Squinting Modifiers

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jdhadwin
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Squinting Modifiers

Post by jdhadwin » August 25th, 2015, 2:22 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm learning Greek (just starting) and I came across (what I think to be) a squinting construction in 1st Corinthians 14:34 that could make all the difference in the world. I'd like to first give an example of a squinting construction in English.
What you hear often you will believe.
The modifier is "often". Does the phrase mean, "you will believe things you hear often," or does it mean, "you will often believe things you hear"? It could mean either. Here's another one...
Instructors who cancel classes rarely are reprimanded.
The modifier is "rarely". Does it mean, "instructors who cancel classes are reprimanded rarely," or does it mean, "instructors who rarely cancel classes are reprimanded"? It could mean either.

Of course, neither of these squinting constructions are very important and it's easy to know the meaning because of common sense. But what happens when it is not so obvious which phrase is to be modified? What's worse: what happens when such a squinting modifier is positioned to change the entire dynamics of how church will or will not work for a millenium or two?

Here is the dilemma, it seems to me that we have such a construction in 1st Corinthians 14:34. The verse is translated by the KJV as follows:
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
But have a closer look at the placement of οὐ in the Textus Receptus (TR):
αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει
Does οὐ modify ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν as it is currently translated, or does it modify the word σιγάτωσαν? How can anyone know for sure? It seems to me that pre-modification is the norm in Koine (where the οὐ comes before the phrase it modifies). BUT there is also definitely precedent for post-modification (where the οὐ comes after the phrase it modifies). Though the latter seems much less prevalent (at least from my observations), if there is a precedent where the negative modifier appears after the phrase it is intended to modify, then we certainly cannot be presumptuous with our translation of 1st Corinthians 14:34. If the modifier could belong to either the phrase occurring before or after itself, then we definitely have a squinting construction that has been poised to reap havoc on church government throughout the centuries.

Here is a precedent of a negative modifier occurring after the phrase it was intended to modify: 1st Corinthians 11:16.
Εἰ δέ τις δοκεῖ φιλόνεικος εἶναι ἡμεῖς τοιαύτην συνήθειαν οὐκ ἔχομεν οὐδὲ αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ θεοῦ
Here, οὐκ modifies the word before, συνήθειαν, what I'm calling "post-modification", until one of you teaches me the correct term for this, lol. But now that we see that negations can occur before or after the word(s) they modify, I'm sure we have a squinting construction in 1st Corinthians 14:34. It would seem that common sense could solve this, but apparently every translator of every English version to date has not questioned the decision of the translators of the KJV (and even their English speaking predecesors). But, looking at scripture, even at the remainder of Paul's writing, it seems much more fitting to translate this squinting verse (roughly) as follows:
αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει

The women of you in the assembly, keep them silent not, for give liberty to them to speak, but subject, according as the law says.
The problem is that this almost means the exact opposite. And the verse ends with the point that women should be "subject according as the law says." Well... where does the old law say that women must not have liberty to speak in the assembly? That I am aware of, it does not! Isn't it common knowledge that Paul is only referring to Genesis 3:16 here:
...thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
If this is "the subjection" that Paul refers to, then the idea being presented is not that women ought to shutup, but that they ought to be permitted to speak unless it comes down to a dispute, in which case they are to honor the natural Genesis 3:16 submission of woman to man. For if Paul intended to keep women silent, why then does he mention that it makes sense for women to pray and prophesy with their heads covered? Doesn't this require speaking!? Of course it does. But if 1st Corinthians 14:34-35 has been translated properly, then their is no need for women to cover their head, because they will never be allowed to prophesy or pray in the assembly to begin with! The current translation silences all prophetesses, when it seems that Paul had the exact opposite intention.
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
We know that Paul acknowledged that there are no women or men in spirit (Galatians 3:28). So then if the entire purpose of 1st Corinthians 14 is to set apart the practices which do not edify from the practices that do edify the church (and it is), then why would he treat those who are equal in spirit (women) as though the flesh took precedence over the spirit in an assembly who esteems that which is spirit above that which is flesh? The only time such an assembly would default to the worldly order would be when the spiritual order is in question and not agreed upon by all. These two verses appear to accomplish just that, if we regard the entire gospel context in which the writer was so saturated.

So then, it seems obvious to me that the most common sense translation should have the οὐ modifying σιγάτωσαν: giving women liberty and equality in the assembly unless a dispute begins to arise. In the event of a dispute, the hierarchy of the flesh (woman subject to men) would be honored. Contextually, this chapter speaks about church edification and what to do if edification begins to be disrupted. With a sort of rhythm, between verse 28 and 35 Paul speaks of 3 subjections that the church must fall back on. Yet the rhythm of these points on subjection seem to have been lost in translation. Just as those speaking in tongues publicly were to willingly subject themselves to those who interpret tongues(v28), and just as the spirit of the prophets were to subject themselves willingly to the prophets (v32), so women were to willingly subject themselves to their husbands in the event of potential public discord in the assembly ––quite different from perpetual compulsory silence isn't it? Verse 34 would literally mean the opposite of what it currently says in every English version!

So it is my amateur assesment that the next verse (v35) should be translated (roughly) thusly: (using underscores to try to keep everything lined up right)
εἰ_δέ____τι________μαθεῖν________θέλουσιν____ἐν_οἴκῳ__τοὺς_ἰδίους_ἄνδρας_...
if_then_(something_understanding)_they_would_(at_home_their_own___husbands...
______(____2__________1_____)___________(5___6_____2___3_______4____...

ἐπερωτάτωσαν_αἰσχρὸν_γάρ_ἐστιν_γυναιξὶν_ἐν__________ἐκκλησίᾳ_____λαλεῖν
accost)_______(dishonor_for__it_is_women)_(by_means_of_the_assembly_to_speak_(their_mind))
__1__)_______(___2_____3___1____4___)_(______2___________3_________1_______________)
I hope this looks right in your browser(s), I had to line it all up vertically somehow (had to use underscores... and I can't use brackets in this message board). The numbers in parentheses annotate the English word ordering. So, combining these two verses, here's how I thought these verses should have roughly been translated:

1st Corinthians 14:34-35
The women of you in the assembly, keep them silent not, for give liberty to them to speak, but subject, according as the law says.
If then, understanding something, they would accost their own husbands at home it is dishonor for women to speak (their mind) by means of the assembly.
Am I missing something or am I right? Does anyone see any grammatical/syntactic reason why this could/should not be translated this way (or at least similarly)? Have I made any blunders in understanding the Greek (gramatically/syntactically)? Is this squinting construction really a squinting construction as I have postulated? Can 1st Corinthians 14:34 really be read either way?

Thank you all for your expertise and consideration!

~John
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 25th, 2015, 3:41 pm

If I understand you correctly, a squinting modifier is one that appears to qualify the words both before and after it, and is a particular kind of dangling modifier. Is that right?
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 25th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Before looking at your example, let me refer to Funk's grammar.
615. oὐ and μή most often negate the finite verb in a sentence or clause.

615.1 As a general rule, οὐ negates the indicative mood, μή the other moods, including the infinitive and participle. Bl-D §426.

615.2 Where οὐ or μή negates the finite verb, the negative appears regularly just before the verb. The group consisting of negative and verb may be marked Ν → 2.

1n+ Ν → 2 p5b
(1) ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμὸς / οὐ χωρεῖ / ἐν ὑμῖν Jn 8:37
My word has no place in you
Ν → 2-1
(2) οὐχ ἡμαρτήκαμεν 1 Jn 1:10
We have not sinned

A postpositive particle (a particle that may not stand first in its clause or word group), however, may intervene between negative and verb:

Ν → D 2-1 p4n+
(3) οὐ [γὰρ] βλέπεις / εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων Mk 12:14
[For] you do not regard the appearance of man
etc.
jdhadwin wrote:Here is a precedent of a negative modifier occurring after the phrase it was intended to modify: 1st Corinthians 11:16.
Εἰ δέ τις δοκεῖ φιλόνεικος εἶναι ἡμεῖς τοιαύτην συνήθειαν οὐκ ἔχομεν οὐδὲ αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ θεοῦ
Here, οὐκ modifies the word before, συνήθειαν, what I'm calling "post-modification", until one of you teaches me the correct term for this, lol.
I don't think so. I think this is best read as follows:

Code: Select all

(ἡμεῖς (τοιαύτην συνήθειαν) (οὐκ ἔχομεν))
(we (such a custom) (do not have))
where οὐκ negates ἔχομεν.

For what it's worth, I'm attaching a file that shows the local syntactic structure surrounding οὐ/οὐκ where it occurs in the Greek New Testament. I haven't had time to read through this file beyond simple browsing, and I don't know what exceptions may exist, but if a finite verb occurs right after οὐ, I would expect οὐ to negate it.
Attachments
ou.pdf
(1.69 MiB) Downloaded 82 times
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 25th, 2015, 4:35 pm

jdhadwin wrote:But, looking at scripture, even at the remainder of Paul's writing, it seems much more fitting to translate this squinting verse (roughly) as follows:
αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει

The women of you in the assembly, keep them silent not, for give liberty to them to speak, but subject, according as the law says.
One problem with this interpretation is that it just doesn't fit the way οὐ γὰρ is used in the rest of the New Testament. I know that punctuation was added after the original texts, but punctuation is also an indication that people just don't interpret οὐ γὰρ this way in any of the places where it occurs.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

jdhadwin
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by jdhadwin » August 25th, 2015, 5:31 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:If I understand you correctly, a squinting modifier is one that appears to qualify the words both before and after it, and is a particular kind of dangling modifier. Is that right?
I'm a little late in responding, but yes. Another good example of a squinting construction with a squinting modifier would be Matthew 5:3.
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν
Does it mean A) "The spiritually poor are blessed..."
Or does it mean B) "The poor are spiritually blessed..."

This is a good example of a squinting construction in Koine. In this case, the squinting construction was actually carried over into English so that it is also a squinting construction in both Koine and English! Thankfully, Luke solves this dilemma pretty easily with the following verses:
So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
~Luke 12:21
Here Jesus plainly declares that spiritual poverty is by no means a blessing.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
~Luke 6:20

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
~Luke 6:24
Thankfully, Luke's testimony easily settles the matter for us, that Jesus speaks of the spiritual blessing upon those who are poor or become poor for the sake of the gospel (for the sake of righteousness). Poverty quickly becomes a consequence of caring for others as we care for ourselves ––a consequence of following Jesus...
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
~1st John 3:17-18
Of course, I could go on working to prove that (B) is the intention, but that is not the point here. I just wanted to illustrate a confirmed biblical squinting construction.

I'm not particularly good enough at grammar to confirm whether or not squinting modifiers are the same as "dangling modifiers", but they definitely sound very much similar to me after reading the definition.

It looks like οὐ γὰρ is going against me on this 1st Corinthians 14:34-35 thing. Well, the last thing I want to do is go against what Paul taught! Yeah, that would be bad. I just want to be certain of what he is saying so that I know the difference.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
jdhadwin wrote:But, looking at scripture, even at the remainder of Paul's writing, it seems much more fitting to translate this squinting verse (roughly) as follows:
αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει

The women of you in the assembly, keep them silent not, for give liberty to them to speak, but subject, according as the law says.
One problem with this interpretation is that it just doesn't fit the way οὐ γὰρ is used in the rest of the New Testament. I know that punctuation was added after the original texts, but punctuation is also an indication that people just don't interpret οὐ γὰρ this way in any of the places where it occurs.
When were the punctuations added? By whom? I'm sorry I'm not already knowledgable about this, but as you can see, I'm not, lol. It seems likely that there are plenty of punctuators out there in the ancient world who might find it beneficial to tip a squinting modifier in the favor of silencing women. It seems highly suspect to me.

So what are your thoughts on the punctuation. What if it weren't there? How would that change my investigation?

~John
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 25th, 2015, 5:43 pm

Two requests: can you please use Greek examples without English translations? And could we please take one example at a time?

There are definitely examples of dangling modifiers in Hellenistic Greek. We can examine examples you propose one at a time to see if they really are dangling modifiers or not. But let's do it in Greek, relying on the syntactic structure of the Greek sentence.
jdhadwin wrote:When were the punctuations added? By whom? I'm sorry I'm not already knowledgable about this, but as you can see, I'm not, lol. It seems likely that there are plenty of punctuators out there in the ancient world who might find it beneficial to tip a squinting modifier in the favor of silencing women. It seems highly suspect to me.

So what are your thoughts on the punctuation. What if it weren't there? How would that change my investigation?
I'd start with this. You are a beginner. The people who provided the punctuation were not. The translators are not. In general, if the punctuation and all major translations fail to support a hypothesis, odds are that they are right and you are wrong. That's certainly true at my level of Greek, I'm more likely to be wrong than they are.

An awful lot of the meaning is contained in the syntax of Greek. You can't see the syntax of Greek by looking at an English translation and drawing analogies. So we need to look at these examples one at a time, slowly. It takes time and patience.

I like your enthusiasm ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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jdhadwin
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by jdhadwin » August 25th, 2015, 9:19 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:An awful lot of the meaning is contained in the syntax of Greek. You can't see the syntax of Greek by looking at an English translation and drawing analogies. So we need to look at these examples one at a time, slowly. It takes time and patience.
Sorry about that... Since I'm still looking into the material you attached (THANK YOU), I guess, I'll focus on the other squinting construction I pointed out and I'll be sure to keep it Koine (I'm so in over my head, lol)
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
~Matthew 5:3
Could mean A) "The spiritually poor are blessed..."
Could mean B) "The poor are spiritually blessed..."

Is this a good example of a squinting construction in Koine? If so, in this case, the squinting construction was actually carried over into English so that it is also a squinting construction in both Koine and English! Thankfully, Luke solves this dilemma pretty easily with the following verses:
οὕτως ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ καὶ μὴ εἰς θεὸν πλουτῶν
So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
~Luke 12:21
Here Jesus plainly declares that spiritual poverty is by no means a blessing.
Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, "Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God."
~Luke 6:20

Πλὴν οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς πλουσίοις ὅτι ἀπέχετε τὴν παράκλησιν ὑμῶν
But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
~Luke 6:24
Unless I'm completely missing something, Luke's testimony easily settles the matter for us, that Jesus speaks of the spiritual blessing upon those who are poor or become poor for the sake of the gospel (for the sake of righteousness). Poverty quickly becomes a consequence of caring for others as we care for ourselves ––a consequence of following Jesus...
17 Ὂς δ᾽ ἂν ἔχῃ τὸν βίον τοῦ κόσμου, καὶ θεωρῇ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὑτοῦ χρείαν ἔχοντα, καὶ κλείσῃ τὰ σπλάγχνα αὑτοῦ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, πῶς ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ μένει ἐν αὐτῷ
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18 Τεκνία μου, μὴ ἀγαπῶμεν λόγῳ, μηδὲ γλώσσῃ, ἀλλ᾽ ἔργῳ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
~1st John 3:17-18[/i]
So from these verses, the answer to my question about the Matthew 5:3 squinting construction is "B". But I'd say that that is impossible to decipher via Matthew 5:3 alone (but possible with these other verses I cited).

Do you agree?

~John
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 26th, 2015, 12:03 am

jdhadwin wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:One problem with this interpretation is that it just doesn't fit the way οὐ γὰρ is used in the rest of the New Testament. I know that punctuation was added after the original texts, but punctuation is also an indication that people just don't interpret οὐ γὰρ this way in any of the places where it occurs.
When were the punctuations added? By whom? I'm sorry I'm not already knowledgable about this, but as you can see, I'm not, lol. It seems likely that there are plenty of punctuators out there in the ancient world who might find it beneficial to tip a squinting modifier in the favor of silencing women. It seems highly suspect to me.

So what are your thoughts on the punctuation. What if it weren't there? How would that change my investigation?
The people who marked the punctuation were native speakers who tried to reflect the way that they read through a few symbols added to the text.

There are two ways to think of punctuation. First, they were added so that people could easily read well, and second so that people could read in a certain way (when there were alternatives).

In your example here; αἱ γυναῖκες ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν ἀλλ᾽ ὑποτάσσεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει, it is the type of punctuation that is there to remind you that γάρ is postpositive (second word in a phrase, i.e. it cause the word before it to be read as beginning a phrase).

Punctuation only goes a certain way towards good reading. If you are just beginning Greek, let me give an English example. Consider the opening phrase from Rudyard Kipling's "If" (1895)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you were to see the phrase "all about you" by itself, you would read it differently than it needs to be read in this context.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 26th, 2015, 6:39 am

jdhadwin wrote:Unless I'm completely missing something, Luke's testimony easily settles the matter for us, that Jesus speaks of the spiritual blessing upon those who are poor or become poor for the sake of the gospel (for the sake of righteousness). Poverty quickly becomes a consequence of caring for others as we care for ourselves ––a consequence of following Jesus...
No, you really are going to have to discuss Greek syntax here, and not use exegesis as a substitute.
jdhadwin wrote:Sorry about that... Since I'm still looking into the material you attached (THANK YOU), I guess, I'll focus on the other squinting construction I pointed out and I'll be sure to keep it Koine (I'm so in over my head, lol)
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
~Matthew 5:3
Could mean A) "The spiritually poor are blessed..."
Could mean B) "The poor are spiritually blessed..."
Let's focus on Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι. What can you tell me about this part of the sentence? How are οἱ and τῷ related - how are they similar, and how are they different? What do the three words that end in οι have in common? What are the different ways that the words in this clause combine to form the two meanings you say they have?

(I'm not trying to chase you away, I'm trying to find out what you know and what you do not so we can get the conversation going on a firmer Greek basis.)
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Re: Squinting Modifiers

Post by jdhadwin » August 26th, 2015, 12:53 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:No, you really are going to have to discuss Greek syntax here, and not use exegesis as a substitute.
Roger than. It's hard to turn that off, but I shall resist.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Let's focus on Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι. What can you tell me about this part of the sentence? How are οἱ and τῷ related - how are they similar, and how are they different? What do the three words that end in οι have in common? What are the different ways that the words in this clause combine to form the two meanings you say they have?
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ are all Nominative Plural Masculine. τῷ πνεύματι are both Dative Singular Masculine. The dative words τῷ πνεύματι tells us by what means οἱ πτωχοὶ are Μακάριοι, and now I'm thinking that they might operate on Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ as a whole because they are all Nominative Plural Masculine. Is that true? Originally, I thought that the dative words could operate on either Μακάριοι or οἱ πτωχοὶ, but not necessarily both. Please set me straight :oops:

οἱ and τῷ are both the same article ὁ, except they are Nominative Plural Masculine and Dative Singular Masculine respectively.

POSSIBILITIES:
1) If the Dative Singular Masculine words (τῷ πνεύματι) can be applied to either of the Nominative Plural Masculine words (Μακάριοι or οἱ πτωχοὶ), then the question is A) are they πτωχοὶ by means of πνεύματι, or B) are they Μακάριοι by means of πνεύματι?
2) If all the Nominative Plural Masculine words (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ) have to be taken as a whole and the Dative Singular Masculine words (τῷ πνεύματι) must apply to them as a whole, then we English speakers ought to understand that "The poor are blessed by means of the spirit..."

While I am resisting exegetical commentary, I also can't help but notice that if αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, then they are not spiritually poor, because the βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is spirit ;)

~John
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