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HTS Theological Studies

versión On-line ISSN 2072-8050
versión impresa ISSN 0259-9422

Herv. teol. stud. vol.77 no.1 Pretoria  2021 



Syntactic patterns of πᾶς as a quantifier in New Testament Greek



Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé; Jacobus A. Naudé

Department of Hebrew, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa





In linguistic terms, a quantifier is an item that appears with a noun to specify the number or amount of referents indicated by the noun. In English, various kinds of quantification are lexically differentiated-universal quantification (all), distributive quantification (each), and universal-distributive (every). In Greek, however, quantification is conveyed syntactically using primarily one lexical item, namely πᾶς. In this article, we examine the syntactic patterns of πᾶς as a quantifier from a linguistic point of view with attention to the determination of the noun (articular versus anarthrous), the number of the noun (singular versus plural) and the phrasal word order. We also examine the phenomenon of 'floating' quantification in which the quantifier moves to a new position in the noun phrase. Finally, we compare the patterns found in New Testament Greek with those of the quantifier כל in the Hebrew Bible in order to determine the extent and type of Semitic interference with respect to quantification in New Testament Greek grammar.
CONTRIBUTION: The syntactic patterns of
πᾶς as a quantifier are identified and the semantic import of each pattern is described. The relationship of πᾶς to the quantifier כל in the Hebrew Bible shows evidence of Semitic interference in New Testament Greek grammar

Keywords: New Testament Greek syntax; quantification; quantifier; universal quantification; distributive quantification; floating quantification; Hebraisms.




In linguistic terms, a quantifier is an item that appears with a noun to specify the number or amount of referents indicated by the noun. In English, various kinds of quantification are lexically differentiated-universal quantification (all), distributive quantification (each), and universal-distributive (every). In Hellenistic Greek, however, quantification is conveyed syntactically using primarily one lexical item, namely πᾶς, which occurs 1219 times in the New Testament.

In this article, we examine the syntactic patterns of πᾶς as a quantifier from a linguistic point of view with attention to the number of the noun (singular versus plural), the determination of the noun (articular versus anarthrous) and the phrasal word order.1 Special focus will be given to the phenomenon of floating quantification in which the quantifier 'floats' (or moves) to a new position in the noun phrase. We also compare the patterns found in New Testament Greek with those of the quantifier כל in the Hebrew Bible in order to examine the extent and type of Hebraic interference in New Testament Greek grammar.

The article is organised as follows: In Section 2, we provide a brief description of the linguistic features of quantification from the perspective of linguistic typology. In Section 3, we summarise the previous research on πᾶς by considering the historical development of grammatical knowledge of πᾶς from both philological and linguistic viewpoints.2 In the final section, we provide our proposed analysis concerning the syntactic constructions of πᾶς and their meanings in New Testament Greek and the possible connections to Biblical Hebrew quantificational constructions.


Linguistic features of quantification

We begin with a brief description of the relevant linguistic terms and concepts that will be used in the following analysis of πᾶς as a quantifier.3 There are two general types of quantification (and thus quantifiers) in linguistics (see, e.g., Bach et al. 1995; Szabolcsi 2010). The first kind of quantification describes the amount or the number of entities expressed by the noun. It is referred to as NP quantification (because the quantifier modifies a noun phrase) or D quantification (because the quantifier is a determiner of the noun phrase). The quantifier modifies a noun or noun phrase (e.g. the English quantifier all or every). Quantifiers of this type can be divided into universal quantifiers (e.g. the English quantifier all) and distributive quantifiers (e.g. the English quantifier every). The second kind of quantification describes a modification of a predication and is routinely expressed with adverbials (e.g. the English adverbial always or usually). For this reason, it is often referred to as A quantification (i.e. adverbial quantification). The focus of the analysis of πᾶς involves the first kind of quantification.

There is substantial cross-linguistic evidence (see Gil 1995, 1996) that the universal quantifier (all) is semantically and syntactically the more basic (or, unmarked) quantifier in contrast to the distributive quantifier (every).

Semantically, the universal quantifier may have either a universal or distributive meaning, whereas the distributive quantifier specifies distributivity and cannot be used as a universal quantifier. Gil (1996:106) illustrates this semantic difference with the following two sentences:

(1) (a) All the men carried three suitcases.

(b) Every man carried three suitcases.

In (1)(a), the sentence has two interpretations: either the men acted individually with each man carrying a suitcase (the distributive reading) or collectively with the three men jointly carrying three suitcases (the universal reading). In (1)(b), however, the sentence can only have the distributive reading-the men individually carried three suitcases each.

Syntactically, the universal quantifier is also more basic cross-linguistically (Gil 1996). If a language possesses both a universal quantifier and a distributive quantifier and the two are morphologically related, then the distributive quantifier is derived by the universal quantifier by a morphosyntactic process. If a language possesses both a universal quantifier and a distributive quantifier and the distributive quantifier is a native lexical item (i.e. it is not a loanword), then the universal quantifier is native. If a language possesses a distributive quantifier, it will also possess a universal quantifier, but the reverse is not true-in some languages, there is lexically a universal quantifier but no distributive quantifier (Gil 1996:108-110). In such languages, a single universal quantifier is used in various syntactic constructions to convey both universal and distributive meanings. Examples of these languages include isiZulu, Maricopa, Malayalam, White Hmong, Yukaghir, Arabic and Hebrew. In Modern Hebrew, for example, there is only a single lexical quantifier כל, whose meanings are distinguished based upon the syntax of the noun phrase (see Gil 1996:110-113; Glinert 1989:70-80; Netzer 2013:3, 111-115). When כל modifies definite plural nouns, it means 'all'. When it modifies singular indefinite nouns, it means 'every'. When it modifies singular definite nouns, it means 'the whole'. Earlier stages, however, exhibit other syntactic patterns. In Biblical Hebrew and Qumran Hebrew, כל is used in four different phrasal patterns with four different nuances of meaning (see Miller-Naudé & Naudé 2020; Naudé 2011a, forthcoming; Naudé & Miller-Naudé 2015). When it modifies definite plural nouns, it means 'all' (the totality of the specific/inclusive group). When it modifies indefinite singular nouns, it means 'every' (in the sense of individualisation; 'each and every' individual) or 'the whole' (in terms of indivisible or singular entities). With indefinite plural nouns, it means 'all' in a manner less specific than that found with definite plural nouns. With definite singular nouns, it means 'the whole' (in the sense of the totality of the individual members of the one entity).

A final significant feature of quantifiers involves the fact that, in some languages, quantifiers can 'float' to outside of its normal position with respect to the noun or noun phrase that it modifies. In some cases, it may move to a position where it is not contiguous with the noun or noun phrase that it modifies. When a quantifier moves in this way, it is described as a 'floated quantifier'. The following English sentences illustrate the floating of the English quantifier all. In sentence (2)(a), all is in its normal position modifying the noun phrase the students.

(2) (a) All the students should have been studying.

(b) The students should all have been studying.

(c) The students should have all been studying.

Sentences (2)(b) and (2)(c) illustrate that all can float to multiple positions within the sentence. What is particularly fascinating is that all is no longer associated with the noun phrase the students but rather is embedded within the verb phrase. Multiple analyses of the floated quantifiers and their syntactic features have been provided in the linguistic literature (e.g. Bobaljik 1998; Dowty & Brody 1984; Otoguro & Snijders 2016; Sportiche 1988).


The emergence of grammatical knowledge about πᾶς in Koine Greek

Winer-Moulton tradition

In describing the distribution of πᾶς in Koine Greek, the sixth edition of the grammar of George Benedict Winer (1789-1858) in 1866 provides the first information (Winer 1866:122-123).4 He makes the distinction that πᾶς with a singular or plural noun may be either articular or anarthrous resulting in four syntactic constructions:


(a) singular indefinite

πᾶς ἄνθρωπος 'every man' (Jn 2:10)5

(b) singular definite

πᾶς κόσμος 'the whole cosmos' (Rm 3:19)6

(c) plural indefinite

πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους 'to all men' (Ac 22:15)7

(d) plural definite

πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς 'all (acc.) the chief priests' (Mt 2:4)8

Winer (1866:123, 124) differentiates two special classes of nouns. Firstly, a proper name denotes a definite entity and does not require the definite article. As a result, when πᾶς modifies a proper name, the quantifier must be translated as 'the whole'. This construction is equivalent to the singular definite noun with a quantifier as in (4):

(4) πᾶσα εροσόλυμα 'the whole Jerusalem' (Mt 2:3)9

Secondly, an abstract noun denotes a whole. When modified by πᾶς, the phrase must be interpreted/translated as 'all' or 'full' not 'every' (see also Wallace 1996:253). This construction is equivalent to plural indefinite noun with a quantifier as in (5).10

(5) Πᾶσαν χαράν 'All (full) joy' (Ja 1:2)

The use of πᾶς with the participle is also treated by Winer (1866:123) as in (6).11

(6) (a) πᾶς ὀργιζόμενος 'everyone that is angry (when, if, while, he is angry)' (no reference)

(b) πᾶς ὀργιζόμενος 'every enraged person (everyone who is angry)' = πᾶς ὁστις ὀργίζεται (Mt 5:22).

According to Winer, the four Koine Greek constructions as in (3) show the evidence of Hebraic influence. Winer's argument is strengthened by his observations concerning the collocation of the negative with πᾶς (Winer 1866:184-186). As illustrated in (7), the New Testament uses the negative οὐ (or μή) with πᾶς, a construction which is typical of Biblical Hebrew, instead of οὐδείς, μηδείς, which is typical of Classical Greek.

(7) διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ 'therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh/human being be justified in his sight/presence' (Romans 3:20)

Instead of meaning 'every flesh will not be justified', there is negative polarity, meaning 'no flesh will be justified'.12 These uses of the negative with πᾶς are a calque of the Hebrew negative with the quantifier כל and occur frequently in the Septuagint as a translation of the Hebrew and in the New Testament.13

Another argument advanced by Winer (1866:123, 131-137) for Hebraic influence involves nouns expressing definite objects. He claims that such objects in Koine have the definite article, but in Classical Greek the article may be omitted before words that signify objects of which there is but one in existence and are nearly equivalent to proper names. In contrast to Classical Greek, in the New Testament (and Septuagint), these words with πᾶς always have the article, just as the corresponding Hebrew phrase does14:

(8) (a) ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν 'over the whole earth' (Mt 27:45)15

(b) וְנָ֤תַן לְךָ֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ 'he will give to you the whole land' (Dt 19:8)

(c) πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν 'the whole land' (Dt 19:8 LXX)

We agree with Winer that these Hellenistic Greek constructions provide good evidence for Hebraic influence and that the Septuagint and New Testament data are coherent. Other scholars of Greek, however, have viewed the constructions identified by Winer as 'unclear' or 'blurred', for example Turner (Moulton & Turner 1963:20) and Decker (2014:203).

In 1882, William Fiddian Moulton (1835-1898) published a third revised edition and translation of Winer (1855) (Winer & Moulton 1882:XI-XX).16 The discussion on πᾶς is more nuanced and considerably expanded (Winer & Moulton 1882:31, 133, 137-138, 144, 214, 222, 285, 302-303, 309-310, 686-687, 694). Concerning the word order of πᾶς, he added two additional constructions (Winer & Moulton 1882:686), resulting in a total of six constructions. The first example below (1 Cor 12:12) shows the unmarked construction with πᾶς preceding the noun phrase. This construction is very frequent. Moulton noticed, however, that πᾶς may occur after either a plural definite noun as in example (9b) (1 Cor 10:1) or a singular definite noun as in example (9c) (Lk 4:6):

(9) (a) πάντα τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος 'all the members of the body' (1 Cor 12:12)

(b) οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν πάντες 'all our ancestors' (1 Cor 10:1)

(c) τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν 'all this domain' (Lk 4:6)

The second and third constructions (examples [9b] and [9c]) add a special nuance.

Robertson-Stocks tradition17

In his exposition of πᾶς in 1919, Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934) added two additional constructions to the paradigm, indicated in example (10), resulting in eight constructions (Robertson 1919:419, 773).18

(10) (a) πᾶς νόμος 'the whole law' (Gl 5:14).

(b) οἱ πάντες ἄνδρες 'the sum total of the men' (Ac 19:7)19

Both the constructions occur rarely in Biblical Greek and emphasise the sum total of the entities.20 With reference to Classical Greek, Conybeare and Stock (1905:par 63) similarly describe this attributive position of πᾶς as intensifying the collective force; that is, there is an additional stress gained by the unusual position assigned to πᾶς.

Robertson (1919:772) claims that in modifying an abstract word 'every' and 'all' amount practically to the same thing and that 'there is an element of freedom in the matter' namely that abstract substantives also may be used with or without the article. He used 1 Corinthians 1:5 (example [11a]) and 1 Corinthians 13:2 (example [11b]) to illustrate his claim that there is very little difference in the idea between πάσὴ γνώσει and πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν, respectively.21

(11) (a) ὅτι ἐν παντὶ ἐπλουτίσθητε ἐν αὐτῷ, ἐν παντὶ λόγῳ καὶ πάσῃ γνώσει 'for in all you are enriched by him, in every word and all knowledge' (1 Cor 1:5)

(b) καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω προφητείαν καὶ εἰδῶ τὰ μυστήρια πάντα καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάναι, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐθέν εἰμι 'And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all the knowledge, and if I have all the faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing' (1 Cor 13:2)

However, he acknowledged that there may indeed occasionally be a difference between a specific instance like πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν and a general situation like πάσῃ θλίψει in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (Robertson 1919:772).

(12) παρακαλῶν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν, εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ἡμᾶς παρακαλεῖν τοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει 'who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction' (2 Cor 1:4)

Similarly, Moule (1953:93-95) grapples with the article-noun unit: 'When it means all or every it is not enclosed within the article-noun unit (indeed, when it means every it is used with an anarthrous noun). Especially problematic for the exegete are the instances of πᾶς with an anarthrous noun.' Below, in the section on our proposed model, it will be shown that the nature of the noun (proper names, abstract or unique), the role of the article and word order play a crucial role in the determination of the meaning of πᾶς.

Blass-Debrunner-Funk tradition

This grammar22 does not provide a dedicated section on the grammatical analysis of πᾶς. In their description of other constructions, various aspects of πᾶς are included with the result that the discussion of linguistic aspects of πᾶς is spread across the grammar. Of interest are the examples that are listed in the section on demonstrative pronouns (Blass, Debrunner & Funk 1961:150-152, especially paragraph 292). It shows the various positions of demonstratives possible in combination with πᾶς.

(13) (a) πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται 'All these evil things come from inside' (Mk 7:23)

(b) σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν 'To you I will give all this authority and their glory' (Lk 4:6)

(c) καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ὀρεινῇ τῆς Ἰουδαίας διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα 'and through all the hill country of Judea, they talked about all these things' (Lk 1:65)

No new construction of πᾶς is suggested. The same pertains to the Moulton-Turner tradition, which is discussed in the next section.

Moulton-Turner tradition

Although some aspects of πᾶς are treated in other parts of the syntax, Turner provides a dedicated section on the syntax of πᾶς (Moulton & Turner 1963:199-205).23 Turner provides further a statistical analysis of the various distribution types of πᾶς (actual occurrences and percentage of each type within each book, including the Septuagint and Papyri), which will be adapted to our analysis below (Moulton & Turner 1963:202-205).

Turner remarks that 'if πᾶς is placed after a noun with the article, special stress is laid upon the noun, e.g. 1 Cor 15:7' (Moulton & Turner 1963:200).

(14) ἔπειτα ὤφθη Ἰακώβῳ εἶτα τοῖς ἀποστόλοις πᾶσιν· 'Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles' (1 Cor 15:7)

The claim is that 'the Koine has developed the emphatic form which incidentally is extremely popular in Biblical Greek (LXX NT)' (Moulton & Turner 1963:201).

Turner claims that 'the distinction of an anarthrous and articular noun with πᾶς is not very clear in NT, even to the extent that πᾶς with an articular noun can approach the meaning of any: Mk 4:13 πάσας τὰς παραβολάς any parables, not all the parables' (Moulton & Turner 1963:200). This will be addressed in our proposed model below.


In 1996, Daniel Wallace published Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, a new, extensive grammar with particular attention to syntax. Wallace considers πᾶς to be a special kind of adjective along with ὅλος and εἷς, namely what he calls a 'pronominal adjective', a new grammatical category which he defines as 'words that function sometimes as adjectives and sometimes as pronouns' (Wallace 1996:308). As he notes, so-called pronominal adjectives do not behave like normal adjectives in their phrasal syntax nor do they have the expected semantics of attributive or predicative adjectives with respect to the nouns they modify (Wallace 1996:253, 306, 308, 734). However, his use of the category 'pronominal adjective' is problematic in that πᾶς lacks many of the grammatical features of pronouns.24 In addition, the grammatical category 'pronominal adjective' is not in accord with normal linguistic categorisation.25 Nonetheless, Wallace's contribution is that he clearly articulates some of the ways in which πᾶς has syntactic features that distinguish it from ordinary members of the category 'adjective'. Additionally, stronger syntactic arguments against πᾶς as an adjective are provided by Whaley (2011).


In 2011, the linguist Lindsey Whaley published an article 'The Semantic Effect of Floating Quantifiers in New Testament Greek' (Whaley 2011), which contributes some important concepts to the discussion. Firstly, Whaley identifies πᾶς as a member of the category 'quantifier', which he correctly defines as 'nominal modifiers that indicate quantity, contrasts in quantity or scope' (Whaley 2011:249). Secondly, Whaley distinguishes two groups of quantifiers in the New Testament-'internal quantifiers' (ἄλλος 'other', ἕκαστος 'each', ἕτερος 'other, the other', ὀλίγος 'few, little', οὐδείς 'none, no one', πολύς 'many', τις 'a, certain', εἷς, δύο 'one, two') and 'external quantifiers' (ἀμφότεροι 'both', ἅπας 'all, every', μόνος 'only', ὅλος 'whole', πᾶς 'all, every'). These two groups differ with respect to their syntactic features in a number of respects. Most importantly, internal quantifiers are like adjectives, whereas external quantifiers are not (Whaley 2011:249-255). Whaley's identification of πᾶς as a quantifier rather than an adjective is a major contribution.

The focus of Whaley's study is on 'floated quantifiers' in Koine Greek. He defines 'floated quantifiers' as quantifiers that have moved out of their normal position so that they are syntactically disassociated from the noun phrase that they modify. (We will provide a somewhat different description of floated πᾶς below.) Whaley proposes that floated quantifiers do not move randomly but rather always move to a position that immediately precedes the verb phrase (i.e. the verb and its complements). For example, in (15), the quantifier πάντα is moved away from the noun phrase it modifies (τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα) to a position before the finite verb (συνετήρει)26:

(15) δὲ Μαριὰμ πάντα συνετήρει τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα συμβάλλουσα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς 'But Mary treasured all these words, pondering them in her heart' (Lk 2:19)

In (16), the quantifier πάντων is disassociated from its genitive pronoun to a position before a participial predicate27:

(16) πάντων τε καταπεσόντων ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἤκουσα φωνὴν λέγουσαν πρός με τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ· 'All of us having fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language' (Ac 26:14).

However, several examples in the New Testament do not fit Whaley's characterisation of movement of the floated quantifier to a position before the verb phrase, as illustrated in example (17)28:

(17) Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς 'And fear came upon all those living around them' (Lk 1:65)

In this example, the quantifier πάντας is disassociated from the noun phrase that it modifies (τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς), but it does not appear before a verb phrase. Furthermore, the quantifier appears within a prepositional phrase, which means that it cannot occur before the verb phrase. Another unusual aspect is the fact that the subject (φόβος) of the verb (ἐγένετο) is also within the prepositional phrase.29

A recent analysis of the syntax of floated πᾶς in the Septuagint also indicates that some, but not all, examples can be explained by movement to preverbal position (Naudé & Miller-Naudé forthcoming).

Whaley also provides an argument concerning the semantics of floated πᾶς. He argues that floated πᾶς always indicates focus in the sense of 'unpredictable, and usually new, information that is being introduced into discourse' and that 'includes information being given in contrast to other details of the text' and 'fills in a gap that exists in the readers' presuppositions' (Whaley 2011:258). Thus, Whaley's linguistic description states that floated πᾶς indicates that the noun phrase that it modifies indicates discourse-new information in most cases.

We will provide a somewhat different, more comprehensive, description of the syntax of floated πᾶς as well as different explanations of the meaning of floated πᾶς constructions below.


Towards a new analysis of πᾶς in the New Testament

The grammatical descriptions as summarised above demonstrate the identification of eight syntactic constructions of πᾶς as part of a noun phrase. In this section, we propose the framework for a new analysis of πᾶς in the New Testament. We first propose two additional constructions to complete the various syntactic configurations of πᾶς. Then, we differentiate the resulting 10 constructions with respect to pragmatically unmarked word order as opposed to marked word order and differentiate their various meanings. Finally, we differentiate constructions with floated πᾶς and their meanings, resulting in a total of 11 constructions with πᾶς in the New Testament.

We propose two additional constructions in which πᾶς occurs after an anarthrous noun. An example of πᾶς with a singular, anarthrous noun is illustrated in (18):

(18) κατὰ πόλιν πᾶσαν 'in every city (lit. according to city every, i.e. city by city)' (Ac 15:36)

The singular construction occurs seven times in the New Testament, but is very rare in the Septuagint, where it is certainly a calque of the Aramaic source text.30 The plural construction does not seem to be attested in the New Testament, which is a small corpus, but it does occur in the Septuagint. In some instances, the construction clearly seems to be a reflection of the Hebrew source text, as in (19). It also occurs where no Hebrew source text is extant, as in (20):

(19) λαοὶ πάντες 'all people (lit. people all)' (Ps 66:4 LXX = Ps 67:4 Heb)31

(20) καὶ συλλήμψεται αὐτοὺς πάντας ἐν νυκτὶ μιᾷ 'and he will apprehend them all in one night' (1 Mac 9:58)32

In considering the 10 constructions of πᾶς, we first confirm the observations of a variety of scholars that the most common and pragmatically unmarked word order involves the quantifier in initial position before the noun (or noun phrase) that it modifies, whether the noun phrase is articular or anarthrous. Not coincidentally, these four constructions are the first constructions with πᾶς that were identified by Winer (see examples [3] above) and are the most numerous (see the statistics in Table 1). We refer to the first group of πᾶς constructions as the 'unmarked' constructions. They can be schematised as follows:

(21) quantifier ± article noun (singular/plural)

The quantifier πᾶς in the four unmarked constructions has a different meaning or nuance depending upon the noun phrase that it modifies and specifically whether the noun is singular or plural and whether the noun is articular or anarthrous. When πᾶς modifies a definite plural noun, the quantified noun phrase refers to the totality of the (specific/inclusive) group:

(22) Καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν· καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους [καὶ] δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς 'And his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick having various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics, and he cured them' (Mt 4:24).

When πᾶς modifies an indefinite singular noun, the quantifier adds the nuance of individualisation (each and every), as in example (23), or the whole (in terms of single entities or mass nouns), as in example (24):

(23) Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν ἐν τῷ λαῷ 'Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people' (Mt 4:23).

(24) ἀκούσας δὲ βασιλεὺς Ἡρῴδης ἐταράχθη καὶ πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ 'When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him' (Mt 2:3).

When πᾶς modifies an indefinite singular noun, the quantified noun phrase refers to each and every individual:

(25) ἤδη δὲ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται 'Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire' (Mt 3:10).

When πᾶς modifies an indefinite plural noun (a relatively less frequent construction), the semantic nuance conveyed by the quantified noun phrase is very similar to a definite plural noun with πᾶς. They differ only with respect to specificity:

(26) καὶ ἐρεῖ λέγων ὑμῖν· οὐκ οἶδα [ὑμᾶς] πόθεν ἐστέ· ἀπόστητε ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ πάντες ἐργάται ἀδικίας. 'And he will say to you, "I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all evildoers!"' (Lk 13:27).

These four unmarked constructions are the pragmatically neutral ones. The same constructions with the same semantic nuances are also attested in the Septuagint. The Greek of both the Septuagint and the New Testament thus bears striking similarities to the structurally identical constructions in Biblical Hebrew and Qumran Hebrew, as described above.

We turn now to the three groups of constructions involving a 'floated' quantifier. Each construction will have a different semantic nuance, depending upon the position of the quantifier.

When the quantifier follows rather than precedes the noun that it modifies, the quantifier has 'floated' to a post-nominal position. This group can be schematised as follows:

(27) ± article noun (singular/plural) 'floated' quantifier

The position of the quantifier after the noun (or noun phrase) focuses or highlights the noun phrase that precedes. An example of the definite plural noun with quantifier floated to the end of the noun phrase is shown below:

(28) Οὐ θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν πάντες ὑπὸ τὴν νεφέλην ἦσαν καὶ πάντες διὰ τῆς θαλάσσης διῆλθον 'I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers all were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea' (1 Cor 10:1).

When the noun (or noun phrase) is determined with the article, the quantifier may also 'float' to a position that is between the article and the noun. This group can be schematised as follows:

(29) article quantifier noun (singular/plural)

In this construction, the floated quantifier focuses on the total sum of the quantified entity:

(30) τοὺς γὰρ πάντας ἡμᾶς φανερωθῆναι δεῖ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα κομίσηται ἕκαστος τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος πρὸς ἔπραξεν, εἴτε ἀγαθὸν εἴτε φαῦλον. 'For all we must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil' (2 Cor 5:10).

In contrast to previous scholars, we therefore identify these two kinds of floating that occur when the quantifier is contiguous to the noun (or noun phrase) that it is modifying-in the first group, the quantifier floats to a post-nominal position; and in the second group, the quantifier floats to a position between the article and the noun.

When the quantifier 'floats' to a position that is discontinuous with the noun (or noun phrase) that it modifies, we describe this group as 'heavy floating'. It constitutes the 11th construction of πᾶς.33 Most of the attested instances of heavy floating in the New Testament involve movement of the quantifier to a position before the verb phrase, as described by Whaley (2011). But there are exceptions, as indicated above. Furthermore, the much larger corpus of the Septuagint displays a far broader range of locations to which the quantifier can float in the 'heavy floating' constructions (see Naudé & Miller-Naudé forthcoming). This fact may highlight the rather limited corpus of the New Testament.

We agree with Whaley's (2011) explanation that the floated quantifier in this construction conveys pragmatically highlighted or new information. However, in contrast to his explanation that the floated quantifier in this construction is itself in focus position when it precedes the verb phrase, we argue that the position of the quantifier before the verb phrase indicates that it has scope over the predication and functions adverbially to modify the predication as a whole. For example, in (15), the position of the quantifier before the verb phrase 'treasured these words' pragmatically highlights it and not the quantifier itself-'Mary completely/thoroughly/unexpectedly treasured these words'.

We summarise the syntactic configurations and meanings of the 10 constructions in Table 1.

In summary, the uses of the quantifier πᾶς can be divided into the following general types on the basis of the number of entities over which it has scope and their definiteness. The difference between the distributive quantifier 'every' and collective quantifier 'all' is that the distributive 'every' occurs with indefinite nouns, is non-specific and implicitly inclusive, while the collective 'all' is specific and inclusive. The difference between the plural and the singular is motivated by individualisation. In the plural, the focus is not on individualisation. The singular focuses on individualisation/individuation.

When the quantifier floats to a position at the end of the quantified noun phrase, the pragmatic focus is on the noun phrase itself. When the quantifier floats to a position inside the quantified noun phrase, namely between the article and the noun (or noun phrase), the pragmatic focus is on the total sum. When the quantifier floats to a discontinuous position that precedes the verb phrase, its scope extends to the predication itself.



In conclusion, we have demonstrated that careful attention to the syntactic distribution of the quantifier πᾶς allows us to understand more precisely which constructions are unmarked or neutral and which constructions carry additional semantic and pragmatic nuances. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that understanding the Koine Greek constructions depends upon recognising the Hebraic constructions which seem to have influenced the Greek expression of quantification, at least in the Septuagint and the New Testament.34 Finally, we have shown that the Koine Greek system is not blurry but rather coherent.

However, there are still outstanding matters concerning πᾶς in the New Testament, which remain to be investigated. These are as follows: (1) πᾶς with the negative and the issue of negative polarity; (2) substantival uses of πᾶς; (3) πᾶς with the participle; and (4) a comparison of the meanings and uses of πᾶς with similar words such as ὅλος and ἅπας. Perhaps, most important is the expansion of the analysis beyond biblical Greek of the Septuagint and New Testament to other varieties of Hellenistic Greek.



An earlier version of this article was presented in the Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting 2019, Rome, Italy, 1-5 July. We would like to acknowledge Prof. Jan Barkhuisen, emeritus professor at the University of Pretoria, who also worked with us on the early stages of this project. The research questions arose during the translation of the new Afrikaans Bible and are related to our research on quantifiers in Hebrew and the interaction between Hebrew and Greek in the Hellenistic world.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contributions

J.A.N. and C.L.M-N. contributed equally to this research article.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards for research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

This work is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé UID 95926 and Jacobus A. Naudé UID 85902). The grant holders acknowledge that the opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in any publication generated by the NRF-supported research are those of the authors and that the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard. The Research Committee of the Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, provided funding for the second author to attend the conference where the paper was originally presented.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.



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Cynthia Miller-Naudé

Received: 15 June 2021
Accepted: 30 June 2021
Published: 27 Aug. 2021



1. The Greek text used for citations from the New Testament is the 28th edition of Nestle-Aland (Aland et al. 2012).
2. In Naudé & Miller-Naudé forthcoming we analyse the syntactic patterns of
πᾶς in the Greek of the Septuagint.
3. The linguistic discussion in this section summarises previous research on quantification in linguistics and in pre-modern Hebrew (see Miller-Naudé & Naudé 2020; Naudé 2011a, 2011b, forthcoming; Naudé & Miller-Naudé 2015).
4. Robertson (1919:xvi) mentioned that the first grammar of New Testament Greek was written by Georg Pasor in Latin and published in 1655. George Benedict Winer (1866:3, 5) published the first edition of his grammar (Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms) in 1822, followed by a second enlarged edition in 1828. Winer broke with the prescriptive-evaluative grammatical tradition ('an alleged substitution of the wrong form for the right') and chose instead a descriptive tradition by viewing the Hebrew language and the Greek of the New Testament as a living idiom, designed for a medium of human intercourse ('compatible with the essential principles of any human language intended for the ordinary purposes of life') (Winer 1866:3). The third edition reflects the result of extensive study of the writings of the Greek prose authors and of the Hellenistic Jews. The sixth edition is totally reworked in terms of the tradition followed in the previous editions and was completed in October 1855 in Leipzig despite an eye infection that brought him to total blindness (Winer 1866:6-7). The sixth German edition (1855), the last edition by Winer, was translated by Edward Masson in English and published in 1866. It is the edition used in this essay.
5. Winer's example
πᾶσα πόλις 'every city' is not attested in the NT. An example in the NT that is not cited by Winer is πᾶσα γραφή 'every writing' (2 Tim 3:16), not 'the whole writing' or 'whatever is Scripture' (Moulton & Turner 1963:199). The cases in Matthew 3:10 (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον 'every tree') and Ephesians 3:15 (πᾶσα πατριά 'every ethnic group') are referred to as support concerning the singular without the article (Winer 1866:123).
6. Winer (1866:122) uses the example in Romans 3:19 to motivate his translation of
πᾶσα πόλις 'the whole city' (Mt 8:34). Another example involves the Hebraism παντὸς προσώπου τῆς γῆς 'the whole face of the earth' (Ac 17:26). The cases in Matthew 6:29 (ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ 'in all his splendour'), Mark 5:33 (πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν 'the whole truth'), Luke 7:29 (πᾶς λαός 'the whole nation') and Romans 10:18 (εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν 'into all the earth') are referred to as further support concerning the singular with the article (Winer 1866:123).
7. Winer (1866:122) also provides the exemplary phrase
πᾶσα γενεαὶ 'all generations (whatever their number)'. The cases in Luke 13:27 (πάντες ἐργάται ἀδικίας 'all evildoers') and Galatians 6:6 (ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς 'in all good things') are referred to as further support for the interpretation/translation of plural cases without the article (Winer 1866:123).
8. Winer (1866:122) also provides the example
πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί 'all the generations (mentioned in the context, or known simply as a definite number)'. The cases in Matthew 2:4 (πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς 'all the chief priests') and 2 Peter 3:16 (ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς 'in all the epistles') are referred to as further support for the interpretation/translation of plural cases with the article (Winer 1866:123).
9. See also
πᾶς οἶκος Ἰσραήλ 'the whole house of Israel' (Ac 2:36, cf LXX 1 Sm 7:2) and the Hebraism πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Αἰγυπτίων 'in the whole wisdom of Egypt' (Ac 7:22) (Winer 1866:123, 184-185). Winer (1866:123, 124) states that a proper name (such as Jerusalem or Israel) denotes a definite individual and does not require the article. However, it must be interpreted/translated as in (4)(b).
10. Wallace (1996:253) states that in these cases, the class as a whole ('all') is being specified and does not need a definite article. Other examples include
ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει 'in all (full) wisdom and insight' (Eph 1:8); πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην 'all (full) righteousness' (Mt 3:15); πασα εξουσια 'all authority' (Mt 28:18); and ἐν πάσῃ ὑπομονῇ 'in all patience' (2 Cor 12:12).
11. Winer (1866:123) relates the cases in 1 Corinthians 11:4 (
πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος 'every man who prays') and Luke 11:4 (παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν 'everyone who has wronged us') to (7)(a) and the cases in Luke 6:47 (Πᾶς ἐρχόμενος 'everyone who comes') and Luke 11:10 (πᾶς γὰρ αἰτῶν 'everyone who asks') to (7)(b).
οὐ πᾶς (μή πᾶς) without an intervening word denotes not every (Winer 1866:184), for example, 1 Corinthians 15:39 (Οὐ πᾶσα σὰρξ αὐτὴ σάρξ 'not every flesh is the same flesh') and Matthew 7:21 (Οὐ πᾶς λέγων μοι· κύριε κύριε 'not every one that calls me (readily) Lord'). He does not agree with those who connect the negative with the verb: 'no Lord-sayer (no one who says Lord)' (Winer 1866:184 footnote 1).
13. See also Matthew 24:22 (
καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ 'If that time were not shortened, nobody/no flesh would be rescued'); Luke 1:37 (ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ πᾶν ῥῆμα 'For nothing is impossible for God'); Acts 10:14 (ὅτι οὐδέποτε ἔφαγον πᾶν κοινὸν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον 'for I have never eaten anything impure or unclean'); 1 Corinthians 1:29 (ὅπως μὴ καυχήσηται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ 'So no human being can boast in God's presence'); and Revelation 21:27 (καὶ οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτὴν πᾶν κοινὸν καὶ [] ποιῶν βδέλυγμα καὶ ψεῦδος 'And nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is vile and deceitful'). In the Septuagint, πᾶς occurs frequently as a translation οὐ (μή), for example, in Judges 13:4 (καὶ νῦν φύλαξαι δὴ καὶ μὴ πίῃς οἶνον καὶ μέθυσμα καὶ μὴ φάγῃς πᾶν ἀκάθαρτον 'Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing'). Other cases are Exodus 12:16, 44; 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14; 20:16; 2; Samuel 15:11; Psalm 33:11; 142:2; Ezechiel 30:14; and Tobit 4:7, 19; 12:11; but not Exodus 10:15; Deuteronomy 8:9; Josua 10:8; and Proverbs 6:85; 12:21, which have οὐ -οὐδείς or only οὐδείς as in Josua 23:9.
14. See Naudé (2011a:418-419) for a discussion of the Biblical Hebrew quantifier construction with unique entities.
15. See also Romans 10:18 (
εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν 'into the whole/entire earth').
16. In 1870, William Fiddian Moulton published a translation and enlarged first edition of Winer (1855), followed by a second edition ('in the main a reprint of the first') in 1876 and a third revised edition in 1882 (Winer & Moulton 1882:XI-XX). The following goals were followed in the expansion:
1 . To supplement the author's statements and bring them into accordance with the present state of our knowledge.
2 . To show under the different heads of the subject how much may be regarded as settled and how much is still disputed borderland.
3 . By means of continuous references to English writers on Greek grammar and on New Testament Greek, to place the English reader in the position occupied by one who uses the original.
4 . To call further attention to the many striking coincidences between Modern Greek and the language in which the New Testament is written (Winer & Moulton 1882:XV).
Moulton gives the opinion that the zealous and accurate study of the Greek of the New Testament of the 10 or 20 years before 1880 yielded fruit (Winer & Moulton 1882:XV-XVI). Moulton considers the most important work in this regard the grammar by Alexander Buttmann 1859 (Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachgebrauchs) (Winer & Moulton 1882:XV).
17. The label of this tradition is suggested by Debrunner (Blass et al. 1961:ix).
18. Archibald Thomas Robertson and his father-in-law, John Albert Broadus (1827-1895), decided in 1888 to revise Winer's grammar. However, Robertson became convinced that it was impossible to revise Winer's grammar because of the progress which had been made in 'comparative philology and historical grammar' since Winer wrote it (Robertson 1919:vi). A new grammar on a new plan was necessary 'to keep in touch at salient points with the results of comparative philology and historical grammar as the true linguistic science' (Robertson 1919:vi-vii). Robertson claimed to be a linguist by profession and could work with Hebrew and Aramaic. He built on the view of Deissmann and Moulton for their use of the Egyptian papyri as proof of the fact that New Testament was written in the vernacular Koine Greek (Robertson 1919:x). The first edition was published in 1914. A revised and enlarged edition involving 500 changes and addenda was published in 1915. In 1919, a third, revised and enlarged edition followed. The addenda to the third edition contain tables of statistical knowledge of the Greek New Testament (Robertson 1919:xvii).
19. Other examples include Acts 20:18; 27:37; Romans 16:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; and Galatians 1:2.
20. Robertson (1919:773) claims that
τὰ πάντα for 'the sum of things' or 'the all' is more common and provides Romans 8:32; 11:36; and 1 Corinthians 11:12; 12:6, 19 as examples.
21. Robertson (1919:772) contrasts
πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν (1 Cor 13:2) with πάσῃ σοφίᾳ (Ac 7:22) as further evidence for his claim of the minor role the article is playing in these cases. This evidence is not valid because Robertson did not take the full construction into account, which makes the construction determined, namely πάσὴ σοφίᾳ Αἰγυπτίων 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'.
22. Friedrich Blass, Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, published the first edition of his Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch in 1896 (second edition, with corrections and additions in 1902, and third edition in 1911) and was continued by Albert Debrunner, Professor of Indo-European and Classical Philology at the University of Bern. He revised the sections treating phonology, accidence and word formation, which was published as the fourth edition (1913). The grammar has passed through six more revisions from 1921 until 1959 of which only the seventh edition was thoroughly revised and augmented. Debrunner passed away in 1958. Robert W. Funk revised and incorporated the notes which Debrunner had prepared for a new German edition and translated a new edition which was published in 1961.
23. For 35 years, the Winer-Moulton grammar was dominant, before a new version was published by James Hope Moulton, son of W. F. Moulton. On the title page of the first volume of the first edition of the grammar of James Hope Moulton (1906), the claim was that it was 'based on W. F. Moulton's edition of G. B. Winer's Grammar'. However, from the second edition (also 1906) this statement was removed because the grammar is considered to be entirely new and not following the lines of its predecessor (Moulton & Turner 1963:vii). A third edition of Volume 1 with corrections and additions was published in 1908. For example, a note on the Hebraistic usage of
πᾶς was added on the second edition (Moulton 1908:245-246). Moulton nearly finished Volume 2 (Accidence) when he fell victim in April 1917 to a German submarine in the Mediterranean (Robertson 1919:xviii). Moulton finished the first two parts of the second volume and had already written a chapter on word formation. His student Wilbert Francis Howard finished the volume and published it in parts from 1919 to 1929 (Moulton & Howard 1929:v). While working on Volume 3 (Syntax), Howard himself died in 1952. Nigel Turner completed the volume, which was published in 1963 (Moulton & Turner 1963:v). Turner also produced a fourth volume on style (Moulton & Turner 1976:vii). Turner reflected as follows on the grammar as a whole: 'Because the enterprise reflects so wide a passage of time, it is inevitable that the viewpoint of the Grammar upon the nature of New Testament Greek is not entirely a unity, and there are traces of the radical development to be expected as the state of these studies has progressed' (Moulton & Turner 1963:vii).
24. Whaley's identification of possessive pronouns as belonging to the grammatical category 'adjective' is also problematic (1996:348-350).
25. Devine and Stephens (2000:20-29) differentiate subtypes of adjectives in Greek by dividing them into determining adjectives and qualifying adjectives (scalar adjectives and quantifiers). These groups have different patterns with respect to pragmatically unmarked word order. Specifically, qualifying adjectives are far more likely to appear before the noun that they modify as opposed to determining adjectives.
26. Whaley (2011) does not provide a complete list of New Testament verses with floated quantifiers that he has analysed. We have located the following additional examples of
πᾶς moving before a verb phrase with a finite verb: Mark 3:28; 12:43; John 2:15; Colossians 4:9.
27. An additional example of
πᾶς moving before a verb phrase with a participial predicate is found in Titus 3:2.
28. Additional examples of floated
πᾶς that are not before a verb phrase include Matthew 4:9 and Mark 13:4. See also the floated uses of the similar quantifier phrase τούτων ἁπάντων in Matthew 6:32. An example that could be analysed either as movement of the quantifier to preverbal position or as movement of the quantifier to the end of the noun phrase is found in Matthew 13:34.
29. Precisely how to understand the syntax of this verse is not clear. One possibility is that the phrase
τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς is right dislocated outside of the sentence with its antecedent (πάντας) within the sentence.
30. Muraoka (2020:458) incorrectly states that the construction does not occur in the Septuagint, but see LXX Ezra 5:7
εἰρήνη πᾶσα 'all peace!' for the Aramaic שְׁלָמָ֥א כֹֽלָּא.
31. See also Psalm 66:6 (LXX) = Psalm 67:6 (Hebrew); Isaiah 57:13 (LXX) = 57:13 (Hebrew); and Ezekiel 38:4. In the Septuagint translation of Psalm 81:6, the phrase with the quantifier may belong with the following verse.
32. See also 2 Maccabees 9:15 and Judith 2:23.
33. Whaley (2011) does not identify the movement of the quantifier to positions adjacent to the noun phrase (i.e. after the noun phrase or between the article and the noun phrase) as floating. However, such an analysis implies that there are three pragmatically unmarked orders for the quantifier with articular noun phrases, which is highly unlikely. What Whaley identifies as 'floating', we identify it as 'heavy floating' because the quantifier has moved to a discontinuous position with respect to the noun phrase. We do not include as examples of floated
πᾶς instances in which πᾶς serves as a resumptive element for a left dislocation construction, for example καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν 'and his sisters, are they not all with us?' (Mt 13:56). Whaley (2011) also does not include such examples in his description.
34. The Septuagint data are analysed in Naudé & Miller-Naudé forthcoming.

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