ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2789
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 12th, 2012, 8:44 pm

Tony Pope wrote:Stephen Levinsohn had a crack at it in his Discourse Features of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed., 2000, §9.2 pp. 150-162. I would be interested to know if anyone else on the list is familiar with his approach and what they think of it.
I like Levinsohn's work a lot, and he's my starting point as far as individual discourse features go. Of course, there is still much more to harvest, and the workers are few.

Stephen
0 x


Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Iver Larsen
Posts: 127
Joined: May 7th, 2011, 3:52 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Iver Larsen » January 13th, 2012, 2:30 am

David,

Some grammatical rules are more fluid than others. Phonological rules tend to be fixed, syntactical rules fairly fixed and discourse rules less fixed.

In addition to Levinsohn, other linguists have attempted to explain the use of the Greek article in terms of discourse, since no other part of the grammar can adequately account for its use.

I like what Richard Hoyle did in his paper "Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation." (Avilable on Internet.)

On page 143 he says:

The use of the article in Greek can be defined in terms of two categories:
information status and salience.
• The basic use of the article in Greek is not to mark that an item is Discourse-old,
but to mark that it is Hearer-old, in short-term or long-term memory. Naturally,
whatever is Discourse-old will also be Hearer-old, but Hearer-old also includes
the categories KNOWN unused, KNOWN inferrable, and GIVEN situational.
• All nouns without the article are “salient” either because they are Hearer-new, or
because the author chooses to mark Hearer-old items as salient. “Salient” means
having some special significance in the discourse, potentially at any level, e.g.
marking clause-level focus, marking theme at clause level or higher levels of
discourse, or highlighting interpersonal relations, etc.

This also accounts for the use of the article with names.
0 x

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 13th, 2012, 3:00 am

Iver Larsen wrote:David,

Some grammatical rules are more fluid than others. Phonological rules tend to be fixed, syntactical rules fairly fixed and discourse rules less fixed.

In addition to Levinsohn, other linguists have attempted to explain the use of the Greek article in terms of discourse, since no other part of the grammar can adequately account for its use.

I like what Richard Hoyle did in his paper "Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation." (Avilable on Internet.)

On page 143 he says:

The use of the article in Greek can be defined in terms of two categories:
information status and salience.
• The basic use of the article in Greek is not to mark that an item is Discourse-old, but to mark that it is Hearer-old, in short-term or long-term memory. Naturally, whatever is Discourse-old will also be Hearer-old, but Hearer-old also includes the categories KNOWN unused, KNOWN inferrable, and GIVEN situational.
• All nouns without the article are “salient” either because they are Hearer-new, or because the author chooses to mark Hearer-old items as salient. “Salient” means having some special significance in the discourse, potentially at any level, e.g. marking clause-level focus, marking theme at clause level or higher levels of discourse, or highlighting interpersonal relations, etc.

This also accounts for the use of the article with names.
I agree that there are some general rules governing certain cases of the use or omission of the article, a few of which I mentioned earlier. However, do you mind explaining these examples I also mentioned? I believe a significant number of occurrences of proper names such as these lie outside the scope of these rules:
David wrote: I also noticed that in prepositional clauses the article is used with some but not others (which seems to be partially dependent on the speaker):
(1) "προς τον ιησουν"
(2) "κατα του ιησου"
(3) "περι του ιησου"
(4) "δια [τον] ιησουν"
(5) "μετα ιησου"
Also, the article seems to be always omitted when the proper name comes with a description of which person with that name it is referring to, such as "ιησους ο ναζωραιος".
0 x
δαυιδ λιμ

Iver Larsen
Posts: 127
Joined: May 7th, 2011, 3:52 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Iver Larsen » January 13th, 2012, 11:59 am

David Lim wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:David,

Some grammatical rules are more fluid than others. Phonological rules tend to be fixed, syntactical rules fairly fixed and discourse rules less fixed.

In addition to Levinsohn, other linguists have attempted to explain the use of the Greek article in terms of discourse, since no other part of the grammar can adequately account for its use.

I like what Richard Hoyle did in his paper "Scenarios, Discourse, and Translation." (Avilable on Internet.)

On page 143 he says:

The use of the article in Greek can be defined in terms of two categories:
information status and salience.
• The basic use of the article in Greek is not to mark that an item is Discourse-old, but to mark that it is Hearer-old, in short-term or long-term memory. Naturally, whatever is Discourse-old will also be Hearer-old, but Hearer-old also includes the categories KNOWN unused, KNOWN inferrable, and GIVEN situational.
• All nouns without the article are “salient” either because they are Hearer-new, or because the author chooses to mark Hearer-old items as salient. “Salient” means having some special significance in the discourse, potentially at any level, e.g. marking clause-level focus, marking theme at clause level or higher levels of discourse, or highlighting interpersonal relations, etc.

This also accounts for the use of the article with names.
I agree that there are some general rules governing certain cases of the use or omission of the article, a few of which I mentioned earlier. However, do you mind explaining these examples I also mentioned? I believe a significant number of occurrences of proper names such as these lie outside the scope of these rules:
David wrote: I also noticed that in prepositional clauses the article is used with some but not others (which seems to be partially dependent on the speaker):
(1) "προς τον ιησουν"
(2) "κατα του ιησου"
(3) "περι του ιησου"
(4) "δια [τον] ιησουν"
(5) "μετα ιησου"
Also, the article seems to be always omitted when the proper name comes with a description of which person with that name it is referring to, such as "ιησους ο ναζωραιος".
Let me start with your last point first. When a noun phrase is in apposition to a name, it is expected to be definite, because a name is definite. The person is probably introduced here or is salient.

Mike Aubrey mentioned the first principle, that the article is used with Hearer-Old information. This means that the person has either been introduced already (Discourse-Old) or the person is so well-known to the hearer that no introduction was needed.

The rules from Hoyle will explain the presence or absence of the article, even with prepositions.

The second point about salience will explain almost all the other uses, but with an additional point for indeclinable names. I do not think the position before or after the verb is significant. When the name Jesus follows the verb it has the article in 70% of the instances and is without the article in 30%.

You referred to John 1:43ff. Mike has already responded, but let me add my perspective which is not very different from his, but not quite the same.

Φίλιππον is without article in 42, since this is a first introduction.
He has the article in 44 because he is now Discourse-Old.
He is without article in 45 because he is salient (Now, Philip, then finds...)
In 46 he ought to have the article (disputed text).
In 48 it is a first introduction in Jesus' speech to Nathanael.
In 6:5 there is no article, because he has not been mentioned in the previous discourse and he is not a well-known character like Jesus.
In 6:7 there should be an article (disputed text).
in 12:21 there is no article for the same reason as in 6:5.
In 12:22a there is an article as he is Discourse-Old. (Andrew has the article, probably because the author assumes he is well known by the hearers as the brother of the famous Peter.)
In 12:22b both Andrew and Philip are without articles which may be unexpected. Hoyle would say that this is because they are salient. This is probably because the following speech is directed to these two people rather than the Greeks who were introduced in the beginning of the paragraph. This helps to disambiguate the αὐτοῖς in v. 23.
In 14:8 Philip is without article, because he is new in this section.

In 1:45 Ναθαναήλ has the article. This does not fit the rules above, and it is probably because the name is indeclinable, so in order to clarify which is subject and which is object of two adjacent names, the article is used.
In 46 and 48 Ναθαναήλ is without article because he is salient.

I realize that you and others will likely object that in this system, whenever principle one does not apply, then you claim the person is salient. But still, these principles are the best I have found so far.
0 x

MAubrey
Posts: 968
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by MAubrey » January 13th, 2012, 5:23 pm

Hi David,

This will be my last post here, partially because of time constraints and also because, Carl is correct. This isn't really a beginner's topic.

The Question of Style Vs. Grammar

I don't see these two as in opposition to each other. The problem with "style" is that it is often used as a way of avoiding complex issues or dismissing grammatical topics that we don't really understand. That is not to say that style isn't real. But the manner we go about demonstrating that something is stylistic is the same as the manner we go about demonstrating a grammatical principle. I'd attribute something to style only after it has been shown that there is a notable distinction between two or more different authors in the same genre. That is, we couldn't really talk about the difference between Matthew and Paul in style because one wrote narrative and the other wrote letters. We could, however, talk about Johannine style as compared to Paul since John wrote both narrative and letters. In the case of the subject here, there might be stylistic differences in the use of the article. But until we see an examination of substantive differences across others (which I haven't seen in my own studies) then its a moot point.

The main difference between us seems to be my unwillingness to accept arbitrarity of language as an explanation. I don't believe that there's anything arbitrary about language. Everything is motivated somehow--even stylistic concerns that involve both "standard" and "substandard" Greek, though the motivations in each case may be different.

If you'd like, it may be useful for us to move this either to the Syntax and Grammar section for discussion of the broader topic of definiteness or to the Koine texts section to examine how the article is used across larger sections of Greek text to mark the various participants involved.
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 14th, 2012, 5:20 am

Iver Larsen wrote:Let me start with your last point first. When a noun phrase is in apposition to a name, it is expected to be definite, because a name is definite. The person is probably introduced here or is salient.
I would not consider it quite an apposition but rather an adjectival clause. I mentioned that because that case will fall under "rules" and the absence of the article is not arbitrary. I would say that the presence of the adjectival clause implies that a specific person of many people with the same name is specified, thus the name has no article, and not because it is newly introduced or "salient".
Iver Larsen wrote:I realize that you and others will likely object that in this system, whenever principle one does not apply, then you claim the person is salient. But still, these principles are the best I have found so far.
Yes indeed haha.. Likewise, it is certainly not wrong for you to object to my assertions because I simply give no explanation. I suppose that only with a more statistically rigorous analysis can we identify how significant the influence of rules are. But I can hardly see how "salience" can explain the use of the article in prepositional clauses. For just one example, can you explain why "προς τον ιησουν" and never "προς ιησουν" is used in the new testament but the exact reverse is true in the Septuagint? (12-0 compared to 0-29) This is statistically significant to me and demonstrates that it is based on the speaker's preference or what he had "learnt", which clearly differed between the translators of the Septuagint and the authors of the new testament.
MAubrey wrote:Hi David,

This will be my last post here, partially because of time constraints and also because, Carl is correct. This isn't really a beginner's topic.
No problem. I think this discussion was an interesting one, even if we may still not agree. :)
MAubrey wrote:The Question of Style Vs. Grammar

I don't see these two as in opposition to each other. The problem with "style" is that it is often used as a way of avoiding complex issues or dismissing grammatical topics that we don't really understand. That is not to say that style isn't real. But the manner we go about demonstrating that something is stylistic is the same as the manner we go about demonstrating a grammatical principle. I'd attribute something to style only after it has been shown that there is a notable distinction between two or more different authors in the same genre. That is, we couldn't really talk about the difference between Matthew and Paul in style because one wrote narrative and the other wrote letters. We could, however, talk about Johannine style as compared to Paul since John wrote both narrative and letters. In the case of the subject here, there might be stylistic differences in the use of the article. But until we see an examination of substantive differences across others (which I haven't seen in my own studies) then its a moot point.
See my example above. Can you explain it?
MAubrey wrote:The main difference between us seems to be my unwillingness to accept arbitrarity of language as an explanation. I don't believe that there's anything arbitrary about language. Everything is motivated somehow--even stylistic concerns that involve both "standard" and "substandard" Greek, though the motivations in each case may be different.
Yes indeed. I agree that each one's use of a language is completely determined by one's predispositions, but that means that the use of the language is just as arbitrary as individuals' predispositions are arbitrary, even if there is high consensus in some areas.
MAubrey wrote:If you'd like, it may be useful for us to move this either to the Syntax and Grammar section for discussion of the broader topic of definiteness or to the Koine texts section to examine how the article is used across larger sections of Greek text to mark the various participants involved.
Anything is fine with me. Perhaps you can start a new topic with your response to my example of the use of the article in a prepositional clause with "προς"?
0 x
δαυιδ λιμ

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 14th, 2012, 6:21 am

David Lim wrote:For just one example, can you explain why "προς τον ιησουν" and never "προς ιησουν" is used in the new testament but the exact reverse is true in the Septuagint? (12-0 compared to 0-29) This is statistically significant to me and demonstrates that it is based on the speaker's preference or what he had "learnt", which clearly differed between the translators of the Septuagint and the authors of the new testament.
Specifically, it also depends on which translators of the Septuagint. The only occurrences of the article with a proper name as the object of a prepositional clause with "προς" in the Septuagint are Jdg 11:3, Jdg 20:20, Jdg 20:30, Jdg 20:36, Jdg 20:37, 1 Sam 26:1, Ezra 8:15, Psa 144:1, Isa 7:2, Isa 28:18, Jer 39:14, Hos 9:10. ("αδαμ" is somewhat both a noun and a proper name, and the translator of Genesis does not use the article for other names, so I excluded "προς τον αδαμ"), whereas "προς τον" + X where X is a proper name is ubiquitous in the new testament. (I do not know how to check easily for independent instances of proper names that are used without the article.)

Do feel free to move this last post to a new topic under the syntax and grammar subforum, if anyone is interested to pursue this topic further. :)
0 x
δαυιδ λιμ

Eeli Kaikkonen
Posts: 413
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 7:49 am
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 14th, 2012, 9:05 am

David Lim wrote:I suppose that only with a more statistically rigorous analysis can we identify how significant the influence of rules are. But I can hardly see how "salience" can explain the use of the article in prepositional clauses. For just one example, can you explain why "προς τον ιησουν" and never "προς ιησουν" is used in the new testament but the exact reverse is true in the Septuagint? (12-0 compared to 0-29) This is statistically significant to me and demonstrates that it is based on the speaker's preference or what he had "learnt", which clearly differed between the translators of the Septuagint and the authors of the new testament.
But it's not an either/or situation. And don't think anybody has argued that discourse grammar (information structure etc.) is the only power making the rules for the article. I think that there are easily understandable "grammatical" rules, but the rest is left for discourse grammar (or possibly something else) which is harder to define and understand. There is clearly a rule in your example above, it's not about style. The rule have just changed along time.

Then we have to remember, of course, that rules are always fluid, and there really are situations where it could be this way or that without any special difference - here I completely agree with you. If a rule changes, there must be a point in time between points A and B where there is confusion in what is "correct" and what is not. Maybe here we can speak about "style", meaning that something sounds personally better or is just chosen arbitrarily without any significant difference in semantic or pragmatic meaning.

In my humble opinion Andy Naselli isn't the most qualified person to review Runge's book, but when he says
Yes, but . . . I’m not convinced that there is always “some meaning associated” with such decisions.
Some people simply may have grown up hearing a particular expression used repeatedly such that it is
the most natural way of expressing something, even though other speakers of that same language may
do it differently. And neither speaker may mean anything different by it. Further, just as an author may
use synonyms interchangeably (e.g., ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in John 21:15–17), they may express something
in more than one way solely for stylistic variety without intending any difference in meaning.
I can't help but agree in some way. Saying that "every choice has meaning" just goes against my common sense intuition and introspective understanding of how language is used.
David Lim wrote:
MAubrey wrote:If you'd like, it may be useful for us to move this either to the Syntax and Grammar section for discussion of the broader topic of definiteness or to the Koine texts section to examine how the article is used across larger sections of Greek text to mark the various participants involved.
Anything is fine with me. Perhaps you can start a new topic with your response to my example of the use of the article in a prepositional clause with "προς"?
Moving and continuing would be most helpful, because at least I have found this discussion helpful and important.
0 x

cwconrad
Posts: 2109
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by cwconrad » January 14th, 2012, 10:27 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: ... it's not an either/or situation. And don't think anybody has argued that discourse grammar (information structure etc.) is the only power making the rules for the article. I think that there are easily understandable "grammatical" rules, but the rest is left for discourse grammar (or possibly something else) which is harder to define and understand. There is clearly a rule in your example above, it's not about style. The rules have just changed along time.

... we have to remember, of course, that rules are always fluid, and there really are situations where it could be this way or that without any special difference - here I completely agree with you. If a rule changes, there must be a point in time between points A and B where there is confusion in what is "correct" and what is not. Maybe here we can speak about "style", meaning that something sounds personally better or is just chosen arbitrarily without any significant difference in semantic or pragmatic meaning.

... when [Andy Naselli" says
Yes, but . . . I’m not convinced that there is always “some meaning associated” with such decisions.
Some people simply may have grown up hearing a particular expression used repeatedly such that it is
the most natural way of expressing something, even though other speakers of that same language may
do it differently. And neither speaker may mean anything different by it. Further, just as an author may
use synonyms interchangeably (e.g., ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in John 21:15–17), they may express something
in more than one way solely for stylistic variety without intending any difference in meaning.
I can't help but agree in some way. Saying that "every choice has meaning" just goes against my common sense intuition and introspective understanding of how language is used.
...
Moving and continuing would be most helpful, because at least I have found this discussion helpful and important.
It has been so for me as well, although I've had little part in the discussion. It needs to be moved to "Syntax and Grammar" under "Greek Language and Linguistics." (Would some moderator do that for us, please?) While it makes sense that this should have begun in the Beginners' Forum -- usage of the article in Greek does indeed befuddle beginners, especially those who expect it to function like the definite article in their own native language -- , the discussion has broader ramifications beyond understanding the usage of the article; methodology and epistemology of grammar are involved: the whole question of how linguistic change occurs, what grammatical "rules" are and why they function as they do, e.g. "Why do some authors in the same era, some within their own works or a single work, utilize variant forms or constructions that seem to be equivalent? Does choice really always imply meaning?" That's a question about Steve Runge's assertion that hasn't yet been completely answered for me. Perhaps the methodological and epistemological questions themselves need to be taken into yet another discussion under "Greek Language and Linguistics," but those questions actually emerge in the course of precisely these discussions about usages that we're not sure we quite adequaely understand.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 14th, 2012, 11:31 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
David Lim wrote:I suppose that only with a more statistically rigorous analysis can we identify how significant the influence of rules are. But I can hardly see how "salience" can explain the use of the article in prepositional clauses. For just one example, can you explain why "προς τον ιησουν" and never "προς ιησουν" is used in the new testament but the exact reverse is true in the Septuagint? (12-0 compared to 0-29) This is statistically significant to me and demonstrates that it is based on the speaker's preference or what he had "learnt", which clearly differed between the translators of the Septuagint and the authors of the new testament.
But it's not an either/or situation. And don't think anybody has argued that discourse grammar (information structure etc.) is the only power making the rules for the article. I think that there are easily understandable "grammatical" rules, but the rest is left for discourse grammar (or possibly something else) which is harder to define and understand. There is clearly a rule in your example above, it's not about style. The rule have just changed along time.

Then we have to remember, of course, that rules are always fluid, and there really are situations where it could be this way or that without any special difference - here I completely agree with you. If a rule changes, there must be a point in time between points A and B where there is confusion in what is "correct" and what is not. Maybe here we can speak about "style", meaning that something sounds personally better or is just chosen arbitrarily without any significant difference in semantic or pragmatic meaning.
I completely agree with you here. I do think though that there was not even any rules applicable in the example I gave, which I had in a subsequent post clarified, under the assumption that the translators of the Septuagint lived during the same time period, in which case their differing use of the article for proper names and that particular preposition (I have not looked at any others yet) are at odds with any rule that does not depend on the very user of the language. There is the possibility that some kind of rule came to be adhered to to some extent in later times but then the earlier absence of the rule implies the possibility of variation between different individuals who read the Septuagint so often. I think it may be similar to the general adoption and teaching of the rule against preposition stranding in English, which apparently had never been a rule in English. Anyway, I look forward to hearing everyone's opinions on this! I think it will be a fruitful discussion, especially if someone can find a way to get a list of all such prepositional clauses :)
0 x
δαυιδ λιμ

Post Reply