactions to his work: no one disputed the validity of these examples. A number of other things were disputed, however, especially the validity of such texts for the christologically pregnant passages.
B. Nearly Two Centuries of Abuse
The reactions to Sharp’s rule over the next two centuries cannot be easily summarized. Due to time constraints, our discussion will necessarily be truncated.25 There are relatively few major players in this debate, and the one who said the least made the greatest impact. But suffice it to say here that not one of Sharp’s critics ever demonstrated an invalid example within the pages of the New Testament.
Gregory Blunt argued essentially from English grammar. His principal argument was a tacit syllogism:
Greek and English are identical with respect to the use of the article.
There are many exceptions to Sharp’s rule in English.
Therefore, his rule is invalid in Greek.
Blunt thus spent an inordinate amount of time producing English examples (e.g., “the King and Queen”) that seemed to violate the rule. He held to an explicit connection between Greek and English in terms even of surface structure, making typically prescriptive statements about how the Greek article must behave.26 To such arguments Sharp retorted, “he has not been able to produce against the Rules one single example from the Greek text of the New Testament, (the only true criterion of their truth) . . . .”27
Calvin Winstanley’s criticisms were taken far more seriously. He was able to produce four classes of exceptions to Sharp’s rule in Greek literature outside the NT—exceptions that we will address later.28 The second edition of his Vindication of Certain Passages in the Common English Version, published six years after Sharp’s death (1819), constitutes to this day the latest and most complete list of exceptions to Sharp’s rule. We can enlarge on Winstanley’s list substantially. However, it is far more difficult to enlarge on the categories of exceptions which he found. Winstanley is to be regarded as the most formidable adversary of Sharp’s rule, but not the most influential.
Three years after Winstanley’s book appeared, a volume dedicated to the usage of the Greek article was published. The Doctrine of the Greek Article Applied to the Criticism and Illustration of the New Testament, written by the first Bishop of Calcutta, Thomas Fanshaw Middleton,29—a work still highly regarded among NT grammarians today30—gave an extensive treatment on the use of the article in classical Greek, followed by hundreds of pages of exegetical discussions of the article in the NT. Middleton clearly felt the force of Sharp’s rule and lent it credibility from the circle of philology. He believed that Sharp’s canon was valid both for the NT and classical Greek. In addition, he clearly understood the restrictions of the rule to personal, singular, non-proper nouns.31
Although Middleton did not answer all of Winstanley’s objections to Sharp’s canon, he did articulate, in great detail, the nature and validity of the rule. Now one hundred and fifty years old, Middleton’s treatment stands as the last clear statement of Sharp’s rule in any major work. The question which concerns us now is, How did Sharp’s rule become neglected?
It is always a perilous venture to attempt a historical reconstruction over the demise of anything. In this instance, however, a suggestion has already been put forth by another, and I find little in his assessment with which I can take issue. In his essay on “The Greek Article and the Deity of Christ,” A. T. Robertson named Georg Benedict Winer32 as the catalyst behind the neglect of Sharp’s canon in application to christologically significant texts:33
A strange timidity seized some of the translators in the Jerusalem Chamber that is reproduced by the American Committee. There is no hesitation in translating John i. 1 as the text has it. Why boggle over 2 Peter i. 1?
The explanation is to be found in Winer’s Grammar (Thayer’s Edition, p. 130; W. F. Moulton’s (p. 162) [sic], where the author seeks by indirection to break the force of Granville Sharp’s rule by saying that in 2 Peter i. 1 “there is not even a pronoun with σωτῆρος.” That is true, but it is quite beside the point. There is no pronoun with σωτῆρος in 2 Peter i. 11, precisely the same idiom, where no one doubts the identity of “Lord and Saviour.” Why refuse to apply the same rule to 2 Peter i. 1, that all admit, Winer included, to be true of 2 Peter i. 11? . . . The simple truth is that Winer’s anti-Trinitarian prejudice overruled his grammatical rectitude in his remark about 2 Peter i. 1.
. . . It is plain, therefore, that Winer has exerted a pernicious influence, from the grammatical standpoint, on the interpretation of 2 Peter i. 1, and Titus ii. 13. Scholars who believed in the Deity of Christ have not wished to claim too much and to fly in the face of Winer, the great grammarian, for three generations.34
Winer’s assessment of Titus 2:13 is also worth quoting:
In Tit. ii. 13. . . considerations derived from Paul’s system of doctrine lead me to believe that σωτῆρος is not a second predicate, co-ordinate with θεοῦ. . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[In n 2 at the bottom of the same page] In the above remarks it was not my intention to deny that, in point of grammar, σωτῆρος ἡμῶν may be regarded as a second predicate, jointly depending on the article τοῦ; but the dogmatic conviction derived from Paul’s writings that this apostle cannot have called Christ the great God induced me to show that there is no grammatical obstacle to our taking the clause καὶ σωτ. . . . Χριστοῦ by itself, as referring to a second subject.35
What is most interesting about Winer’s comments on these two texts is that though he advances no real grammatical arguments, because he was a highly regarded grammarian he was apparently able to cancel out, by the intimidation of his own opinion, the use of Sharp’s rule in these passages. As we will see, this statement virtually sounded the death knell to Sharp’s principle. Ironically, what Winstanley could not do in a tightly argued, compact book of fifty-five pages (all in eight-point type), Winer did in a single footnote!
As Robertson pointed out, Winer was the catalyst behind the neglect of Sharp’s rule. His suggestion can be easily confirmed. For example, J. H. Moulton is strongly influenced by Winer’s comment on Titus 2:13, reading it as though borne from a sober grammatical judgment. In his Prolegomena he writes: “We cannot discuss here the problem of Tit 213, for we must, as grammarians, leave the matter open: see WM 162, 156n.”36 Other scholars have followed suit. Some explicitly cite Winer as their authority for doubting the grammatical perspicuity of the construction;37 others, though not mentioning Winer by name, consider the grammar to be vague.38
Winer’s influence, then, seems sufficiently to account for the neglect of Sharp’s rule in discussions of the christologically significant passages, but what about the abuse of the rule? Almost without exception, those who seem to be acquainted with Sharp’s canon and agree with its validity misunderstand it and abuse it. This widespread misunderstanding shows no partiality—grammarians, exegetes, and theologians alike are culpable. Typically, the rule is usually perceived to extend to plural and impersonal constructions—in spite of the fact that Sharp restricted the rule to personal singular nouns. What are the reasons for such abuse? For one thing, as we have seen, the statement of Sharp’s rule is not clear—only an examination of his monograph explicitly reveals his requirement of personal singular nouns. Secondly, the last clear statement of the limitations of Sharp’s canon in any major work was published over one hundred and fifty years ago—in Thomas Fanshaw Middleton’s Doctrine of the Greek Article.39
For whatever reason, modern grammarians have perpetuated the ambiguity of the original statement, bypassing Middleton’s clear articulation of the rule altogether. To take but three examples: A. T. Robertson, in his large grammar, discusses the TSKS construction quite extensively. We have already seen that he was well acquainted with Sharp’s rule—in fact, he was an adamant defender of its validity.40 However, without interacting with either Sharp or Middleton on the point, he felt that the rule applied to impersonal nouns as well as personal.41 Second, Dana and Mantey—on whose grammar many American students have been weaned—actually reproduce (almost) verbatim Sharp’s rule, but neglect to specify more clearly the limitations.42 And third, in his recent intermediate grammar dedicated to the memory of Granville Sharp, Stanley Porter states, “Unfortunately, this rule has been widely misunderstood.”43 But Porter both misstates the rule (ignoring the restriction to personal substantives) and, consequently, applies Sharp's canon to an impersonal construction (τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος in Eph 3:18).44 Robertson, Dana and Mantey, and Porter are simply the tip of the iceberg of grammarians’ misunderstanding of Sharp’s canon.45
The reason, therefore, for the abuse of the rule seems to be that few have taken the time to read Sharp’s Remarks or Middleton’s Doctrine of the Greek Article—in spite of the fact that “Sharp’s rule” is still, here and there, mentioned with approbation. And the reason that few have actually read Sharp or Middleton,46 it seems, is either inaccessibility or the natural tendency in biblical studies to think that only the most recent literature makes much of a contribution.47
The upshot of the present-day imprecise knowledge of Sharp’s limitations is that those who invoke his canon on behalf of the argument for Christ’s deity in Titus 2:13, etc., since they include plurals and impersonals in the rule, are unable to regard the rule as absolute. Since these same scholars find exceptions to what they perceive to be the rule, they can only regard it as a general principle. For example, Murray J. Harris, in his otherwise excellent and detailed article, “Titus 2:13 and the Deity of Christ” (in F. F. Bruce’s second Festschrift), makes much of the argument that “two co-ordinate nouns referring to the same person are customarily linked by a single article.”48 Yet he gives in defense of this proposition three proof texts—two of which involve nouns in the plural (which even he concedes do not speak of identity and thus they contradict his version of Sharp’s rule)!49 Harris is hardly alone in his abuse of Sharp’s canon; indeed, he simply follows in a long train of exegetes who have been unaware of the restrictions laid down by Sharp.50
To sum up, the validity of Sharp’s principle was called into question, on theological grounds, by the great grammarian of the nineteenth century, Georg Benedict Winer. His stature as a grammarian, even though he spoke in this instance outside his realm, has apparently brought about the neglect of the rule in the vast majority of studies of these passages in this century. Consequently, and certainly related to this, the rule has been abused even by those who agree with its validity,51 because the limitations which Sharp laid down are almost never observed (in large measure because they have not been printed in any major work in the last one hundred and fifty years).52
II. Linguistic-Phenomenological Analysis
A. The Nature of the Construction in General
Homer’s terse caveat, put into the mouth of Laocoon the priest, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” was not meant to apply to the gift of the article.53 For as Chantraine argues, not only was the Greek language transformed when ὁ ἡ τό emerged from its pronominal cocoon and sprouted arthrous wings, but European intellectual life was profoundly ennobled by this gift of clarity bequeathed by Hellas.54 Although one might quibble with Chantraine’s assertion that the article was the greatest linguistic gift that western civilization received from the Greeks, there is no question that it belongs on the short list of prized treasures. The reason this gift is so exquisite is that the article intrinsically has the ability to conceptualize, for its principal function is not determinative but notional. Or, as Rosén has put it, the article “has the power of according nominal status to any expression to which it is appended, and, by this token, of conveying the status of a concept to whatever ‘thing’ is denoted by that expression, for the reason that whatever is conceived by the mind—so it would appear—becomes a concept as a result of one’s faculty to call it by a name.”55
To be sure, the Greek article does serve a determining function at times. But a hierarchy of usage would suggest that determination has a tertiary role: after conceptualization and identification (e.g., as in anaphora) comes determination. To argue that the article functions primarily to make something definite is to commit the “phenomenological fallacy”—viz. that of making ontological statements based on truncated evidence.56
With reference to the TSKS construction, conceptualization is of foremost importance.57 That is to say, the primary thrust of the article in TSKS is to bring together two substantives into a conceptual unity. This is true of all such constructions: the single article connotes some sort of unity. When mere unity is involved, the article serves to bracket the substantives, linking them together into a larger category which is understated by its very implicitness. The least that can be said is that two (or more) entirely distinct groups are in view. Thus οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι (e.g., in Matt 16:1) unites two otherwise non-congenial groups to indicate their combined opposition to Jesus. In Luke 21:12 the disciples are to be handed over “to synagogues and prisons” (παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς), with the connotation that both locations would be hostile to them. In Matt 27:56 James and Joseph are united by blood (Μαρία ἡ τοῦ ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ ᾿Ιωσὴφ μήτηρ). In Rev 1:9 the Seer of Patmos has in common with his audience both their present trials and future glory (συγκοινωνὸς ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ). Even when the substantives have an identical referent the notional power of the article is not subdued. In Heb 12:2, for example, to speak of Jesus as “the founder and perfecter of the faith” (τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτήν) is to associate two ideas in a new way which a single noun could not do.58 If one bypasses this fundamental value of the article—a value especially utilized when the article modifies more than a single word59—misunderstanding to the point of reductio ad absurdum frequently results.
Such misunderstandings have permeated the vast bulk of studies of the TSKS construction. The muddled thinking over the semantics of the TSKS is constantly mired in confusion over three terms: unity, equality, and identity. But to understand properly these terms, we must first define two others, “sense” and “referent.” Unless this difference is carefully noted, it will be impossible to assess properly the semantics of the construction. Sense and referent may be distinguished as follows: “the referent is the extra-linguistic entity about which something is being asserted, while the sense is the linguistic meaning of the assertion itself.”60 In other words, “The sense is what we are saying, the referent what we are saying it about.”61 Thus, for example, in the construction ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Eph 1:3), though θεός and πατήρ do not have the same sense, they do have the same referent. The point of Sharp’s rule is identity of referent, not identity of sense.
When we speak of the semantics of the TSKS we are speaking of the relation of the referents to one another. Keeping this in mind helps us to avoid the pitfalls of former analyses. Mere unity of referents would mean that both terms refer to discrete entities yet a larger conceptual unit than either one could express by itself. Thus, for example, in Acts 17:12 Luke tells of the conversion of “the women . . . and . . . men” (τῶν . . . γυναικῶν . . . καὶ ἀνδρῶν). A coalition of spiritual experience explains the lone article. In Eph 3:18 apparently the love of God is being described in figurative language (τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος). Although each term refers to God’s love, each refers to a different aspect of it and thus the referents are not identical.62
On the other end of the spectrum is identity of referent. When this is meant, both substantives refer to exactly the same entity. Thus, for example, in Eph 2:14 Christ is “the one who made both one and who broke down the middle wall of partition” (ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας). In Matt 12:22 (v.l.) it is the same man who is both blind and lame (τὸν τυφλὸν καὶ κωφόν). In Luke 20:37 there is only one who is God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob (τὸν θεὸν ᾿Αβραὰμ καὶ θεὸν ᾿Ισαὰκ καὶ θεὸν ᾿Ιακώβ).
Equality of referents is not the same as identity. In most instances it is a subtheme of unity. Thus, once again, the dimensions in Eph 3:18 (breadth, length, height, depth) are all potentially equal to each other (especially if each is infinite), but are not identical to each other (height does not refer to the same thing as length). In Matt 16:21 three groups are linked under one article (τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων) since they were the three distinct parties which comprised the Sanhedrin.63 Some have erroneously insisted this construction fits the Granville Sharp rule because these three groups all refer to the Sanhedrin. However, to say that A + B + C = D is not the same as saying A = B = C, the latter equation being what the Granville Sharp rule asserts.) When two discrete entities are united in a TSKS construction, some sort of connotative equality for the purposes at hand can be frequently assumed. Thus in Matt 27:56 James and Joseph are united as sons of the same mother (Μαρία ἡ τοῦ ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ ᾿Ιωσὴφ μήτηρ). In Acts 13:1 the gifted leaders of the early church are listed under one article (ὅ τε Βαρναβᾶς καὶ Συμεὼν ὁ καλούμενος Νίγερ, καὶ Λούκιος ὁ Κυρηναῖος, Μαναήν τε ÔΗρῴδου τοῦ τετραάρχου σύντροφος καὶ Σαῦλος).64 In the next verse two men, Barnabas and Saul, are set apart by the Holy Spirit for a special task and are accordingly marked out with a single article ( ᾿Αφορίσατε δή μοι τὸν Βαρναβᾶν καὶ Σαῦλον).
We can see then that the essential value of the TSKS construction involves unity. Whether more than that can be said for the personal singular construction now needs to be explored.
B. The Construction Involving Personal, Singular, Non-Proper Substantives
In order to evaluate properly the validity of Sharp’s canon, especially as it relates to christologically significant passages, several questions need to be addressed: Why the limitations to personal, singular, non-proper substantives? What do those constructions which do not fit these requirements indicate? Is Sharp’s rule valid within the NT? Do all the christologically significant texts fit the restrictions Sharp laid down? Is the principle valid outside the NT? And, finally, what arguments, as well as exceptions, can be advanced against Sharp’s rule—and do these overturn the rule as it relates to the christologically significant texts?
As we saw earlier, the major battle lines over Sharp’s rule were theological, syntactical, and linguistic. Theologically, opponents of Sharp’s canon felt that the rule was not applicable to the christologically pregnant passages. An examination of such texts and the validity of Sharp’s canon for them will be taken up in the next section. Syntactically, Calvin Winstanley in particular brought forth TSKS constructions outside the NT which fit the requirements of Sharp’s principle but did not bear the same semantics. These, too, will be examined in the next section as they are most relevant for the christologically significant texts. Linguistically, several arguments were marshaled against the restrictions Sharp laid down (viz. that the substantives had to be singular, personal, and not proper names if they were necessarily to have the same referent). The linguistic issue will be taken up here as it affects the question of whether such restrictions are merely a posteriori descriptions of NT usage—and thus perhaps coincidental phenomenological descriptions—or valid ontological principles which have applicability to a wide range of Greek literature.
1. A Proper Semantic Grid.
Both the linguistic and phenomenological evidence which follows suggests that Sharp and Middleton were on the right track. As we noted earlier, T. F. Middleton, the first Greek grammarian to affirm the validity of Sharp’s rule, attempted to give the rationale behind the limitations which Sharp had laid down. He argued:
We are, therefore, to inquire what there is inherent in the excluded Nouns to cause so remarkable a difference. . . .
. . . [Regarding impersonal nouns,] distinct real essences cannot be conceived to belong to the same thing; nor can distinct nominal essences, without manifest contradiction, be affirmed of it. Essence is single, peculiar, and incommunicable . . .65
The reason why proper names are excepted is evident at once: for it is impossible that John and Thomas, the names of two distinct persons, should be predicated of an individual.66
He further points out that an impersonal object can, of course, be described by two or more substantives, but that such is extremely rare. In a lengthy footnote he reasons that
Nouns expressive of inanimate substances seem to have this difference, that though they have attributes (and we have no idea of any thing which has not) yet those attributes, from their inertness and quiescence, make so little impression on the observer, that he does not commonly abstract them from his idea of the substance, and still less does he lose sight of the substance, and use its name as expressive of the attribute. Add to this, that to characterize persons by the names of things would be violent and unnatural, especially when two or more things wholly different in their natures are to be associated for the purpose: and to characterize any thing by the names of other things would be “confusion worse confounded.”67
Middleton distinguishes between substances and abstract ideas, though he argues that abstract ideas are also excluded from the rule for reasons similar to those related to proper names.68 He concludes his discussion of impersonal nouns and proper names by stating that “Thus far it appears, then, that the limitations of the rule are not arbitrary, but necessary, and that the several kinds of excluded Nouns have one disqualifying property belonging to them all; which is, that no two of any class are in their nature predicable of the same individual . . .”69
Regarding plural substantives Middleton concludes that plurals may, at times, fit the rule (contrary to impersonal nouns and proper names), but that there will also be many exceptions:
. . . what reason can be alleged, why the practice in Plural Attributives should differ from that in Singular ones? The circumstances are evidently dissimilar. A single individual may stand in various relations and act in divers capacities. . . But this does not happen in the same degree with respect to Plurals. Though one individual may act, and frequently does act, in several capacities, it is not likely that a multitude of individuals should all of them act in the same several capacities. . .70
From a modern linguistic perspective, Middleton’s general instincts are surely correct. He has understood intuitively the distinction between sense and referent, as well as between denotative and connotative meaning. Denotation is distinguished from connotation in that “Denotation is the term used for the relationship which exists between words and the corresponding entities in the world . . . ,”71 while connotation “move[s] away from objectivity to subjectivity,”72 and is “the suggestion of a meaning apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes.”73
When one begins to think in such categories, he or she notices that “strictly speaking, a proper name is a word with denotation but no connotation, reference but no sense . . .”74 Hence, two proper names in the TSKS construction could not fit the Granville Sharp rule for proper names are used merely to identify (and therefore distinguish), not describe,75 while common personal nouns both identify and describe.76 The only conceivable exception to this would be something like “the Simon and Peter” in which both names would refer to one individual. Such an expression, however, would seem to be just as awkward in Greek (it never occurs in the NT) as it is in English (cf., e.g., Σαῦλος . . . ὁ καὶ Παῦλος [Acts 13:9], which is the normal way for joining two proper names that have the same referent). There is a further issue with proper names which at least deserves mention here: How can one tell whether a name is proper? Words such as θεός and σωτήρ were frequently asserted to be proper names or at least quasi-proper names by Sharp’s adversaries. In this way they were able to deny such passages as Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 as fitting Sharp’s requirements. Suffice it to say here that we do not regard such words as proper names; a defense of this view will come in a later section.
With reference to impersonal nouns, a similar pattern emerges: most impersonal nouns, by themselves (i.e., without adjuncts), have zero or minimal connotative value. They generally have an obvious referential meaning, just as proper names do. In such cases, two impersonal nouns in the TSKS construction would not be expected to have an identical referent. For example, in 2 Cor 6:7 the apostle speaks of the weapons of righteousness to be utilized by the right hand and the left (διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν). Although the two are closely connected, they obviously do not have the same referent. Nevertheless, impersonal nouns may differ from proper names: (1) when the terms used are abstract (and therefore do not refer to particular entities)—such as “truth” or “authority”; (2) when two (roughly) synonymous terms stand in apposition (e.g., “Larus argentatus, that is, herring gull”), though such constructions would most naturally drop the connective; or (3) when there is referential overlap of some sort (e.g., “furniture and tables and chairs”), though this would most naturally occur only in plural constructions. In these three instances, impersonal nouns are still not similar to the personal singular nouns which fit Sharp’s canon. For example, when Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “my brother and fellow-worker” (τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργόν) in Phil 2:25, “brother” is not synonymous with “fellow-worker,” though both terms have the same referent. Unlike impersonal concrete nouns, it is inconceivable that one person could “overlap” with another—two personal singular terms can only refer either to two distinct individuals or to the same individual. Further, unlike abstract nouns, “brother” refers to a particular object. Impersonal nouns are seen, then, to be semantically similar to proper names in terms of denotation and referential meaning; and when they occasionally depart from this pattern they do not normally move closer to personal common nouns in their semantic force. Hence, although neither Sharp nor Middleton saw impersonal nouns in the TSKS construction as having the same referent, we must admit that this is possible, though more than likely of rather infrequent occurrence and adhering to certain semantic guidelines.
Finally, with reference to plural substantives, since groups rather than individuals are in view, the probability of some sort of referential overlap puts such constructions on a different plane than personal singular nouns. Nevertheless, as Middleton admits, they could at times have an identical referent.
Antecedently, then, Middleton makes out a solid case on a semantic level for distinguishing personal singular nouns from other kinds of substantives. Of course, this is merely a negative argument: it says nothing about the necessity of personal singular nouns invariably having an identical referent.
To sum up: by ruling impersonal, plural, and proper nouns as outside the scope of his principle, Sharp demonstrated an intuitive sensitivity to the semantics of the TSKS construction which has eluded most of his modern-day advocates. Middleton then gave articulation to Sharp’s intuition. The reasons for such strictures seem to be inherent within the language itself. It has to be determined, of course, whether the rule is valid even within such limitations.
2. The Empirical Data
a. The Phenomena in the New Testament
If we exempt the several christologically significant passages from consideration, we can readily see the validity of Sharp’s rule in the NT. For example, in Eph 1:3 we read of “the God and Father” (ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ); in Jas 3:9 we see “the Lord and Father” (τὸν κύριον καὶ πατέρα); Mark 6:3 refers to Jesus as “the son of Mary and brother of James” (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς ᾿Ιακώβου); in Eph 2:14 the author speaks of Christ as “the one who made both [groups] [into] one and who broke down the dividing wall” (ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας);77 in Phil 2:25 the apostle mentions “Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier” ( ᾿Επαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου); Heb 3:1 refers to Jesus as “the apostle and high priest of our confession” (τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦς); in John 9:8 the evangelist records the healing of a blind “man who used to sit and beg” (ὁ καθήμενος καὶ προσαιτῶν); 2 Pet 1:11 promises entrance into the eternal kingdom “of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (ἡ εἴσοδος εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ). In each of these instances, the obvious sense of the passage is that only one person is in view. Further, this is so both for nouns,78 participles,79 and adjectives,80 as well as combinations.81 Not only this, but intervening words do not invalidate Sharp’s rule. In all there are fifty personal singular TSKS constructions which encompass non-constituent elements.82 These alien words ranged from postpositive particles and adjectives, to genitive adjuncts and prepositional phrases, and even embedded verb phrases. On six occasions a possessive pronoun was found with the first substantive.83
For the sake of completeness, the relevant passages are presented below, according to the type of substantive involved.
Nouns in the TSKS Personal Construction
Mark 6:3 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς ᾿Ιακώβου
Luke 20:37 τὸν θεὸν ᾿Αβραὰμ καὶ θεὸν ᾿Ισαὰκ καὶ θεὸν ᾿Ιακώβ
John 20:17 τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν
Rom 15:6 τὸν θεὸν καὶ πατέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
1 Cor 15:24 τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί
2 Cor 1:3 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
2 Cor 1:3 ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως
2 Cor 11:31 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ
Gal 1:4 τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν
Eph 1:3 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
Eph 5:20 τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί
Eph 6:21 Τυχικὸς ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος
Phil 4:20 τῷ δὲ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ ἡμῶν
Col 4:7 Τυχικὸς ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος καὶ σύνδουλος
1 Thess 1:3 τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν
1 Thess 3:11 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν
1 Thess 3:13 τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν
1 Tim 6:15 ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων καὶ κύριος τῶν κυριευόντων
Heb 3:1 τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν
Heb 12:2 τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν ᾿Ιησοῦν
Jas 1:27 τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί
Jas 3:9 τὸν κύριον καὶ πατέρα
1 Pet 1:3 ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
1 Pet 2:25 τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν
1 Pet 4:18 ὁ ἀσεβὴς καὶ ἁμαρτωλός
1 Pet 5:1 ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος καὶ μάρτυς
2 Pet 1:11 τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
2 Pet 2:20 τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
2 Pet 3:2 τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος
2 Pet 3:18 τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
Jude 4 τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστόν
Rev 1:6 τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ
Rev 1:9 ἐγὼV ᾿Ιωάννης, ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συγκοινωνός
Participles in the TSKS Personal Construction
Matt 7:26 πᾶς ὁ ἀκούων μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ μὴ ποιῶν αὐτούς
Matt 13:20 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων αὐτόν
Matt 27:40 ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν
Mark 15:29 ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ οἰκοδομῶν
Luke 6:47 πᾶς ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρός με καὶ ἀκούων μου τῶν λόγων καὶ ποιῶν αὐτούς
Luke 6:49 ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας
Luke 12:21 ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ καὶ μὴ εἰς θεὸν πλουτῶν
Luke 16:18 πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει
John 5:24 ὁ τὸν λόγον μου ἀκούων καὶ πιστεύων
John 6:33 ὁ καταβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ζωὴν διδούς
John 6:40 πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον
John 6:45 πᾶς ὁ ἀκούσας παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μαθὼν ἔρχεται πρὸς ἐμέ
John 6:54 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα
John 6:56 ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα
John 8:50 ὁ ζητῶν καὶ κρίνων
John 9:8 οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ καθήμενος καὶ προσαιτῶν…
John 11:2 ἦν δὲ Μαριὰμ ἡ ἀλείψασα τὸν κύριον μύρῳ καὶ ἐκμάξασα τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ
John 11:26 πᾶς ὁ ζῶν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ
John 12:48 ὁ ἀθετῶν ἐμὲ καὶ μὴ λαμβάνων τὰ ῥήματά μου
John 14:21 ὁ ἔχων τὰς ἐντολάς μου καὶ τηρῶν αὐτάς
Acts 10:35 ὁ φοβούμενος αὐτὸν καὶ ἐργαζόμενος δικαιοσύνην δεκτὸς αὐτῷ ἐστιν
Acts 15:38 τὸν ἀποστάντα ἀπ ᾿ αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Παμφυλίας καὶ μὴ συνελθόντα αὐτοῖς
1 Cor 11:29 ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων
1 Cor 16:16 παντὶ τῷ συνεργοῦντι καὶ κοπιῶντι
2 Cor 1:21 ὁ δὲ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς θεός
2 Cor 1:22 ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος
2 Cor 5:15 τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι
Gal 1:15 ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου καὶ καλέσας
Gal 3:5 ὁ οὖν ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἐνεργῶν δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν
Eph 2:14 ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας
2 Thess 2:4 ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεόν
Heb 7:1 ὁ συναντήσας ᾿Αβραὰμ ὑποστρέφοντι ἀπὸ τῆς κοπῆς τῶν βασιλέων καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτόν
Jas 1:25 ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας καὶ παραμείνας
1 John 2:4 ὁ λέγων ὅτι ςΕγνωκα αὐτόν, καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ μὴ τηρῶν, ψεύστης ἐστίν
1 John 2:9 ὁ λέγων ἐν τῷ φωτὶ εἶναι καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ μισῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ ἐστίν
2 John 9 πᾶς ὁ προάγων καὶ μὴ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ θεὸν οὐκ ἔχει
Rev 1:5 τῷ ἀγαπῶντι ἡμᾶς καὶ λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν
Rev 16:15 μακάριος ὁ γρηγορῶν καὶ τηρῶν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ
Rev 22:8 κἀγὼ ᾿Ιωάννης ὁ ἀκούων καὶ βλέπων ταῦτα
Adjectives in the TSKS Personal Construction
Acts 3:14 ὑμεῖς δὲ τὸν ἅγιον καὶ δίκαιον ἠρνήσασθε
Phlm 1 τῷ ἀγαπητῷ καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν
1 Pet 4:18 ὁ ἀσεβὴς καὶ ἁμαρτωλός
Rev 3:17 σὺ εἶ ὁ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ἐλεεινὸς καὶ πτωχὸς καὶ τυφλὸς καὶ γυμνός
Mixed Elements in the TSKS Personal Construction
Phil 2:25 ᾿Επαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου
1 Thess 3:2 Τιμόθεον, τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ
1 Tim 5:5 ἡ δὲ ὄντως χήρα καὶ μεμονωμένη
The monotonous pattern of personal singular substantives in the TSKS construction indicating an identical referent immediately places such substantives in a different category from proper names, impersonal nouns, or plural nouns. The statistics accentuate this difference: in this construction there are about a dozen personal proper names in the NT (none having an identical referent); close to fifty impersonal nouns (only one unambiguously having the same referent); more than seventy plural substantives (little more than a third having an identical referent); and eighty TSKS constructions fitting the structural requirements of the rule84 (the christologically significant texts excepted), all of which apparently having an identical referent. It is evident that Sharp’s limitation to personal singular substantives does indeed have substance; he seems to have articulated a genuine principle of NT grammar. But is his rule inviolable? C. Kuehne, in his second article of a seven-part series entitled “The Greek Article and the Doctrine of Christ’s Deity,”85 discusses all the instances in the NT which meet the requirements for the rule.86 He summarizes his findings by stating that “Sharp claimed that his rule applied uniformly to such passages, and I indeed could not find a single exception.”87 Kuehne is not alone in his view of these texts. None of Sharp’s adversaries was able to produce a single exception to his rule within the pages of the NT. Calvin Winstanley, Sharp’s most able opponent, conceded that Sharp’s “first rule has a real foundation in the idiom of the language . . .”88 And later, he declares, “Now, Sir, if your rule and principles of criticism must be permitted to close up every other source of illustration, there is an end of all farther enquiry . . .”89—an obvious concession that, apart from the christologically significant texts, Winstanley could produce no exceptions within the NT corpus. Finally, he admits as much when he writes, “There are, you say, no exceptions, in the New Testament, to your rule; that is, I suppose, unless these particular texts [i.e., the ones Sharp used to adduce Christ’s deity] be such. . . . it is nothing surprising to find all these particular texts in question appearing as exceptions to your rule, and the sole exceptions . . . in the New Testament . . .”90 We must conclude, then, that (suspending judgment on the christologically significant texts) Sharp’s rule is indeed an inviolable canon of NT syntactical usage.91
b. The Phenomena in Extra-NT Greek Literature
Outside of the NT, what confirmation do we have of the validity of Sharp’s canon? At least four strands of confirmation can be mentioned. The first two deal with the construction in general; the last two with the expressions found in the christologically significant texts (and will be dealt with in the next section).
Classical Usage. In the debates that raged over the publication of Sharp’s monograph in the first decades of the nineteenth century, many scholars reread the classical Greek authors with an eye toward this particular construction. None apparently did as thorough a job as Middleton. In his Doctrine of the Greek Article, he devotes the first 120 pages to showing the usage of the article in classical Greek as an illustration of its use within the NT.92 The rest of his five-hundred-plus page volume is concerned specifically with the NT text which he marches through seriatum—from Matthew through Revelation. In the NT portion of his work he spends several pages on Sharp’s controversial passages—and affirms the rule in Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1, and Eph 5:593 (in this last text, his affirmation is due more to the use of this text in patristic literature than to Sharp’s canon per se). In the first part of his work, however, he has dedicated fifteen pages (56-70) of proof in order to demonstrate the validity of the rule in classical Greek. To illustrate his point, he cites texts from such authors as Plutarch, Demosthenes, Plato, Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Aristophanes. For example, Plutarch says that “Roscius, the son and heir of the deceased was vexed” ( ῾Ρώσκιος ὁ υἱὸς καὶ κληρονόμονος τοῦ τεθνηκότος ἠγανάκτει);94 Demosthenes speaks of himself as both advisor and orator (ὁ σύμβουλος καὶ ῥήτωρ ἐγώ);95 Aeschylus says that Demosthenes is a “meddler and slanderer” (ὁ περίεργος καὶ συκοφάντης Δημοσθενής).96
To be sure, Middleton does list some exceptions—though he feels that they are all capable of explanation and do not mitigate the rule. He concludes the discussion by stating,
Having thus investigated the canon, and having explained the ground of its limitations and exceptions, I may be permitted to add, that Mr. Sharp’s application of it to the New Testament is in strict conformity with the usage of Greek writers, and with the Syntax of the Greek Tongue; and that few of the passages [viz., those which appear to involve proper names] which he has corrected in our common version can be defended without doing violence to the obvious and undisputed meaning of the plainest sentences which profane writers supply.97
We will, of course, turn to those exceptions which Middleton listed, but our point here is that he found the rule to be consistently valid for Greek outside the NT.
Other grammarians of classical Greek, who presumably have no acquaintance with Sharp’s rule, nevertheless give something of a subconscious stamp of approval on its validity. In his section entitled “Repetition and Non-Repetition of the Article,” Gildersleeve98 gives a score of illustrations, all but one of which are other than personal singular constructions. As in the NT, these form a conceptual unity but do not involve the same referent.99 The lone personal singular construction does not violate the rule.100 Kühner-Gerth preface several illustrations of the TSKS construction by stating that “wenn zwei oder mehr Substantive durch καί oder τε . . καί mit einander verbunden werden, so wird der Artikel entweder bei jedem wiederholt . . . oder er wird nicht wiederholt; alsdann werden die einzelnen Begriffe als zu einer Gesamtvorstellung verbunden betrachtet.”101 In this second category, they give almost two full pages of illustrations, most of which involve plural substantives or impersonal nouns in the TSKS construction and which point to a unity of referents but not an identical referent.102 In addition, they mention examples of the personal singular construction, only one of which is an exception to Sharp’s rule. Yet, this lone example (found in Herodotus, Histories 4.71) did not escape Middleton’s eye: indeed, he discusses it at length and finds it to be wholly dissimilar to other personal singular constructions.103 Smyth tells us that “a single article, used with the first of two or more nouns connected by and, produces the effect of a single notion . . .”104 None of his examples involve the same referent, but neither are any of them personal and singular. Schwyzer-Debrunner discuss only impersonal constructions which merely form a Gesamtvorstellung.105
All in all, the discussions of the personal singular constructions are rather thin in the standard classical grammars. Yet, this is to be expected since they only speak of a conceptual unity, not of a referential identity.106 We defer, then, to Middleton’s judgment concerning the usage in classical Greek, viz., that Sharp’s canon “is in strict conformity with the usage of [classical] Greek writers.”
Usage in the Non-Literary Papyri. Of course, it will be conceded that Middleton’s research was almost solely shut up to classical Greek. The question which concerns us here is, If NT grammar is more like that of the non-literary koine documents than the classical authors (an assumption we make for the sake of argument),107 how valid is Sharp’s canon in these vulgar writings? If it is frequently disregarded, then we might argue that Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 are mere slips of the pen or that they only serve to illustrate that the koine writers were less refined in their use of the article than were the classical authors.
The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. First, studies on the use of the article in the papyri demonstrate that even in this refined and subtle area of the Greek language, the non-literary writers have a good deal of sophistication. The very fact that Mayser, for example, can arrange his treatment of the article in the Ptolemaic papyri along traditional lines—and that he constantly cites the standard classical grammars as in agreement with the usage in the papyri—is an implicit argument that these non-literary documents are not haphazard in their use of the article.108 Völker, whose first volume on the papyri is occupied only with the article, makes the point repeatedly that the papyri, even though on a different literary level than Attic Greek, still use the article in substantially the same way.109 And Eakin, in his study of the first four volumes of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, concludes by saying that “Perhaps the most important point which the evidence accumulated tends to enforce is the need of caution in assuming hap-hazard [sic] irregularity in the use of the article by κοινή writers—even those who wrote without a thought of being ‘literary.’”110 Earlier in his essay he argued:
It would be a great mistake, however, to suppose that even such busy, matter-of-fact people as the writers of these non-literary papyri used the article with indifference. I have noted at least two cases where the article had at first been omitted and later inserted above the line. . . . In neither of these cases would the omission have been a serious grammatical offence, but evidently the writer considered the matter important enough that a correction should be made.111
Hence, in general, we can say that the use of the article in the papyri conforms pretty much to Attic standards—and yet, it is still below the level achieved in the NT.112
Secondly, and more specifically, is the semantic function of the TSKS construction in the papyri. The basic database for this paper was the first two volumes of Select Papyri in LCL.113 These volumes were chosen because the documents the editors employ are representative of a broad spectrum of Egyptian papyri—both in age and geography (i.e., Hunt and Edgar do not just include the papyri from Oxyrhynchus). Scores of examples of the TSKS construction were discovered in these two volumes. Remarkably, only one possible exception to Sharp’s rule was discovered in over five hundred pages of Greek text.114 A single referent, as in the NT, is uniformly indicated by the personal singular construction. For example, P. Grenf. ii. 87. 10-11 speaks of “the . . . elder and . . . flax-worker” (τῷ πρεσβυτέρῳ καὶ . . . στιππουργῷ); P. Tebt. 392. 17 refers to one man as “the husband . . . and brother” (ὁ ἀνήρ . . . καὶ ἀδελφός); P. Eleph. 2.13 pronounces judgment against “him who is insubordinate and does not act” (ἐκ τοῦ ἀτακτοῦντος καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντος); in BGU 423.1 a son addresses his father as both “father and lord” (τῶι πατρὶ καὶ κυρίῳ); in P. Oxy. 528.1 a man writes to his “sister and lady” (τῇ ἀδελφῇ καὶ κυρίᾳ); a brother is addressed as “my master and beloved brother” (τῷ δεσπότῃ μου καὶ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ) in P. Lond. 417.1;115 in P. Oxy. 925.2-3 a substantival adjective is used in the construction ὁ ἀληθινὸς φιλάνθρωπος καὶ δημιουργός (“the true benevolent one and creator”).116 We might also note that a common refrain, “the eternal Augustus and Imperator” (τοῦ αἰωνίου Αὐγούστου καὶ Αὐτοκράτορος), always involved an identical referent, even though “Augustus” might be labeled a quasi-proper name.117 However, when a proper name was joined to “Augustus,” two individuals were in view.118
Altogether there were forty-one constructions which fit the requirements for Sharp’s rule.119 Only one such construction was in apparent violation of Sharp’s canon. On the other hand, there were scores of TSKS constructions in the papyri which were either plural or impersonal. In general, they followed the semantic contours laid out by Middleton.
The papyri were seen, then, to be very much in step with the classical authors and the NT. Further, when a writer wanted to distinguish individuals—and there were scores of instances in which distinct individuals were in view—he or she invariably used a second article (TSKTS)—except, of course, when a proper name was involved. In fact, one might be a bit surprised to find in this vulgar Greek even convoluted constructions where the writer still remembered the second article. For example, in P. Oxy. 494.22-23 we read of “my wife . . . and my son” (ἡ γυνή μου καὶ . . . ὁ υἱός μου), where three words intervene; similarly, P. Giess. 80.3-4: “her papa and . . . the mother” (ὁ πάπας αὐτῆς καὶ . . . ἡ μήτηρ); BGU 1680.4-8 reads “my sister and . . . his wife . . . and her husband and . . .the son” (τὴν ἀδελφήν μου καὶ . . . τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ . . . καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς καὶ . . . τὸν υἱόν), all clear references to different people. P. Columb. Inventory 480.2-3 mentions “the farmer of the tax on slaves and the controller” (ὁ πραγματευόμενος τὴν ὠδὴν ἀνδραπόδων καὶ ὁ ἀντιγραφεύς).120
My antecedent presumption was that there would be several exceptions to Sharp’s rule in these two volumes, since the papyri represent the lowest level of hellenistic Greek. The fact that they too conformed to Sharp’s canon—at least the small amount of papyri I investigated—perhaps shows how deeply imbedded was this idiom in the koine period.
Exceptions to the Rule Outside the New Testament. Finally, we need to look at the potential exceptions to the rule which have been mentioned over the years. As we noted earlier, the latest and most complete list of exceptions was compiled by Calvin Winstanley in 1819! From other sources, as well as my own independent study, we can enlarge on Winstanley’s list substantially. However, we can just barely enlarge on the categories of exceptions which Winstanley found. Winstanley was Sharp’s most formidable adversary and, quite frankly, not all of his objections have been adequately answered even to this day.121 This final portion of the section will be an attempt to interact with Winstanley’s exceptions.
Though he lays out the counter-examples in a seemingly random, rapid-fire order, all of Winstanley’s illustrations can be grouped into one of four classes. First, he gives a dozen or so examples from Aristotle in which the substantives, though singular, are generic: for example, “the disciplined and undisciplined man” (τὸν σώφρονα καὶ ἀκόλαστον).122 I have found several more examples from Aristotle and other classical authors which also involve generic nouns.123 Winstanley grudgingly concedes, “the nouns, though personal, are used in a general or universal sense. In this respect, it must be confessed, they differ materially from those of which you [i.e., Sharp] would correct the common version; and so far may be thought inapplicable . . .”124 We might, however, in light of Winstanley’s exceptions, modify Sharp’s rule to say both that nouns which are plural syntactically and those which are plural semantically (i.e., generic nouns)125 are not within the purview of the rule. Another way to put this is that Sharp’s rule applies only to nouns which have an individual referent, as opposed to a class or group.126 On a deep structure level, then, Sharp’s rule has not been subverted by generic singulars.
Secondly, Winstanley cites one clear exception from the LXX overlooked by Sharp: Prov 24:21 reads “fear God, o son, and the king” (φοβοῦ τὸν θεόν, υἱέ, καὶ βασιλέα). Kuehne argues that the LXX translator here is merely being slavishly faithful to his underlying Hebrew text.127 This is only partially true. The Hebrew reads ירא־את־יהוה בני ומלךְ. יהוה lacks the article as always; it needs no article to be considered definite. This fact, coupled with the presence of the direct object marker—which is used almost exclusively with definite nouns128—renders the noun as virtually the equivalent of an articular noun. Thus, if יהוה is to be translated with a word other than κύριος, we might well expect the article to be employed. Indeed, the LXX of Proverbs occasionally translates יהוה with the articular θεός (cf. 3:7, 19; 5:21; 15:29; 19:3) rather than with κύριος, perhaps due to metric considerations. Thus, although יהוה is not arthrous, ὁ θεός fairly represents its syntactical force. The LXX is not, then, slavishly literal, but may in fact be closer to a dynamic equivalence.129 If so, why then would βασιλέα be anarthrous? Why would the translator begin with a syntactically equivalent translation (ὁ θεός) and then in midstream change to a formally equivalent one? Three possible explanations present themselves. First, consistency is hardly the hallmark of the LXX translators, especially in the later books. Juggling two dissimilar languages creates special problems. Not infrequently, translators vacillate between formal fidelity (which creates abnormal grammar in the receptor language) and dynamic equivalence (which poorly reflects on the structure of the original). When both principles are at work in a given sentence, the results can be erratic. In this case, the flow of the sentence is disrupted by the vocative. Having made the choice to translate יהוה with ὁ θεός, the translator may have been distracted by the the vocative immediately following. To render מלךְ as τὸν βασιλέα would have been an easy oversight. Had the translator rendered יהוה as κύριον, there would have been no problem leaving βασιλέα anarthrous. When coupled with the occasional practice of translating יהוה with ὁ θεός, the result seems to be an unintentional violation of normal Greek grammar.
A second explanation is that the choice may have been conscious. Since the vocative υἱέ stands between the two accusative nouns, the translator may have felt that the syntactical infraction was insignificant in comparison with retaining the correspondence with the Hebrew. What renders this at least plausible is the fact that although the TSKS personal singular construction follows Sharp’s rule even when there is interference from a variety of grammatical forms (such as adjectives or possessive pronouns), almost none of the examples in the NT or papyri have an unconnected substantive interfering with the TSKS. That is to say, the intervening nominals and adnominals in the TSKS construction are almost always syntactically subordinated to the elements in the construction.130 Thus it is distinctly possible that a vocative in the middle of two accusatives would sufficiently disrupt the semantics. Certainly a vocative is more disruptive than a possessive pronoun precisely because it is not in any way syntactically linked to the substantives in the construction. However, since we know of no parallel instances, this suggestion must remain speculative.131
A third possible explanation is that poetic license may have played a role in the syntactical choices. The LXX translator of the Proverbs is apparently concerned with Greek meter as well as other poetic features.132 The syntax of poetry is known to deviate from that of prose in many and substantial ways.133 Some of these are inexplicable, but nevertheless observed. In particular, the article is frequently dispensed with for metrical convenience.134
Regarding these possible explanations, it must be admitted that all are somewhat speculative. On any reckoning, Prov 24:21 must be considered an anomaly and hardly representative of the idiom of koine Greek. Nevertheless, it does stand as an exception to Sharp’s rule. Whatever the exact reason for this solecism, it is almost surely tied to the LXX as translation Greek. Thus, we might modify Sharp’s rule still further by saying that sometimes (once—so far) translation Greek will violate the rule, if the base language has a contrary construction.135 Whether this will have a bearing on the christologically significant texts will be developed in the following section.
Thirdly, Winstanley cites an exception which Middleton had discovered and had quite a bit of difficulty with. In Herodotus’ Histories 4.71 we read of “the cup-bearer and cook and groom and servant and messenger” (τὸν οἰνοχόον καὶ μάγειρον καὶ ἱπποκόμον καὶ διήκονον καὶ ἀγγελιηφόρον). Middleton felt it was impossible that this could refer to one person. In a sense, he equivocated on the text, for he mentioned that he had not had a chance to look at a good edition of Herodotus to see if such was really the reading. I have—and it is.136 Further, Middleton argued that this was the only instance he had found anywhere in Greek in which one article preceded several nouns of personal description.137 Clearly, he had a problem with this text. Yet, elsewhere in his grammar, Middleton dealt with the phenomenon of “enumeration”—i.e., instances in which three or more nouns are strung together. And in that section Middleton noted that even the best authors did not follow their normal practice with reference to the article.138 Other grammarians also point out the problem of enumeration, noting, in effect, that in lists of three or more terms, there is a greater tendency to omit the article when it would otherwise be appropriate.139
A linguistic reason can be given for this phenomenon as well. When TSKS fits the rule, the second substantive either further identifies or describes or clarifies something about the first. If so, then typically a third epithet would be superfluous.140 Unless there are special contextual reasons for the third being there—in particular, to stress the multi-functional character of the person in view, we might in fact normally expect enumerations to indicate more than one individual. Philippians 2:25 affords an excellent illustration of such multi-functional emphasis: ᾿Επαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου, ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου. The five-fold accolade of Epaphroditus141 by the apostle bears an implicitly apologetic tone. The church at Philippi had sent Epaphroditus, hoping that Paul would retain him as his assistant and send Timothy back to them (Phil. 2:19-30). Paul, however, was unwilling to send Timothy until he found out more about his own circumstances. Instead, he decided to send Epaphroditus back (Phil. 2:25-30). Inter alia, this epistle is a diplomatic reintroduction of Epaphroditus in light of the Philippians’ hope that Timothy would be sent.142 In light of this, one can readily see why the apostle would speak so highly of Epaphroditus—and further, why he would build up Epaphroditus before the Philippians as a genuine co-worker (“My brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier”) as well as a truly unselfish emissary (“but your apostle and minister to my need”). Epaphroditus embodies the very attitude Paul desires of the Philippians. In taking him back, they would become like him. That the multiple TSKS construction has a singular referent, in this instance, is not superfluous, but necessary.143
We might therefore, in refining Sharp’s rule still further, add that where several nouns are involved in the construction it may or may not follow the rule.144 Contextual considerations in which reasons for a trebled or quadrupled identification can be detected (such as in Phil 2:25) are normally required if an identical referent is to be inferred.
Finally, Winstanley put forth as his trump card a few examples from patristic literature in which, if Sharp’s rule applied, the personal distinctions within the Trinity would seem to be blurred. But as these illustrations all come from patristic literature and have a specific content, viz. references to the Trinity, we will subsume our discussion of them under the christological cruces in the next section.
For Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, succeeded Alexander, and Philadelphus succeeded him, and Euergetes succeeded him, then came Philopater, the son of Agathocleia, then Epiphanes, then Philomater, the son perpetually succeeding the father. But a brother succeeded [Philometer], the second Euergetes, whom people called “Pot-Belly”; Ptolemy who succeeded him, was nick-named Lathouros, and Auletes, who lived in our day, succeeded him and was the father of Cleopatra. Therefore, all [the kings] after the third Ptolemy, since they had been corrupted by wantonness, governed badly, but the fourth and seventh were the worst, along with the last one, Auletes.
In his description of Epiphanes and Ptolemy as “the fourth and seventh,” Strabo uses the TSKS construction: ὁ τέταρτος καὶ ἕβδομος. This is a clear violation of Sharp’s canon—and one which does not fit the other categories of exceptions which we have discovered thus far. For this reason it is a rather noteworthy text. It is interesting that Strabo adds “and the last” (καὶ ὁ ὕστατος) with the article. One might conjecture that in a list of this sort, where “the fourth” cannot possibly refer to the same person as “the seventh,” the article could easily be omitted, while since “the seventh” and “the last” could, in a given context, refer to the same person, the article is necessarily reinserted. (It could even happen in this context from a reader’s perspective, for unless one is consciously counting the rulers, some confusion is most likely.) Hence, Strabo offers an example of a fifth category of exceptions to Sharp’s rule: ordinal numerals, when having a personal referent, do not necessarily fit the rule. Although it could be argued that the discrete referents can easily be fleshed out, such an argument would be perilously close to the weak-wristed approach of Middleton147 regarding patristic Greek to the effect that “we all know that the Father is not the Son; hence there could be no confusion.”
From both the linguistic side and the phenomenological side, however, ordinal numerals do seem to constitute a special class. First, linguistically, even Middleton recognized “their natural definiteness.”148 Except in situations such as anaphora, they rarely require the article. Hence, they do not function like the usual common epithet. Indeed, ordinal numerals typically have “denotation but no connotation, reference but no sense.”149 In this respect they function very much like proper names and therefore tend to move in semantic circles outside the ambit of Sharp’s requirements. Second, phenomenologically, this example is paralleled in another writer, the tragedian Sophocles. Moorhouse has noted that the article is used in Sophocles “With ordinal numerals in a series . . . but [is] omitted with ἕκτος, ἕβδομος, ἕνατος.”150 Whether the syntax of Sophocles is idiolectic and shut up to this particular playwright (or even to poetry more generally) or is a more widely diffused idiom native to Greek literature, even diachronically defined, is difficult to assess without a larger data base. But in the least we can say that, linguistically, ordinals behave more like proper names than common nouns (for as quantifiers they are used to identify, not describe) and, phenomenologically, there may be an idiomatic usage of the article in more than one author.
We have seen that Sharp’s rule, when properly understood, is not only supported by decent linguistic rationale, but has overwhelming validity in ancient Greek literature. Further, the few classes of exceptions all seem to be capable of linguistic explanation. Nevertheless, as this is a paper primarily related to the NT, with other Greek literature serving in a supportive role, the overarching issue is not about the inviolability of Sharp’s rule in secular Greek. What is of utmost concern is whether it can be legitimately applied to the christologically pregnant texts. What will need to be addressed in the next section, inter alia, is whether the classes of exceptions in any way impinge on the validity of the rule when potential affirmations of the deity of Christ are in view.
III. The Christologically Significant Texts
If the christologically significant texts fit the requirements for Sharp’s rule, then the case would seem to be settled. Perhaps this is why a perennial argument against affirmations of Christ’s deity in these texts is that the nouns in question do not quite fit the contours of Sharp’s canon.
A. Sharp’s Application To Christologically Significant Texts
Based on what he correctly perceived to be an otherwise absolute principle of NT grammar, Sharp argued that there are eight passages in which his rule explicitly affirmed the deity of Christ. Unfortunately, his case was weakened in some of these instances either because of textual problems or because one of the nouns involved was more than likely a proper name. The eight passages are as follows:
τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου
“the church of the Lord and God, which he purchased with his own blood”
ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ
“in the kingdom of Christ and God”
2 Thess 1:12
τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
“the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Tim 5:21
διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ
“I charge you before the God and Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Tim 4:1
διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ
“I charge you before the God and Lord Jesus Christ”
τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
“the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
2 Pet 1:1
ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ
“in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
τὸν μόνον δεσπότην θεὸν καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστόν
“our only Lord God and Master, Jesus Christ”
Sharp invoked dubious textual variants in four of the eight texts to support his rule (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1; Jude 4).151 As well, in 1 Tim 5:21 and 2 Tim 4:1, if the almost certainly authentic reading of τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ (for τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ) is accepted, then the text can also be dispensed with, for “Christ Jesus” is surely a proper name, and thus does not fall within the limitations of Sharp’s rule. Further, two other passages seem to involve proper names. Second Thessalonians 1:12 does not have merely “Lord” in the equation, but “Lord Jesus Christ.” Only by detaching κυρίου from ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ152 could one apply Sharp’s rule to this construction.153 Ephesians 5:5 has the name “Christ” in the equation, though one would be hard-pressed to view this as less than a proper name in the epistles.154
This leaves two passages, Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1, which have escaped the difficulties of textual uncertainty155 and the charge of disqualification via proper names.156 If indeed these texts contain explicit statements of Christ’s deity, it is not without significance that they occur in epistles which are among the later books of the NT. Before we can explore more fully these texts, it is necessary to expand our horizons on the legitimacy of Sharp’s principle. That is to say, two other factors directly related to these passages should be addressed.157
In the preceding section we established that the natural force of the personal, singular, non-proper substantives in Sharp’s construction was to have an identical referent. This was determined through linguistic channels, both negatively (an assessment of the TSKS construction when it deflected from Sharp’s requirements) and positively. It was also determined to be at least a generally valid principle on the basis of evidence, both in the NT and in extra-NT literature.
In addition, there are two other strands of evidence which strongly suggest the validity of Sharp’s canon in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1. First is the patristic confirmation of the rule. Second is the usage of θεὸς σωτήρ in the koine period.
B. Extra-Syntactical Confirmation
1. Patristic Usage of Christological Texts
This strand of evidence does not deal with the article-noun-καί-noun construction in general, but only with the christologically significant texts. In 1802 a fellow (and later, master) of Trinity College in Cambridge, Christopher Wordsworth, published his Six Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq. Respecting his Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, in the Greek Text of the New Testament.158 Wordsworth tested Sharp’s principle in the patristic literature. He felt that if the principle was valid, then the Greek fathers would certainly have understood the christologically significant texts in the same way that Sharp had. Further, he believed that the Latin fathers, on the assumption of the rule’s validity, would not have uniformly understood the same texts as referring to one person since there is no article in Latin, rendering their translations more obscure. On the other hand, if Sharp’s rule was a figment of his own imagination, then the Greek fathers, as well as Latin, would not be uniform in their understanding.159
Wordsworth found plenty of patristic evidence. Interestingly, since Acts 20:28; 2 Tim 4:1; and Jude 4 were textually suspect, he found very little evidence in the fathers with the reading preferred by Sharp.160 Further, he found no fathers to confirm Sharp’s interpretation of 1 Tim 5:21 and urged Sharp to abandon his view of this text, arguing that “Christ Jesus” is a proper name.161 Concerning 2 Thess 1:12 he states that “my references are few; so few, that at the most, I have not more than one quotation, exclusive of those which are derived from the regular commentators: and so indeterminate, that in all which I can produce, there is not one of the passages which is decisive, either way, with respect to the required interpretation.”162
Nevertheless, Wordsworth felt that these passages did not impinge on the rule, for Sharp had either appealed to textual variants in some of these passages (which variants the fathers did not embrace), or else invoked passages which involved proper names. In other words, the Greek patristic writers not only implicitly knew of the requirements of Sharp’s canon, but understood them better than Sharp did himself!
Concerning the remaining three passages (Eph 5:5; Titus 2:13; and 2 Pet 1:1), he noted that they were all used frequently, from the second century on. Indeed, he became quite convinced that Sharp had articulated such a sound principle that at one point he declared,
. . . I fully believe, that there is no one exception to your first rule in the whole New Testament: and the assertion might be extended infinitely further. But, in all other places, (whatever it may be in those concerning which we are particularly interested) having, under your guidance, examined them, I am persuaded that the idiom is not “anceps,” not “ambiguum.” Nay, may I not venture to add, that the Greek must be a strange language, if such a thing were possible?163
After an exhaustive investigation, from Greek Christian literature covering a span of over 1000 years, Wordsworth was able to make the astounding comment,
. . . I have observed more (I am persuaded) than a thousand instances of the form ὁ Χριστος και Θεος (Ephes. v. 5)[,] some hundreds of instances of the ὁ μεγας θεος και σωτηρ (Tit. ii. 13); and not fewer than several thousands of the form ὁ θεος και σωτηρ(2 Pet. i. 1.)[,] while in no single case, have I seen (where the sense could be determined) any of them used, but only of one person.164
On the surface, the massive research of Christopher Wordsworth looks rather impressive. However, we need to inquire further: (1) Did some of the orthodox fathers use these passages as proof texts in their debates with Arians? If so, this might imply that such texts had an obvious force to natives of the Greek tongue—one which both friend and foe could perceive. If not, it may well be that the fathers found ready at hand an expression in certain passages which they could use to speak of Christ’s deity, but which nevertheless did not necessarily convey that meaning originally.165 (2) Did the orthodox Latin fathers use the same verses in a less-than-uniform manner? If not, our suspicion that the phrase itself, rather than the meaning of the biblical text, was what prompted the unequivocal usage. (3) Did any second or third century fathers use these same texts in defense of Christ’s deity? If not, again we may perhaps discount the patristic usage as informed by set idiom and creedal formulation.
Without belaboring the issue, we can answer in the affirmative on all three counts. Wordsworth quotes a number of fathers who used these passages as proofs against Arianism—in fact, he even finds a few Arians who conceded the syntax of the construction to their opponents. For example, regarding Titus 2:13 he argues that
The interpretation of our version [KJV] was never once thought of in any part of the Christian world, even when Arianism was triumphant over the Catholic faith. Surely, this fact, [sic] might of itself suffice to overturn every notion of an ambiguity in the form of expression.166
The Latin fathers (even those whose orthodoxy was unquestioned) were inconsistent in the use of these texts, betraying that the uniformity in the Greek fathers was probably due to Greek syntax, not to nascent creedalism.167 And some second/third century fathers did, indeed, use these texts as proofs of the deity of Christ.168 For whatever the Greek patristic testimony is worth,169 at least we can say that it points only in one direction.170
2. Θεὸς Σωτήρ in the Milieu of the First Century
A second confirmation (related to Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1) can be found in the juxtaposition of θεός and σωτήρ in the milieu of the first Christian century. Several scholars have pointed out the fact that θεός and σωτήρ were often predicated of one person in the ancient world. Some, in fact, have assumed that θεὸς σωτήρ was predicated of Jesus only after 70 CE and in direct opposition to the imperial cult.171 Although it is probable that hellenistic religious usage helped the church in how it expressed its Christology, the primary impetus for the content of that Christology more than likely came from a different source. Moehlmann, in his dissertation on this topic,172 after canvassing the use of the two terms in Greco-Roman civilization, argues that in Jewish literature (including the OT) σωτήρ was “usually associated with and generally restricted to God.”173 He then argues, convincingly I think, that the use of this double epithet for Jesus was due to the growing conviction of the primitive church that Christ was in fact divine.
To put it tersely, to say soter was to say theos. When the author of the epistle to Titus says, “looking for the blessed hope and epiphany of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” he summarizes the ordinary content of the soter-idea in the culture of his day. Theos soter is a rather fixed, inseparable combination in the civilization of the Roman empire. “No one could be a god any longer unless he was also a savior” had its complement in no one could be a savior without being a god.174
But what about the precise expression θεὸς σωτήρ? Whence did it come—and was it ever used of more than one person? Within the pages of the LXX, one finds this exact construction on only one or two occasions.175 It is consequently quite doubtful that the OT, or more generally, Judaism, was the primary source for such a phrase. Further confirmation of this is found in the syntax of the construction. The Hebrew OT only rarely has the personal, singular article-noun-waw-noun construction. That is to say, only rarely is this construction found in which the waw connects the two substantives.176 And when it does so, the semantics are mixed. The LXX almost uniformly renders such a construction as other than a TSKS construction.177 Thus, neither the general syntactic structure of TSKS nor the specific lexemes of θεός and σωτήρ in such a construction can be attributable to OT influence.
Moulton lists several instances of this expression as referring to Roman emperors, though all but one of them dates from the seventh century CE.178 But there are earlier uses of the phrase circulating in hellenistic circles—and not a few which antedate the NT.179 Harris, in fact, argues that “the expression ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ was a stereotyped formula common in first-century religious terminology . . . and invariably denoted one deity, not two.”180 More than likely, then, the expression should be traced to non-Jewish sources, especially those relating to emperor-worship. At the same time, “the early Christian texts which call Jesus ‘Saviour’ nowhere exhibit a view of the Soter related to the Hellenistic concept.”181 Cullmann is surely right that Hellenism accounts for the form, Judaism for the content of the expression,182 for the juxtaposition of θεός and σωτήρ (though almost always without a connective καί) was a well-established idiom for the early Christians already resident within the pages of their Bible.183 Nevertheless, regardless of the source of the expression, the use in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 of this idiom is almost certainly a reference to one person, confirming once again Sharp’s assessment of the phrase.184
In sum, Sharp’s rule outside of the NT has been very strongly confirmed both in the classical authors and in the koine. And although a few possible exceptions to his rule were found in the literature, the phrase ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ (Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1) admitted of no exceptions—either in Christian or secular writings. Ironically, then, the very passages in which Sharp sought to prove his rule have become among the least contestable in their singular referentiality. Indeed, the researches of Wendland, Moulton, Moehlmann, Cullmann, et al., are so compelling that exegetes nowadays are more apt to deny Paul and Peter than they are Christ185—that is to say, precisely because of the high Christology of Titus and 2 Peter the authenticity of these letters is usually denied.186 In this connection, it is noteworthy that Winer, whose theological argument against Sharp’s canon in Titus 2:13 influenced so many, held to Pauline authorship of the Pastorals. Indeed, it was “considerations from Paul’s system of doctrine” which forced him to deny the validity of the rule.187 These two issues—apostolic authorship and Christology—are consequently pitted against each other in these texts, and the opinions of a scholar in one area too often cloud his judgment in the other.188 Entirely apart from questions of authorship, however, we believe that the evidence adduced thus far firmly supports Sharp’s canon as it applies to Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1. What remains to be done is an examination of the substantive arguments against, and especially the alleged exceptions to, Sharp’s principle.
C. Arguments against the Application of the Rule to the Christologically Significant Texts
Arguments against Sharp’s canon take two forms: first, arguments against its application to the christologically significant texts; and second, exceptions to the rule in general. As we have dealt extensively with the second issue, this section (with which we begin) will merely summarize our findings.
1. General Syntactical Considerations
As we saw earlier, four classes of exceptions to Sharp’s canon have been detected in Greek literature (though none in the NT). We raised serious linguistic arguments against them being genuine exceptions, noting however the possibility of blunting Occam’s razor with the resultant complexities that our explanation may have suggested. In this section we wish to make a simple observation: even if every one of our linguistic explanations proved invalid, none of the exceptions impacts the christologically significant texts.
First of all, generic singulars were seen to be outside the scope of Sharp’s canon on a rare occasion. (We suggested that although such substantives were singular in form they were plural in semantic force.) Such nominals of course would make no impact on the theological cruces, because neither θεός nor σωτήρ are functioning as generics in Titus 2:13 or 2 Pet 1:1.
Second, one example of translation Greek (Prov 24:21) proved to be a violation of Sharp’s principle. This again does not impact the christologically pregnant texts, for two reasons. (1) The personal singular article-substantive-καί-substantive construction is almost never found in either the Hebrew OT or the LXX. Thus, syntactically, we could not argue that such a construction typically represented translation Greek. (Again, only one instance was uncovered in the LXX.) (2) More importantly, the expression ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ was found to be a Jewish concept but a Greek form. Thus, this precise phrase cannot be considered translation Greek.
Third, instances involving three or more nominals, known as enumeration, were found to violate the rule. One example from Attic Greek and one from koine were produced. Again, although a linguistic explanation was offered for this phenomenon, it is obviously irrelevant to Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, for only two substantives are used in the constructions in these texts.
Finally, one instance involving ordinal numerals was discovered to violate Sharp’s rule. We suggested that ordinal numerals behave very much like proper names. Further, some evidence was located which may imply a broadly based idiom for the dropping of the article with ordinals in lists (particularly ἕβδομος, as in our one text from Strabo). Nevertheless, whether due to idiom or analogy to proper names, this category bears no force on the debatable NT texts.
In conclusion, we must stress the methodological imperative for making a close examination of a given structure’s semantic situation. Too many faulty syntactical deductions are made because the attendant lexical and morphological features are not observed. Hence, though there are five classes of exceptions to Sharp’s canon, to appeal to such exceptions vis-à-vis the christologically pregnant texts is both linguistically imprecise and exegetically irresponsible.
2. Text-Specific and Theological Considerations
A second kind of argument dealt specifically with the theological cruces. In many respects the velocity of the diatribe here may suggest a tacit concession of the validity of Sharp’s rule in general. That is to say, the main thrust of the theological arguments was still rooted in syntax: adversaries of the “Christ as God” language attempted to give reasons why such texts did not meet Sharp’s requirements.
We are limiting our discussion to two passages, Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1, for it is in these passages that the best case can be made.189 These texts are quite similar, yet each has its own set of complications. We will deal with the one lexical problem mutually shared by them, then take a brief look at the peculiar difficulties each verse involves. Finally, we will address the one syntactical problem that Winstanley raised as that which he perceived to be his coup de grâce.
α. Θεός as a Proper Name
C. J. Ellicott, in his essay, “Scripture, and its Interpretation,” argues that “Granville Sharp’s rule . . . is sound in principle, but, in the case of proper names or quasi-proper names, cannot safely be pressed.”190 As we have already noted, it can never be pressed in the case of proper names, just as Sharp himself pointed out. But what about quasi-proper names? Several scholars take θεός to be just that—in fact, it is often considered to be unequivocally a proper name. If indeed it is, then Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 do not identify Christ as God.
There are several considerations against this supposition, however. First of all, we see that θεός is used in the TSKS construction well over a dozen times in the NT,191 and always (if we exclude the christologically significant texts) in reference to one person. This phenomenon is not true of any other proper name in said construction. Indeed, it is the most common noun used in constructions involving Sharp’s rule. Without it, our database would be significantly depleted. Second, θεός occurs in the plural frequently in the NT, while no other personal proper name does.192 Third, proper names are usually anarthrous (since they need no article to be definite), except in cases of anaphora, contrast, or other similar reasons;193 but “in the nomin. θεός is used almost always with the art.”194 And in the oblique cases other syntactical factors contribute to its definiteness.195 Hence, even in this respect, it is not wholly analogous to proper names. Fourth, even if θεός were to be considered a proper name in certain NT books, the texts in question are in epistles—and, hence, are ostensibly more concerned with the Gentile mission than perhaps, say, the synoptic Gospels might be. In contact with the polytheistic Greco-Roman world, the apostolic writers could hardly use θεός as a proper name. Indeed, Weiss goes so far as to say “denn Paulus sagt 1 Kor. 8, 5, dass tatsächlich θεοὶ πολλοί existieren.”196 Citing such texts as Acts 19:26; 28:6; John 10:34-35; and 2 Thess 2:4, he argues that Paul (as well as other NT writers)
will ausdrücklich betonen, dass die Wesen, welche die Heiden anbeten, nicht etwa wesenlose Geschöpfe ihrer Phantasie sind, sondern wirklich existieren. Er behauptet nur, dass sie von seinem Standpunkt aus nicht Götter in vollem Sinne seien . . . , sondern nur in weiteren Sinne (als übermenschliche Wesen) so gennant werden.197
In light of arguments such as these, it is no wonder that in Weiss’ careful and comprehensive study of the article with θεός, he concludes that although “die neutestamentlichen Grammatiker rechnen θεός zu den Appellativis, die sich den Eigennamen nähern . . . für θεός trifft das nun keinesfalls zu . . .”198 Fifth, there is confirmatory evidence in the hellenistic papyri examined for this paper. Three of the four plural personal noun constructions in which an identical referent was seen had θεός for one of the nouns; e.g., “you . . . the great gods and protectors” (ὑμᾶς . . . τοὺς θεοὺς μεγίστους καὶ ἀντιλήμπτορας) in P. Lond. 23 (=UPZ 14).17-18. In the hellenistic papyri, θεός was always one of the nouns, perhaps suggesting something of an idiomatic expression. Very much against Ellicott’s view, this at least demonstrates that θεός was hardly considered a quasi-proper name in the koine period.
b. Titus 2:13
This verse has one difficulty peculiar to itself. As Berge points out, “the exegetical problem posed by the entire phrase, τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, has three possibilities: (1) Jesus Christ is the great God and Savior; (2) the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ are to be distinguished; (3) Jesus Christ stands in apposition to δόξα, and τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν refers solely to God.”199 This third possibility, even if valid, would not break Sharp’s principle here—it would only deny that in this text Christ is called God. Few commentators actually hold to this view,200 for it seems to do such violence to taking ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ as in apposition to what immediately precedes. Nevertheless, though somewhat ancillary to our overriding concern (viz. the validity of Sharp’s rule), since this view would effectively remove Titus 2:13 from the list of passages which affirm the deity of Christ, it should be addressed briefly.201
The basic argument for this view is threefold. First, like the first view mentioned above, this approach sees the TSKS construction as referring to one person. Thus, whatever evidence can be mustered for the validity of Sharp’s rule in Titus 2:13 can be said to help this approach. Second, σωτήρ is often linked to θεός (ἡμῶν) in the pastorals with reference to the Father.202 It would thus seem natural to apply it to the Father in this text as well. Third, the NT uses other similar titles for Christ (e.g., ἀλήθεια, ζωή, φῶς). To see an abstract term used of Christ here would not be out of step with other early Christologies.
There are difficulties with this view, however. First, as we noted above, this reading is unnatural and overly subtle: one would expect ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ to be in apposition with what immediately precedes (viz. σωτῆρος ἡμῶν).203 Second, σωτήρ (ἡμῶν) is used both of Christ and the Father in the pastorals—on one occasion, the referent changes from one verse to the next.204 If the author can shift from Father to Son in Titus 1:3 and 1:4, there can be no objection to his doing so in Titus 2:10 and 2:13. Third, the evidence for δόξα θεοῦ as a primitive christological title is, at best, inconclusive. Although it is possible in several texts (such as Jas 2:1; Eph 1:17; Heb 1:3), it is unlikely in all of them. In other words, we have no clear instances of δόξα used as a christological title in the NT. Without better evidence forthcoming, this view must be regarded with suspicion. It is an intriguing speculation, but little more. Titus 2:13 appears to be secure as a reference to Christ as θεός.
c. Second Peter 1:1
This passage also has its own peculiar problem: a possessive pronoun is attached to the first noun. The possessive pronoun seems almost to “bracket” the noun, effectively isolating the trailing noun so that it does not partake of the article. At least, this is the intuitive sense that some exegetes get from the passage. Winer, for example, used this argument, for which Robertson took him to task. More recently, Stauffer argues that in 2 Thess 1:12 “the first attribute (θεός) is separated from the second by ἡμῶν, and therefore it is not to be related to Christ . . .” and, on the following page, “. . . in 2 Pt. 1:1, as in 2 Th. 1:12, the ἡμῶν separates the attributes.”205 Is this phenomenon really sufficient to break the force of Sharp’s rule? In response, Robertson has pointed out that
There is no pronoun with σωτῆρος in 2 Peter i. 11, precisely the same idiom, where no one doubts the identity of “Lord and Saviour.” Why refuse to apply the same rule to 2 Peter i. 1, that all admit, Winer included, to be true of 2 Peter i. 11?206
This is an excellent point, but the case could be made even stronger. First, this particular phrase is used not only in 2 Pet 1:1 and 1:11, but also in 2:20 and 3:18—again, as in 1:11, in obvious reference to Christ. Indeed, as the author uses only one other article-noun-καί-noun construction in his epistle, this is his normal pattern. Second, there are a few other personal, singular TSKS constructions in the NT which have a genitive attached to the first noun,207 yet Sharp’s rule is not hampered by the presence of the genitive. To be sure, not all of these involve a possessive pronoun (though most do); nor do all of them have a genitive affixed only to the first noun. But this, in principle, would not seem to make much difference, for the genitive would appear to interrupt the article’s “getting to” the second noun, regardless of whether it was a pronoun, or whether another genitive was attached to the second noun. For example, in 1 Thess 3:2 ἡμῶν is attached to the first noun (Τιμόθεον, τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ), though the second noun does pick up a genitive noun. Revelation 1:9 affords an even closer parallel, fitting exactly the structure of 2 Pet 1:1 (ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συγκοινωνός). Third, I have found the same phenomenon in the papyri and, once again, the genitive attached to the first noun never broke the force of Sharp’s principle. For example, P. Lond. 417.1 reads “to my master and beloved brother” (τῷ δεσπότῃ μου καὶ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ); Sitzungsber. Preuss. Ak. (1911, p. 796) mentions “Baebius, my friend and secretary” (Βαιβίου τοῦ ἐμοῦ φίλου καὶ γραμματέως); P. Oxy. 2106. 24-25 addresses “my lord and brother” (τῷ κυρίῳ μου καὶ ἀδελφῷ); in BGU 1035.1 we see “our lord and master” (τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν καὶ δεσπότῃ), an expression repeated nineteen lines later. In all such instances the possessive pronoun had no effect on breaking the construction. The fact, then, that a possessive pronoun attached only to the first substantive never nullifies Sharp’s principle—either in 2 Peter or in the NT or in the papyri that I have examined—is strong confirmation of the validity of the rule in 2 Pet 1:1. In this case, as always, presumption must give way to evidence.
3. Patristic Exceptions
Calvin Winstanley illustrated from patristic literature instances in which, if Sharp’s rule applied, the personal distinctions within the Trinity would seem to be blurred. For example, Polycarp speaks of “glory to the God and Father and Holy Spirit” (τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ καὶ ἁγίῳ πνεύματι);208 Clement of Alexandria gives praise “to the only Father and Son” (τῷ μόνῳ πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ).209 To this kind of exception Middleton can only reply that no ambiguity could result, for the distinctions in the members of the Trinity were obvious to all.210 I find this kind of response to be the weakest link in the vindication of Sharp’s rule, for two reasons: (1) for the other three kinds of exceptions, a syntactical reason naturally presented itself as the cause of the apparent exception, while here Sharp’s advocates appeal to common sense; (2) consequently, this kind of reasoning is a case of petitio principii with reference to the christologically significant texts in the NT. One could just as easily argue—and several have—that since Paul nowhere else explicitly identifies Christ as God, there is no ambiguity in his meaning in Titus 2:13 (that is to say, two persons are obviously meant). Indeed, as we have noted, it is ironic that many scholars who affirm the deity of Christ in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 do so precisely because they deny apostolic authorship and many who affirm apostolic authorship deny that deity is explicitly taught.
There may be a different way to deal with Winstanley’s coup de grâce. As a preliminary comment to our suggestion, it should be pointed out that (1) all of the texts which belong in this fourth category are found in patristic literature;211 (2) all of the texts that Winstanley produced are, in fact, found in second or early third century patristic literature; (3) all of the texts involve only members of the Trinity; and (4) all of the texts involve at least two terms to describe the first person of the Trinity—e.g., “the only Father,” or “the God and Father,” etc.
It would seem that we are assuming too much about their own christological articulation when we read early church fathers. There are glimpses, here and there, that in their zeal to defend the deity of Christ they proved too much. Ignatius, for example, speaks of “the blood of God” (Eph. 1:1). The appellation “Lord and God” was often used of Christ, as well as “Savior and God,” though hardly ever was the reverse order observed in these early writers. Ignatius drops the conjunction altogether in most of his affirmations. Such language, of course, does seem to be appropriate and in keeping with the spirit of the apostolic age, but at the same time it renders the statements about the deity of Christ, if not more direct, certainly more blunt. Others seemed at times to blur the distinctions between members of the Trinity.212 This is not to say that they were unaware of the distinctions necessarily, but simply that their articulation was not what it would be in 325 or 451. At the same time, in their zeal to defend the faith—and to practice the faith—these fathers did occasionally overstate their case. Bousset argues that
This sort of hymnological community theology, the distinctive mark of which is a reveling in contradiction, finally had to lead to a complete deification, i.e., to the supplanting of God the Father or the denial of any difference between Father and Son. What is stirring here is naïve Modalism which the Logos theologians later met as their most suspicious and intolerant opponent.213
Bousset goes on to give illustrations from the second century writers who claimed that Christ “alone is the God of truth, indeed he himself [is] the Father of truth, Father of the heights, true and only God . . . “; he is even called “Lord merciful Father, redeemer Christ.”214 It is no wonder that Bousset quips, “Naïve Modalism cannot be more strongly expressed, and here it is expressed in the unreflective language of prayer.”215
It would seem, then, that in the debates between Winstanley and Middleton, both sides made some rather hasty assumptions about early patristic Christology. They interpreted the earliest fathers in light of Chalcedon. Yet, when it is almost exclusively the second and early third century fathers who seem to violate Sharp’s rule; when their alleged abuses are all in references to the members of the Trinity; and when there is demonstrable “naïve modalism” in this early period, what are we to conclude? Surely it would be too hasty on our part to assume that here and only here is Sharp’s rule violated.216 The very subtle distinction between “person” and “being” could hardly be expected of these writers. Hence, to identify the Son with the Father was, in one sense, perfectly orthodox. More than likely these final proof texts on which Winstanley rested his case only prove that the early fathers were in the midst of hammering out a Christology which had to await another century or two before it took final form. Indeed, rather than refute Sharp’s rule, these proof texts seem to confirm it.
Although Granville Sharp lacked the erudition of a lettered savant, he had an authentically visceral sense about the structure of language. This intuition, fueled by an unquenchable piety, enabled him to be the first to articulate a genuine feature of the language which spans the constellation graecae from the sublime elegance of the Attic philosophers to the mundane and hasty scribblings of nameless masses in the vulgar papyri.
Calvin Winstanley’s counter-examples, borne no doubt of great industry, served their purpose well. Thomas Fanshaw Middleton might never have devoted so much space to Sharp’s canon had Winstanley’s illustrations not been so challenging.217 And to Middleton we owe a debt of gratitude for raising the stakes, for giving a measure of linguistic sophistication to the articulation of Sharp’s principle. These three—Sharp, Winstanley, Middleton—more than the whole company of combatants that would follow have put real meat on the table, for they all produced examples. While others contented themselves with linguistic sophistry or theological prejudice (as in the case of Winer on one side and a legion of well-meaning scholars on the other), this trio of Englishmen virtually alone anchored the discussion to the actual data.
In particular, Winstanley produced four classes of exceptions to Sharp’s rule: generic singulars, translation Greek (one illustration), several substantives in the construction (one illustration), and patristic usage. Our research has turned up more examples for the first and third categories, as well an instance of a fifth (ordinal numerals). Yet even Winstanley admitted the general validity of Sharp’s rule in the language. The emerging conviction of this paper—albeit based on partial data—is that the five classes of “exceptions” can be readily explained on sound linguistic principles. These exceptions in fact help to reveal the semantic depth of Sharp’s rule, even to the extent that it is much more than a general principle.
Three final comments will conclude this essay. First, although the restatement of Sharp’s rule addresses all the exceptions, the sampling of Greek writing examined for this paper was but a small drop in the bucket. Rough estimates suggest that less than four percent of the more than 57 million words of extant Greek writings218 were investigated. Only extreme naïveté or bald arrogance would permit us to shut our eyes to the possibility of other counter-examples in the remaining ninety-six percent. At the same time, it must be admitted that numerous examples have been produced which tell the same monotonous story: Sharp’s rule is valid.
Second, the other side of the coin is that the more classes of exceptions there are, the less Occam’s razor can be invoked. The rule, even as Sharp stated it, was complex enough to be ignored or forgotten very quickly by opponents and proponents alike. If our restatement of the rule is a compounding of that complexity, rather than a clarification of the need for it, one has to wonder how a non-native Greek speaker could have perceived such subtle nuances. At the same time, the fact that all of the exceptions fit into a small number of carefully defined categories seems to be eloquent testimony that Occam’s razor retains its cutting edge. There is indeed a tension between linguistic formulation and empirical evidence, between science and history. With historico-literary documents, absolute proof is an ignis fatuus. But the burden of proof is a different matter; demonstrating this is quite achievable. This brings us to our third point.
In part, this paper was an attempt to investigate Winstanley’s evidence (as well as other, more synchronic evidence) and deal with it on a more sure-footed, linguistic basis. Our restatement of Sharp’s rule is believed to be true to the nature of the language, and able to address all classes of exceptions that Winstanley raised. The “Sharper” rule is as follows:
In native Greek constructions (i.e., not translation Greek), when a single article modifies two substantives connected by καί (thus, article-substantive-καί-substantive), when both substantives are (1) singular (both grammatically and semantically), (2) personal, (3) and common nouns (not proper names or ordinals), they have the same referent.
This rule, as stated, covers all the so-called exceptions. Further, even the exceptions do not impact the christologically significant passages in the NT, for the semantic situation of Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 is outside the scope of Winstanley’s counter-illustrations.
History is filled with biting ironies. The debate over Sharp’s rule over the past two centuries has revealed one of them. As industrious as the efforts of the Englishman Winstanley were to dislodge Sharp’s rule, his volume—which was filled with counter-examples—had little impact. It took one cavalier footnote, whose substance was only theological innuendo, from a continental man to dislodge Sharp’s rule. Georg Benedict Winer, the great NT grammarian of the nineteenth century, in this instance spoke outside of his realm, for he gave an unsubstantiated opinion based on a theological preunderstanding. Yet this single footnote largely brought about the eclipse of understanding of Sharp’s rule. Friend and foe alike have unwittingly abused the canon, with the result that scores of NT passages have been misunderstood.
Winer’s opinion notwithstanding, solid linguistic reasons and plenty of phenomenological data were found to support the requirements that Sharp laid down. When substantives meet the requirements of Sharp’s canon, apposition is the result, and inviolably so in the NT. The canon even works outside the twenty-seven books and, hence, ought to be resurrected as a sound principle which has overwhelming validity in all of Greek literature. Consequently, in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 we are compelled to recognize that, on a grammatical level, a heavy burden of proof rests with the one who wishes to deny that “God and Savior” refers to one person, Jesus Christ.
1This paper is, for the most part, excerpted from D. B. Wallace, “The Article with Multiple Substantives Connected by Καί in the New Testament: Semantics and Significance” (Ph.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1995). It should be noted that due to time and space limitations, several pertinent sections are deleted from the present essay.
2R. Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (New York: Scribner’s, 1951) 1.129.
3Identifications of Christ as “Son of God,” “Savior,” and especially “Lord,” are of great importance for understanding NT Christology, but some do not regard them as explicit affirmations of the deity of Christ. The following lists, from selected authors, therefore, are restricted to passages in which θεός seems to be predicated of Christ. Bultmann argues that besides John 1:1 and 20:28 only 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; and 2 Pet 1:1 “by any probable exegesis” make such an assertion (ibid.). V. Taylor regards Bultmann’s comment as an “understatement” and concedes only John 20:28 to be an unambiguous assertion (“Does the New Testament Call Jesus God?”, ExpTim 73 [1961-62] 116-18 [reprinted in New Testament Essays (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970) 83-89]. Cf. also his The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching [London: Macmillan, 1959] 55-56, 129-33, 134-37). O. Cullmann accepts John 1:1 and 20:28 and adds 1:18 (with the reading μονογενὴς θεός). He also affirms Heb 1:8-9; calls Rom 9:5 “quite probable” and both Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 “uncertain . . . but . . . probable”) (The Christology of the New Testament, rev. ed. [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963] 308-14). D. Guthrie has a list identical with Cullmann’s (New Testament Theology [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1981] 338-42). L. Sabourin feels that John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 make an explicit identification of Christ’s deity, though Rom 9:5 is more doubtful (Christology: Basic Texts in Focus [New York: Alba, 1984] 143-44). E. Stauffer argues that John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 1 John 5:20 are explicit affirmations (s.v. “θεός“ in TDNT 3.104-106). J. Pohle lists John 1:1; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; and 2 Pet 1:1 as explicit assertions (Christology: A Dogmatic Treatise on the Incarnation [St. Louis: B. Herder, 1943] 17). A. W. Wainwright argues that John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 2 Pet 1:1 are explicit assertions (The Trinity in the New Testament [London: SPCK, 1962] 54-69). V. Perry, in his comparison of English translations, charts eight disputed passages: John 1:1, 18; Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 2 Pet 1:1 (“Problem Passages of the New Testament in Some Modern Translations. Does the New Testament call Jesus God?”, ExpTim 87 [1975-76] 214-15). R. T. France argues that only John 1:1, 18; and 20:28 are unambiguous, though he lists as potential candidates also Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; Gal 2:20; Col 2:2; 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; Jas 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; and 1 John 5:20 (“The Worship of Jesus—A Neglected Factor in Christological Debate?”, Vox Evangelica 12  23, 32-33. Elsewhere, however, France argues that Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:1; and 1 John 5:20 more than likely are affirmations of Christ’s deity [“Jésus l’unique: les fondements bibliques d’une confession christologique,” Hokhma 17 (1981) 37-38]). R. E. Brown defends Christ’s deity in John 1:1, 18; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8-9; 2 Pet 1:1; and 1 John 5:20 (“Does the New Testament call Jesus God?”, TS 26  553-554, 556-65). R. N. Longenecker affirms John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom 9:5; 2 Thess 1:12 (“possibly”); Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:1; and 1 John 5:20 (The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity [Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, 1970] 136-41). J. A. Ziesler apparently accepts only John 1:18; 2 Pet 1:1; and 1 John 5:20 (John 1:1 seems to be an oversight) (The Jesus Question [London: Lutterworth, 1980] 67). Most surprisingly, D. Cupitt denies that any text is an explicit affirmation of Christ’s deity, though he does open the door for what might be called a functional (as opposed to ontological) divinity in John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 2 Pet 1:1 (The Debate about Christ [London: SCM, 1979] 89-110, especially 109).
Finally, in the latest and by far most comprehensive treatment by M. J. Harris (Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992]) the author considers John 1:1 and 20:28 as “certain”; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; and 2 Pet 1:1 as “very probable” and John 1:18 as “probable” references to the deity of Christ (272 [the chart on 273 errs in that it treats Rom 9:5 as certain]).
4Even here there is debate however. See Harris, Jesus as God, 51-71 (on John 1:1), 105-129 (on John 20:28).
5In Acts 20:28; Gal 2:20; Col 2:2; and Jude 4 there are variae lectiones which involve TSKS. These will be discussed in detail below.
6This is the title of the first American edition. There are slight differences in earlier editions. See below. Unless otherwise noted, the edition used in this essay is the latest, the first American edition (a clone of the third British edition), published in Philadelphia by B. B. Hopkins in 1807.
7The first twenty-four pages (twenty-six in the 2d edition) of his Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article are, in fact, a duplication of that letter to an unnamed minister friend (dated 10 June 1778). All six rules are laid down, with several examples. Sharp’s usual practice was to make an ἀντίγραφον of his letters. On this occasion, however, Sharp “had not leisure to copy the original letter” and, after repeated attempts to retrieve it over a span of several years, was able to obtain only a part of it (Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 24).
8T. Burgess, Lord Bishop of St. David’s, editor of the first and second editions of Sharp’s work, apparently examined many of Sharp’s unpublished MSS, selecting this one for publication. He saw it apparently for the first time in 1792 (correspondence from Burgess to Sharp, 15 December 1792 [quoted in Hoare, Memoirs, 2.372]). The essay was not originally intended by Sharp for publication (cf. Sharp, Remarks, iv; Hoare, Memoirs, 2.300-301, citing a memorandum by Sharp on this work).
9A Tract on the Law of Nature. One might note the cautious stance that Sharp took on his own work. In the scripture index to this tract, there is no mention of Eph 5:5; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1; Titus 2:13; or 2 Pet 1:1—all passages which Sharp would later argue fit his rule and thus bore testimony to Christ’s deity. A year after it was published, however, Sharp wrote to a friend about his rule on the article (which letter is reproduced at the beginning of his Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article; see n. 84 above). There he alludes to his having worked on the TSKS construction for some time and that he had, in fact, sent a preliminary draft of his views to “a very learned friend” who found several exceptions to Sharp’s first rule as he had at the time stated it (Remarks 1-2). Although the many time references are not precise (e.g., “I have so long neglected” to write; “I had written,” “I was willing to wait”), it is possible, even likely, that Sharp had worked up a rough sketch of his rule while writing his Tract on the Law of Nature. If so, he would have hesitated to include the rule in the tract because it had not yet been processed through sober reflection by himself or judicious examination by others. Hence, he does not mention the christologically significant texts involving TSKS in his Tract on the Law of Nature.
10The first and second editions were published in Durham by L. Pennington in 1798 and 1802. The third edition was published in London by Vernor and Hood in 1803. The fourth, known as the first American edition, was merely a reprint of the third with a few typographical and spelling changes; it was published in Philadelphia by B. B. Hopkins in 1807.
The essential differences between the various editions are as follows. (1) A few typographical mistakes were corrected in the second and following editions. (2) The title changed slightly (viz. in punctuation and capitalization: the first and second editions had 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, the third edition read 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, while the fourth edition read 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 (thus, a semi-colon/colon after New Testament and a comma/no punctuation after Passages are the only differences). (3) The second and subsequent iterations include published periodical reviews of the first edition as an appendix, rendering the work nearly three times as long as the 1798 edition. (4) The second and subsequent editions include excerpts from a lengthy rebuttal of Sharp’s Remarks by one pseudonymously named Gregory Blunt (Blunt’s work was originally published as a 218 page book entitled, Six More Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq., on his Remarks upon the Uses of the Article in the Greek Testament [London: J. Johnston, 1803]. Blunt’s real name was apparently Thomas Pearne); however, the second edition of Remarks appeared the same year as Blunt’s work (although Sharp’s second edition has a publication date of 1802 both were published in 1803 [Blunt’s tome in March, Sharp’s apparently sometime later since in his appendix [Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 118] he cites a review article of Blunt’s work appearing in the Christian Observer, no. 6 [June 1803] 363 [sic: the pagination was 370-76]). Hence, it has less interaction with it than do subsequent editions.
11Blunt’s work was originally published as a 218 page book entitled, Six More Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq., on his Remarks upon the Uses of the Article in the Greek Testament. London: J. Johnston, 1803. Blunt’s real name was apparently Thomas Pearne.
12Sharp, Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 2. See Wallace, “The Article with Multiple Substantives,” 44-46, for a discussion of the other five rules.
13Ibid., 3 (italics in the original).
15Ibid., 120. Sharp also notes that the fourth rule embraces impersonal substantives exclusively (ibid., 121).
17It is not enough to say that both nouns have equal referents (as some have misunderstood Sharp to mean), nor that the single article simply unites them somehow: the point of Sharp’s rule is that both noun A and noun B refer to the same person (thus an identical referent).
18Sharp did not specify that it must have complete grammatical concord, e.g., by also having the same gender. Thus whether Sharp would have applied his rule to 1 John 5:20 is not known.
19These criteria can also be seen from Sharp’s examples. He produces twenty-five undisputed examples (i.e., those which do not impact the deity of Christ) from the NT. Every one involves singular, non-proper, personal substantives, in grammatical concord with the article.
20 See later discussion for documentation of this point.
21Ibid., 25-62. He also discussed Phil 3:3 as a pneumatologically significant text, according to the reading of Alexandrinus and other ancient authorities (29-31).
22Ibid., 3-7. He further recognized that these twenty-five examples were not all the passages that came under the rubric of his rule (“There are several other texts wherein the mode of expression is exactly similar, and which therefore do necessarily require a construction agreeable to the same rule . . .” (ibid.). On the other hand, Sharp did not know explicitly of any other texts (cf. his response to one Calvin Winstanley, A Dissertation on the Supreme Divine Dignity of the Messiah: in reply to a Tract, entitled, “A Vindication of certain Passages in the common English Version of the New Testament” [London: B. Edwards, 1806] 4).
23Some of his examples involved readings found in the TR which have little claim to authenticity (e.g., τὸν τύφλον καὶ κώφον in Matt 12:22, Sharp’s lone example from the Gospels).
25For a detailed treatment, see D. B. Wallace, “The Article with Multiple Substantives Connected by Καί in the New Testament: Semantics and Significance” (Ph.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1995) 50-80. What should be noted here is that the first wave of reactions to Sharp’s canon were sort of a backhanded confirmation of his rule. One reviewer stated that the rule had been known for quite some time and that Sharp was not the first to state this principle. In the British Critic 20.1 (July, 1802), the unnamed reviewer mentions Beza, Wolfius, Drusius, Bishop Bull, Calovius, Vitringa, and Dr. Twells as those who knew of the rule before Sharp. Nevertheless, they do not lay down the limitations of the canon as Sharp had done. Beza’s comments on Titus 2:13, which the reviewer gratuitously regarded as being just as clear as Sharp’s rule, are quoted here (Theodor Beza, Annotationes Maiores in Novum Dn. Nostri Iesu Christi Testamentum [2 vols.; n.p.: n.p., 1594] 2.478):
Quod autem ad alterum attinet, quum scriptum sit, ἐπιφανvειαν [sic] τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, non autem τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος, dico non magis probabiliter ista posse ad duas distinctas personas referri quàm illam loquutionem ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Nam id certè postulat Graeci sermonis usus, quum unus tantùm sit articulus, duobus istis, nempe Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος & Θεὸς καὶ πατήρ, communis: quum praesertim (ut antè dixi) nunquam ἐπιφανvεια [sic] aut παρουσία nisi uni Filio tribuatur. Itaque sic concludo, Christum Iesum hic apertè magnum Deum dici, qui & beata illa spes nostra metonymicè vocatur. Illi igitur, ut verè magno & aeterno Deo, . . . sit gloria & laus omnis in secula seculorum.
The only substantive grammatical insight Beza makes is that the single article unites both nouns. He sees this unity as indicating identity not because of the construction alone, but because of theological considerations. Clearly this is by no means as specific as Sharp’s rule. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Beza’s instincts on the passage (and other christologically significant texts) ran along the same lines as Sharp’s (cf. Beza, Annotationes Maiores 2.376 [on Eph 5:5], 2.586 [on 2 Pet 1:1]).
None of the other authors mentioned by the reviewer articulated the rule as clearly as Sharp had done either. For example, Campegius Vitringa, De Brief van den Apostel Paulus aan de gemeente der Galaten; als mede aan Titum: en uitgeleesene keurstoffen van eenige voorname texten des Nieuwen Testaments (Franecker: W. Bleck, 1728), though he has a lengthy discussion on Titus 2:13 (133-38), supports his view that Jesus is called θεός mostly with theological arguments. His one grammatical statement falls far short of Sharp’s rule (135): “Want soo den Apostel door grooten God en Saligmaker onderscheiden persoonen hadde willen betekenen en aan wißsen hy soude een wooßdt—leegtje τῷ, vooß het wooßdt σωτῆρος, geset hebben des grooten Gods en des Saligmakers.” Indeed, one gets the impression that the reviewer did not clearly understand Sharp’s rule, for the authorities he cites as anticipating his rule merely appeal to the single article governing both nouns without any more nuancing (such as the restrictions that Sharp laid down).
In the years which followed some reviewers would cite grammars that were decidedly against Sharp’s rule. Note, for example, the anonymous review of Middleton’s Doctrine of the Greek Article in Monthly Review 62 (1810) 158-59, where the author mentions Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric and Murray’s Grammar. Yet these are works on English grammar and hence have nothing directly to do with Greek (cf. G. Campbell, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, [London: Strahan and Cadell, 1776] 52-57; L. Murray, English Grammar, Adapted to the Different Classes of Learners, rev. ed. [Bridgeport, CN: Josiah B. Baldwin, 1824] 300).
26For example, Blunt argued that “Many a man, even of those who are disposed to be dainty and fastidious, will swallow as sound and wholesome, if you ram it down his throat with an imposing air, and cry graecum est, that which, if you set before him as plain english [sic] fare, to be eaten at leisure, he will no sooner taste than he will spit it out of his mouth, and tell you it is no better than carrion” (Six More Letters, 19). Elsewhere he dogmatically asserts that “The office of the article then being the same in english [sic] as in greek [sic], your rule may be tried by the one language as well as the other” (ibid., 12). Blunt’s argument from English grammar pervades the entire work. Cf., e.g., xiv, 12-13, 23-24, 26-27, 29, 41, 53-54, and especially his extended harangue on 17-22 as well as the contrived counter-example he produces from the English text of Deut 10:18 [ibid., 20, 53]).
27Ibid., 126. Others such as the anonymous reviewer of Middleton’s Doctrine of the Greek Article in Monthly Review 62 (1810) also argued from the standpoint of English grammar, assuming almost a universal language (or at least a one-to-one correspondence between Greek and English) on a surface structure. He states that Middleton “is, however, quite singular in this opinion [that there is not a one-to-one correspondence], since scarcely a modern scholar can be found who has written on the Greek article without expressly noticing the great resemblance between it and the article in modern languages” (159). It would seem that Middleton was linguistically ahead of his time.
28C. Winstanley, A Vindication of Certain Passages in the Common English Version of the New Testament. Addressed to Granvile Sharp, Esq. (Cambridge: University Press—Hilliard and Metcalf, 1819). The first edition was published in 1805, still during Sharp’s lifetime (Liverpool: W. Jones).
29Originally published in 1808. The edition (“new edition”) used in this paper was published in 1841, incorporating notes by H. J. Rose (London: J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1841). The latest edition (1855) is merely a reprint of the 1841 edition. Unless otherwise specified, all citations are to the 1841 edition.
30Note especially C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959) 94, 94 (n. 1), 109 (n. 3), 113 (n. 2), 114, 115, 116, 117, 122. S. E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (Sheffield: JSOT, 1992) 103, n. 1, acknowledges that Middleton’s tome is the “most thorough treatment of the Greek article to date . . . .”
31See Middleton, Doctrine of the Greek Article, especially 56-70.
32Note spelling of middle name. This is Winer’s spelling in his grammars (in both German and English). Robertson et al. “Germanized” it beyond the original, to Benedikt.
33This is not meant to imply that Sharp’s rule was universally accepted before Winer argued against it. On the contrary, Sharp had a worthy adversary in Winstanley as we have seen. But either through lack of circulation of Winstanley’s essay, or because he did not have the stature of Winer, or for some other reason, Winstanley was unable to sound the death knell to Sharp’s rule—even though his arguments against Sharp’s principle are still the most sophisticated that I have come across.
Only occasionally have I seen a writer who has felt the impact of Winstanley’s argumentation. W. R. Gordon, for example, though holding to a high Christology, felt that Sharp’s adversaries “have discovered a multitude of exceptions [to Sharp’s rule], which compel us to be cautious in its application” (The Supreme Godhead of Christ [2d ed.; New York: Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, 1855] 64). (It should be noted nevertheless that Gordon does not mention Winstanley by name.) More significant is Ezra Abbot, who refers to Winstanley’s “valuable essay on the use of the Greek article” (“On the Construction of Titus II. 13,” in his The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and other Critical Essays [Boston: G. H. Ellis, 1888] 444).
34The Expositor, 8th series, 21 (1921) 185, 187. What especially gives Robertson’s claims about Winer credence is, first, that he intended to rewrite Winer’s grammar in light of the papyri finds, thus rendering him, in a sense, a student of Winer; and, secondly, that he lived closer to the time of Winer and most likely gained the sense of this “strange timidity” which gripped many NT scholars at the turn of the century from personal contact.
35 G. B. Winer, A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, trans. and rev. W. F. Moulton, 3d ed., rev. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1882) 162.
36J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 1: Prolegomena, 3d ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908) 84 (italics added).
37Cf., e.g., C. J. Ellicott, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (Andover: Draper, 1897) 207; H. Alford, “The Epistle to Titus,” in The Greek Testament with a Critically Revised Text, a Digest of Various Readings, Marginal References to Verbal and Idiomatic Usage, Prolegomena, and a Critical and Exegetical Commentary, rev. E. F. Harrison (Chicago: Moody, 1958) 421; R. M. Pope, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to Timothy and Titus (London: C. H. Kelly. 1901) 157; H. Windisch, “Zur Christologie der Pastoralbriefe,” ZNW 34  226; Taylor, The Person of Christ, 132; R. W. Funk, “The Syntax of the Greek Article: Its Importance for Critical Pauline Problems” (Ph.D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1953) 68. In passing, it should be noted that Funk’s appeal to Winer-Moulton for ambiguity contradicts his earlier (on the same page) approbation of Blass-Debrunner’s citing of Titus 2:13 as an example of identical referent.
38Cf., e.g., N. J. D. White, “The Epistle to Titus” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1897) 195; J. H. Bernard, The Pastoral Epistles in the Cambridge Greek Testament (Cambridge: University Press, 1899) 171; A. Plummer, “The Pastoral Epistles” in The Expositor’s Bible, ed. W. R. Nicoll (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1894) 269; E. F. Scott, The Pastoral Epistles (New York: Harper and Brothers, n.d.) 169-70; N. Brox, Die Pastoralbriefe, in the Regensburger Neues Testament (4th ed.; Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1969) 300; M. Dibelius and H. Conzelmann, The Pastoral Letters (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972) 143; C. Spain, The Letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus (Austin, TX: R. B. Sweet, 1970) 183; E. Stock, Plain Talks on the Pastoral Epistles (London: Robert Scott, 1914) 89.
Among grammarians, note W. H. Simcox (The Language of the New Testament [London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1890]): “. . . in Tit. ii. 13, 2 Peter i. 1, we regard θεοῦ and σωτῆρος as indicating two Persons, though only the former word has the article” (50); A. Buttmann (A Grammar of the New Testament Greek [Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1873]), who heavily relies on Winer throughout his grammar, argues that “it is very hazardous in particular cases to draw important inferences, affecting the sense or even of a doctrinal nature, from the single circumstance of the use or the omission of the article; see e.g. Tit. ii. 13; Jude 4; 2 Pet. i. 1 . . .” (97); and M. Zerwick (Biblical Greek Illustrated by Examples [Rome: Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1963]) states that the rule is only suggestive, “since the unity of article would be sufficiently accounted for by any conjunction, in the writer’s mind, of the notions expressed” (60).
39The 1841 edition. The 1855 edition was merely a reprint.
40He concludes his discussion of Winer’s influence by saying that “Winer did not make out a sound case against Sharp’s principle as applied to 2 Peter i. 1 and Titus ii. 13. Sharp stands vindicated after all the dust has settled” (“The Greek Article,” 187).
41A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 4th ed. (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1923) 785-89. The title of the first section is “Several Epithets Applied to the Same Person or Thing” (785-86).
42H. E. Dana and J. R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1927) 147 (as well, they give but three examples, two of which are among the exegetical cruces which concern this paper!). Dana-Mantey modify the statement of the rule in several minor points, however.
43S. E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (Sheffield: JSOT, 1992) 110. The error is repeated in the second edition (1994).
45For example, K. Wuest (“The Greek Article in New Testament Interpretation,” BSac 118 ) alleges that “Another function of the Greek article is in the construction called Granville Sharp’s rule, where two nouns in the same case are connected by kai, the first noun, articular, the second, anarthrous, the second referring to the same person or thing expressed by the first noun and being further description of it” (29). Here, he assumes that impersonal nouns fit the rule and further argues that “Sharp’s rule makes the words [in Titus 2:13] ‘the hope’ and ‘the appearing’ refer to the same thing, and ‘God’ and ‘Saviour’ to be the same individual” (ibid.). Wuest also thinks that plural nouns fit the rule: “The same rule identifies the ‘pastors and teachers’ of Ephesians 4:11 (AV) as one individual” (ibid.). L. Radermacher (Neutestamentliche Grammatik, 2d ed. [Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1925]), though not mentioning Sharp, seems to imply that a single article uniting two substantives joined by καί speaks of an identical referent: “Wenn mehrere Substantiva [sic] in der Aufzählung miteinander verbunden werden, genügt oft der Artikel beim ersten Wort und zwar nicht allein bei gleichem Genus” (115). He lists τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας (Col 2:22) as evidence. He goes on to say that the same phenomenon occurs in hellenistic Greek, citing ὁ ἥλιος καὶ σελήνη as an example (ibid.). His two examples are both impersonal, one being singular and the other plural. A case could almost be made for the first example expressing identity, but certainly not the second. Similarly, S. G. Green (Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, rev. ed. [London: Religious Tract Society, 1912]) has both impersonal and plural constructions and speaks of such constructions “as forming one object of thought” (198; 232), a comment which equals Radermacher’s in its ambiguity. W. D. Chamberlain (An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament [New York: Macmillan, 1941]) apparently has a clear understanding as to when the rule applies and when it does not, but he does not clearly articulate this to the reader (55). BDF seem to support the rule in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 (they enlist the support of Robertson’s essay, “The Greek Article and the Deity of Christ”), but also apply it to proper, impersonal (geographical) names (145; §276.3), citing Acts 19:21 (τὴν Μακεδονίαν καὶ ᾿Αχαί>αν)! They make no comment about the plural. C. F. D. Moule (Idiom Book) has a sober treatment of the rule, seeing its application in the singular and questioning it in the plural (109-110). But he sides with Radermacher by allowing it with impersonal nouns. N. Turner (A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 3: Syntax, by N. Turner [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963] and Grammatical Insights into the New Testament [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1965]) seems to vacillate in his discussion, for he apparently allows the rule to stand with the singular nouns (Syntax, 181; Insights, 15-16), but also applies it to the plural at his discretion (Syntax, 181). Thus he speaks of a “unified whole” with reference to Eph 2:20; Luke 22:4, and Acts 15:2, but then declares that this same construction may “indeed indicate that two distinct subjects are involved [italics mine]” (ibid.), citing the common phrase οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι as an illustration. It is doubtful that the construction indicates two antithetical ideas/groups; it is rather better to say that it allows for it. Nevertheless, Turner has not shown an understanding of Sharp’s rule in his discussions. J. H. Greenlee (A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek, 3d ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963]) is very unclear when he applies the rule to impersonal constructions (Eph 3:18) and plurals (John 7:45) (50). C. Vaughan and V. E. Gideon (A Greek Grammar of the New Testament [Nashville: Broadman, 1979]) apply the rule to both impersonal and personal constructions, making no comment about the plurals (83). They do note, however, that there are exceptions with the impersonal constructions (ibid., n. 8). J. A. Brooks and C. L. Winbery (Syntax of New Testament Greek [Washington: University Press of America, 1979]) apply the rule to personal, impersonal, and plural constructions explicitly (70-71). B. W. Blackwelder (Light from the Greek New Testament [Anderson, IN: Warner, 1958]), after quoting Sharp’s rule via Robertson, argues that “there are many illustrations of this rule in the New Testament” (146). He then lists four passages, including one which involves plural nouns (Eph 4:11) and two of the christologically significant—and, hence, debatable—texts (Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1) (ibid.). Finally, and most curiously, D. A. Carson (Exegetical Fallacies [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984]) quotes Sharp’s rule as given in Brooks and Winbery’s Syntax, then argues that “The fallacy is in taking this rule too absolutely . . .” (84). He then gives several illustrations of impersonal and plural constructions which do not fit the rule (85). Yet nowhere does Carson evidence a clear understanding of the rule; he is simply dissatisfied with the form of it he cites, justifiably arguing that in such a form the rule only suggests unity, not identity.
46Even a scholar the stature of Ezra Abbot, though interacting explicitly with Sharp and Middleton (“Titus II. 13”), failed on two counts in his understanding of Sharp’s rule: (1) he suggests that τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράζοντας in Matt 21:12 proves Sharp’s rule wrong (“No one can reasonably suppose that the same persons are here described as both selling and buying,” 452), even though plural substantives are involved; and (2) he argues that English syntax is wholly analogous to Greek with reference to Sharp’s rule (451-52). Yet, as we have seen, in his appendix, Sharp rightly takes G. Blunt to task for just such a supposition (Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 126, 147). We might also note that Longenecker, whose scholarship is unquestionably of the highest caliber, quotes Sharp’s rule in exactly the same form as is found in Dana-Mantey’s grammar (except for changing “farther” to “further” to conform with modern practice), though without credit. Longenecker simply remarks that the rule is “usually attributed to Granville Sharp” (The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity, 138). Similarly, P. S. Berge only quotes Dana-Mantey’s definition of Sharp’s canon (though with proper credit) in his dissertation, “‘Our Great God and Savior’: A Study of Soter as a Christological Title in Titus 2:11-14” (Th.D. dissertation, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, 1973) 49. Perhaps most remarkably, in R. W. Funk’s dissertation on the article in Paul (“The Syntax of the Greek Article”), Sharp’s monograph is not only not listed in the bibliography, but Sharp’s rule is nowhere mentioned by name.
47I am reminded here of C. S. Lewis’ delightful essay, “On the Reading of Old Books,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970) 200-207, in which he quips, “if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium” (200). Much of what he has to say in this essay, it seems, is applicable to our present concern.
48In Pauline Studies: Essays presented to Professor F. F. Bruce on his 70th Birthday, ed. D. A. Hagner and M. J. Harris (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 267. This particular argument is given more space than any other in Harris’ article (267-69).
49The passages he cites are Acts 15:2 (τοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ πρεσβυτέρους); 16:4 (τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων); and 2 Cor 1:3 (ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ). Harris himself admits that elsewhere in Acts “the repeated article in the phrase οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ πρεσβύτεροι (Acts 15:4, 6, 22) shows that the apostles of the Jerusalem church were a group distinct from the elders” (ibid.). He sees the single article constructions of Acts 15:2 and 16:4 as indicating “a single administrative unit. . .” But if true, even this does not conform to his statement of the rule, for though elder + apostle might = a unit, that is much different from saying that elder = apostle, which is the very point of Sharp’s rule, even as Harris has expressed it. Elsewhere in his essay Harris indicates that he views impersonal nouns also to fall within the purview of the rule: “If the parallelism is intentional, ὁ μέγας θεός is the σωτήρ, just as ἡ μακαρία ἐλπίς is the ἐπιφάνεια” (270).
50This can be illustrated by reference to two passages: Eph 4:11 and Titus 2:13. In Eph 4:11 the plural construction is used (τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους) while in Titus 2:13 there are two constructions, one impersonal (τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν) and one which Sharp believed fit his rule (τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν). As we have mentioned earlier, Sharp restricted the rule to personal singular nouns. Yet, the plural construction in Eph 4:11 and the impersonal construction in Titus 2:13 are usually, or at least frequently, seen as fitting the rule, though with no proof that the rule could be expanded to include either construction.
With reference to Eph 4:11, most commentators are agreed that one group is in view in this construction (but cf. G. H. P. Thompson, The Letters of Paul to the Ephesians, to the Colossians and to Philemon [CBC; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969] 69; and C. J. Ellicott, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians [Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1885] 94. Thompson simply asserts that “teachers were holders of another office” without giving any evidence. Ellicott argues solely from scanty lexical evidence.) Yet those who affirm that one group is identified by the phrase have little syntactical evidence on their side as well. H. Alford (The Epistle to the Ephesians) argues that “from these latter not being distinguished from the pastors by the τοὺς δέ, it would seem that the offices were held by the same persons” (117). But he gives no cross-references nor does he demonstrate that this is the normal usage of the plural construction. B. F. Westcott (Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians [New York: Macmillan, 1906]) argues for one class “not from a necessary combination of the two functions but from their connexion with a congregation” (62). C. Hodge (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians [New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1856]) boldly states that “The absence of the article before διδασκάλους proves that the apostle intended to designate the same persons as at once pastors and teachers [italics added]” (226). But then he curiously backs off from such grammatical dogma by adding that “It is true the article is at times omitted between two substantives referring to different classes . . .” (227), citing Mark 15:1 as evidence. Finally, he reverts to his initial certitude by concluding, “But in such an enumeration as that contained in this verse . . . the laws of language require τοὺς δὲ διδασκάλους, had the apostle intended to distinguish the διδάσκαλοι from the ποιμένες [italics added]” (ibid.). No evidence is given to support this contention. It is significant, in fact, that of the commentaries surveyed, only Hodge mentioned any other text in which the plural construction occurred—a text which would not support his conclusions! Eadie, Abbott, Salmond, Lenski, Hendriksen, Erdman, Kent, Barclay, Wuest, and Barth (to name but a few) also see the two terms referring to one group, though their arguments are either not based on syntax or make unwarranted and faulty assumptions about the syntax. Some would insist that the article-noun-καί-noun plural construction requires that the second group is to be identified with the first. Wuest articulates this assumption most clearly: “The words ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’ are in a construction called Granvill [sic] Sharp’s rule which indicates that they refer to one individual” (K. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Ephesians and Colossians [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953] 101).
With reference to Titus 2:13, several scholars see the rule applying to “the blessed hope and appearing,” an impersonal construction. E.g., R. St. John Parry (The Pastoral Epistles [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920]) argues that τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν means “that manifestation which is our hope” (81). Some scholars explicitly invoke Sharp’s name when they discuss “the blessed hope and appearing” (e.g., E. K. Simpson, The Pastoral Epistles [London: Tyndale, 1954] 108); others do so implicitly (e.g., W. Hendriksen, Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles in New Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957] 372-73; R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to Titus [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961] 922-23; F. F. Bruce, “‘Our God and Saviour’: A Recurring Biblical Pattern” [in The Saviour God: Comparative Studies in the Concept of Salvation Presented to Edwin Oliver James, ed. by S. G. F. Brandon; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1963] 51-52; R. O. Yeager, “Titus 1:1-3:15” in The Renaissance New Testament [Gretna: Pelican, 1985] 35-36).
Some scholars regard (without further comment on the syntactical principle they are invoking), that the single article with “God and Savior” is sufficient evidence that only one person is in view. Note, e.g., P. Schepens, “De demonstratione divinitatis Christi ex epistula ad Titum II. 13,” Greg 7 (1926) 243; F. Ogara, “Apparuit gratia Dei Salvatoris nostri,” VD 15 (1935) 365- 66; C. Spicq, Les Épitres Pastorales (Paris: Lecoffre, 1947) 264-65; P. Dornier, Les Épitres Pastorales (Paris: Lecoffre, 1969) 144; R. Schnackenburg in R. Schnackenburg and P. Smulders, La christologie dans le Nouveau Testament et le dogme (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1974) 190. Finally, we should mention R. H. Countess (The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures [Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1982]) who, after quoting Sharp’s canon via Dana-Mantey, cautions that “Granville Sharp’s dogmatic ‘always’ certainly invites a search for exceptions and Matthew 17:1 may be one” (69). But this lone “exception” which Countess gives involves proper names (τὸν Πέτρον καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον καὶ ᾿Ιωάννην)!
These few examples of scholars’ misunderstanding of Sharp’s principle could be reproduced manifold. These are given to show that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that almost without exception, those who seem to be acquainted with Sharp’s rule and agree with its validity, misunderstand it and abuse it.
51In passing, three other studies should be mentioned. R. D. Durham, “Granville Sharp’s Rule” (unpublished doctoral paper, Grace Theological Seminary, 1972), acknowledges that Sharp’s canon did not cover plural nouns or proper names, but he thinks that Sharp meant to include impersonal nouns as meeting the requirements (7). M. L. Johnson, “A Reconsideration of the Role of Sharp’s Rule in Interpreting the Greek New Testament” (M.A. thesis, University of Mississippi, 1986), assumes that Sharp’s rule only dealt with conceptual unity, even going so far as to say that Sharp’s “principle gained general acceptance by both Classical and New Testament grammarians” (54). He lists among the TSKS constructions which fit Sharp’s canon plurals, impersonals, and abstracts (70-71, 73). G. W. Rider, “An Investigation of the Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals” (Th.M. thesis, Grace Theological Seminary, 1980), sides with Durham in treating plurals and proper nouns as exceptions, but impersonal nouns as fitting the rule (23-25). It may be fairly said that in each of these studies there was a confusion between unity of referents and identity of referents.
52In the last three decades there has been something of a reversal of the trend started by Winer. To be sure, it is only a trickle, but there is some evidence that Sharp’s rule is once again becoming known and is being invoked by NT scholars. For details, see Wallace, “The Article with Multiple Substantives,” 75-80.
53There is no need to speak of ὁ as the “definite” article because, as H. B. Rosén (Early Greek Grammar and Thought in Heraclitus: The Emergence of the Article [Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1988] 25) observes, “this term is justified only when a language has at least two of these elements, one of which is a determinator. I know of no language which, having only one ‘article,’ assigns to it an ‘undetermining’ function.”
54P. Chantraine, “Le grec et la structure les langues modernes de l’occident,” Travaux du cercle linguistique de Copenhague 11 (1957) 20-21.
55Rosén. Heraclitus, 27.
56Although most grammarians recognize this, recently R. A. Young (Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach [Nashville: Broadman, 1994] 55) announced that “The basic function of the article is to make a noun definite” (55). Such an inaccuracy is all the more surprising in light of Young’s purportedly linguistic approach. As soon as he stated this view he backpedaled by pointing out that “There are, however, many exceptions. Perhaps this general rule should be restated . . .” (56). In some respects even worse is the view of J. A. Brooks and C. L. Winbery (Syntax of New Testament Greek [Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1979] 67): “The basic function of the Greek article is to point out, to draw attention to, to identify, to make definite, to define, to limit.” For although their basic definition is more nuanced, their general principle retreats into an unfounded and unreasonable assertion:
Generally, though not always, substantives with the article are definite or generic, while those without the article are indefinite or qualitative. It would probably be an accurate summary statement to say that the presence of the article emphasizes identity, the absence of the article quality.
57The article does not necessarily or even normally determine in such constructions. For example, every salutation found in the corpus Paulinum includes the phrase ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρός, frequently followed in the body of the text by ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ (2 Cor 1:3; Gal 1:4; Eph 1:3; Col 1:3 [v.l.]). Yet in both the anarthrous and articular constructions neither θεός nor πατήρ could be considered indefinite. The reason for the article is not in such cases to make definite an expression which would otherwise be indefinite.
58This is similar to the modern use of the hyphen in adnominal expressions such as “a made-for-TV movie,” or “the every-other-Tuesday debate.” It would not be too far off the mark to read Heb 12:2 as “the founder-and-perfecter-of-the-faith Jesus.”
59E.g., as in the TSKS construction, when prefixed to a prepositional phrase, or to introduce a quotation. In such instances the resultant concept is typically more than a single word could convey.
60P. Cotterell and M. Turner, Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1989) 89.
61G. B. Caird, The Language and Imagery of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980) 9. For further distinctions and illustrations, cf. J. P. Louw, Semantics of Biblical Language (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982) 50, 54-55; Caird, idem, 10-12, 45, 49, 52, 64, 68-72, 100, 238, and especially 54-59; T. Givón, “Definiteness and Referentiality,” in Syntax, vol. 4 of Universals of Human Language, ed. J. H. Greenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978) 293-94; P. H. Matthews, Syntax (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) 225-27; and Cotterell and Turner, idem, 77-90.
62Some have been confused over this text, assuming that it fits Sharp’s rule. Generally this confusion is exacerbated because (1) all of the terms do apparently refer to God’s love, yet even here it would not be appropriate to say that the length is identical with the height; (2) the figurative language compounds the problem because the imagery and its referent are both somewhat elusive; and (3) there is a widespread confusion about what Sharp’s rule actually addresses: it is not mere equality, but identity that is in view.
63On ἀρχιερεύς, see G. Schrenk, “ἀρχιερεύς,” TDNT, 3.270-71; Jeremias, Jerusalem, 179-80; Schürer, Jewish People, 2.212-13; on γραμματεύς, see Jeremias, Jerusalem, 236; Schürer, Jewish People, 2.212-13; on πρεσβύτερος, see Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frühchristlichen Literatur, by W. Bauer; 6th ed. rev. by V. Reichmann, K. Aland, and B. Aland (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1988; henceforth, abbreviated BAGR), s.v. “πρεσβύτερος,” 2.a.β.; G. Bornkamm, “πρεσβύτερος,” TDNT, 6.659; Schürer, Jewish People, 2.212-13.
64Although τε is in the middle of the construction, the total construction emulates TSKS.
65Doctrine of the Greek Article, 62. Middleton further points out that an impersonal object can, of course, be described by two or more substantives, but that such is extremely rare. In a lengthy footnote (62-63 [n. 1]) he reasons that
Nouns expressive of inanimate substances seem to have this difference, that though they have attributes (and we have no idea of any thing which has not) yet those attributes, from their inertness and quiescence, make so little impression on the observer, that he does not commonly abstract them from his idea of the substance, and still less does he lose sight of the substance, and use its name as expressive of the attribute. Add to this, that to characterize persons by the names of things would be violent and unnatural, especially when two or more things wholly different in their natures are to be associated for the purpose: and to characterize any thing by the names of other things would be “confusion worse confounded.”
Middleton distinguishes between substances and abstract ideas, though he argues that abstract ideas are also excluded from the rule for reasons similar to those related to proper names (63).
67Ibid., 62-63, n. 1.
71Cotterell and Turner, Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation, 83.
73Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam, 1963. Cf. also Caird, Language and Imagery, 9, 45; Cotterell and Turner, Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation, 45, 83, 103; and D. A. Black, Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988) 130-31.
74Caird, Language and Imagery, 45.
76Further distinctions of proper names will be discussed below in the appropriate section.
77It is possible that καί is ascensive here, in which case the construction is broken but the referent is still the same.
78Cf., e.g., Luke 20:37; John 20:17; Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 15:24.
79Cf., e.g., Matt 27:40; John 6:33; 8:50; Acts 15:38; 2 Cor 1:22; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 1:5.
80Personal singular constructions with substantival adjectives are rare, but note the following: Matt 12:22; Acts 3:14; Phlm 1; 1 Pet 4:18; Rev 3:17.
81As in Phil 2:25; 1 Thess 3:2; 1 Tim 5:5.
82Note, for example, the direct objects in Eph 2:14 and the possessive pronoun attached to the first noun in 2 Pet 1:11.
83Cf. John 20:17; 1 Thess 3:2; 2 Pet 1:11; 2:20; 3:18; Rev 1:9.
84Not all agree with this number, however. For example, C. Kuehne lists eighty-nine constructions which fit the requirements of the rule (“The Greek Article and the Doctrine of Christ's Deity (Part II)” Journal of Theology 13 [December 1973] 23-26), and R. D. Durham lists 143 constructions (ninety-six personal and forty-seven impersonal; “Granville Sharp's Rule” [unpublished doctoral research paper, Grace Theological Seminary, 1972] 16). (Interestingly, Sharp lists only twenty-five constructions to prove the validity of his rule [Remarks, 3-7]). This discrepancy has two roots, one textual and one grammatical.
On the textual front, Kuehne mentions Nestle’s 20th edition of Novum Testamentum Graece (1950) as the basis of his research (ibid., 16), while neither Durham nor Sharp mention their textual basis. Our study is based on the text of Nestle-Aland’s 27th edition of Novum Testamentum Graece (=UBSGNT4). Thus, for example, ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθείς in Mark 16:16, since it is found in double brackets in Nestle-Aland27, is omitted from our list. Note also the variae lectiones in Matt 12:22; 13:23; Mark 12:26; Gal 1:15; Col 1:3, 12; 2:2; 3:17. In passing, we note that every one of these variant readings do have an identical referent.
Grammatically, we can dispense with Durham’s forty-seven impersonal constructions, because Durham confuses identity of referent with unity of referents. As well, Kuehne and Durham both mention several examples of participles and adjectives which are more likely merely adjectival rather than substantival. For example, in John 5:35 Jesus says that John was “a burning and shining lamp” (RSV): ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων. The participles are not substantival here, but are adjectival in the second attributive position to ὁ λύχνος. In Rom 4:17 Paul speaks of “the God. . . who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (RSV): θεοῦ τοῦ ζῳοποιοῦντος τοὺς νεκροὺς καὶ καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα. Here the participles are in the third attributive position (arthrous adjuncts modifying an anarthrous substantive). Apart from the impersonal constructions in Durham’s list, all but a handful of the grammatically illegitimate examples are of this kind—i.e., they are either participles or adjectives in the second or third attributive position. Cf. Matt 23:37; Luke 12:47; 13:34; John 3:29; 12:29; 21:24 ; Rom 2:3; 2 Cor 2:14; 5:18; Gal 1:15; 2:20; 2 Thess 2:16; 2 Tim 1:9; Jas 1:5; 1 Pet 1:21; Rev 3:14; 6:10. (These instances should be distinguished from texts such as 2 Thess 2:4 [ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος] where the participles seem to be appositional [hence, “the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the one who opposes and exalts himself”]. Cf. also 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 2:14; Heb 7:1; Rev 3:7; 22:8.) In this connection, two other disputable passages should be mentioned, for we regard them as legitimate. John 11:2 has ἡ ἀλείψασα τὸν κύριον μύρῳ καὶ ἐκμάξασα [“the one who anointed . . . and wiped”] which we take to be in predicate relation to the subject, Μαριάμ (note the equative verb ἦν which could not make adequate sense if taken in the existential sense of “was there”). And Phlm 1 reads τῷ ἀγαπητῷ καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν. Both adjectives are more than likely substantival since the second adjective, συνεργός, is always substantival in the NT (so BAGR), and the καί most naturally connects these two terms. Finally, we consider 1 John 5:20 (“the true God and eternal life” [οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς θεὸς καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνιος]) to be doubtful, for there not only are the genders different, but ζωὴ αἰώνιος ostensibly has an impersonal referent (though the author’s customarily cryptic style, as well as the lone subject [οὗτος], could arguably support a personal referent—so R. Brown, “Does the New Testament Call Jesus God?”, TS 26 (1965) 557-58). See discussion of this text in Wallace, “The Article with Multiple Substantives,” 271-77.
85In the Journal of Theology 13 (September 1973) 12-28; 13 (December 1973) 14-30; 14 (March 1974) 11-20; 14 (June 1974) 16-25; 14 (September 1974) 21-33; 14 (December 1974) 8-19; 15 (March 1975) 8-22.
86 This “all” must be qualified: see previous note.
87JT 13 (December 1973) 28.
88Vindication, 36. See p. 8 for a similar comment.
91There is in fact but one passage which could possibly be taken as constituting a violation to Sharp’s principle. In 1 Pet 4:18, “the godless and sinful man” (ὁ ἀσεβὴς καὶ ἁμαρτωλός), if rendered “the godless man and sinner” might suggest more than one referent. But surely that is the English way of looking at the passage, not the Greek. The antecedent in v 17 (τῶν ἀπειθούντων) clearly implies that all disobedient persons are godless and sinful. Nevertheless, since all three terms are generic, this may be a moot point (see later discussion).
92In an earlier edition of Middleton, the pages may be as high as 157 (as in the 2d ed. of 1828, rev. J. Scholefield), but the type is larger and actually contains less material.
93For Eph 5:5 see 362-67; for Titus 2:13 see 393-96; for 2 Pet 1:1 see 432-35.
94Middleton lists this passage as Vita Cicero, “Ed. Bast. p. 68” (58). The modern standardized reference is Vita Cicero 3.5.
95 Middleton lists this as de Cor. §61 (=18.212).
96Cont. Ctes. §56.
97Doctrine of the Greek Article, 69.
98B. L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek from Homer to Demosthenes (New York: American Book Company, 1911) 2.277-78 (§603, 605).
99E.g., Xenophon, Anabasis 1.7.2, speaks of “the generals and captains” (τοὺς στρατηγοὺς καὶ λοχαγούς); Plato, Republic 364.A, tells of the beauty of both sobriety and righteousness (καλὸν μὲν ἡ σωφροσύνη τε καὶ δικαιοσύνη).
100Sophocles, Electra 991: τῷ λέγοντι καὶ κλύοντι σύμμαχος (“there is an advocate for the one who speaks and listens”).
101R. Kühner, Satzlehre, vol. 2 of Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, rev. B. Gerth (Leipzig: Hahn, 1898) 611, §463.2.
102E.g., τοῖς ὑμετέροις αὐτῶν παισὶ καὶ γυναίξιν (“your own children and wives”) in Lycurgus 141; τῆς δὲ θαλάσσης καὶ πόλεως (“the sea and city”) in Thucydides 1.143.
103Middleton flatly states, “I do not recollect any similar example” (Doctrine of the Greek Article, 66).
104H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar, rev. G. M. Messing (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1956).
105E. Schwyzer, Syntax und Syntaktische Stilistik, vol. 2 of Griechische Grammatik, completed and rev. by A. Debrunner (München: C. H. Beck, 1959) 24. Their treatment gives no illustrations not listed in the other standard grammars.
106In fact, it is just possible that these grammarians shied away from the personal singular constructions precisely because such constructions indicated more than the vague Gesamtvorstellung was meant to convey.
107Most today concede that the NT vocabulary is to be illuminated by the papyri, but that the syntax is, generally speaking, somewhere between that of classical usage and the non-literary documents. Cf., e.g., F. Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, 2d ed. (London: Macmillan, 1911) 3 (though this attitude was somewhat reversed by the 9th-10th ed.: BDF, 2 §3); Robertson, Grammar, 83-84; L. Rydbeck, “What Happened to New Testament Greek Grammar after Albert Debrunner?”, NTS 21 (1974) 424-427; R. G. Hoerber, “The Greek of the New Testament: Some Theological Implications,” Concordia Journal 2 (November, 1976) 251-56; S. E. Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood (Bern/New York: Peter Lang, 1989) 111-56. S. E. Porter’s recent article, “Did Jesus Ever Teach in Greek?”, TynBull 44 (1993) 199-235, though on an ancillary point, canvasses the general discussion of Greek in first century Palestine. He concludes that Greek was the lingua franca even among the Jews (i.e., that it was the primary language spoken in Palestine, though not the only one). Several essays by A. W. Argyle, dealing typically with specific constructions, have argued for the almost literary quality of NT Greek (e.g., “An Alleged Semitism,” ExpTim 80 [1968-69] 285-86; “The Genitive Absolute in Biblical Greek,” ExpTim 69 (1958) 285; “Greek among the Jews of Palestine in New Testament Times,” NTS 20 [1973-74] 87-89).
In addition, with specific reference to the use of the article, NT grammarians generally recognize that “in the N.T. the usage is in all essentials in harmony with Attic, more so than is true of the papyri” (Robertson, ibid., 754). Cf. also Moulton, Prolegomena, 80-81.
108E. Mayser, Satzlehre, vol. 2.2 of Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemäerzeit (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1934) 1-50 (§53-63).
109F. Völker, Der Artikel, vol. 1 of Syntax der griechischen Papyri (Münster: Westfälischen Vereinsdruckerei, 1903) 5-19 (note especially p. 8). This volume is essentially an abbreviation and translation (from the Latin) of Völker’s doctoral thesis, “Papyrorum graecarum syntaxis specimen,” Universitate Rhenana, 1900.
110F. Eakin, “The Greek Article in First and Second Century Papyri,” AJP 37 (1916) 340.
112Moulton, Prolegomena, 80-81; Robertson, Grammar, 754.
113Non-Literary Papyri: Private Affairs, vol. 1 of Select Papyri, trans. A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1932) and Non-Literary Papyri: Public Documents, vol. 2 of Select Papyri, trans A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1934).
114P. Cairo Masp. 67353.25-26 refers to “the . . . scribe and tabularius and public defensor” (τὸν . . . σκρίβα καὶ ταβουλάριον καὶ δημέκδικον). The context does not help here (had the construction been in the nominative case, the verb number would have solved the problem). I must further admit that since I am no papyrologist I cannot tell if these three offices could ever be predicated of one individual. Nevertheless, the text looks very much as though three individuals are in view. The significance of this text will be dealt with later.
115This text is doubly significant, for not only does it fit Sharp’s rule but, as in 2 Pet 1:1, a possessive pronoun is attached to the first noun. There are several examples of this in the papyri (see later discussion).
116So also in Sitzungsber. Preuss. Ak. 1911, p. 796, which also involves a possessive pronoun attached to the first substantive: Βαιβίου τοῦ ἐμοῦ φίλου καὶ γραμματέως (“Baebius, my friend and secretary”).
117Cf. P. Oxy. 1895.1-2; P. Oxy. 138.3; P. Oxy. 139.5; P. Oxy. 135.2; P. Oxy. 1038.4-5; P. Oxy. 1892.3-4; PSI 786.3; P. Lond. 1727.2; P. Cairo Masp. 67032.2, 77-78; P. Oxy. 144.20. That “Augustus” was a title and not a proper name is obvious from the fact that several different men were given this epithet (e.g., Mauricius in P. Lond. 1727.2; in P. Cairo Masp. 67032.2, Flavius Justinianus). See later discussion on what constitutes a proper name.
118Cf. P. Oxy. 1890.1 which reads “the eternal Augustus, and Venantius” (τοῦ αἰωνίου Αὐγούστου . . . καὶ Βηναντίου).
119Besides the texts mentioned already, cf. P. Grenf. ii. 87.1; P. Oxy. 138.1; P. Oxy. 139.1; Class. Phil. xxii., p. 243.1; Rev Ég. 1919, p. 204.1; P. Oxy. 1680.19; P. Oxy. 925.3-4; Sitzungsber. Preuss. Ak. 1911, p. 796.38-39; P. Oxy. 2106.24-25; J.E.A. xviii, p. 70.30; P. Graux 2.15-16; P. Amh. 77.30-31; P. Ryl. 114.30; BGU 1749.4; BGU 1754, ii.11-12; P. Cairo Masp. 67321.1; P. Grenf. ii. 14(b); BGU 1035.1, 20.
120Cf. also P. Oxy. 123.21-22; P. Oxy. 1296.8-17; P. Tor. 13 (=UPZ 118).11; P. Cairo Zen. 59341 (a).20; P. Tebt. 322.17-20; P. Cairo Masp. 67032.57; P. Oxy. 1449.8-9; P. Oxy. 1115.4-5; P. Oxy. 1835.3-6.
121A large part of the reason for this is that Winer’s shadow loomed over the discussion out of all proportion to his actual contribution to the debate. Hence, Winstanley’s name was virtually forgotten once a more sensitive linguistic approach was adopted in this century.
In passing it should be noted that Sharp himself attempted to answer Winstanley in his A Dissertation on the Supreme Divine Dignity of the Messiah: in reply to a Tract, entitled, “A Vindication of certain Passages in the common English Version of the New Testament” (London: B. Edwards, 1806). But he completely ignored the extra-NT examples Winstanley produced, arguing that since such were not written by the inspired writers they could have no impact on the syntax of the NT (ibid., 56).
122Apparently from Ethica Nicomachea 1148a (or several other places in Aristotle which have the same wording), though the reference in Winstanley is, like Middleton’s references, pre-standard.
123Cf., e.g., Ethica Nicomachea 1145b; 1102b; 1130b; Ethica Eudemia 1218a; Plato, Gorgias 460.e.
125This is true even if, as several grammarians hold, in a given author’s use of a generic noun in the singular he is thinking of a representative of the class, for a particular, real individual is not in view. Nevertheless, this “representative” view is probably not to be insisted on, for (1) not only do generic nouns occur in the plural, but also (2) πᾶς is used with singular generics at times.
126In light of this restriction, however, we may need to modify our “head count” within the NT, for twenty-four of the eighty constructions fitting Sharp’s rule involve generic substantives. Nevertheless, it should equally be noted that (1) most of these are participial constructions and, just as plural participial constructions, they always had an identical referent; (2) none of Winstanley’s examples of generic substantives involved participles, nor could I find any that did; (3) our one “problem” passage in the NT, 1 Pet 4:18, involved generic adjectives, bringing it closer to Aristotle’s “exceptions” than any other construction in the NT; and (4) none of the wholly noun constructions in the NT were generic (though 1 Tim 5:5 had a noun and participle). It may also be observed that ten of the NT generics employed πᾶς. As well, most generics in the construction were semantically equivalent to a double protasis conditional clause. Hence, both conditions would typically need to be met for the fulfillment to take place (cf. Matt 7:26; John 5:24; 12:48; Jas 1:25; 1 John 2:4; Rev 16:15). All of this is to suggest a different semantic situation than what we find in Aristotle’s orations.
127“In this verse the Hebrew text lacks an article before the word for ‘king.’ That the Septuagint should also lack the article is therefore not surprising . . .” (C. Kuehne, “The Greek Article and the Doctrine of Christ’s Deity,” Journal of Theology 14.2 [June 1974] 19). Though true, “king” does not constitute the entire construction. Kuehne does not address the fact that יהוה is rendered with less than “slavish literalism” as ὁ θεός.
128B. K. Waltke, and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990) 180, §10.3.1b.
129There is as well the possibility that the LXX had a different Vorlage in one or more of these instances. If so, then we might indeed say that the LXX is slavishly literal here. The problem is that without MS testimony in support, this supposition cannot be placed on the level of certainty.
130Rev 3:7 is the only exception (ὁ ἀνοίγων καὶ οὐδεὶς κλείσει, καὶ κλείων καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀνοίγει). Though the interfering pronouns are in the same case, they are not syntactically attached to the TSKS substantives.
131Against the argument that syntactically unrelated words disrupt the semantics of Sharp’s rule is the fact that even verbs can intervene (though only rarely is this seen; cf. Rev 3:7, discussed above) without affecting the sense of the construction. Further, the καί in Prov 24:21 still connects the two accusatives syntactically, in spite of the presence of the vocative.
132This is not to say that one can easily detect which metric or other poetic considerations are of most concern to the translator. Meter is one of those elusive features of the Greek language: to know that one is dealing with poetry may brace the modern reader for unusual lexical and syntactical features, but it does not necessarily aid in the analysis of the genre. This can be illustrated in the NT with a cursory examination of the steady stream of literature over the past twenty years on the kenosis (Phil 2:5-11): although most NT scholars recognize this text as poetry, there is no consensus about the number of strophes, what belongs to each, or whether the text has some interpolated material. As O’Brien cautions, “There is still considerable uncertainty about the stylistic criteria” (P. T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians: A Commentary on the Greek Text [NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991] 191). See O’Brien’s succinct and up-to-date survey of the literature on this problem (ibid., 186-93).
133Cf. V. Bers, Greek Poetic Syntax in the Classical Age (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, New Haven, 1984), the entirety of which is dedicated to an examination of the differentiae between prose syntax and poetic syntax; A. C. Moorhouse, The Syntax of Sophocles (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1982) 1, 10, 13, 135, 143, 177; N. Cosmas, “Syntactic Projectivity in Romanian and Greek Poetry,” Revue roumaine de linguistique 31 (1986) 89-94.
134Bers notes as his lead example of major differences between prose and poetry “the omission (or, better, nonexpression) of the definite article in poetry as compared with all varieties of prose . . .” (Greek Poetic Syntax in the Classical Age, 5; cf. also 190-92). This convention goes as far back as Sophocles: “Absence of the article (when compared with classical prose) is . . . freely indulged . . .” (Moorhouse, The Syntax of Sophocles, 143).
135Prov 24:21 (LXX) is also quoted verbatim, from time to time, in the fathers (cf., e.g., Chrysostom, Fragmenta in Proverbia in MPG, 64.733; John Damascus, Sacra parallela, 95.1208, and ibid., 1292. But it still qualifies as translation Greek.
136H. Stein’s edition.
137Doctrine of the Greek Article, 66.
139Cf. Radermacher, Grammatik, 113-14; R. Funk, “The Syntax of the Greek Article: Its Importance for Critical Pauline Problems” (Ph.D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1953) 69-70.
140In some respects, even the second nominal is really not required. But if we translate the καί as “namely,” recognizing its epexegetical force, the second substantive is seen to clarify or specify the first. If the TSKS’s force bears some semblance to the epexegetical genitive (e.g., “the sign of circumcision”) or the arthrous appositive to proper names (e.g., “Peter the fisherman”), then it becomes obvious that a third nominal is not required to clarify the first, but a second may be.
141Although the last two elements are joined to the first three by δέ rather καί, the construction emulates a pentamerous TSKS construction. The δέ is thrown into the middle of the construction as a mild contrast to indicate the difference in the relationship that Epaphroditus had to the Philippians, but not to indicate a different referent. Indeed, the δέ is essential to the argument.
142Cf. M. Silva, Philippians (Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary; Chicago: Moody, 1988) 2-5, for a decent historical reconstruction of the occasion for this letter.
143Most of the other TSKS constructions in the NT involving enumeration are quite similar. That is to say, emphasis or contrast is seen in each of them (note Luke 20:37; John 20:17; Col 4:7; Rev 3:17). Only in Luke 6:47 is the threefold description used for identification, but here the substantival participles semantically function in a conditional way for the generic group in view (one must come and hear and do to receive the blessing).
144Significantly, our one “problem” passage in the papyri, P. Cairo Masp. 67353.25-26 (“the . . . scribe and tabularius and public defensor” [τὸν . . . σκρίβα καὶ ταβουλάριον καὶ δημέκδικον]), belongs to this category. See n. 99. Additionally, it should be noted, however, that this particular papyrus is not only very late (569 CE), but also was the only document which bore another anomaly, viz. plural nouns (other than θεός) having the same referent (see below for discussion).
145We are not here implying that there are no other exceptions to Sharp’s canon in Greek literature; rather, that in the writings we examined all other exceptions fit into one of the four categories of Winstanley.
146The translation is my own; the text is that of J. R. S. Sterrett (based on three medieval MSS) in the LCL. The edition by Meineke, however, inserts the article before ἕβδομος, thus breaking the TSKS construction and removing this passage from the list of exceptions to Sharp’s rule (Strabo, Geographica, ed. A. Meineke [3 vols.; Leipzig: Teubner, 1877]) loc. cit.
147Doctrine of the Greek Article, 67-69. Kuehne (“Christ’s Deity [Part IV],” 18-19), and E. A. Blum, “Studies in Problem Areas of the Greek Article” (Th.M. thesis: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1961) 32-34, use similar reasoning.
148Doctrine of the Greek Article, 100, n. 1.
149Caird, Language and Imagery, 45 (in defining proper names).
150Moorhouse, Syntax of Sophocles, 144.
151Although he used the Textus Receptus as his basic text, Sharp did discuss (and sometimes adopt) variants in several places, in particular in his discussions of these four texts (see Sharp, Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 5, 26, 28, 30, 31, 35, 36-37, 38-43, and passim). (Indeed, he shows some sophistication in the matter, for not only does he discuss the readings and punctuation of certain manuscripts, but he also shows awareness of the text and variants found in “sixty-four printed Greek Testaments, in the possession of the Author” [ibid., 40].) In Acts 20:28 the reading τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ is supported by C3, P, 049, part of the Byzantine minuscules, et al., while both the TR and NA26/27 have τοῦ θεοῦ (supported by א, B, 056, 0142, et al.). Sharp’s text of 1 Tim 5:21 is found in the TR and Byzantine cursives; NA26/27 drops the κυρίου before Χριστοῦ and is supported by א, A, D*, G, 33, 81, and the majority of Latin witnesses. Sharp’s reading in 2 Tim 4:1 has an even poorer pedigree: it is supported neither by the TR nor the Byzantine cursives, but is found apparently only in Dabs, a ninth century copy of Claromontanus, and about ten other insignificant witnesses (according to Tischendorf8; the v.l. is not significant enough to warrant a listing in either UBSGNT3 or NA26). In Jude 4 the variant θεός is found in P, Ψ, and the majority text; it is absent from ∏72, ∏78, א, A, B, C, 0251, 33, 81, 1739, al. (Without this v.l., the text still fits Sharp’s canon [τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστόν], though lacking an explicit identification of Christ with God.)
In passing, we should note a variant in Gal 2:20 which was apparently overlooked by Sharp: τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ is found in B, D*, F, G, al. (NA26 has τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, supported by א, A, C, D2, Ψ, the Byzantine minuscules, et al.), a reading which Sharp no doubt would have appealed to had he been aware of it. Nevertheless, even if original, this reading suffers from the fact that, in the epistles, Χριστός is almost certainly a proper name (see discussion below on Eph 5:5).
152So Sharp, Remarks, 34-35.
153In spite of this, R. Bultmann seems to accept it (Theology of the New Testament [New York: Scribner’s, 1951] 1.129), as does C. Kuehne (“The Greek Article and the Doctrine of Christ’s Deity [Part II],” Journal of Theology 13 [December 1973] 14-30 28), R. T. France (“Jésus l’unique: les fondements bibliques d’une confession christologique,” Hokhma 17  37), et al. But, significantly, T. F. Middleton rejects it, arguing that (1) κυρίου should not be detached from ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, since the whole forms a common title in the epistles, thus partaking of the properties of a proper name; and (2) although Greek patristic writers employed the wording of Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 on numerous occasions to affirm the deity of Christ, they have hardly noticed this passage (The Doctrine of the Greek Article Applied to the Criticism and Illustration of the New Testament, new ed. [rev. by H. J. Rose; London: J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1841] 379-82). Cf. also P. H. Matthews, Syntax (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) 228-29, for modern linguistic arguments related to gradations of apposition (in 2 Thess 1:12 most exegetes would see “Lord Jesus Christ” as constituting a “close apposition.” R. Brown (“Does the New Testament Call Jesus God?”, TS 26 ) adds a further argument that “ho theos hemon, ‘our God,’ occurs four times in 1-2 Thessalonians as a title for God the Father; and on this analogy, in the passage at hand ‘our God’ should be distinguished from ‘(the) Lord Jesus Christ’“ (555).
Nevertheless, even if there is quite a bit of doubt as to whether this text fits Sharp’s rule, the single article with both nouns does indicate something. Leon Morris sums up the implications of this passage well (The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, 212):
It seems likely that ARV is correct in its rendering of the closing words of this chapter. But, since there is an article before ‘our God’ and none before ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ it is grammatically possible to understand the expression to mean, ‘our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.’ However, the expression ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ occurs so frequently that it has almost the status of a proper name. Therefore when ‘Lord’ is used of Jesus it is not necessary for it to have the article. This being so, it seems likely that we should understand the present passage to refer to both the Father and the Son. At the same time we should not overlook the fact that Paul does link them very closely indeed. The fact that there can be this doubt as to whether one or both is meant is itself indicative of the closeness of their connection in the mind of Paul. He makes no great distinction between them (see further on I Thess. 3:11).
154S.v. Χριστός in BAGR, (2). Nevertheless, Middleton accepted this text as fitting Sharp’s canon, though principally on the strength of the numerous patristic uses of this phrase (ὁ Χριστὸς καὶ θεός) to affirm the deity of Christ (Doctrine of the Greek Article, 362-65). We may add further that Χριστός occurs in the first position. It is possible that the reason proper names do not fit Sharp’s rule is that they are usually in the second position. Since they do not require an article to be definite, one cannot conclude that the article “carries over” to the proper name in the sense of referential identity. Indeed, almost all the mixed constructions that I examined, in both the NT and the papyri, had the proper name second. Ephesians 5:5, then, may well fit Sharp’s rule. Although almost none of our examples of common noun-proper name mixture yielded referential identity, exact parallels to Eph 5:5 are not easily forthcoming. We must, therefore, in this essay remain undecided.
155Though a few witnesses in 2 Pet 1:1 read κυρίου instead of θεοῦ (א, Ψ, pauci), in apparent assimilation to 1:11.
156 Unless, of course, θεός is a proper name (see later discussion).
157The issues are not grammatical, but simply add confirmation that Sharp’s syntactical suggestion was so well-founded in the idiom of the language that the theological expression embedded in these texts would most likely be unflinchingly assumed to indicate one person.
158[C. Wordsworth], Six Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq. respecting his Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, in the Greek Text of the New Testament (London: F. and C. Rivington, 1802).
159Six Letters, 7-11.
160Ibid., 12 (Acts 20:28); 63-64 (2 Tim 4:1); 108-114 (Jude 4).
162Ibid., 39. The fact that the fathers neglected this text as an explicit affirmation of the deity of Christ comports with our earlier assessment, viz., that “Lord Jesus Christ” is a compound proper name and therefore outside the pale of Sharp’s principle.
165Ezra Abbot in fact tries to nullify the masses of patristic evidence with this approach (“On the Construction of Titus II.13,” in The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and other Critical Essays [Boston: G. H. Ellis, 1888] 145):
That the orthodox Fathers should give to an ambiguous passage the construction which suited their theology and the use of language in their time was almost a matter of course, and furnishes no evidence that their resolution of the ambiguity is the true one.
The cases are so numerous in which the Fathers, under the influence of a dogmatic bias, have done extreme violence to very plain language, that we can attach no weight to their preference in the case of a construction really ambiguous, like the present.
Apart from the question as to whether unorthodox writers also used such texts, what seems to be a significant blow to Abbot’s sweeping statement is the fact that the patristic writers did not invoke the language of 1 Tim 5:21 or 2 Thess 1:12 in their appeals to Christ’s deity—the very passages which have proper names and are thus not valid examples of Sharp’s rule. Thus, the singular construction which does not involve proper names seems to be a genuine idiom in the language.
166Ibid., 95. Cf. also 22-23.
168Ibid., 122-24. Wordsworth lists Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen among the earliest writers. (The following texts are first listed by Wordworth’s pre-standard nomenclature, sometimes of a particular printed edition, then converted to the current standard form of citation.) For example, Clement of Rome refers to Christ as ὁ παντεπόπτης θεὸς καὶ δεσπότης τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ κύριος πάσης σαρκός (Epist. i . c. 58=1 Cor. 64.1); Polycarp speaks of him as τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ (Philip. c. vi.=Phil. 6.2); Justin Martyr extols the Lord as τοῦ ἡμετέρου ἱερέως καὶ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ (Dialog. cum Tryphone, p. 282, ed. Jebb=Dialogue with Trypho 115.4); Irenaeus addresses him with four epithets: Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν καὶ θεῷ καὶ σωτῆρι καὶ βασιλεῖ (L. i. c. x. p. 48=Adversus haereses 1.2.1); Clement of Alexandria refers to Christ as ὁ ἄτυφος θεὸς καὶ κύριος (Paedagog. l. ii. c. iii. p. 161=Paedagog. 184.108.40.206), as well as ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν καὶ θεός (Stromat. l. viii., p. 737=Stromata 7.10.58); Origen often refers to Christ as ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ (e.g., ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς καὶ σωτὴρ, ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστός [Selecta in Psalmos, vol. ii, p. 564=Selecta in Psalmos 12.1149]; τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [Selecta in Psalmos, vol. ii, p. 584=Selecta in Psalmos 12.1185]; and (not listed by Wordsworth) τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [Fragmenta in Lucam 172.6]; τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [Fragmenta in Psalmos, Psalm 88:45]).
169What is interesting in this regard is that Eph 5:5 stands up just as well as Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1. Because of this, it is probably not prudent simply to reject it outright as an explicit affirmation of Christ’s deity. Nevertheless, since Χριστός is in the equation—a term which we believe is a proper name in the epistles—we are on surer ground if we restrict our discussion to the latter two passages.
170This same can be said for the papyrological evidence among early Christians, as a scan of the volumes of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri reveals. For example, ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ is applied to Christ in P.Oxy. 3936 (598 CE), 3937 (598), 3938 (601), 3939 (601), 3949 (610), 3954 (611), 3955 (611), 3956 (611), 3958 (614), 3959 (620), 3961 (631/2). However, all of these references are late.
171The questions of genuineness and therefore date of both Titus and 2 Peter play the leading role in this assertion.
172C. H. Moehlmann, “The Combination Theos Soter as Explanation of the Primitive Christian Use of Soter as Title and Name of Jesus” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 1920).
174 Ibid., 39.
175 Cf. Esth 5:1; Ps 61:1, 5 have the construction without the article. ὁ σωτὴρ καὶ θεός is found in 3 Macc 6:32 and Philo, Legum Allegoriarum 2.56; De Praemiis et Poenis 163.5. M. Dibelius-H. Conzelmann (The Pastoral Epistles [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972]), however, list a few references among Diaspora and even Palestinian Jews (100-102).
176The typical Hebrew pattern is to employ the waw in joining two clauses or two anarthrous nouns with an intervening articular noun in a construct chain. Considerations merely of word order (viz. article-noun-waw-noun) without regard for the overall syntax are deceptive indicators. Actual article-substantive-waw-substantive constructions in which the waw syntactically joins two personal, singular, common nouns are quite rare in the OT (according to our computer search of the data via AcCordance 1.1 [software programmed by Roy Brown; Vancouver, WA: Gramcord Institute, 1994]). In Judg 19:24, for example, the homeowner replies to the wicked men at his door, “Here are my virgin daughter and [my guest’s] concubine” (הנה בתי הבתולה ומילגשׁהו). (Since הבתולה is in apposition to בתי, the waw connects two anarthrous nouns). The LXX distinguishes the two women with a second article (ἰδοὺ ἡ θυγάτηρ μου ἡ παρθένος καὶ ἡ παλλακὴ αὐτοῦ). In Prov 17:17 the waw technically joins two parallel clauses (“a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”); here the second noun in the construction lacks the article (בכל־עת אהב הרע ואח לצרה יולד). The LXX renders the two generic nouns without the article and turns the second into a plural (φίλος, ἀδελφοί). Waw joins two clauses as well in Isa 9:14; Ezek 18:20; and 1 Chron 16:5. In Deut 22:15 ( ואמה[Qere]הנערה לקח אבי) the waw joins אמהto אבי, not to הנערה. The construct state is also seen in Gen 44:26 and 2 Chron 24:11. The waw disjunctive is found in 2 Sam 19:28. In none of these examples do we have a true article-noun-waw-noun construction. Yet in all of them the LXX alters the text.
177Prov 24:21 provides a notable exception. See our discussion of Prov 24:21 above.
178J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, vol. 1 of A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 3d ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908) 84.
179Cf. the references in BAGR, s.v. σωτήρ, dating back to the Ptolemaic era. Cf. also L. R. Taylor, The Divinity of the Roman Emperor (Middletown, CN: American Philological Association, 1931), who gives a helpful list in her “Appendix III: Inscriptions recording Divine Honors,” 267-83. Frequently, and from very early on, the inscriptions honor the Roman emperors as θεός, σωτήρ, and εὐεργέτης. Almost invariably the terms are in a TSKS construction (among the earliest evidence, an inscription at Carthage, 48-47 BCE, honors Caesar as τὸν θεὸν καὶ αὐτοκράτορα καὶ σωτῆρα; one at Ephesus honors him as τὸν . . . θεὸν ἐπιφανῆ καὶ . . . σωτῆρα; Augustus is honored at Thespiae, 30-27 BCE, as το'ν σωτῆρα καὶ εὐεργέτην; and in Myra he is called θεόν, while Marcus Agrippa is honored as τὸν εὐεργέτην καὶ σωτῆρα). See also P. Wendland, “Σωτήρ: Eine religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung,” ZNW 5 (1904) 337, 339-40, 342; BAGR, s.v. σωτήρ; W. Foerster, TDNT, 7.1003-1012; Dibelius-Conzelmann, Pastoral Epistles, 74.
180M. J. Harris, “Titus 2:13 and the Deity of Christ” (in Pauline Studies: Essays presented to Professor F. F. Bruce on his 70th Birthday, ed. D. A. Hagner and M. J. Harris [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980]) 266. Cf. also B. S. Easton, The Pastoral Epistles (New York: Scribner’s, 1947) 94.
181O. Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963) 241. See also Foerster, TDNT, 7.1010-12, s.v. σωτήρ.
182Cullmann, Christology, 241.
183Cf. Moehlmann, “Theos Soter,” 22-39; Bultmann, Theology, 1.79.
184We may conjecture that the use of the phrase in emperor-worship was hardly an adequate motivating factor for its use by early Christians, because such an expression butted up against their deeply ingressed monotheism. Rather, it was only after they came to recognize the divinity of Christ that such a phrase became usable. This would explain both why σωτήρ is used so infrequently of Christ in the NT, and especially why ὁ θεὸς καὶ σωτήρ occurs only twice—and in two late books.
185D’Aragon’s statement is representative: “Tite 2,13, qui traite probablement de la divinité de Jésus, est considéré comme deutéro-paulinien” (J.-L. D’Aragon, “Jésus de Nazareth était-il Dieu?” in ¿Jésus? de l’histoire à la foi [Montréal: Fides, 1974] 200).
186Of course, there are several other reasons for doubting their genuineness, but this is one of the chief.
187G. B. Winer, A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, trans. and rev. W. F. Moulton, 3d ed., rev. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1882) 162 (italics added). He adds in a footnote: “the dogmatic conviction derived from Paul’s writings that this apostle cannot have called Christ the great God induced me . . .”
188Besides Winer, one thinks of Kelly and Alford as among those who, because they embraced apostolic authorship, denied an explicitly high Christology.
In passing, we might note that Ignatius’ christological statements involve a tighter apposition (with θεός) than do the statements in Titus and 2 Peter (cf., e.g., Smyrn. 1:1; preface to Ephesians; Eph. 18:2; Trall. 7:1; preface to Romans; Rom. 3:3; Pol. 8:3) or even direct assertion (Rom. 6:3).
Though the statements in Titus and 2 Peter seem to be explicit affirmations of Christ’s deity, Ignatius’ statements are more blunt. If a roughly linear development of christological formulation in the early church can be assumed, this would suggest that the terminus ad quem of the Pastorals and 2 Peter could not be later than 110 CE.
189As was mentioned earlier, we believe that Eph 5:5 is the only other christologically significant text in which Sharp’s rule might be valid. But the main reason we have not altogether denied its validity is that although Χριστός is used in the construction, the Greek patristic writers uniformly see the text as applying to one person.
190In Aids to Faith: A Series of Theological Essays, ed. W. Thomson (London: John Murray, 1861) 462.
191Cf. Luke 20:37; John 20:27; Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 15:24; 2 Cor 1:3; 11:31; Gal 1:4; Eph 1:3; Phil 4:20; 1 Thess 1:3; 3:11, 13; Jas 1:27; 1 Pet 1:3; Rev 1:6.
192Though Matt 24:24 has ψευδοχριστοί. Yet, Χριστός in the Gospels is not yet a proper name, as it is in the epistles. See in particular B. Weiss, “Der Gebrauch des Artikels bei den Gottesnamen,” TSK 84 (1911) 319-92, 503-38, for his arguments that the plural of θεός in the NT makes it less than a proper name.
193See R. W. Funk, “The Syntax of the Greek Article: Its Importance for Critical Pauline Problems” (Ph.D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1953) 46.
194E. Stauffer, TDNT, 3.92. In a footnote Stauffer points out that “exceptions like Jn. 8:54 or R. 8:33 are for syntactical reasons.” Funk finds that in the eight authentic Pauline letters 98 of the 112 uses of θεός in the nominative are arthrous (“Syntax of the Greek Article,” 154), and the remainder are capable of an explanation which renders the term less than a proper name.
195E.g., Apollonius’ canon implies that instances of nomen rectum need no article; nouns in prepositional phrases are often anarthrous, though usually definite. Again, see Funk, idem, 154-67, as well as Weiss’ article for a detailed discussion.
196 “Der Gebrauch des Artikels bei den Gottesnamen,” 321.
197Ibid. N. T. Wright has recently argued a similar point, though from the vantage point of NT theology. In his provocative The New Testament and the People of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992) he gives an apologetic for “god” (xiv-xv):
. . . I have frequently used ‘god’ instead of ‘God’. This is not a printer’s error, nor is it a deliberate irreverence; rather the opposite, in fact. The modern usage, without the article and with a capital, seems to me actually dangerous. This usage, which sometimes amounts to regarding ‘God’ as the proper name of the Deity, rather than essentially a common noun, implies that all users of the word are monotheists and, within that, that all monotheists believe in the same god. Both these propositions seem to me self-evidently untrue.
. . . The early Christians used the phrase ‘the god’ (ho theos) of this god, and this was (I believe) somewhat polemical, making an essentially Jewish-monotheistic point over against polytheism.
M. Hengel also argues for θεός as a common noun (Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974] 1.262-67. Cf. also H. Rosén, Early Greek Grammar and Thought in Heraclitus: The Emergence of the Article (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1988) 58-60, who suggests that the occurrence of the arthrous singular θεός in Heraclitus (it never occurs as an arthrous plural) is certainly no argument for monotheism in the fifth century BCE.
198Weiss, “Der Gebrauch des Artikels bei den Gottesnamen,” 320-21. He cites Winer as one of the grammarians who so misunderstands the force of θεός. Cf. also Funk (“Syntax of the Greek Article,” 144-67) who, in fact, takes Weiss’ approach further, noting the regularity of the use of the article with θεός in Paul.
Two other comments should be made about θεός before moving on. First, as we noted in the papyri, quasi-proper names fit Sharp’s rule; only fully proper names did not. Ellicott’s suggestion that quasi-proper names (and if θεός be considered such, especially is this true with this term!) do not fit the rule is unsupported by any evidence I have yet come across. Secondly, the only real instance in which a proper name becomes a factor in Sharp’s construction is when it stands second in order, for the whole argument about proper names not fitting the rule rests on the basis of it being definite without the article (cf. 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Thess 1:12). Hence, if a proper name is the second noun in the TSKS construction it would naturally lack the article without implying identity with the first noun’s referent. Incidentally, some have understood the weight of this point and have consequently argued that σωτήρ in Titus 2:13 is a proper name. Such a view is easy to refute; nothing more needs to be said than what Harris has pointed out (“Titus 2:13 and the Deity of Christ,” 268):
. . . to judge from the NT use of σωτήρ, evidence is wanting that in the first century σωτήρ was a proper name as well as a title of Jesus. Apart from Titus 2:13, the word is used only fifteen times in reference to Jesus. In nine of these cases it is a title accompanying proper names (such as ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστός); in the remaining six cases it is used simply as a descriptive title. Nor is there proof that as a quasi-technical word σωτήρ “speedily became anarthrous.” In fact, in the Pastorals σωτήρ is articular seven times but anarthrous only twice (excluding Titus 2:13). Only if it could be established that σωτὴρ (ἡμῶν) ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστός was an early credal formula comparable to κύριος ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστός could one argue that σωτήρ was anarthrous in Titus 2:13 because of its widespread technical use.
199P. S. Berge, “‘Our Great God and Savior’: A Study of Soter as a Christological Title in Titus 2:11-14” (Ph.D. dissertation, Union Theological Seminary, 1973) 48.
200But cf. Parry, Scott, Fee, et al. The view was first proposed by F. J. A. Hort, The Epistle of St James: The Greek Text with Introduction, Commentary as far as Chapter IV, Verse 7, and Additional Notes (London: Macmillan, 1909) 47, 103-104, regarding Jas 2:1.
201For more comprehensive treatments on the issue of δόξα, see G. W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Carlisle: Paternoster, 1992) 322-26; Harris, “Titus 2:13 and the Deity of Christ,” 266.
202In particular, just three verses earlier (Titus 2:10). Cf. also 1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; Titus 1:3; 3:4 (similarly, 1 Tim 4:10).
203In this respect, the first and second views listed above share this point in common. The issue between them is whether Christ is called merely “Savior,” or “God and Savior.” The subtletly of the δόξα view is evident by the fact that, as far as I am aware, it was unknown until Hort advanced it.
204Note 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 3:6 for references to Christ. In Titus 1:3 σωτήρ refers to the Father; in 1:4, to Christ.
205E. Stauffer, θεός, TDNT, 3.105, 106.
206A. T. Robertson, “The Greek Article and the Deity of Christ,” The Expositor, 8th Series, vol. 21 (1921) 185.
207Cf. John 20:17; 2 Cor 1:3; 1 Thess 3:2; 1 Tim 6:15; Heb 12:2; Rev 1:9.
208Martyrdom of Polycarp, ch. 22.
210Doctrine of the Greek Article, 67-69. Kuehne (“Christ’s Deity [Part IV],” 18-19), and Blum (“Studies in Problem Areas,” 32-34) use similar reasoning.
211This, of course, would not inherently have to be the case.
212Admittedly, the NT in places seems a bit fuzzy about such distinctions (cf. Acts 20:28; 2 Cor 3:17; 1 Thess 3:11, etc.).
213Kyrios Christos, 327.
215Ibid., 329. For other early examples of such confusion, see R. A. Norris, Jr., The Christological Controversy (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980) 4, 5, 7, 11, 13-14, etc.
On the other hand, some writers see a highly developed Christology in the second century not too far removed from Nicea or Chalcedon (e.g., J. Lebreton, “La théologie de la trinité d’après saint Ignace d’Antioche,” Recherches de science religieuse 15 (1925) 97-126, 393-419). Admittedly, the patristic writers do make distinctions between the Father and Son, but they are not consistent. Our point is not that distinctions are not made, just that they are not consistently made.
216For illustrations of adherence to Sharp’s canon (if we may speak anachronistically), note the following: τὸν πατέρα καὶ κτίστην (1 Clem 19.2); ὁ νωθρὸς καὶ παρειμένος (1 Clem 34.1); τὸν προστάτην καὶ βοηθόν (1 Clem 36.1); τὸν ἀποκτείνοντα καὶ ζῆν ποιοῦντα (1 Clem 59.3); ὁ λέγων καὶ ἀκούων (2 Clem 16.2); τὸν σωτῆρα καὶ ἀρχηγόν (2 Clem 20.5); τῷ υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου καὶ θεοῦ (Ignatius, Eph 20.2).
217By this we are not implying that Middleton directly responded to the challenge posed by Winstanley. In keeping with his somewhat smug and irascible character, Middleton refused to acknowledge any of his adversaries in this issue by name. Cf. the brief biographical note on Middleton in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2d ed., rev. (ed. by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).
218Based on the software database of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae D CD ROM (Los Altos, CA: Packard Humanities Institute, 1993), which encompasses most of the Greek literature from Homer to 1453 CE, though excluding much of the papyri and patristics.