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I cannot, but please tell me if you can, diagnose why than WHICH below still sounds incorrect and strange. Did I err in my rewrite of 3 below as two separate Independent Clauses (to diagnose my problem, per this answer)? Please explain all steps and thought processes.

I commence the numbering at 3, as the Accepted Answer below already uses the integers 1, 2.
Source : The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Volume 01 by Tobias Smollett (1721-1771)

[3.]  [...]  his letters  [...]  lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army, than WHICH nothing was farther from his inclination.

⟸ 4. His letters lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army,
nothing than WHICH was farther from his inclination.

⟸ 5. [His letters lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army] +
[Nothing than [being] under the necessity ... in the army was farther from his inclination.]

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  • Traditionally, "than" cannot be used as a preposition governing the objective/oblique case in English. That's why prescriptive grammar calls for "God is greater than he" rather than "God is greater than him." The latter sentence is often used in modern English, but perhaps "than" has not transitioned fully to being used as a preposition. – sumelic Oct 7 '15 at 1:30
  • A quick fix (it's my late hour, so I could be wrong, but let's use this as a temporary solution for now): 4 [ His letters ... lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army ] + [ Nothing than "being under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army" was farther from his inclination. ] – Damkerng T. Oct 7 '15 at 1:56
  • Or even better: [ Nothing was farther from his inclination than "being under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army" ] or just [ Nothing was farther from his inclination than "the army" ] – Damkerng T. Oct 7 '15 at 2:05
  • @sumelic Can you please explain how your comment pertains to my question above? I know that Traditionally, "than" cannot be used as a preposition governing the objective/oblique case in English, but how is this relevant? – NNOX Apps Mar 2 '16 at 22:50
  • Sorry, I no longer remember what I was thinking when I posted that comment. – sumelic Mar 2 '16 at 22:52
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Introduction

Your quotes are ancient or dated texts: Anselm is from the 12th century; and the above is from the 18th century. Having said that, I believe that we can understand them in the same way that we understand 'pied-piping' in general.


Background

Let's consider a couple of simpler examples. I'm going to use of which instead of than which to make it look and sound more familiar.

[1i] It was a war. ​    [1ii] No word of this war was allowed to leak to the outside world.

We can combine [1i] and [1ii] by pied-piping "of this war", resulting in [1iii]:

[1iii] It was a war, of which no word was allowed to leak to the outside world.

Let's try another example:

[2i] It was a secret. ​    [2ii] No one knows of this secret.

We can combine [2i] and [2ii] by pied-piping "of this secret", resulting in [2iii]:

[2iii] It was a secret, of which no one knows.

Note that the two examples are pied-piped in a similar manner. The difference is that in [1] the pied-pied part is from the subject of [1ii], but in [2] the pied-piped part is from the predicate of [2ii].

This allows us to understand why [1iii] and [2iii] can be rewritten as [1iv] and [2iv] respectively (note that [1iv] is identical to [1ii] and [2iv] is identical to [2ii]):

[1iii] It was a war, of which no word was allowed to leak to the outside world.
= [1iv] No word of this war was allowed to leak to the outside world.

[2iii] It was a secret, of which no one knows.
​= [2iv] No one knows of this secret. (NOT: No one of this secret knows.)

As you can see, the steps you proposed are not quite relevant.
Relating of which to the wrong part of a sentence will get you an incorrect meaning.


Our example

By way of analogy, the sentence:

He suppressed all his letters of recommendation, which he justly concluded would subject him to a tedious course of attendance upon the great, and lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army, than which nothing was farther from his inclination;

or your ellipted version of it (ie your 3 above):

His letters would lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army, than which nothing was farther from his inclination.

should be read as:

Nothing was farther from his inclination than (being) under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army. (And his letters would lay him so.)

or as an alternate reading:

His letters would lay him under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army.
Nothing was farther from his inclination than such condition.

Our example is similar to [2iv], not [1iv].

Hope this helps!

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    PS. God is something than which nothing greater can be thought is a translation of Latin: aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit. It's unclear to me who translated the Latin phrase into the quoted sentence in English, and when. It may be useful to keep in mind that there are many translated variants. – Damkerng T. Oct 7 '15 at 11:51
  • +1 to your comment also. Please tell me if you mind my edits; 'secret' seems simpler than 'simpler love'. Also, I only noticed now that [1iv] = [1ii] and [2iv] = [2ii]. So did you intend these repeats? To avert confusion, maybe you need only state the numbering without repeating the sentence themselves? – NNOX Apps Jan 29 '16 at 2:51
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    Thanks for the edit! I agree with most of your suggestions. If I remember correctly, the [iv] versions were intentional (I assumed the reader would realize that the [iv] interpretation is the same as our starting sentence [ii]). I made it clearer and fixed other minors things. Thanks once again! – Damkerng T. Jan 29 '16 at 10:49
  • You are profoundly welcome, but please: it is I who must thank you, not you me, as it was you who so benevolently educated and resolved my questions. – NNOX Apps Jan 29 '16 at 21:02
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It is easier than it seems.

He had overdone it the night before, and nothing was farther from his desire at that moment than a martini.

When he was offered a martini, than which nothing was farther from his desire at that moment, he declined.

P.S. Contemporary American English would not use a "than which" clause; it would go something like this:

When he was offered a martini, which a glass of spring water seemed much better than, he declined.

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