Thank you. I quite agree that we are into subjective analyses here. The subjectivity is underscored by the fact that the Byzantine tradition has τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ in both places. If we assume that the NA text was original as the harder reading, someone felt that the other order would be better or more natural.RandallButh wrote:This illustrates a couple of problems. One, of course, is ambiguity or subjectivity. Yes, someone may read the sentences with HIS focal. Then the second question arises whether that is a good reading. does it help the audience process the communication or does it distract or confuse by mis-implication?Iver Larsen wrote:...
Thank you for the clarification about Hebrew. So, we have a Greek construction here that is not a reflection of Hebrew word order.
I prefer to avoid using the terms Focus and Contextualisation.
I gave two references, but I should have quoted both for the contrast to be seen more clearly. I think it is important to look at the whole context to get a better feel of what the author is communicating with these slight nuances of meaning:
Mat 7:24 ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν
Mat 7:26 ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον
One person builds HIS house on the rock, the other builds HIS house on the sand.
I would argue, perhaps strongly, that the most salient, meaningful, important pieces of information are "on bedrock" and "on sand". Neither one of those phrases "rock" or "sand" is specially marked by word order though both are in the default position for salient word orders. This is helpful because as soon as we recognise "rock" and "sand" as most salient, then the 'his' becomes less salient and also justifies the differences between demotion, Contextualization, and Focus. In fact, "his" could be dropped from both of the sentences and there would not be any loss of meaning. The "his" would become implicit information and would require a little bit of extra processing energy. The important point is that "his" in this context is a singularly bad candidate for a Focal reading even though it has been moved from its default position after the noun head. I would call "his" demoted and the "fronting" not to be like a fronting that would be put before a verb for either Contextualization or Focus, but it is very much like a demotion where a word or phrase is placed after the verb and before default positions of Subject or Object.
We clearly have a lexical contrast between bedrock and sand, so it does not have to be shown by word order. What is most salient or important? That, I think is subjective. The way I read the text, what is most important in the context is not rock or sand, but two different kinds of people, one obedient, the other disobedient. The obedient one is likened to a wise man who builds HIS house in a wise way. The other is likened to a folish man who builds HIS house in a foolish way. But I would say that the Byzantine reading is also well formed, and it does not make much, if any, difference for the final communication. The reason we tend to think that rock and sand are important is probably the Sunday School songs where focus is placed on the parable and the main point of the saying is more or less forgotten: A wise person obeys my words.