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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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Ephesians 5:25

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 1st, 2012, 9:43 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: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.
Excellent observations and very well stated. I was thinking more of phonology than discourse.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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