The Onoma Rule

in Novum Testamentum
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The paper presents an unnoticed “rule” governing the presence or absence of the article with ὄνοµα in naming-constructions of the type “the name of x is N.” It arises from the survival of an archaic pattern with the dative and no article, alongside a newer pattern with the genitive and the article. The “rule” is shown to operate not only in the lxx and nt but in ancient Greek generally, from Homer to Koine Greek. Observance of the “rule” indicates the lxx translators’ and the nt authors’ familiarity with idiomatic Greek. The “rule” can also contribute to resolving textual questions, notably Luke 1:63.

The Onoma Rule

in Novum Testamentum




Cf. R. Kühner and B. GerthAusführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (vol. 2, part 1; Hannover and Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung1898) 45 417; E. Schwyzer Griechische Grammatik (vol. 2 rev. A. Debrunner; München: C.H. Beck 1950) 66 86; H.W. Smyth rev. G.M. Messing Greek Grammar (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press 1956) §1478; E. Mayser Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemäerzeit (vol. 2 part 2; Berlin and Leipzig: De Gruyter 1934) 113.


See TurnerSyntax295; R.H. Charles The Revelation of St. John (icc; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark 1920) 169 n. 1 246 n. 2; S. Thompson The Apocalypse and Semitic Syntax (snts Monograph 52; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985) 89; C.F. Burney The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1922) 30-32.


Cf. R. BrowningMedieval and Modern Greek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1983) 36-38.

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