The enclitic με at Luke 5:12

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Scott Lawson
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The enclitic με at Luke 5:12

Post by Scott Lawson » February 16th, 2012, 12:03 am

Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

Since an enclitic, on losing its accent, forms a part of the preceding word it seems strange to me to see με with δύνασαι. It may be in part due to my desire to fit it to a Spanish reflexive pronoun, but it seems like it would be better if it followed καθαρίσαι.

Πῶς γὰρ ὀύ;
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Scott Lawson

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The enclitic με at Luke 5:12

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 16th, 2012, 1:27 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

Since an enclitic, on losing its accent, forms a part of the preceding word it seems strange to me to see με with δύνασαι. It may be in part due to my desire to fit it to a Spanish reflexive pronoun, but it seems like it would be better if it followed καθαρίσαι.
An enclitic is a phonologically weak word, which has a number of consequences. It loses its accent, as you note, but it also gravitates to the phonologically most prominent word in its intonation unit regardless of the syntax. Generally, this is the first word of the intonation unit, and the clitic tends to follow the first word. This movement of the clausal clitic to the "second position" is known as Wackernagel's Law. Though formulated for Ancient Greek (Homeric and Classical), it continues to hold for Koine Greek, as far as I can tell.

In this case, the apodosis δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι forms an intonation unit, and the enclitic με finds itself in the second position just where it is expected to be. From a Greek perspective, there is nothing unusual about the word order here. It only when that a clitic does not appear in second position that things get interesting.

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

Mark Lightman
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Re: The enclitic με at Luke 5:12

Post by Mark Lightman » February 16th, 2012, 8:50 am

Would this
θέλων μὲν οὖν, ὦ Κύριε, καθαρόν με ποιῆσαι ἰσχύεις.
satisfy both Lawson and Wackernagel?

πῶς γὰρ οὐ?
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