In Acts 10:42, why does BDAG suggest a nominative argument to ὁρίζω?:

(GNT-V) και παρηγγειλεν ημιν κηρυξαι τω λαω και διαμαρτυρασθαι οτι Aουτος TSBαυτος εστιν ο ωρισμενος υπο του θεου κριτης ζωντων και νεκρων

(ISV) He also ordered us to preach to the people and to testify solemnly that this is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.

...ⓑ of persons appoint, designate, declare: God judges the world ἐν ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὥρισεν through a man whom he has appointed Ac 17:31. Pass. ὁ ὡρισμένος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ κριτής the one appointed by God as judge 10:42. Of eccl. superintendents or overseers οἱ κατὰ τὰ πέρατα ὁρισθέντες those who are appointed in distant lands IEph 3:2. W. double acc. declare someone to be someth. (Meleag. in Anth. Pal. 12, 158, 7 σὲ γὰρ θεὸν ὥρισε δαίμων) pass. τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει who has been declared to be the powerful son of God Ro 1:4.—DELG s.v. ὅρος. M-M. TW. Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 723). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In Acts 17:31 ὁρίζω appears without an object, so ὁρίζω can function intransitively:

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] καθότι ἔστησεν ἡμέραν ἐν ᾗ μέλλει κρίνειν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἐν ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὥρισεν, πίστιν παρασχὼν πᾶσιν ἀναστήσας αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν.

So shouldn't it read like this?:

He also ordered us to preach to the people and to testify solemnly that this is the one appointed by God, [who is] the judge of the living and the dead.

  • I've read it several times, and I'm still having trouble getting my head around the question. What do you mean "nominative argument"? What is it that BDAG says that's troubling you? Are you asking about "appointed by God to be judge" (Jesus = judge) vs "appointed by God who is judge" (God = judge)? – Susan Jul 14 '16 at 1:53
  • @Susan Yes, that was my question. Sorry if I mishandled the Greek terms in the process. Feel free to edit. Thanks. – user10231 Jul 14 '16 at 2:23
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    Seems to me that your suggested translation would require κριτοῦ (genitive) rather than κριτὴς (nominative) since "the judge of the living and the dead" would be functioning in apposition to τοῦ θεοῦ ("God"), which is in the genitive. – user862 Jul 14 '16 at 2:29
  • @SimplyaChristian You're right. How simple. Thanks. Make that an answer and I'll mark it an answer. – user10231 Jul 14 '16 at 2:36
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    Tangentially: as I read it, ὁρίζω is not functioning intransitively in Acts 17:31. The dative rather than accusative relative pronoun is by "attraction" to its antecedent ἀνδρὶ -- see Wallace pp. 338-9. This doesn't change the valency of the verb. – Susan Jul 14 '16 at 6:01

Nominative participles may take accusative objects, such as John 8:18:

ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ

the father who sends me

But κριτής in Acts 10:42 is nominative (accusative would be κριτήν), so if it is the "argument to ὁρίζω" it is at least in the same case, since this form of ὁρίζω is passive. This is common, particularly with λέγω (to say/name). For example, Mt 1:16:

Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος χριστός

Jesus the who-is-said Anointed

The participle acts as a kind of extended adjective rather than a verb which expects a direct or indirect object. A case with the same verb ὁρίζω is in Acts 2:23:

τοῦτον τῇ ὡρισμένῃ βουλῇ καὶ προγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ

this one by the having-been-marked-off counsel and pre-recognization of God

You could squint at that and say that "counsel" is the dependent object of the "having-been-marked-off" verb, but it's more common instead to treat "having-been-marked-off" as an adjectival participle that modifies the independent noun "counsel".

Back to Acts 10:42, we might render it most closely as "this is the God-appointed judge of the living and the dead". But since English finds compounded-by-hyphens adjectives to be awkward, your rendition is fine. I'd leave out the "who is"--like the ISV's "appointed by God to be the judge" it changes the tense a bit too much (and since the sentence already has an "is", this is not a case of an omitted εἰμί verb).


I'm a bit confused about some of the answers and comments on here, so I'd like to try and answer the question and also address what has already been written. If I'm wrong, I would greatly appreciate if somebody would help clarify why. Thank you.

καὶ (and)παρήγγειλεν (he instructed) ἡμῖν (us) κηρύξαι (to proclaim) τῷ (to the) λαῷ (people) καὶ (and) διαμαρτύρασθαι (to testify fully) ὅτι (that) οὗτός (he) ἐστιν (it is) ὁ (the) ὡρισμένος (having been determined) ὑπὸ (under [the authority]) τοῦ (of the) Θεοῦ (God) Κριτὴς (judge) ζώντων (of living) καὶ (and) νεκρῶν (of dead)

The question concerns who is the judge of the living and of the dead- the "one determined" or God. I am under the impression that God is the judge, and the verb ὡρισμένος is functioning intransitively. I would translate this verse as:

And he instructed us to proclaim to the people and to testify fully that he it is having been determined under God- judge of the living and of the dead.

First is whether "judge" should be in the genitive if the author of Acts wanted to say God is the judge, since τοῦ Θεοῦ is in the genitive. This would make verse say:

"...he it is having been determined under [the authority] of God of judge of the living and of the dead."

The reason τοῦ Θεοῦ is in the genitive is because of the preposition ὑπὸ, which literally means "under" and metaphorically "under the authority", so it is translated in English as "by":

with the genitive (cf. Winers Grammar, 364 (342), 368f, (346); Buttmann, § 147, 29), it is used:

  1. properly, in a local sense, of situation or position under something higher, as ὑπό χτονος, often from Homer down; ὁ ἐπί γῆς καί ὑπό γῆς χρυσός, Plato, legg. 5, p. 728 a.; hence,

  2. metaphorically, of the efficient cause, as that under the power of which an event is conceived of as being; here the Latin uses ἆ or ἀβ, and the English by; thus a. after passive verbs

So Κριτὴς does not need to be in the genitive to correlate it with God.

The second issue involves what the author of Acts could have said as opposed to what he actually said. Because Κριτὴς is in the nominative, it is the subject of the phrase "judge of living and of dead". If the author wished to make Κριτὴς the direct object of the verb ὡρισμένος, he would have used the accusative κριτήν. That is correct grammar.

The reason ὡρισμένος is passive is because the subject "he/Yeshua" is being acted upon by God as "the one having been determined".

This is all important for two reasons. The first is because Yeshua specifically tells us:

"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John 12:47

And John tells us:

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn (κρίνῃ- judge) the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17

Since Yeshua is not the judge, and God is the judge, Peter would have no reason to say Yeshua has been appointed the judge.

The second reason has to do with the next sentence in Acts:

"To him give all the prophets witness, [that] through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43

Since the author has changed the subject from Yeshua to God, then the first ""him"" would make more sense as referring to YHVH rather than Yeshua.

"To him (YHVH) the prophets testify. Because of (διὰ) his name (Yeshua- YHVH Saves), whoever believes in him (YHVH) recieves remission of sins."

This makes a lot more sense, especially since translations like to say that...

"...the prophets testify that through his name..."

...when no prophet ever said this.

Again, if I've misunderstood anything, I would really appreciate correction. Thank you.

  • What about John 5:22?: ISV The Father judges no one, but has given all authority to judge to the Son, – user10231 Jul 14 '16 at 12:23
  • Great question! This would seem to be a contradiction, but compare this to "But that ye may know that the SON OF MAN hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto MEN." Matthew 9:6. Notice the plural "men" at the end. Who is the son of man? – Cannabijoy Jul 14 '16 at 12:31
  • Are you suggesting that when Jesus spoke of "the son of man" he was referring to humanity in general? Or at least, of course, to males? – user10231 Jul 14 '16 at 12:38
  • Yes, but I don't think we can discuss this here. Yeshua was also the son of mankind, but became the son of God; just as we are the sons of mankind, but become the sons of God. When do the Scriptures say the son of man must be put to death and rise again on the third day? Hosea 6:2, but he's not just talking about the Messiah. We can continue this discussion on your blog if you'd like to. Thank you. – Cannabijoy Jul 14 '16 at 12:57
  • Probably the thing to do is to start a new question. – user10231 Jul 14 '16 at 13:07

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