Subjective and objective genitive

Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby MAubrey » July 7th, 2012, 11:48 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:So, your referring to semantic roles. Do you mean that the subjective/objective (or agentive/patientive?) are possible explanations for genitive only if the phrase or its paraphrase has an agent in the strict sense of the word - that e.g. experiencer isn't enough? Why? As far as I can see this wouldn't explain the examples used by Smyth.


Well, a couple points...

1) First note that Smyth's description independent of his examples fits precisely with what I'm claiming: "The Subjective Genitive is active in sense" = agentative; "The Objective Genitive is passive in sense" = patientive.

2) I think Smyth's examples are pretty terrible, at least the subjective genitive ones. Smyth uses a φόβος example for the subjective genitive, but goes on to say later that it is actually the objective genitive that "is very common with substantives denoting a frame of mind or an emotion." In my view, the so-called subjective genitive τῶν βαρβάρων φόβος the fear of the barbarians is more easily conceptualized as involving a possessive schema. That is, it isn't parallel to "the barbarians were afraid." The phrase makes far more sense as an extension of the normal possessive use of the genitive, where emotions or experiences are conceived as possessions. The same goes for τὸ ὀργιζόμενον τῆς γνώμης their angry feelings.

The fact of the matter is that is that Smyth's examples don't match his description (with the exception of βασιλέως ἐπιορκία the perjury of the king). Either his examples are wrong or his description is wrong. They don't really match.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 7th, 2012, 12:21 pm

It is my opinion that this whole subjective / objective genitive thing needs some serious rethinking, perhaps along the order of a linguistically informed Dutch dissertation.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » July 7th, 2012, 1:02 pm

MAubrey wrote:1) First note that Smyth's description independent of his examples fits precisely with what I'm claiming: "The Subjective Genitive is active in sense" = agentative; "The Objective Genitive is passive in sense" = patientive.

That's quite clear, and I noticed it.

2) I think Smyth's examples are pretty terrible, at least the subjective genitive ones. Smyth uses a φόβος example for the subjective genitive, but goes on to say later that it is actually the objective genitive that "is very common with substantives denoting a frame of mind or an emotion." In my view, the so-called subjective genitive τῶν βαρβάρων φόβος the fear of the barbarians is more easily conceptualized as involving a possessive schema. That is, it isn't parallel to "the barbarians were afraid." The phrase makes far more sense as an extension of the normal possessive use of the genitive, where emotions or experiences are conceived as possessions. The same goes for τὸ ὀργιζόμενον τῆς γνώμης their angry feelings.


I have spent my time here keeping my head from exploding, and this same thought has been one of the dangerous ones. Several questions follow. What would be good examples for subjective genitive where it couldn't be interpreted as possessive? Can the subjective and objective genitives be paralleled at all? Are there actually examples where the phrase without further context could be either one? Does subjective genitive exist at all? The more I think about this, the more confused I am.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » July 7th, 2012, 1:17 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:It is my opinion that this whole subjective / objective genitive thing needs some serious rethinking, perhaps along the order of a linguistically informed Dutch dissertation.


Great, that's what we needed - a fetishism for Dutch linguistics! :)

But seriously speaking, it really looks that all that can be said about subj./obj. genitive hasn't been said, outside or inside Koine or Bible. And in this phase it's actually too early to say that the problematic NT passages can't be solved by grammar alone. We can say that "what we now know about subj./obj. gen. can't alone solve the problem".
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 7th, 2012, 1:34 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:It is my opinion that this whole subjective / objective genitive thing needs some serious rethinking, perhaps along the order of a linguistically informed Dutch dissertation.


Great, that's what we needed - a fetishism for Dutch linguistics! :)


I'll be happy with a good dissertation on the topic by a Finn too. ;)

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:But seriously speaking, it really looks that all that can be said about subj./obj. genitive hasn't been said, outside or inside Koine or Bible. And in this phase it's actually too early to say that the problematic NT passages can't be solved by grammar alone. We can say that "what we now know about subj./obj. gen. can't alone solve the problem".


Agreed.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » July 7th, 2012, 1:47 pm

MAubrey wrote:In my view, the so-called subjective genitive τῶν βαρβάρων φόβος the fear of the barbarians is more easily conceptualized as involving a possessive schema. That is, it isn't parallel to "the barbarians were afraid." The phrase makes far more sense as an extension of the normal possessive use of the genitive, where emotions or experiences are conceived as possessions. The same goes for τὸ ὀργιζόμενον τῆς γνώμης their angry feelings.

I'm reading the paper pointed to by Alex. It says (p. 88):
At first glance, the cache above may seem to be full of possessive genitives, rather than subjective genitives. However, the verbal nature of πιστις shifts the function of the genitive from possessive to subjective.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby MAubrey » July 7th, 2012, 2:43 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:I have spent my time here keeping my head from exploding, and this same thought has been one of the dangerous ones. Several questions follow. What would be good examples for subjective genitive where it couldn't be interpreted as possessive? Can the subjective and objective genitives be paralleled at all? Are there actually examples where the phrase without further context could be either one? Does subjective genitive exist at all? The more I think about this, the more confused I am.


I don't know. I haven't put much time into the question--at least not for a few years.

It's easier in English because the -tion suffix lends itself well to the subjective/objective construction.

The Army's destruction of the city.
Donald Trump's construction of the hotel.
Men's objectification of women.
Bob's reuninification with his wife.
The policeman's confiscation of the evidence.
The doctor's obfuscation of the truth of my diagnosis.
etc.

We don't have that kind of convenience in Greek (that I know of). Perhaps there is a derivation morpheme that works similarly...?

Part of me wonders whether such usage could be preferably done with participles instead...

btw, I think the quote from the paper Alex point out is silly.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » July 9th, 2012, 3:04 pm

I started to read Robertson for genitive. I found a real gem there. It's not directly related to the question at hand - except that τοῦ πνεύματος βλασφημία is "objective" genitive - but this is so great...

Robertson pp. 493-494 wrote:One other remark is called for concerning the
meaning of the genitive in Greek. It is that the case does not of
itself mean all that one finds in translation. The case adheres to
its technical root-idea. The resultant idea will naturally vary
greatly according as the root-conception of the case is applied to
different words and different contexts. But the varying element
is not the case, but the words and the context. The error must
not be made of mistaking the translation of the resultant whole
for the case itself. Thus in Mt. 1:12 we have μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶ-
νος. It is translated 'removal to Babylon.' Now the genitive
does not mean ‘to,’ but that is the correct translation of the
total idea obtained by knowledge of the 0. T. What the geni-
tive says is that it is a 'Babylon-removal.' That is all. So in
Mt. 12:31, ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος βλασφημία, it is the 'Spirit-blasphemy.'
From the context we know that it is blasphemy against the
Spirit, though the genitive does not mean 'against.’ When a
case has so many possible combinations in detail it is difficult to
make a satisfactory grouping of the various resultant usages. A
very simple and obvious one is here followed. But one must
always bear in mind that these divisions are merely our modern
conveniences and were not needed by the Greeks themselves.
At every stage one needs to recall the root-idea of the case (genus
or kind) and find in that and the environment and history the
explanation.
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 10th, 2012, 8:52 pm

I split off the discussion of the genitive in 2 Km 18:5 into its own thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1348
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Re: Subjective and objective genitive

Postby MAubrey » July 10th, 2012, 11:26 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I split off the discussion of the genitive in 2 Km 18:5 into its own thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1348


That's fine. But I wish you hadn't removed my original post. I was trying to say something relevant to the theoretical issue at hand.
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