Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Jonathan Robie
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Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 15th, 2017, 7:36 pm

I am trying to understand the difference between these two clauses. The first is Matthew 1:20, which interrupts the phrase ἐκ πνεύματός ἁγίου with the verb ἐστιν. The second comes from Codex Bezae.

τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου
τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἁγίου ἐστιν

When I read Mike's description of this below, I cannot answer this question - perhaps because something is flying right over my head. It sounds like with the hyperbaton, both πνεύματός and ἁγίου have weak focus. Would that also be true of the Bezae variant without hyperbaton? What is the significance of the hyperbaton in this example?

Mike Aubrey wrote:
Most commonly, Y2 Hyperbaton will denote weak focus on the initial head noun with the following adjective marking an additional restriction on the head noun. This additional restriction also tends to be weak focus. The first three instances of Y­2 Hyperbaton in the New Testament provide an excellent example of this combination of syntactic structure and pragmatic meaning seen below.

(1) τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου
For what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matt 1:20.

(2) ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότει φῶς εἶδεν μέγα
The people who live in darkness have seen a great light. Matt 4:16

(3) καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν.
And behold, a man who had a withered hand. Matt 12:10

In these three examples, the author/speaker provides brand new information to the reader/listener. Example (50) is from the monologue of the angel to Joseph regarding the source of Mary’s pregnancy. The clause consists of the known information shared by both the Angel and Joseph: Mary is pregnant. There is a child conceived (τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν). The predicate of this clause is the completely new, non-contrastive information: the child is from the Holy Spirit (ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου).
But Mike seems to have changed his mind later:
Every other example of weak focus discontinuous phrases in our sample consists of non-subject constituents with transitive, non-existential or occurrence verbs. There are twenty-five such examples, and of these, eight use the exact same verb: ἔχω. A few representative examples are provided below.

(1) Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα
Or there was a woman who had ten drachmas. Luke 15:8

(2) ὅτι ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ πιστὸς ἐγένου, ἴσθι ἐξουσίαν ἔχων ἐπάνω δέκα πόλεων.
Since you were trustworthy with what is small, you will have authority over ten cities. Luke 19:17

(3) Ταῦτα ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἵνα εἰδῆτε ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχετε αἰώνιον
This, I write to you that you might know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
We suggest, instead, that Y2 Hyperbaton does not necessarily denote Weak Focus on the discontinuous NP, but rather when it appears in Sentential Focused clauses (i.e. information which is asserted rather than presupposed) the Y2 structure marks a higher level of saliency upon the head noun.
Does that mean that πνεύματός is less salient in the second variant? Or perhaps that ἁγίου is less salient in the first than in the second?

τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου
τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἁγίου ἐστιν
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

MAubrey
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by MAubrey » January 15th, 2017, 9:25 pm

Nightmare flashbacks...

I'll need to re-orientate myself to this stuff again if I'm to clarify...all of these posts on hyperbaton were based on summarizing Devine & Stephens. A useful exercise, but I'm not sure I'd still encourage the behavior today.
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by MAubrey » January 15th, 2017, 9:33 pm

One of the problems with Devine & Stephens is that they do little to account for the enclitic verbs like ἐστιν, nor did I account for the issue myself at the time. Clauses with enclitics are of a different type than other discontinuous structures.

With that said...
Jonathan Robie wrote:Does that mean that πνεύματός is less salient in the second variant? Or perhaps that ἁγίου is less salient in the first than in the second?
τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου
τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἁγίου ἐστιν
These days, I would take the position of ἐστιν here as signaling where the sentence accent is by its attachment position. I'm tempted to suggest it could be that Bezae is treating πνεύματός ἁγίου as a more closely lexicalized construction than the non-Bezae variant.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 16th, 2017, 2:29 am

MAubrey wrote:I'm tempted to suggest it could be that Bezae is treating πνεύματός ἁγίου as a more closely lexicalized construction than the non-Bezae variant.
I'm tempted too.
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by cwconrad » January 16th, 2017, 6:28 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:I'm tempted to suggest it could be that Bezae is treating πνεύματός ἁγίου as a more closely lexicalized construction than the non-Bezae variant.
I'm tempted too.
I'm amused by the proposition of scholarly temptation! I confess that in years past I have been subject to temptations that might have been termed scholarly, but I've come over the years to speak less of "educated guesses" and to doubt ever more of speculative responses to the nagging questions raised by elements in texts that resist ready interpretation. I have spent some time on Codex Bezae, in particular its text of Mark's gospel, myself, and at one time roamed around in the curious hinterland of what has been called "Western non-interpolations." Although I'm not one who'll say about texts that resist satisfactory understanding, "We'll never know," I think there's a place in GNT textual studies for the extra-Biblical designation, "non liquet" -- that is to say, "there is no persuasive explanation of this text as it stands." I realize that the words of Jesus in Matt 5:37 are directed at a different concern, but they seem to me applicable here.
ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ· τὸ δὲ περισσὸν τούτων ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἐστιν

It seems to me that they are worth heeding in this matter of recognizing the difference between guesswork and propositions that can be argued for or against.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by cwconrad » January 16th, 2017, 7:53 am

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:I'm tempted to suggest it could be that Bezae is treating πνεύματός ἁγίου as a more closely lexicalized construction than the non-Bezae variant.
I'm tempted too.
I'm amused by the proposition of scholarly temptation! I confess that in years past I have been subject to temptations that might have been termed scholarly, but I've come over the years to speak less of "educated guesses" and to doubt ever more of speculative responses to the nagging questions raised by elements in texts that resist ready interpretation. I have spent some time on Codex Bezae, in particular its text of Mark's gospel, myself, and at one time roamed around in the curious hinterland of what has been called "Western non-interpolations." Although I'm not one who'll say about texts that resist satisfactory understanding, "We'll never know," I think there's a place in GNT textual studies for the extra-Biblical designation, "non liquet" -- that is to say, "there is no persuasive explanation of this text as it stands." I realize that the words of Jesus in Matt 5:37 are directed at a different concern, but they seem to me applicable here.
ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ· τὸ δὲ περισσὸν τούτων ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἐστιν

It seems to me that they are worth heeding in this matter of recognizing the difference between guesswork and propositions that can be argued for or against.
Let me qualify that statement ever so slightly: I don't think it hurts to voice a bit of guesswork -- but I think it's important not to attribute any significant weight to guesswork.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

MAubrey
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by MAubrey » January 16th, 2017, 4:40 pm

cwconrad wrote:It seems to me that they are worth heeding in this matter of recognizing the difference between guesswork and propositions that can be argued for or against.
Then I can safely say that my "temptation" escapes these charges.

Πνεῦμα ἅγιον as being lexicalized as a proper noun over the centuries is a known quantity. I'm sure we could argue the question with plenty of data as to whether or not that could hinder standard enclitic placement patterns, if you'd like. I don't think we're guessing. How about "temptation to form a hypothesis that can then be tested"?
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by cwconrad » January 16th, 2017, 5:24 pm

MAubrey wrote:
cwconrad wrote:It seems to me that they are worth heeding in this matter of recognizing the difference between guesswork and propositions that can be argued for or against.
Then I can safely say that my "temptation" escapes these charges.

Πνεῦμα ἅγιον as being lexicalized as a proper noun over the centuries is a known quantity. I'm sure we could argue the question with plenty of data as to whether or not that could hinder standard enclitic placement patterns, if you'd like. I don't think we're guessing. How about "temptation to form a hypothesis that can then be tested"?
Well, to be perfectly honest, Mike, I'd have to call that a quibble. My dictionary offers for "tempt":
entice or attempt to entice (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial: don't allow impatience to tempt you into overexposure and sunburn | there'll always be someone tempted by the rich pickings of poaching | [with object and infinitive] : jobs that involve entertaining may tempt you to drink more than you intend.
• (be tempted to do something) have an urge or inclination to do something: I was tempted to look at my watch, but didn't dare
So I'd say that if you have a "temptation" to form a hypothesis that can then be tested, you sense there's something questionable about it; if, on the other hand, you have an "inclination" to do so, you should follow through.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 16th, 2017, 7:45 pm

cwconrad wrote: My dictionary offers for "tempt":
But my Dictionary says...

(Just couldn't resist the temptation)

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Re: Word Order: Y2 Hyperbaton in Matthew 1:20

Post by MAubrey » January 16th, 2017, 8:22 pm

cwconrad wrote:Well, to be perfectly honest, Mike, I'd have to call that a quibble...
At this point, the pot is calling the kettle black.

If you were to look up "quibble" in your dictionary, you might just find your own post cited as an example!
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Koine-Greek.com

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