Ephesians 5:25

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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Ephesians 5:25

Postby mrnoonz » October 25th, 2012, 12:06 am

Husbands love your wives (οἱ ἄνδρες ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας). Is this the best way to translate this verse? Thanks. :D

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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Barry Hofstetter » October 25th, 2012, 6:53 am

See my comments on translation in the other thread you started. The quick answer is yes. In context, the semantic range of both ἄνδρες and γυναῖκας must be restricted to "husbands and wives." Unless you had some other issue about the text in mind?
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Alan Patterson » October 25th, 2012, 7:40 am

οἱ ἄνδρες ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας

I would English this

Love your wives, husbands.

The emphasis is on ἀγαπᾶτε (contrasted with the other commands) while ἄνδρες is simply a header of sorts; it names the category to which this command applies.
χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » October 25th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Alan:

I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that the emphasis is on ἀγαπᾶτε.

It seems to me that Paul is addressing a succession of demographic classes in the passage:

αι γυναικες… οι ανδρες… τα τεκνα… οι πατερες… οι δουλοι… και οι κυριοι

Thus, beginning the translation with the addressees, οι ανδρες, makes better sense to me than inverting the word order to draw attention to the verb.
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Barry Hofstetter » October 27th, 2012, 7:34 am

I would be interested in seeing Alan's rationale for why ἀγαπᾶτε receives the emphasis. Generally, what comes first in the sentence will receive a certain amount of emphasis, or what it outside of the author's normal word order...
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Alan Patterson » October 29th, 2012, 7:09 am

I gave the rationale in summary in my first post. Here are the groups being addressed:

αι γυναικες… οι ανδρες… τα τεκνα… οι πατερες… οι δουλοι… και οι κυριοι


Is someone suggesting that the group headings are the points of emphases? By that I mean it is being argued that each of the categories is the emphasis, and not the contents and their main predicate? I can't find that credible. Is this what I am being asked to respond to? I really am not sure I would even know how to address that.

By the way, I just happened upon this post that has requested my reply. How do I know, in the future, if someone is seeking a reply from me?
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Barry Hofstetter » October 29th, 2012, 7:50 am

Alan Patterson wrote:I gave the rationale in summary in my first post. Here are the groups being addressed:

αι γυναικες… οι ανδρες… τα τεκνα… οι πατερες… οι δουλοι… και οι κυριοι


Is someone suggesting that the group headings are the points of emphases? By that I mean it is being argued that each of the categories is the emphasis, and not the contents and their main predicate? I can't find that credible. Is this what I am being asked to respond to? I really am not sure I would even know how to address that.

By the way, I just happened upon this post that has requested my reply. How do I know, in the future, if someone is seeking a reply from me?


I subscribe to the daily digest through google mail. This was done for me, so I'm not sure how to go about it, but Jonathan would probably be able to subscribe you if you wish. This has been very helpful when I've been very busy, as I have been for the last month or so with the beginning of a new school year. Otherwise, check in once a day or so to see if anyone loves you enough to write back... :lol:

Secondly, thanks for your response. I think we are dealing with two separate issues here, one of discourse continuity, the fact that there are several topic headings, as you call them, and then the type of syntactical emphasis that each independent sentence has within its own structure. Greek word order is highly flexible, even more so than Latin, and also author dependent to a certain extent. Normally, what falls first in the sentence does receive emphasis. I see the emphasis therefore falling on the individuals who are being asked to perform the actions/behaviors that the author requires of them. Even if the reason for placing the nouns first is due to the fact that they are in a list, I fail to see how that still would not give them that emphasis.
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 29th, 2012, 8:21 am

The problem in this thread is that "emphasis" is not a particularly well defined notion and it is not clear whether a phonological or pragmatic notion is in mind.

If it is to be regarded as phonological stress, then my understanding of Ancient Greek phonology is that the first phonological word (i.e. a clitic group) of an intonation unit (colon) gets the stress.

In a pragmatic / discourse / information structure analysis, it is best to avoid the term "emphasis," altogether in favor of more precise terms such as "topic," "focus," etc. In this case, I would say that Eph 5:25 οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας (as punctuated by NA27) exhibits a contrastive topic (οἱ ἄνδρες) followed by a broad focus (ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας).

If you follow the punctuation of the NA27, with a comma after οἱ ἄνδρες, then there would be two intonation units and thus two constituents receiving phonological stress, First, the constrastive topic, because it is necessary to direct the listener's attention to the fact that a different group of people is now about receive instructions. Second, the actual imperative, as typical for commands.
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » October 29th, 2012, 1:02 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:In a pragmatic / discourse / information structure analysis, it is best to avoid the term "emphasis," altogether in favor of more precise terms such as "topic," "focus," etc. In this case, I would say that Eph 5:25 οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας (as punctuated by NA27) exhibits a contrastive topic (οἱ ἄνδρες) followed by a broad focus (ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας).

I agree with Stephen. Informally "emphasis" often means that something "jumps up" from the text, as if it was highlighted with a color pen. There's much more to word order than that. "Topic" and "focus" are related to the flow of thought, so that text feels natural and easy to follow. I now try to explain with my own words: "emphasis" proper happens when the most natural, neutral flow of cognitive chain of ideas (and also words) is broken. What actually is the neutral flow of words depends on the context – there's no one normative neutral word order for all situations. In this case the most natural explanation is contrastive topic, as Stephen says, and because moving from one topic to another by putting the topic first in the sentence is natural and normal, it doesn't get any special "emphasis".
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » October 29th, 2012, 2:13 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: In this case the most natural explanation is contrastive topic, as Stephen says, and because moving from one topic to another by putting the topic first in the sentence is natural and normal, it doesn't get any special "emphasis".


... And the rest is focus. It's after the topic, as is completely normal, so there's no "emphasis" either. Internally it has Verb-Object which is also neutral in such a context.
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