Article and proper names

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Jonathan Robie
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Article and proper names

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 16th, 2015, 3:46 pm

In class, a student asked about the meaning of an article with a proper name. I've seen BDF section 260 and Robertson's big grammar p. 759ff, both suggest that personal style and subtleties of the language are involved, neither is able to give a clear set of rules, and I'm not sure that either clearly says what the meaning is with and without the article.

Can anyone help? Are there any more recent works on the subject that are useful?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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George F Somsel
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by George F Somsel » October 16th, 2015, 5:49 pm

1136. Names of persons and places are individual and therefore omit the article unless previously mentioned (1120 b) or specially marked as well known: Θουκῡδίδης Ἀθηναῖος Thucydides an Athenian T. 1. 1, τοὺς στρατιώτᾱς αὐτῶν, τοὺς παρὰ Κλέαρχον ἀπελθόντας, εἴᾱ Κῦρος τὸν Κλέαρχον ἔχειν their soldiers who seceded to Clearchus, Cyrus allowed Clearchus to retain X. A. 1. 4. 7, ὁ Σόλων D. 20. 90, οἱ Ἡρᾱκλέες the Heracleses P. Th. 169 b.

p 290 1137. Names of deities omit the article, except when emphatic (νὴ τὸν Δία by Zeus) or when definite cults are referred to: τὸ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ἕδος the sanctuary of Athena (at Athens) I. 15. 2. Names of festivals vary in prose writers (no article in inscriptions): Παναθήναια the Panathenaea (but Παναθηναίοις τοῖς μῑκροῖς at the Lesser Panathenaea L. 21. 4). Names of shrines have the article.

1138. Names of nations may omit the article, but οἱ Ἕλληνες is usual when opposed to οἱ βάρβαροι the barbarians. When nations are opposed, the article is usually absent: ὁ πόλεμος Ἀθηναίων καὶ Πελοποννησίων T. 2. 1 (but ὁ πόλεμος τῶν Πελοποννησίων καὶ Ἀθηναίων 1. 1. The name of a nation without the article denotes the entire people. Names of families may omit the article: Ἀσκληπιάδαι P. 11. 406 a.
Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges (New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company, 1920), 289–290.
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george
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 16th, 2015, 6:00 pm

OK, let me try to apply Smyth's rules to the patterns I see.

In the Synoptics, Jesus usually has the article (except in vocative and ὁ Ἰησοῦς, but there are exceptions. That makes sense using Smyth's rules, this is "the well known Jesus". John uses the article about half the time. The Epistles usually don't use the article for Jesus.

What should that tell me?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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George F Somsel
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by George F Somsel » October 16th, 2015, 6:09 pm

What should that tell me?
Different strokes for different folks?
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george
gfsomsel



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George F Somsel
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by George F Somsel » October 17th, 2015, 2:04 am

I've been doing a little checking in the GoJ and PRELIMINARILY have formed a hypothesis regarding the use of the article with Ἰησοῦς. It would appear that at times the author follows Smyth's rule (1.17). There seems be a tendency to omit the article when Ἰησοῦς is the subject of a verb with nothing intervening or with αὐτός. I'll need to check more closely to establish this.

FWIW, I don't think the apostle John wrote this gospel but suspect it was John the Elder from Ephesus. Under that circumstance, it may not have been "the famous Jesus" but someone who was being introduced to them.
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george
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 18th, 2015, 7:37 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:In class, a student asked about the meaning of an article with a proper name. I've seen BDF section 260 and Robertson's big grammar p. 759ff, both suggest that personal style and subtleties of the language are involved, neither is able to give a clear set of rules, and I'm not sure that either clearly says what the meaning is with and without the article.

Can anyone help? Are there any more recent works on the subject that are useful?
George, as usual, has posted some useful information. I simply want to add that the author's own sense of the language (idiolect) should not be overlooked. One example is that the writers of the NT regularly use the article with θεός, "the God," the one true God, what we mean when we simply say "God" without any other qualification. Ignatius (the sub-apostolic figure) just as regularly omits the article when he means the same thing. Want to form a rule of grammar from that? :) Or to Ignatius, does the idea of θεός as a proper name for deity invoke a different sense of the use of the article? BTW, this is why it is often difficult for beginning students to move from one author to another. The differences in "style" and usage would have been fine for a native speaker or one who used Greek on a regular basis in a spoken linguaculture, but they loom rather large to us...

And just for fun, Latin has no article, definite or indefinite. How does such a language capture the subtleties of the use of the Greek definite article? It doesn't seem to have troubled Jerome too much.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 18th, 2015, 4:32 pm

Jenny Read-Heimerdinger and Stephen Levinsohn have some proposals. Basically, the unmarked use is to use the article with proper names, and omitting it is marked (e.g., for focus, etc.). I realize that this brief summary is utterly inadequate, but I hope it gives the flavor of what they're proposing.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » October 18th, 2015, 5:52 pm

I wonder how Stephen forgot to mention Richard A. Hoyle's "Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation" which uses "The scenario theory of Cognitive Linguistics" and applies it to the article.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 18th, 2015, 5:55 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:I wonder how Stephen forgot to mention Richard A. Hoyle's "Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation" which uses "The scenario theory of Cognitive Linguistics" and applies it to the article.
I wonder too, but thanks for the reminder.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Article and proper names

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 18th, 2015, 8:24 pm

Seems to be here:

Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation. The scenario theory of Cognitive Linguistics, its relevance for analysing New Testament Greek and modern Parkari texts, and its implications for translation theory.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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