Is the article at 2 Thessalonians 1:12 anaphoric? If not, what grammatical reasons deny it?
Is the article τοῦ anaphoric in the phrase τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ?
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:12 NLT)
ὅπως ἐνδοξασθῇ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐν αὐτῷ κατὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
There are three reasons why the article is not anaphoric:
- Calling the article anaphoric fails to follow the proper classification methodology which is to continue until the narrowest, that is, the most specific category is found.
- In a similar fashion, attempting to simply classify the article without regard to how it functions in context, ignores the semantic purpose.
- It assumes a New Testament writer treats "God" as a regular noun whose immediate meaning may be changed.
Wallace gives these instructions on using his chart:
...attempt to find the narrowest category to which a particular article can belong. As long as you can say "yes" to a particular semantic force, you should continue on until you get to the narrowest category for a particular article.
As shown, if the chart is to be used (in this case it shouldn't, see below), the article would be monadic, the only one of its class: literally, the God of us and Lord, Jesus Christ. This follows the use of "Lord" in the New Testament as a title never used of the Father and given only to Christ Jesus. In the New Testament letters, there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ.
The fact the article may also be "simple identification" or "anaphoric" or "well-known" or any other category does not remove it from its narrowest use.
Attempting to treat the article as anaphoric or as any other category, in this case is improper as it strips the article of its semantic purpose in forming a T-S-K-S (article-substantive-καὶ-substantive) construction. Attempting to relegate the use of the article to a simple classification no matter how specific, in this case is an improper application of grammar. As Wallace notes in texts of this nature, the purpose of the article is specifically to point forward:
In Greek, when two nouns are connected by καὶ and the article precedes only the first noun, there is a close connection between the two. The connection always indicates at least some sort of unity. At a higher level, it may connote equality. At the highest level it may indicate identity.
Regardless of the precise relationship between the two nouns, the use of the article is not anaphoric. In fact such a conception is at odds with the purpose the article was used, namely to point the reader to understand the relationship with what "lies ahead."
For the New Testament writer, "God" is not the typical noun and the notion the article is anywhere used as an anaphoric reference for God, is inconsistent with a New Testament understanding of God. This may be seen by following how "God" is identified in the first verses of the letter:
Verse 1 θεῷ πατρὶ ἡμῶν Verse 2 θεοῦ πατρὸς Verse 3 τῷ θεῷ Verse 4 τοῦ θεοῦ Verse 5 τοῦ θεοῦ...τοῦ θεοῦ Verse 6 θεῷ Verse 7 ---- Verse 8 θεὸν Verse 9 ---- Verse 10 ---- Verse 11 ὁ θεὸς Verse 12 τοῦ θεοῦ
After the initial "identification" Paul has two uses of "God" without the article:
since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
(2 Thessalonians 1:6 ESV)
in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thessalonians 1:6 ESV)
If the article with God is anaphoric, then what is meant when the article is not used? Which God will repay? Which God do those who not obey the Gospel not know? Unlike other nouns, "God" does not need the article to be identified, either at the beginning, end, or in the middle of a letter. In fact, the idea a writer would use the article to "remind" the reader of "which" God they are speaking about requires a polytheistic conception of "God" foreign to every New Testament writer. We can confidently say, that any text which is translated as "God" is understood as such in that text, regardless of whether it was written with or without the article.
Therefore, when used with "God" it is difficult if not impossible to see a New Testament writer using the article as an anaphoric device.
1. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, Zondervan, 1996, pp. 230-231
2. Wallace, p. 270
Is the article ο in ο θεός at 2 Thessalonians 1:12 anaphoric? If so, what is it's antecedent?
Following the chart, figure 1 from Wallace's grammar below:
- Start chart.
- Does θεός at at 2 Thessalonians 1:12 distinguish class from class? - No, not generic (ie Deity)
- Does it distinguish individual from individual? - [a] Since θεός is repeated it is not the "drip-pan" category of last resort.
- Does it refer to a noun mentioned previously? Yes, at 1:11, so it cannot be “well known” and is therefore = Anaphoric
- Is the person or thing the only one of a class? No. It's not deictic. [b] The possessive pronoun is not a genitive phrase or adjective. "Lord Jesus Christ" is tight apposition and a convertible proposition that cannot linguistically be broken up by artificially adding a comma. See 2 Thess. 1:1,2:; 2:1,14,16; 3:6,12,18 where the same phrase is used in the same book 8 other times.
Θεός at 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is a renewed mention of θεός at 1:11, 1:8, 1:6 and 1:1-5,and identified as the same individual.
It is anaphoric to θεός at verse 1:1-2 which is its antecedent and anarthrous first mention.
Excursus on Context
2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace (χάρις) to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Grace is from the Father and Son in 2 Thessalonians.
2 Thessalonians 1:2 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace (χάριν) of our God and [the grace of] the Lord Jesus Christ.
The verbal idea (grace) is carried over by the adjunctive και and/or ellipsis from the introduction. See this for another example.
[a ] (1) SIMPLE IDENTIFICATION ExSyn 216–17 (a) Definition. The article is frequently used to distinguish one individual from another. This is our “drip-pan” category and should be used only as a last resort. Pragmatically, unless the article fits under one of the other six categories of the individualizing article or under the generic use (or one of the special uses), it is acceptable to list it as “the article of simple identification.”
Luke 4:20 πτύξας τὸ the βιβλίον ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ ἐκάθισεν· he sat down; he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The book was the book of Isaiah, referred to previously in v. 17 (thus, anaphoric). But the attendant has not been mentioned. He is not apparently a well-known attendant, but simply a typical attendant at the synagogue. The article identifies him as such.
Acts 10:9 ανέβη went up Πέτρος ἐπὶ τὸ δῶμα προσεύξασθαι to pray Peter went up to the housetop to pray
There is no previous reference to any house, but in the background is the custom of praying on a housetop. Luke is simply specifying this location as opposed to some other.
[b] (5) MONADIC (“ONE OF A KIND” OR “UNIQUE” ARTICLE) ExSyn 223–24 (a) Definition and amplification. The article is frequently used to identify monadic or one-of-a-kind nouns, such as “the devil,” “the sun,” “the Christ.”
The difference between the monadic article and the article par excellence is that the monadic article points out a unique object, while the article par excellence points out the extreme of a certain category, thus, the one deserving the name more than any other. The article par excellence, therefore, has a superlative idea.
When the articular substantive has an adjunct (such as an adjective or gen. phrase), the entire expression often suggests a monadic notion. If no modifier is used, the article is typically par excellence. Thus, “the kingdom of God” is monadic, while “the kingdom” is par excellence