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:
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.