Articular Abstract Nouns

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Articular Abstract Nouns

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 27th, 2015, 10:08 pm

Rob Campanaro wrote:Whether or not Wallace’s idea is worth considering is really what I’m trying to determine. The examples he gives to make his case seem arguably valid, despite some obvious instances in the N.T. where it’s difficult to see how the rule would apply (e.g. 1 Cor. 8:1). It just struck my as somewhat odd that no one else seems to credit it with any validity at all.
It is still a generation (of users / scholars) too early to determine whether Wallace (in relation to his well-known grammar) is ahead of himself or ahead of his time.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Rob Campanaro
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Joined: August 10th, 2013, 5:03 pm

Re: Articular Abstract Nouns

Post by Rob Campanaro » February 28th, 2015, 8:39 am

Stephen Hughes wrote: It is still a generation (of users / scholars) too early to determine whether Wallace (in relation to his well-known grammar) is ahead of himself or ahead of his time.
Well said.
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Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA

cwconrad
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Naming the Beast(s)

Post by cwconrad » February 28th, 2015, 11:20 am

Rob Campanaro wrote:A superlative is basically an adjective or adverb that is the best in its class. Of course we're talking about nouns, but since abstracts focus on qualities, when the article falls under the par excellence category, they're able to carry a "superlative idea." Wallace states it this way:

"...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. For example, “the sun” is monadic because there is only one sun. It is not the best of many suns, but is the only one. In reality, it is in a class by itself. But “the Lord” is par excellence because there are many lords.”
Stephen Hughes wrote:It seems that in a general sense you are saying that Wallace' idea is worth considering.
Whether or not Wallace’s idea is worth considering is really what I’m trying to determine. The examples he gives to make his case seem arguably valid, despite some obvious instances in the N.T. where it’s difficult to see how the rule would apply (e.g. 1 Cor. 8:1). It just struck my as somewhat odd that no one else seems to credit it with any validity at all..
I’m wondering whether “the extreme of a certain category, thus, the one deserving the name more than any other” — here characterized as “the article par excellence” — isn’t really just what Prototype Theory might call “The Prototypical Article.”

Gen 2:19-20 καὶ ἔπλασεν ὁ θεὸς ἔτι ἐκ τῆς γῆς πάντα τὰ θηρία τοῦ ἀγροῦ καὶ πάντα τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἤγαγεν αὐτὰ πρὸς τὸν Αδαμ ἰδεῖν, τί καλέσει αὐτά, καὶ πᾶν, ὃ ἐὰν ἐκάλεσεν αὐτὸ Αδαμ ψυχὴν ζῶσαν, τοῦτο ὄνομα αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἐκάλεσεν Αδαμ ὀνόματα πᾶσιν τοῖς κτήνεσιν καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς πετεινοῖς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς θηρίοις τοῦ ἀγροῦ …

I cannot but marvel at the ongoing human bents toward Nominalism and Idealism as applied to grammatical categories in Greek, in particular categories of case usage. In the case of Wallace’s GGBB it has given us names for two categories at opposite extremes: the “the article par excellence” and “the aporetic genitive.”
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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