A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 16th, 2013, 1:02 am

The discussion about Eph 1 has been split off and can now be found here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1934
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Hughes » July 16th, 2013, 1:56 am

Jonathan Robie wrote: Louis L Sorenson wrote:I've also found Goetchius' "The Language of the New Testament" is very informative on various structures and on par if not better than Funk in some areas).



I bought a copy on this recommendation, along with the workbook, and I have to say that I'm very impressed. Very clear writing, great examples, a constant focus on the bigger picture, approachable vocabulary.

A bit less detailed than Funk, easier to read.


When you were looking through it, did you notice how much of it was devoted to the treatment of participles? Is it it better or worse than the (fourty-odd pages somewhere near the back) treatment that W's GGBB gives to them?
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Hughes » July 19th, 2013, 11:46 pm

I have another issue that I would like to see addressed better in an intermediate grammar, the difference in usage between the infinitive and the subjunctive introduced by ἵνα. I've never thought about past the beginner (understand and translate) stage.
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby MAubrey » July 20th, 2013, 1:07 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I have another issue that I would like to see addressed better in an intermediate grammar, the difference in usage between the infinitive and the subjunctive introduced by ἵνα. I've never thought about past the beginner (understand and translate) stage.

Marking Thought and Talk in New Testament Greek: New Light from Linguistics on the Particles hina and hoti by Margaret G. Sim.

I don't remember if she deals with how ἵνα differs from infinitives, but this is as close as you're likely to get. She used to be on the B-Greek e-mail list...
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 27th, 2013, 7:27 am

I have split off the discussion as it evolved to intermediate level language learning here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1960
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Hughes » August 4th, 2013, 3:15 am

Another suggestion that I have for a structure of a New Koine Syntax is that syntactical features could be divided by text-type when they are discussed.

Such as for a given feature, "In narrative texts... In descriptive texts... In explanatory texts... In dialogue...". I am only cursorily familiar with these distinctions from my day-to-day teaching of English, and I don't know which way the discussion of text (utterance) types has gone for NT (augmented by other non-NT Koine text types - wills, contracts... ) but I'm sure it must have been studied extensively.

Greek is a language expressing the communicative needs of a speech community. So, beyond the syntactic patterns that are required by the language itself, so that it is the language and not "wrong" (or "poor" Greek), I think that it may not be the best approach to describe just one Koine syntactic monolith, but rather to see how syntax as a tool a number of usages to which the language is put.

Or perhaps this issue needs to be treated as a separate issue in an advanced Koine syntax.
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 4th, 2013, 7:40 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Another suggestion that I have for a structure of a New Koine Syntax is that syntactical features could be divided by text-type when they are discussed.

Such as for a given feature, "In narrative texts... In descriptive texts... In explanatory texts... In dialogue...". I am only cursorily familiar with these distinctions from my day-to-day teaching of English, and I don't know which way the discussion of text (utterance) types has gone for NT (augmented by other non-NT Koine text types - wills, contracts... ) but I'm sure it must have been studied extensively.

My impression is that this text-type or discourse mode stuff isn't really a mature area of study, despite the fact that you can find research throughout the 20th century working on it. I know of some who are doing it now for Classical Greek and Latin (Rutger Allan, Suzanne Adema, etc. come to mind) but so far it seems to me to be mainly taxonomy and not much else. Though there are some implications for syntax (e.g. the historical present), a lot of it to me seems to fall under style or some equally nebulous category.
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Hughes » August 4th, 2013, 10:45 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:doing it now for Classical Greek

I can see why that would be a place where such an enquiry would happen readily.

It has been recognised since antiquity (by "antiquity" I mean the pre- Alexandrian period or perhaps before Persians) that different dialects tended to be used for different genres across historical periods.

Stephen Carlson wrote:text-type or discourse mode stuff isn't really a mature area of study
I find that surprising. The techniques for tackling texts that I teach my ESL students require them to recognise what type of text they are dealing with, and then to ask an appropriate set of questions of the text.

If we can draw from a ready-made classification system, we could just say that at a very basic level we classify "In the narrative text, in the analogies and teaching, in the presentation of a point of view, in songs and praise and in apocalyptic texts".

It is a complex question, but if we re-ask the question, What is a Gospel? from the point of view of Greek literature, perhaps the answer will be somewhere between the popular novel (Chariton et al) and the wise sayings of the philosoper (Gos. Thom., Apophthegmata Patrum). If that assumption is true, then perhaps we need to look at the Gospels from either of two different analytical models, or in some cases both. Given the uncertainty, it would be useful to first look at the philosophical aphorisms of various philosophers in various schools and then look at the simple narrative syntax of the popular novel and then read the Gospels in that way. Inductively then the study of grammar follows the paradigm of the Incarnation - the Word "infleshed" - that is to say that the Gospel style is itself a preaching of Christ the incarnate Word.

There are personal letters in the corpus, that Hunt and Edgar present for us, have been used (perhaps primarily by historians) for decades now give us some idea of what a letter is so that we can understand the personal nature of correspondance in the NT corpus.

I can't really think of parallels for the preaching and teaching parts of the epistle outside of the patristic texts that follow in their stead for the later generations. The dialectic reasoning of the philosophical discourses accounts for only a small part of the Apostle's writings, I think.

The legal documents - and the assumed knowledge of the legals system that even individual words allude to - are in the background of the new testament text. Their precision, for example, however, and their lengthy listing of constraints and consequences are not really part of our literature, but I would be happy if someone could disagree with me on this.

The apocalyptic litterature is very short and to the point and changes track quickly, but again in keeping with the Incarnational preaching of the Church, the apocalypse of John is full of narrative which takes place in a system of time and space, even if it a sort of revelationary hyperreality - given though that the simulacrum has a reality to copy which is Jesus Christ in history. To understand it then - simliar to the Gospels - we could consider the syntactic patterns of the pagan revelations together with the popular novels.

I have not read widely in the pagan religous / magical texts, but I assume that that would be another text-type.

Are there other glaringly obvious text-types that I have, through the blindness of looking too closely, overlooked?

What should a syntax do?
Of course, for us, who can read well enough in Greek to be discussing on this forum, reading widely is an answer for seeing things, but to design an intermediate syntax textbook (crutch - and I mean that as a good thing like a walking frame) for intermediate students to gain a perspective on how to contextualise and arrange into memory the syntactical structures that they are encountering, arranging it into even a slightly innacurately defined text-type schema.

There will be language derived patterns that are common to the language as a whole and not to a particular text-type and then there will be tendencies and then there will be commonplaces. A syntax writer who has read widely and can recognise them, will help the students greatly if they could share that experience.
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 5th, 2013, 6:35 am

If the idea is that genre and text-type plays some role in the choice of syntactic structures, sure, that's common sense. But getting from playing some role to something more rigorous, well, I haven't really seen anything besides some initial forays into taxonomy. And I've been looking too. So if you happen to know of anything, I would appreciate the reference. If it's just that you think that it might be important, well, I agree with that but I want something more applicable than a sense that it could be important.
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Re: A Model for a New Koine Syntax?

Postby Louis L Sorenson » August 12th, 2013, 6:58 pm

We should also consider the format of the Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (James Moorewood, 2001). http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Grammar-Classical-Greek-Morwood/dp/0195218515/ref=sr_1_1?s=textbooks-trade-in&ie=UTF8&qid=1376348273&sr=1-1&keywords=oxford+grammar+of+classical+greekThis is an intermediate grammar which includes sections both on accidence and syntax.
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