John 19:31

John 19:31

[bible passage=”John 19:31″]

A clause in John 19:31 reads:

ἵνα μὴ μείνῃ ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ τὰ σώματα ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ hINA MH MEINHi EPI TOU STAUROU TA SWMATA EN TWi SABBATWi

My question is, when we have TA SWMATA (plural) as the subject, how should I take the singular verb MEINHi? May I see other examples of this ‘anomaly’?

Oun Kwon — home page: mailing list

5 thoughts on “John 19:31”

  1. Hi, Oun —

    This number mismatch is a typical format for Greek sentences that have NEUTER plural subjects. The neuter plural subject often (but not always) takes a singular verb in Greek. So, it’s not an anomaly but just a normal part of the Greek grammar.

    — Sarah ><>

  2. The Iliad was not written in Latin, however. It was written in (Homeric) Greek.

    Stephen — Stephen C. Carlson Graduate Program in Religion Duke University

  3. “Stephen Carlson” wrote on Thursday, December 23, 2010 12:38 PM:

    My mistake, I was reading “Iliad” as “Aeneid.”

    To recap: John 19:31 uses a singular verb with a neuter subject. This link claims there are 190 examples of the neuter plural with a singular verb in the Iliad:

    In fact I’m having a hard time finding such examples (neuter plural subject, singular verb) in Latin.

    For example, in the verse in question (John 19:31) the Latin Vulgate uses a plural verb rather than a singular verb.

    Likewise in Mark 4:11, the Greek has panta ginetai (plural subject, singular verb) but the Latin Vulgate has omnia fiunt (plural subject, plural verb).

    Finally, this reference says that plural subject with singular verb is a “glaring solecism” in Latin:

    “Lectures on Syntax: with special reference to Greek, Latin, and Germanic,” page 18

    Bill Barton Layman

  4. In simple point of fact, the usage of the singular verb with a neuter plural subject is standard in earlier — Homeric and Classical — Greek, somewhat more erratic in Koine. Usage of a singular verb with a neuter plural in Latin is by no means standard.

    Carl W. Conrad Department of Classics, Washington University (ret) 

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