ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Stephen Carlson
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 14th, 2012, 12:21 pm

cwconrad wrote: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?)
OK.

Stephen
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by MAubrey » January 14th, 2012, 12:49 pm

David Lim wrote:
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.
That's not at all what I meant and I think it is wrong.
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.
David Lim wrote: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"?
Well...I haven't seen your example of the article used in a prepositional phrase and I have papers to write this weekend, so I don't have time to look. If you could repeat the specific example either here or in a new thread I can take a look at it when I have a chance, but I'm too busy this semester to go digging for it.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Iver Larsen » January 14th, 2012, 1:53 pm

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.

First I would say that you cannot really compare pears with apples. It is correct that the LXX Greek is significantly different from the NT in its use of articles, but much of this can be explained by the fact that LXX is translation Greek, and a lack of article can simply reflect a lack of the Hebrew article in the text it translates. It is also possible that the time gap is significant, but to check that one would need to check older Greek with NT Greek. Maybe someone wants to do that?

Second, Jesus in the NT is the key character. He will almost always be what Hoyle calls Hearer-Old and therefore is expected to have the article unless there is a good reason to make the reference salient or when the name is first introduced early in the gospels or in direct speech.

Third, if you want to limit yourself to one preposition, like πρός, I suggest you do a systematic study of πρός followed by a noun or name with or without the article. But I think it is better to do a more comprehensive and systematic study of the use of the article with all nouns, including names, as Hoyle has done, and which you have apparently not yet done.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 15th, 2012, 12:20 am

MAubrey wrote:Well...I haven't seen your example of the article used in a prepositional phrase and I have papers to write this weekend, so I don't have time to look. If you could repeat the specific example either here or in a new thread I can take a look at it when I have a chance, but I'm too busy this semester to go digging for it.
Sure:
David Lim wrote:
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.)
David Lim wrote:I do think that there were not any rules applicable in the example I gave, 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.
Iver Larsen wrote:First I would say that you cannot really compare pears with apples. It is correct that the LXX Greek is significantly different from the NT in its use of articles, but much of this can be explained by the fact that LXX is translation Greek, and a lack of article can simply reflect a lack of the Hebrew article in the text it translates. It is also possible that the time gap is significant, but to check that one would need to check older Greek with NT Greek. Maybe someone wants to do that?
Yes I would appreciate if anyone can check older Greek texts, as I do not have access to any means of searching for this.
Iver Larsen wrote:Second, Jesus in the NT is the key character. He will almost always be what Hoyle calls Hearer-Old and therefore is expected to have the article unless there is a good reason to make the reference salient or when the name is first introduced early in the gospels or in direct speech.
I think the fact that "προς ιησουν" is never used in the new testament implies that your explanation is not the main one, because one would expect some instances of it given the following distribution of "ιησους" (number of verses in the new testament):
Case / Articular / Anarthous
NOM / 344 / 153
ACC / 60 / 68
DAT / 31 / 63
GEN / 36 / 189
Iver Larsen wrote:Third, if you want to limit yourself to one preposition, like πρός, I suggest you do a systematic study of πρός followed by a noun or name with or without the article. But I think it is better to do a more comprehensive and systematic study of the use of the article with all nouns, including names, as Hoyle has done, and which you have apparently not yet done.
I would if I could, but unfortunately I have neither the time nor the tools to perform the search. If anyone can do this for the most common prepositions it would be very helpful. I omitted nouns that are not proper names because I think we all agree on when the article is used with them. I chose to study "προς" simply because it is the most common preposition used with proper names. But of course a better study has to include other prepositions.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 15th, 2012, 10:49 am

David Lim wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:Second, Jesus in the NT is the key character. He will almost always be what Hoyle calls Hearer-Old and therefore is expected to have the article unless there is a good reason to make the reference salient or when the name is first introduced early in the gospels or in direct speech.
I think the fact that "προς ιησουν" is never used in the new testament implies that your explanation is not the main one, because one would expect some instances of it given the following distribution of "ιησους" (number of verses in the new testament):
Case / Articular / Anarthous
NOM / 344 / 153
ACC / 60 / 68
DAT / 31 / 63
GEN / 36 / 189
I think if one is going to test Iver's claim, one would need to look at each case of πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν in context and determine if it meets the criteria he has stated. These stats don't do that.

Stephen
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Iver Larsen » January 15th, 2012, 10:57 am

Iver Larsen wrote:Second, Jesus in the NT is the key character. He will almost always be what Hoyle calls Hearer-Old and therefore is expected to have the article unless there is a good reason to make the reference salient or when the name is first introduced early in the gospels or in direct speech.

I think the fact that "προς ιησουν" is never used in the new testament implies that your explanation is not the main one, because one would expect some instances of it given the following distribution of "ιησους" (number of verses in the new testament):
Case / Articular / Anarthous
NOM / 344 / 153
ACC / 60 / 68
DAT / 31 / 63
GEN / 36 / 189
In my view, Hoyle's explanation best accounts for why there is no article in those constructions. If you read Hoyle's points again and try to apply them, I think you will agree. Remember that one common use of the name without article is when the person is first introuduced. A person is rarely introduced in a prepositional phrase, at least in narratives.

There are 29 instances of Ἰησοῦς following a preposition and preceded by the article. There are 25 instances where the article is not present. It is not enough to count numbers. You need to look at context and genre. 22 of the 29 occur in the gospels which are mainly narrative, with only 2 in Paul's letters. Similarly, only 5 of those without article occur in the gospels. and 11 in Paul's letters.

So, what you would want to focus on explaining is the minority. The 11 without the article are all in a context where Jesus is salient and in focus, often together with Christ. The two with article are in
Eph 4:21 καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ
Here the focus is on the truth that is found in Jesus. Jesus is known to the reader and he is not salient, as the focus is on truth. Paul does not need to tell them or emphasize where truth is found. The name is also at the end which is the position of least emphasis.

1 Thes 4:14 εἰ γὰρ πιστεύομεν ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἀπέθανεν καὶ ἀνέστη, οὕτως καὶ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς κοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ.
Notice hos Jesus is salient and fronted in the first sentence without the article and how he is understood and not salient in the second one. It is a qualification of those who have died, and the topic is the deceased Christians, so the prepositional phrase is almost superfluous.

The few instances in the gospels without an article are also worth considering:

Mat 26:69 καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη λέγουσα, Καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου
This is direct speech, so Jesus is introduced without the article. He is also salient.

Mat 26:71 καὶ λέγει τοῖς ἐκεῖ, Οὗτος ἦν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου
Same as above. Notice also the apposition τοῦ Ναζωραίου as part of the introduction and identification.

Luk 24:19 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Τὰ περὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζαρηνοῦ
Again direct speech where Jesus is introduced to an apparent stranger. (They did not know who they were talking to.)

John 1:17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.
This is not narrative, and there is a strong contrast between Moses and Jesus. Both are salient, while the law and truth are in contrastive focus.

Mat 26:51 καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς τῶν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἀπέσπασεν τὴν μάχαιραν αὐτοῦ
Here one might have expected the article, but it looks llike the author wanted to make Jesus salient, possibly because we have one of the disciples of Jesus who was acting against the wishes of Jesus. Matthew might have intended to suggest that such behaviour could be expected by the disciples of other rabbis, but not of Jesus. As comparison Rev 20:4 has the article before Christ.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Mark Lightman » January 16th, 2012, 2:07 am

Carl wrote: Does choice really always imply meaning? That's a question about Steve Runge's assertion that hasn't yet been completely answered for me.
Hi, Carl,

For me, the answer to this question is a big emphatic οὐχί. People who answer “yes” will likely be drawn to NT Greek Linguistics. People, like me, who answer “no” are drawn to what I call NT Greek Euphonics. NT Greek Euphonics (the academic study of what sounds right) is just as subjective and non-falsifiable as NT Greek Linguistics, but the advantage of the former is that it takes less time to master and the focus is always on the Greek text and it does not fill your head with English metalanguage concepts which distract you while reading the Greek. When you get a PhD in NT Greek Euphonics, instead of doing any course work, you are simply required to listen to the Greek NT read aloud 500 times. Then, instead of writing a dissertation in English, your thesis committee reads you NT Greek variant readings out loud and you have to identify which readings are more euphonic. You don’t have to explain WHY a given reading is more euphonic. NT Greek Euphonics is grounded in the assumption that the ear, like the heart, has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. “It just sounds right!” Now, the epistemology of NT Greek Euphonics, like the epistemology of NT Greek Linguistics, can and should be questioned, but that belongs in another thread.


The only thing I want to add here is that I’ve had some recent personal experience that has convinced me all the more that choice does NOT always imply meaning. For the last few months, I have been volunteering in an ESL (English as a second language) class. The teacher, who is great, uses almost NO grammar/metalanguage while teaching the class. Right now we are doing a unit on maps and getting directions. The teacher teaches the students how to ask for directions (turn right AT the corner, hang a left ON TO Broadway) but she never uses the word “preposition.” I asked her once about metalangauge, and she basically said that it has no value in learning a language. There is virtually no metalanguage in any of the course materials we use. When students ask her why you can say “at the corner” or “on the corner” but not “in the corner,” she does not use words like “locative,” but she is likely to say “it sounds better.”

But at one point, a student, whose native language is Spanish, asked her what is the difference between “How do I go to Walmart” and “How do I get to Walmart.” Both are okay, she said, looking at her watch. I asked her “Doesn’t choice always imply meaning?” No, she said, I don’t think it does. I told her that I thought “go to Walmart” focused more on the journey and “get to Walmart” focused more on the arrival. She said, well, maybe, I suppose. “How do you see the difference,” I asked her. The difference is so slight, she said, that any explanation would be non-falsifiable, subjective and vague. “But the students have a right to know,” I said. “Explain to them the difference.” The students, she said, need to learn a lot of English. Thousands of words and constructions. They don’t need to split hairs. I could say that “How do I go to Walmart” implies that the person has no idea where Walmart is whereas “How do I get to Walmart” implies that the person has some knowledge of the area. But others will say that it is the other way around. A discussion like this will not cause our students to learn English any better. It’s best just to tell the students that “How do I get to Walmart” sounds better and leave it at that.

She was preaching, this ESL teacher, to the converted (me.) Choice does not always imply meaning in English, so I see no reason to believe that it did so in Ancient Greek. There are some general principles for stuff like the presence/absence of the article, for word order, for the tenses, but they are only general principles, not needed to obtain fluency and likely to be rejected once fluency is attained. In the real world of NT Greek, one never knows whether choice is semantic, formulaic or stylistic, and it does not really matter. In the real world of NT Greek, students need to learn thousands of words and constructions; they don’t need to split hairs. The principle "Choice always implies meaning," whether true or not, is dangerous in that it encourages splitting hairs.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by RandallButh » January 16th, 2012, 2:30 am

A couple of points:
(Larsen) John 1:17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.
This is not narrative, and there is a strong contrast between Moses and Jesus. Both are salient, while the law and truth are in contrastive focus.
How do we know that 'strong contrast' is in play, when the defining framework for the pair of clauses was "grace corresponding to grace"? Both are being called 'grace'.

On Lightman's ESL explanations about "go to X" versus "get to X", I like the first one. The difference does not need to be great, nor does it need to be falsifiable. It only needs to fit within the system of the language, and 'go' conveys different threads than 'get'. In the context of movement I agree with the teacher that 'get' has more focus on 'arrive'. Also, since 'get' often entails possession and is treated as slang for 'understand', I would treat 'get' as more colloquial, less formal, than 'go'. Of course, if there are many one-way streets around, the speakers should specify 'walking' vs. 'driving'.

Basically, the principle that choice implies meaning is a good one, even if several phrases may overlap a particular situation.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by David Lim » January 16th, 2012, 8:00 am

RandallButh wrote:Basically, the principle that choice implies meaning is a good one, even if several phrases may overlap a particular situation.
I think we have to further specify what we mean when we talk about choice. I think we all agree that choice between two alternatives with mutually exclusive meaning implies a choice of meaning, excluding errors. However, there are too many instances of multiple alternatives with non-mutually exclusive meaning, in which case a choice between them may or may not be due to a choice of meaning on the part of the user of the language, and will differ between individuals. I doubt this is ever false in any language. I am myself often aware of English phrases which I use without any thought to the specific meaning they have compared to alternatives, but where I become aware only after having used it. In particular, a more "linguistics-aware" person may make much more careful choices of grammatical and semantic constructions compared to a typical user of a language.

I just found an article online with probably too much for us to discuss: http://bible.org/article/greek-article- ... rspectives. It supports my claim that there are many instances of proper names that are part of some idiomatic expression and therefore no rules can explain the presence or absence of the article except for the idiomatic expression itself, which I would simply say is what the speaker has learnt "sounds nice". Of course, some of the conclusions differ from mine but anyway we can pick up various individual points to continue discussion. For example the article claims a distinction between declinable and indeclinable names. If his analysis is correct then I was wrong about that. In any case he omitted indeclinable names from his discussion.
Iver Larsen wrote:
David Lim wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:Second, Jesus in the NT is the key character. He will almost always be what Hoyle calls Hearer-Old and therefore is expected to have the article unless there is a good reason to make the reference salient or when the name is first introduced early in the gospels or in direct speech.
I think the fact that "προς ιησουν" is never used in the new testament implies that your explanation is not the main one, because one would expect some instances of it given the following distribution of "ιησους" (number of verses in the new testament):
Case / Articular / Anarthous
NOM / 344 / 153
ACC / 60 / 68
DAT / 31 / 63
GEN / 36 / 189
In my view, Hoyle's explanation best accounts for why there is no article in those constructions. If you read Hoyle's points again and try to apply them, I think you will agree. Remember that one common use of the name without article is when the person is first introuduced. A person is rarely introduced in a prepositional phrase, at least in narratives.

There are 29 instances of Ἰησοῦς following a preposition and preceded by the article. There are 25 instances where the article is not present. It is not enough to count numbers. You need to look at context and genre. 22 of the 29 occur in the gospels which are mainly narrative, with only 2 in Paul's letters. Similarly, only 5 of those without article occur in the gospels. and 11 in Paul's letters.
I agree that numbers are not enough, but other factors such as context and genre are too subjective that it may not help if we based our discussion on those. I would instead say that much of what you call genre and context are actually style, inasmuch as genres gives us different ways of expressing the same content. Our style may also include imposing different contexts to achieve different rates of communication. For example I may choose to provide as much detail as possible, whether or not it is asked for, or I may choose to say as much as possible in the least number of words, in which case many things will be omitted due to choice of style and not meaning.
Iver Larsen wrote:Mat 26:51 καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς τῶν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἀπέσπασεν τὴν μάχαιραν αὐτοῦ
Here one might have expected the article, but it looks llike the author wanted to make Jesus salient, possibly because we have one of the disciples of Jesus who was acting against the wishes of Jesus. Matthew might have intended to suggest that such behaviour could be expected by the disciples of other rabbis, but not of Jesus. As comparison Rev 20:4 has the article before Christ.
Well, the article I found said this:
Steve Janssen wrote:Another idiom is the use of names with the preposition μετα. Names never have the article with μετα, though titles may. This can be seen in Matt 2:11; 4:21; 8:11; 26:69, 71; Mark 1:29; Acts 7:45; Galatians 2:1; Philippians 4:3; and Hebrews 11:9.
This pattern is what I was referring to when I compared "μετα" and "προς" with proper names. Of course, I only had the time to briefly scan the article so I did not verify any claim.
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Re: ὁ Ἰησοῦς· The article with proper names

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 16th, 2012, 4:33 pm

David Lim wrote: It supports my claim that there are many instances of proper names that are part of some idiomatic expression and therefore no rules can explain the presence or absence of the article except for the idiomatic expression itself, which I would simply say is what the speaker has learnt "sounds nice".
With an IANAL (I am not a linguist) warning...

I think there is some confusion about terms here. Any fixed expression (idiom) really is a rule in itself. So are more general grammatical rules. So are discourse rules and pragmatic rules. Everything is based on what "sounds nice" from user's point of view. But science can't be content with "it just sounds nice" any more than it can be with "it just happens to be so". It tries to find rules behind "nice". It is true that single idioms are the least explainable of linguistic phenomena - quite many of them just happen to be so (even though many can be explained historically and many aren't actually so idiomatic when compared to other languages). But there are also more generic rules. Idioms or basic grammatical rules ("when used with this form in this construction") aren't enough to explain all uses or non-uses of the article, even though they can explain some or many situations. Scientists/scholars can't leave it at that. Is there something else besides grammar which can explain the usage? Indeed there is, namely discourse and pragmatics.

Unfortunately there's no way to speak about discourse and pragmatics without any linguistic theory. Even if you use only common sense everyday language to explain it, it's still theory. In learning English it may be enough to learn the language from a native speaker who can say "it sounds better" but unfortunately that's not the case with Koine. We must argue why something is more natural than something else, and finally there's no other way to do it than using grammatical and linguistic metalanguage. If you disagree, you can try to persuade people to believe that your interpretation of a NT text is better than some other because it "sounds nicer". Can you say for example which explanation of 'πιστις Χριστου' sounds better, objective (faith in Christ) or subjective (faithfullness of Christ)? Or should we still continue theological/linguistic discussion in metalanguage, doing research and trying to find evidence?

Back to idioms... you must not confuse idioms (fixed expressions) with generic grammatical rules or discourse rules. Idioms are unique non-generic rules which can't be applied elsewhere, but grammatical and discourse rules aren't. Idioms are linguistically the least interesting of those even though they are important part of any actual language.

When explaining for example the article we can find some idioms. Good - we have found some rules. In what is left over, we can find grammatical rules where article is used or not used in certain situations which can be defined with traditional grammatical terms. For example declinable/indeclinable names could belong here. But there are still cases which aren't explained. Do we say they are explained only by "style", i.e. by what "sounds better"? We don't have to, because we still have resources left, namely discourse studies. For the article - and for word order - it means mostly the theory called information structure. If you can't accept that, you are left with vague "style" which isn't an explanation and doesn't actually say anything. If you accept that there is some weird "information structure" which might explain things and show us rules, then you have to find out what it means. And here we come to linguistic theory. Either you can study it, or you can just say that you know better because you know what sounds nice. If you don't know the theory, you are not in a position to argue against those explanations which use it (unless you have a better theory which actually explains the data).
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