Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 5th, 2012, 11:41 am

Neuter pronouns have the same form for the nominative and accusative and so the case assignment must be determined by syntax. Except in (fairly rare) cases of case attraction, the case of a relative pronoun is generally governed by its syntactic function within its relative clause. For the relative clause ὃ ἦν ἀπ' άρχῆς, the relative pronoun ὅ is the subject of the verb ἦν and must syntactically be nominative. The relative clause as a whole, however, functions as an object, presumably of a verb like ἀπαγγέλλομεν in v.3.
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby John Brainard » July 5th, 2012, 12:12 pm

I agree

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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby David Lim » July 5th, 2012, 11:04 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Neuter pronouns have the same form for the nominative and accusative and so the case assignment must be determined by syntax. Except in (fairly rare) cases of case attraction, the case of a relative pronoun is generally governed by its syntactic function within its relative clause. For the relative clause ὃ ἦν ἀπ' άρχῆς, the relative pronoun ὅ is the subject of the verb ἦν and must syntactically be nominative. The relative clause as a whole, however, functions as an object, presumably of a verb like ἀπαγγέλλομεν in v.3.


Oh yes, thanks Stephen! Sorry John, I suffered from attraction.
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 6th, 2012, 2:22 am

John Brainard wrote:Is it possible that περι του λογου της ζωης is a parentheses?


A parenthesis is a grammatically independent thought that interrupts the normal sentence structure (BDF § 458), and, as far as I can tell, it is always a clause of some sort with a verb. Do you have any examples of a parenthesis with just a prepositional phrase?

I agree with the analysis that 1 John 1:2 is a parenthesis. The syntax of 1 John 1:1-3 is pretty rough. I'm inclined to think that there is an anacoluthon, where the author has effectively abandoned the structure of v.1 due to the parenthesis of v. 2, and restarted the sentence in v.3.
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby Jonathan Robie » July 6th, 2012, 8:04 am

David Lim wrote:Sorry John, I suffered from attraction.


Young Greeks in the springtime ...
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby John Brainard » July 6th, 2012, 8:46 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
John Brainard wrote:Is it possible that περι του λογου της ζωης is a parentheses?


A parenthesis is a grammatically independent thought that interrupts the normal sentence structure (BDF § 458), and, as far as I can tell, it is always a clause of some sort with a verb. Do you have any examples of a parenthesis with just a prepositional phrase?

I agree with the analysis that 1 John 1:2 is a parenthesis. The syntax of 1 John 1:1-3 is pretty rough. I'm inclined to think that there is an anacoluthon, where the author has effectively abandoned the structure of v.1 due to the parenthesis of v. 2, and restarted the sentence in v.3.



It is a very awkward statement In the Greek as well as the English.

How do we connect this prepositional phrase to what goes before it? I know that this becomes some what theological and I am trying to think of ways in which to avoid that.

περι του λογου της ζωης could possibly function to define the subject of the eyewitness testimony which the verbs in verse 1 describe.

To answer your question (and your point is well taken) I do not know of a prepositional Phrase that functions in this manner but I do have a mission now to find one. :o

Thank you for taking time to work through this with me.

John
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby cwconrad » July 6th, 2012, 9:52 am

I'm going to cite the whole of 1 Jn 1:1-3 again because I find it helpful to have the whole text before my eyes as I'm discussing it.

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς _ 2 καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν _ 3 ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν, ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν. καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.


I should note that:
(1) I agree with the view that verse 2 lies outside the syntactic continuum of verses 1 and 3 and that it is best understood as a parenthetical comment on the affirmations of the three relative clauses in verse 1;
(2) there there is an anacoluthon -- a break in the sequence between verses 1 and 3; verse 3 deliberately resumes the sequence of verse 1 with its summary formulation, "ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν," and then adds the predicate that seems originally intended to follow upon the three relative clauses of verse 1.

I would understand the prepositional phrase, "περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς," as functioning adverbially with each of the three clauses immediately preceding it: "What we've heard, what we've seen ... what we've watched and our hands have touched with regard to the word of life ... " The content could be -- and almost certainly should be altered in an English version in order to make the sequence more intelligible; I might paraphrase it thus: "What was always there, what every sense we have has added to our experience of the Word of Life, -- that is what we proclaim ... "

To repeat: I think that the prepositional phrase, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, qualifies adverbially the three relative clauses, "ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν."

I do think there's an awkwardness to the whole sentence, resulting from what may have been an overambitious conception of how the sentence should start. It's just a little bit -- but by no means so pathetic -- like the long phrase "Think ahead" printed out by hand on a bulletin board that has room for only one letter when two or three are still needed to complete it. Perhaps it's harder to start over when you're writing on parchment -- who knows?
Carl W. Conrad
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby Jonathan Robie » July 6th, 2012, 10:42 am

Let's take Carl's message and work backwards.

Here's what the verse looks like if you take out the parenthetical verse 2, and the phrase used to resume the original thought from verse 1:

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν. καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.


To me, that's not awkward. To me, the parenthesis in verse 2 is awkward - it feels almost as though he didn't quite say what he wanted to in verse 2, then recovered and said it in verse 3. It's not badly awkward, it's the kind of thing we read in each other's posts on B-Greek all the time, and don't make a big deal about in our native language and in everyday writing, but it stands out when we look at this text.

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς

_ 2 καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν
καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν[/color] ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον
ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν _


3 ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν, ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν. καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.


As Carl says, in verse 3, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν is added to resume the thought from verse 1. To me, verse 2 feels like it was written quickly, more careful editing might have put the material elsewhere, perhaps like this?

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν. καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.


I doubt that I did any better than John, but I'm trying ;->
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby John Brainard » July 6th, 2012, 11:17 am

This is pretty good for beginners stuff. :D

I would like to take some time to digest what has been presented here. Between my wife in and out of the Hospital I do not have a lot of free time.

But this discussion certainly has been very helpful

It is is interesting how text like this can be viewed from several different angles.

Blessings

John
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Re: Possible parentheses (1 John 1:1)

Postby cwconrad » July 6th, 2012, 1:43 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:... perhaps like this?

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν. καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.


I doubt that I did any better than John, but I'm trying ;->


And to think: you did it all with your little bitty blue pencil!

Do you suppose maybe we could create a "Reader's Digest Greek Text" on the quick with just such a little bitty blue pencil?
Carl W. Conrad
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πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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