the piles of exceptions to try to shore up the rule

Steven Avery

We used to have these on CARM.
Anyway, we can give special examples here, and later try to resuscitate the list.

Examples of the Granville Sharp rule outside the NT
Stephen Carlsen
August 5th, 2011

I must admit that I found such a categorical approach quite frustrating. Many of the qualifications and exceptions seem poorly motivated except to fit a fairly small corpus. Frankly, that proposed Trinitarian exception was the last straw for me on his categorical approach, especially since he seemed very keen on applying a suitably refined Granville-Sharp rule to Tit 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 in order to affirm a major element of Trinitarian theology.

.... I note that the Classical Greek grammars don't seem to recognize the specific construction. Rather, they seem content to address a more general contraction with a conjunction of two or more nouns governed by a single article, without the specific qualifications and exceptions that Wallace identifies.

For example, Stéphanie Bakker, The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek (ASCP 15; Leiden: Brill, 2009), 177 states:

In a (very small) number of cases of coordinations of identifiable entities, however, one article serves to express the identifiability of all the entities. The effect of the omission of the article with the second, third, etc. noun in the coordination is that the different entities are depicted as one whole.

Her footnote (omitted above) cites Smyth § 1143 who states:

1143. A single article, used with the first of two or more nouns connected by and, produces the effect of a single notion: οἱ στρατηγοὶ καὶ λοχᾱγοί the generals and captains (the commanding officers) X. A. 2. 2. 8, τὰς μεγίστᾱς καὶ ἐλαχίστᾱς ναῦς the largest and the smallest ships (the whole fleet) T. 1. 10, ἡ τῶν πολλῶν διαβολή τε καὶ φθόνος the calumniations and envy of the multitude P. A. 28 a. Rarely when the substantives are of different genders: περὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψῡχὰς καὶ σώματα concerning their own lives and persons X. A. 3. 2. 20.

Herbert Weir Smyth (1857-1937)

A Greek Grammar for Colleges (1920)

Jason David BeDuhn (often uneven with his own JW biases) did a good job going over the Smyth note:

Truth in Translation (2003)
Jason BeDuhn
If we turn to the standard work of Greek grammar, that of Smyth, we find no "Sharp's Rule." But we do find several "rules" that may explain the pattern Sharp thought he was seeing in the New Testament. Smyth, section 1143, says: "A single article, used with the first of two or more nouns connected by and produces the effect of a single notion." That sounds an awful lot like "Sharp's Rule," doesn't it? But what exactly is meant by "a single notion"? Smyth gives two examples: "the generals and captains (the commanding officers)"; "the largest and smallest ships (the whole fleet)." You can see from these examples that the two nouns combined by "and" are not identical; the individual words do not represent the same thing. Instead, by being combined, they suggest a larger whole. The generals and the captains together make up the more general category of "commanding officers," just as the various sized ships together constitute the fleet as a whole. So the article-noun-"and"-noun construction does combine individual things into larger wholes, but it does not necessarily identify them as one and the same thing. This is further clarified by Smyth in section 1144: "A repeated article lays stress °n each word." So when a writer wants to sharply distinguish two things, "e or she will use the article with each noun; but when the two things in some way work together or belong to a broader unified whole, the article ls left off of the second noun.

Other "rules" established by examining the whole of Greek literature also can account for what we see in Titus and 2 Peter. The absence of the article before "Savior" could just as well be explained by section 1129 of Smyth's grammar: "Words denoting persons, when they are used of a class, may omit the article." Smyth gives the examples "man," "soldier," and "god." "Savior" clearly fits this same description. Or one might consider section 1140: "Several appellatives, treated like proper names, may omit the article." Smyth here uses the example of "king"; the term "Savior" certainly would have the same level of definiteness for a Christian writer.

While we're on the subject of Sharp's attempt to distinguish personal names from personal titles in constructing his rule, it should be pointed out that ho theos ("the God") functions as a proper name ("God") in the New Testament. So by a strict reading of "Sharp's Rule," it wouldn't even apply to the verses Sharp hoped to interpret.
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