John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
Forum rules
This is a beginner's forum - see the Koine Greek forum for more advanced discussion of Greek texts. Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up.

When answering questions in this forum, keep it simple, and aim your responses to the level of the person asking the question.
Post Reply
PhillipLebsack
Posts: 59
Joined: January 17th, 2018, 10:31 am

John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by PhillipLebsack » January 31st, 2018, 5:57 am

John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·...


I would like to know if I am understanding this construction properly or not. There are two ways I'm looking at this, but I'm not sure which is correct...

Explanation 1)
1. It looks like τοῖς goes with the participle πωλοῦσιν (which is functioning like a substantive adjectival participle).
2. But then τὰς περιστερὰς the noun and its definite article are sandwiched between the definite article of the participle and the participle.
3. It would be translated as: "To those selling the pigeons..."


Explanation 2)
1. τοῖς as a definite article is weak here and is, therefore, acting like a personal pronoun. So, it isn't necessarily connected to the participle in the sense that it is the participle's definite article.
2. τὰς περιστερὰς means "the pigeons" and is accusative in this clause.
3. πωλοῦσιν is the participle functioning verbal proper in the clause: "selling".
4. It would still be translated as: "To those selling the pigeons..."


Though they would be translated the same, which explanation is right? If either of them is.
0 x



Jason Hare
Posts: 498
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 5:28 pm
Location: Rehovot, Israel
Contact:

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by Jason Hare » January 31st, 2018, 7:15 am

It's number 1. The πωλοῦσιν is the dative participle in this case.
0 x
Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

PhillipLebsack
Posts: 59
Joined: January 17th, 2018, 10:31 am

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by PhillipLebsack » January 31st, 2018, 10:47 am

Jason Hare wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
It's number 1. The πωλοῦσιν is the dative participle in this case.
Hello. Thanks for your reply Jason.

So τοῖς goes with πωλοῦσιν because they are of the same case number and gender, and the noun sandwich construction is just something that is possible in the language?
0 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3455
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 31st, 2018, 11:05 am

PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 10:47 am
So τοῖς goes with πωλοῦσιν because they are of the same case number and gender, and the noun sandwich construction is just something that is possible in the language?
Yes, and this kind of sandwiching is very common in Greek.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

MAubrey
Posts: 916
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by MAubrey » January 31st, 2018, 3:28 pm

PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 10:47 am
Jason Hare wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
It's number 1. The πωλοῦσιν is the dative participle in this case.
Hello. Thanks for your reply Jason.

So τοῖς goes with πωλοῦσιν because they are of the same case number and gender, and the noun sandwich construction is just something that is possible in the language?
It's because participles function as heads of subordinate clauses. So here:

[NP: τοῖς (Participle Clause: [Object of Part-CL: τὰς περιστερὰς] πωλοῦσιν)]

It isn't so much that τὰς περιστερὰς is sandwiched between the article and the participle, but that the article τοῖς functions over the entire participle clause, not merely the participle itself.

Saying, τὰς περιστερὰς τοῖς πωλοῦσιν would be ungrammatical, but τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν and τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς would both be acceptable while have different nuances. In context, τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν is preferred because in 2:14 John has introduced a list βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους, in 2:15 he deals with all of them except for the doves, to which he turns in 2:16. Fronting something from a list that had already been introduced is a standard way to move through members of a list like this--note that after dealing with the oxen and the sheep together in verse 15, he fronts money changers (κολλυβιστῶν) before its verb too.
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

PhillipLebsack
Posts: 59
Joined: January 17th, 2018, 10:31 am

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by PhillipLebsack » February 1st, 2018, 6:28 am

MAubrey wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 3:28 pm
PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 10:47 am
Jason Hare wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
It's number 1. The πωλοῦσιν is the dative participle in this case.
Hello. Thanks for your reply Jason.

So τοῖς goes with πωλοῦσιν because they are of the same case number and gender, and the noun sandwich construction is just something that is possible in the language?
It's because participles function as heads of subordinate clauses. So here:

[NP: τοῖς (Participle Clause: [Object of Part-CL: τὰς περιστερὰς] πωλοῦσιν)]

It isn't so much that τὰς περιστερὰς is sandwiched between the article and the participle, but that the article τοῖς functions over the entire participle clause, not merely the participle itself.

Saying, τὰς περιστερὰς τοῖς πωλοῦσιν would be ungrammatical, but τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν and τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς would both be acceptable while have different nuances. In context, τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν is preferred because in 2:14 John has introduced a list βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους, in 2:15 he deals with all of them except for the doves, to which he turns in 2:16. Fronting something from a list that had already been introduced is a standard way to move through members of a list like this--note that after dealing with the oxen and the sheep together in verse 15, he fronts money changers (κολλυβιστῶν) before its verb too.
Thank you for your response. That makes a lot of sense actually. The definite article τοῖς is the head of the participle clause, marking the beginning of it, with the participle πωλοῦσιν marking the end of the participle clause...
and τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς would both be acceptable while having different nuances.
What exactly are the different nuances?
In context, τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν is preferred because in 2:14 John has introduced a list βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους, in 2:15 he deals with all of them except for the doves, to which he turns in 2:16. Fronting something from a list that had already been introduced is a standard way to move through members of a list like this--note that after dealing with the oxen and the sheep together in verse 15, he fronts money changers (κολλυβιστῶν) before its verb too.
If I am understanding this correctly, you're essentially saying that τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν
as opposed to τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς because the former construction is ideal for repeating something that has already been mentioned in a list? Is it as specific as that or can it be generalized more? I guess this also goes with my first question about the different nuances...
0 x

MAubrey
Posts: 916
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by MAubrey » February 1st, 2018, 3:43 pm

PhillipLebsack wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 6:28 am
What exactly are the different nuances?
MAubrey wrote:In context, τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν is preferred because in 2:14 John has introduced a list βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους, in 2:15 he deals with all of them except for the doves, to which he turns in 2:16. Fronting something from a list that had already been introduced is a standard way to move through members of a list like this--note that after dealing with the oxen and the sheep together in verse 15, he fronts money changers (κολλυβιστῶν) before its verb too.
If I am understanding this correctly, you're essentially saying that τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν
as opposed to τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς because the former construction is ideal for repeating something that has already been mentioned in a list? Is it as specific as that or can it be generalized more? I guess this also goes with my first question about the different nuances...
The bit that followed was supposed to be a description of the relevant nuance.

The problem is that word order is complicated because it is influenced as a number of variables that may or may not be apparent or relevant in a given clause. So...it is as specific as that and it can also be generalized more.

A good start would be to read the Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Part 3, chapters 9-14 can take you 90% of the way in terms of how word order works in Greek.
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

PhillipLebsack
Posts: 59
Joined: January 17th, 2018, 10:31 am

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by PhillipLebsack » February 2nd, 2018, 5:43 am

MAubrey wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 3:43 pm
PhillipLebsack wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 6:28 am
What exactly are the different nuances?
MAubrey wrote:In context, τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν is preferred because in 2:14 John has introduced a list βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους, in 2:15 he deals with all of them except for the doves, to which he turns in 2:16. Fronting something from a list that had already been introduced is a standard way to move through members of a list like this--note that after dealing with the oxen and the sheep together in verse 15, he fronts money changers (κολλυβιστῶν) before its verb too.
If I am understanding this correctly, you're essentially saying that τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν
as opposed to τοῖς πωλοῦσιν τὰς περιστερὰς because the former construction is ideal for repeating something that has already been mentioned in a list? Is it as specific as that or can it be generalized more? I guess this also goes with my first question about the different nuances...
The bit that followed was supposed to be a description of the relevant nuance.

The problem is that word order is complicated because it is influenced as a number of variables that may or may not be apparent or relevant in a given clause. So...it is as specific as that and it can also be generalized more.

A good start would be to read the Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Part 3, chapters 9-14 can take you 90% of the way in terms of how word order works in Greek.
Thank you for your response MAubrey. I have Runge's book and I will definitely read through that. My reading list quite long...
0 x

PhillipLebsack
Posts: 59
Joined: January 17th, 2018, 10:31 am

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by PhillipLebsack » February 2nd, 2018, 6:54 am

MAubrey wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 3:43 pm

A good start would be to read the Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Part 3, chapters 9-14 can take you 90% of the way in terms of how word order works in Greek.
I've started reading Runge's book and I have to say, this is one of the best recommendations i've gotten. So far, I highly recommend this for people at my level. Thanks again MAubrey.
0 x

MAubrey
Posts: 916
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: John 2:16 καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς πωλοῦσιν εἶπεν·

Post by MAubrey » February 3rd, 2018, 5:08 pm

PhillipLebsack wrote:
February 2nd, 2018, 6:54 am
MAubrey wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 3:43 pm

A good start would be to read the Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Part 3, chapters 9-14 can take you 90% of the way in terms of how word order works in Greek.
I've started reading Runge's book and I have to say, this is one of the best recommendations i've gotten. So far, I highly recommend this for people at my level. Thanks again MAubrey.
Happy to oblige. Enjoy!
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Post Reply