Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2016, 1:30 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:I considered emphasis on the δύο δύο, but if this fact was particularly important, it's odd that the following context doesn't do much of anything with it. This is the sending out of the twelve; wouldn't ἀποστέλλειν be the most important? I guess I should check my commentaries.
Perhaps the answer lies in the freight that δύο δύο carries in the Greek Bible. This distinctive term carries its own context in LXX/GNT. Wouldn't many in Mark's audience, on hearing this phrase, make the connection between the 'gathering' of Genesis and the 'sending' here? If that's the case, then highlighting δύο δύο does, in fact, mark ἀποστέλλειν also.
Hmm, I can find δύο δύο in the Noah account and in Sirach. I'm not sure Mark's audience would catch the allusion anywhere else, however. Joel Marcus notes only rabbinic references for the practice, but suggests it makes practical sense and may provide the two Deuteronomic witnesses.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 23rd, 2016, 6:46 am

Because it is related to the δύο δύο in so far as they are being sent. I think the pronoun is unmarked, because it balances with the δύο δύο (perhaps a reciprocal pronoun of manner). If the δύο δύο was on the front of the balance that would more likely be marked.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » March 23rd, 2016, 10:38 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Because it is related to the δύο δύο in so far as they are being sent. I think the pronoun is unmarked, because it balances with the δύο δύο (perhaps a reciprocal pronoun of manner). If the δύο δύο was on the front of the balance that would more likely be marked.
I think it depends on the weight you assign to δύο δύο. If this is more or less run-of-the-mill language then you may be right. But if it is loaded language that harkens back to Gen. 6:19-20; Gen. 7:2-3, 9, 15, κτλ, then I don't think your 'balance' point works. Also, if δύο δύο evokes the parallel of 'sending out' versus 'gathering in' I think it is marked very effectively by being set off at the end of the sequence. In this instance I don't agree it would be more accented before the infinitive.

I'm not sure, though, how viable is the argument that δύο δύο conveys this send-out versus gather-in imagery to Mark's audience. If he was really writing to Roman gentiles the argument gets a bit thin. It just seems kind of tidy to a 21st century man steeped in the imagery of Scripture and aspiring to understand what was written in an extinct language 2000 years ago and how an audience of uncertain origin understood it! ;)
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RandallButh
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by RandallButh » March 23rd, 2016, 11:14 am

sorry to get at this late.

the αὐτούς can be viewed as fronted with regard to the infinitive to serve as a lower level 'contextualizing constituent'. In this case, the αὐτούς become the new agents and topics of their individual missions and are syntactically set up as such by the fronting.

By way of contrast, this is not Focus and is not special marking on the most salient part of the clause.

With διδάσκειν αὐτούς the objects are unmarked recipients.

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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 23rd, 2016, 11:15 am

Yours is a good point, Thomas, and adds complexity to the analysis. Even an unmarked construction has a special significance when part of it is loaded.

Your idea that δύο δύο carries a wack biggerthan its paddle would probably depend on whether the Rabbinic or Christian traditionmade a lot of those verses at that time or not. In fact, all frequency counts have the inbuilt error that assumes that people read the New Testament from start to finish each verse only once each time. That of course is a naive assumption.
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MAubrey
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by MAubrey » March 23rd, 2016, 12:01 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:Sentence accent position: on the indicative verb vs. on the infinitive verb.
Ok, let's elaborate this. What would it mean for the sentence accent to be on ἤρξατο for Mark 6:7 in context? Heck, it's hard to see why Mark said ἤρξατο in the first place, much less that it would bear the sentence accent over the more obvious (?) ἀποστέλλειν.
What makes it obvious (or "more obvious", I should say)?

I would expect that the choice of using ἤρξατο was predicated on Mark needing an unambiguous means of expressing the initiation of an event on the mainline. Granted he could have used an imperfect, but usually for mainline narrative, he tries to keep imperfect to particular contexts at the end of a given pericope rather than in the middle like here.

Anyway, I'm not sure it would need to mean anything at all, to be honest. Putting it at the beginning of a verb-initial clause is expected as an unmarked prosody. Nor is it particularly surprising to put it on the infinitive. With a simple topic-comment construction, neither are necessarily unexpected. All I can say is that I know what the data normally does and then when I encounter a contrast like this, I continue to assume that's what it's still doing. Contrasts like this are almost impossible to decide on.

Here's my suspicion, however, for a more elaborated explanation:

Mark 6:34 is short and it's single prosodic unit:
[Φ ἤρξατο διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς πολλά]
Mark 6:7 is a bit longer and it's structure suggests a prosodic break between the first pronoun and the infinitive:
[Φ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς] [Φ ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο].
Placing αὐτοὺς after the infinitive in 6:7 would create a situation where you have either one prosodic unit that's too ungainly or you have two prosodic units that aren't very balanced.

....but...

All this assumes that we can confidently treat αὐτούς as a second position enclitic and that's kind of beyond what we can confidently know. Still, I think it makes sense as an extrapolation.

But I also like what Randal has suggested, too.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2016, 7:30 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:Sentence accent position: on the indicative verb vs. on the infinitive verb.
Ok, let's elaborate this. What would it mean for the sentence accent to be on ἤρξατο for Mark 6:7 in context? Heck, it's hard to see why Mark said ἤρξατο in the first place, much less that it would bear the sentence accent over the more obvious (?) ἀποστέλλειν.
What makes it obvious (or "more obvious", I should say)?
I've been looking at the data, especially in Mark.
MAubrey wrote:I would expect that the choice of using ἤρξατο was predicated on Mark needing an unambiguous means of expressing the initiation of an event on the mainline. Granted he could have used an imperfect, but usually for mainline narrative, he tries to keep imperfect to particular contexts at the end of a given pericope rather than in the middle like here.
I was looking for how this fits in the context, and it turns out that Joel Marcus, in the commentary I quoted above, gives a satisfactory account.
MAubrey wrote:Anyway, I'm not sure it would need to mean anything at all, to be honest. Putting it at the beginning of a verb-initial clause is expected as an unmarked prosody. Nor is it particularly surprising to put it on the infinitive. With a simple topic-comment construction, neither are necessarily unexpected. All I can say is that I know what the data normally does and then when I encounter a contrast like this, I continue to assume that's what it's still doing. Contrasts like this are almost impossible to decide on.
Choice implies meaning, except when it doesn't?
MAubrey wrote:Here's my suspicion, however, for a more elaborated explanation:

Mark 6:34 is short and it's single prosodic unit:
[Φ ἤρξατο διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς πολλά]
Mark 6:7 is a bit longer and it's structure suggests a prosodic break between the first pronoun and the infinitive:
[Φ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς] [Φ ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο].
Placing αὐτοὺς after the infinitive in 6:7 would create a situation where you have either one prosodic unit that's too ungainly or you have two prosodic units that aren't very balanced.
I agree that a prosodic analysis is important, and that Mark 6:7 has a prosodic break (though I locate it differently) but this prosodic break is ultimately not relevant to the issue at hand. The key difference, as I see it, is what's going on at the beginning of the clauses:
Mark 6:34 wrote:[φ [ω ἤρξατο διδάσκειν] αὐτοὺς πολλά]
Mark 6:7 wrote:[φ ἤρξατο αύτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν] [φ δύο δύο]
I have adopted the working hypothesis, that in certain cases two lexical words may be unified to count as a single prosodic word. This includes noun-incorporation into verbs, hendiadys, and verbal periphrasis. (This hypothesis easily works with standard views of the prosodic hierarchy where prosodic words can be recursive, but there are also non-recursive analyses where this fits, namely more levels in the hierarchy or some kind of demotion.)

The difference between these two cases then is whether the first two lexical words are incorporated into a complex phonological word or not. Helpful to me is that this difference appears to be reflected in the meanings: Mark 6:34 is an instance of Mark's favorite periphrastic ἄρξασθαι + inf. construction in which ἄρξασθαι has undergone semantic bleaching to become an aspectualizer (so that the construction as a whole functions like an inceptive imperfect), while in Mark 6:7 ἤρξατο maintains its full lexical meaning and here refers to Jesus's initiation of the apostles' ministry per Marcus's commentary.

In both cases, then, αὐτούς comes after the first full phonological word, but the make-up of the first phonological word differs. The rest of the rules operate as usual: the nuclear accent falls on the left edge of these clauses (the first φ), but on the right edge of ω. Or, as someone put it earlier in the thread, "Sentence accent position: on the indicative verb vs. on the infinitive verb."
MAubrey wrote:All this assumes that we can confidently treat αὐτούς as a second position enclitic and that's kind of beyond what we can confidently know. Still, I think it makes sense as an extrapolation.
Well, yes and no. It is not enclitic because it does not shift the accent of its host to the right in accordance with the Law of Limitation. But, yes, both Frank Scheppers and Tom Recht have argued that non-emphatic αὐτούς has a tendency to second position after the first full phonological word. I am currently testing this claim in the New Testament, and it mostly holds except for a bunch of apparent third position cases (like Mark 6:34 for certain verbal periphrastics) and a handful of apparent fourth+ position cases. In my view, an adequate account of the placement of oblique forms of αύτός must explain not only the second-position cases but those which appear to come later.
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 23rd, 2016, 7:39 pm

RandallButh wrote:the αὐτούς can be viewed as fronted with regard to the infinitive to serve as a lower level 'contextualizing constituent'. In this case, the αὐτούς become the new agents and topics of their individual missions and are syntactically set up as such by the fronting.
Hmm. I would have thought the clause immediately 6:7b would have already done this function: 7a Καὶ προσκαλεῖται τοῦς δώδεκα, this followed by 7b ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο, 7c και ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τὼν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαρθάρτων, and 8a καὶ πάρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα ..., all of which have the pronoun in the quiet spot.
RandallButh wrote:With διδάσκειν αὐτούς the objects are unmarked recipients.
Right.
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MAubrey
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Re: Word Order Puzzle in Mark 6

Post by MAubrey » March 24th, 2016, 7:22 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Choice implies meaning, except when it doesn't?
I don't know what you mean by this...
Stephen Carlson wrote:Here's my suspicion, however, for a more elaborated explanation:
...
The difference between these two cases then is whether the first two lexical words are incorporated into a complex phonological word or not. Helpful to me is that this difference appears to be reflected in the meanings: Mark 6:34 is an instance of Mark's favorite periphrastic ἄρξασθαι + inf. construction in which ἄρξασθαι has undergone semantic bleaching to become an aspectualizer (so that the construction as a whole functions like an inceptive imperfect), while in Mark 6:7 ἤρξατο maintains its full lexical meaning and here refers to Jesus's initiation of the apostles' ministry per Marcus's commentary.

In both cases, then, αὐτούς comes after the first full phonological word, but the make-up of the first phonological word differs. The rest of the rules operate as usual: the nuclear accent falls on the left edge of these clauses (the first φ), but on the right edge of ω. Or, as someone put it earlier in the thread, "Sentence accent position: on the indicative verb vs. on the infinitive verb."
Sounds about right. I'm certain that ἤρξατο is bleached, but I'm less than confident that it then forms a more complex phonological word--though its certainly possible. We would expect phonological reduction if it does and that's definitely possible, even if it isn't represented in the text with its very conservative orthography. I'd be curious about spelling changes in the papyri. But even without that, that's a very believable development.

The thought process in my prosodic grouping in 6:7 was based on the assumption that if there was a pause before the infinitive ἀποστέλλειν, it would reset the availability of the second position following it. Still, I can totally buy into your hypothesis here now that you've said it, I like it more. I think it's quite plausible and that it works well.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:All this assumes that we can confidently treat αὐτούς as a second position enclitic and that's kind of beyond what we can confidently know. Still, I think it makes sense as an extrapolation.
Well, yes and no. It is not enclitic because it does not shift the accent of its host to the right in accordance with the Law of Limitation.

When it's in second position, it certainly is orthotonic, but that doesn't mean it's phonologically tonic. And if that's the case, then in this case the laws only refer to the script, not the prosody. I'm only talking about the prosody about which we can only extrapolate--hence the language of assumptions and confidence.
Stephen Carlson wrote:But, yes, both Frank Scheppers and Tom Recht have argued that non-emphatic αὐτούς has a tendency to second position after the first full phonological word.

Robertson had actually beaten them to the punch on that, if I remember correctly.
Stephen Carlson wrote:I am currently testing this claim in the New Testament, and it mostly holds except for a bunch of apparent third position cases (like Mark 6:34 for certain verbal periphrastics) and a handful of apparent fourth+ position cases. In my view, an adequate account of the placement of oblique forms of αύτός must explain not only the second-position cases but those which appear to come later.
A worthwhile test!

I'd really like to collaborate with you on prosody at some point.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

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