Article with Events

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mmorris
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Article with Events

Post by mmorris » February 10th, 2019, 11:18 pm

I’ve read several books now by Christian authors, they don’t claim to be experts on Greek, but basically they say if an event is mentioned in Greek and has an article it must have a previous reference. Whether previously mentioned in that book or any other book in the Bible.

I’m interested to hear opinions on this.

From what I have seen:

Obviously it is common in the NT for a previously mentioned SOMETHING to have an article to point back to the original mention. However, even then this doesn’t cross over books. Ie. If Luke mentions something anarthrously, if say one of the other gospels mention the same event or idea, they don’t put an article at the first appearance. In fact the first appearance in the next book seems to be anarthrous for that specific book and others articular. Ie. Even when this occurs it’s not Bible wide.

At the same time it seems like the first appearance of events or concepts can have the article even if not previously mentioned, it would seem for other reasons.

Have these writers just misunderstood what has been written on this topic or am I missing something?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Article with Events

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 11th, 2019, 10:26 am

mmorris wrote:
February 10th, 2019, 11:18 pm
From what I have seen:

Obviously it is common in the NT for a previously mentioned SOMETHING to have an article to point back to the original mention. However, even then this doesn’t cross over books. Ie. If Luke mentions something anarthrously, if say one of the other gospels mention the same event or idea, they don’t put an article at the first appearance. In fact the first appearance in the next book seems to be anarthrous for that specific book and others articular. Ie. Even when this occurs it’s not Bible wide.
There's no such thing as "first appearance" across books. Often, you do see something new introduced anarthrously, then referred to with the article after that, especially in the same passage. We do this in English too:
There are two women in a room. A man walks into the room, looks at the two women, then looks away. The man fidgets...
Once something is introduced in the current discourse, it can be referred to with the article. But as you note, that's not the only pattern.
mmorris wrote:
February 10th, 2019, 11:18 pm
At the same time it seems like the first appearance of events or concepts can have the article even if not previously mentioned, it would seem for other reasons.
Yes, and the reasons are often not terribly different than in English. The article is used for something that is identifiable in the given context. I can refer to "the White House" without first introducing it because it is well known.

Here's an example from Matthew that shows some of the issues.
Matthew 5:1 wrote:Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ·
Why is it τοὺς ὄχλους? A peek at the previous sentence reveals the antecedent:
καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ Δεκαπόλεως καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου.
Hmmm, but what about τὸ ὄρος? There is no such antecedent here. It's tempting to think that this must be a well-known mountain (or hill), a specific place that the readers would be expected to know, but if that's the case, it's not clear which mountain or hill is intended.

I suspect this is parallel to the English "into the woods" or "into the hills", which does not refer to a specific place. Here's a commentary that expresses what I mean here:
Exegetical Summary wrote:The majority of the translations state that Jesus went up on a ‘mountain’. However, since this concerns the hill country on the northwest side of the Lake of Galilee where the hills rise steeply from the lake, the phase τὸ ὄρος need not denote a specific mountain. It is a general term for the hill country and we are to understand that Jesus went into the hills, that is, he was in the hill country [NICNT]
Abernathy, D. (2013). An Exegetical Summary of Matthew 1–16 (p. 97). Dallas, TX: SIL International.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Article with Events

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 11th, 2019, 1:35 pm

mmorris wrote:
February 10th, 2019, 11:18 pm
I’ve read several books now by Christian authors, they don’t claim to be experts on Greek, but basically they say if an event is mentioned in Greek and has an article it must have a previous reference. Whether previously mentioned in that book or any other book in the Bible.

I’m interested to hear opinions on this.

From what I have seen:

Obviously it is common in the NT for a previously mentioned SOMETHING to have an article to point back to the original mention. However, even then this doesn’t cross over books. Ie. If Luke mentions something anarthrously, if say one of the other gospels mention the same event or idea, they don’t put an article at the first appearance. In fact the first appearance in the next book seems to be anarthrous for that specific book and others articular. Ie. Even when this occurs it’s not Bible wide.

At the same time it seems like the first appearance of events or concepts can have the article even if not previously mentioned, it would seem for other reasons.

Have these writers just misunderstood what has been written on this topic or am I missing something?
The article is used when the author chooses to present something as cognitively accessible to the presumed audience.[1] This means that anything in the global cognitive framework of the presumed audience can be considered accessible even if it isn't currently discourse active. This would allow scenarios from another book to be assumed accessible to the audience. Late authors may take for granted familiarity with the content of early authors. So being previously discussed does involve multiple texts.


[1]Richard A. Hoyle, Scenarios, discourse and translation. SIL 2008, Chapter 6.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

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