To or about?

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Re: To or about?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 24th, 2012, 8:39 am

Evan Blackmore wrote:Here I very much doubt whether ἐν τῇ Νεκυίᾳ could be read as "with regard to the Nekuia" (Orion, not the Nekuia, is the topic in the spotlight).


LSJ gives one sense of νέκυια as "name for the eleventh Book of the Odyssey, D.S.4.39, Plu. 2.740e." I see this usage as comparable where the object of ἐν names the writing that contains the passage. This works with most of the examples that BDAG cited under sense 1. To make ἐν Ἠλίᾳ fit the sense, however, Danker has to reformulate it by supplying the words "in the passage of".

Evan Blackmore wrote:But of course it's useless looking for any passage where ἐν can be construed in one and only one way. This whole thread beautifully illustrates Moulton's famous remark about ἐν being the "maid of all work" of the NT.


Yes, indeed. The issue is where the object does not name a book and the usage appears to be somewhat intermediate between senses 1 and 8. How finely lexicographers subdivide the senses is one of those lumpers-vs.-splitters issues that probably cannot be resolved by objective evidence. At any rate, I do find the proposed senses of "about" and "to" to be not as suitable as either "(contained) in (the writing of)" or "in the case of"/"regarding".
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Re: To or about?

Postby Evan Blackmore » November 24th, 2012, 1:27 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:To make ἐν Ἠλίᾳ fit the sense, however, Danker has to reformulate it by supplying the words "in the passage of".


I find it interesting that, as late as Middle English, no such reformulation was felt necessary: it was still possible to write "the scripture seith in Elie" (the Wycliffite versions of Rom. 11:2).

As I remarked above, there are still cases where that's acceptable in English. We still feel comfortable writing "in the Nekuia" and "in Anna Livia Plurabelle" (without necessarily requiring the supplement "in the passage about Anna Livia Plurabelle" or "in the story of Anna Livia Plurabelle"). And yet I don't think we'd tolerate "in Gwendolen Harleth" or "in Miss Clack" [episodes within Daniel Deronda and The Moonstone respectively]; we'd need to say "in the story of Gwendolen Harleth" and "in Miss Clack's narrative." This makes me suspect that the need for reformulation may be an inner-English issue, i.e. that it may be a question of what has become customary in English in particular cases.
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Re: To or about?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 24th, 2012, 5:19 pm

Evan Blackmore wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:To make ἐν Ἠλίᾳ fit the sense, however, Danker has to reformulate it by supplying the words "in the passage of".


I find it interesting that, as late as Middle English, no such reformulation was felt necessary: it was still possible to write "the scripture seith in Elie" (the Wycliffite versions of Rom. 11:2).

As I remarked above, there are still cases where that's acceptable in English. We still feel comfortable writing "in the Nekuia" and "in Anna Livia Plurabelle" (without necessarily requiring the supplement "in the passage about Anna Livia Plurabelle" or "in the story of Anna Livia Plurabelle"). And yet I don't think we'd tolerate "in Gwendolen Harleth" or "in Miss Clack" [episodes within Daniel Deronda and The Moonstone respectively]; we'd need to say "in the story of Gwendolen Harleth" and "in Miss Clack's narrative." This makes me suspect that the need for reformulation may be an inner-English issue, i.e. that it may be a question of what has become customary in English in particular cases.


I'm not so sure it is an inner-English issue. Both Nekuia and Anna Livia Plurabelle are the names of writings. Even though these writings are contained in larger works (Odyssey and Finnegan's Wake, respectively), they nonetheless designate a specific body of writing. (In fact, ALP had a published existence prior to and separate from the completed Finnegan's Wake.)

All of BDAG's unproblematic examples under sense 1a are those of named writings or named collections of writings, yet it is unclear whether "Elijah" named a writing. Danker's reformulation with "in the passage of" suggests that it did not. Another indication that Ἠλίᾳ does not name a writing is that the word provides a personal subject for ὡς ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ in Rom 11:2 and a personal antecedent for αὐτῷ in v.4 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός;
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Re: To or about?

Postby Evan Blackmore » November 24th, 2012, 6:24 pm

It's interesting that "Gwendolen Harleth" (like "Anna Livia Plurabelle") has been published separately under that title, and yet we'd still always say "in the story of Gwendolen Harleth," never simply "in Gwendolen Harleth."

My provisional suspicion is that modern English tolerates "in X" where X has gained widespread currency for some reason (e.g. because it was already a section-name in another language, like "Nekuia," or because the author himself used it as a section-name, as Joyce did when excerpting ALP as a widely circulated teaser for his forthcoming book), but doesn't tolerate "in X" where X has never gained widespread currency (as with the sections from Daniel Deronda & The Moonstone).

Stephen Carlson wrote:It is unclear whether "Elijah" named a writing. Danker's reformulation with "in the passage of" suggests that it did not. Another indication that Ἠλίᾳ does not name a writing is that the word provides a personal subject for ὡς ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ in Rom 11:2 and a personal antecedent for αὐτῷ in v.4 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός;


I too am doubtful whether "Elijah" ever named a writing. I suspect from the Rabbinic instances, though, that it may at least have been a recognized designation for a block of material (at any rate within some Jewish communities).

Stephen Carlson wrote:Another indication that Ἠλίᾳ does not name a writing is that the word provides a personal subject for ὡς ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ in Rom 11:2 and a personal antecedent for αὐτῷ in v.4 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός;


I haven't looked in detail, but I suspect we'd find lots of instances in ancient Gk where a name (e.g. "in David," "in Moses") functions in one and the same context both to designate a writing and also as a personal subject/antecedent etc. I suspect that ancient writers may not have compartmentalized those matters as tightly as we do.

On the whole the function of writing-designations in ancient literature seems to me a very complex subject indeed. Perhaps we shouldn't be trying to find too neat or too unitary a way of summarizing it. (This is just a general reflection, not a response to your comments, Stephen--which certainly don't fall into that trap!)
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Re: To or about?

Postby MAubrey » November 24th, 2012, 7:20 pm

I haven't looked through all four pages of this post...has anyone noted this other instance of an animate NP object from the
Iliad 7:101-2 wrote:αὐτὰρ ὕπερθε νίκης πείρατ᾽ ἔχονται ἐν ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσιν.


In general, I would say that even in cases with an animate PP-object, the container metaphor that drives ἐν usage is still very much at play. It simple involves an additional complexity of a metonymy with the interpretation of the object. The question at hand is the nature of that relationship--something that really doesn't have much to do with ἐν itself and has a lot more to do with the broader context of the prepositional phrase in question.
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Re: To or about?

Postby Evan Blackmore » November 24th, 2012, 7:38 pm

Evan Blackmore wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Another indication that Ἠλίᾳ does not name a writing is that the word provides a personal subject for ὡς ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ in Rom 11:2 and a personal antecedent for αὐτῷ in v.4 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός;


I haven't looked in detail, but I suspect we'd find lots of instances in ancient Gk where a name (e.g. "in David," "in Moses") functions in one and the same context both to designate a writing and also as a personal subject/antecedent etc.


In fact, one such instance has been staring me right in the face in this very thread:

ουκ ανεγνωτε εν τη βιβλω μωυσεως επι του βατου πως ειπεν αυτω


No wonder I felt that the usage was vaguely familiar....
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Re: To or about?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 24th, 2012, 9:01 pm

Evan Blackmore wrote:
Evan Blackmore wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Another indication that Ἠλίᾳ does not name a writing is that the word provides a personal subject for ὡς ἐντυγχάνει τῷ θεῷ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ in Rom 11:2 and a personal antecedent for αὐτῷ in v.4 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός;


I haven't looked in detail, but I suspect we'd find lots of instances in ancient Gk where a name (e.g. "in David," "in Moses") functions in one and the same context both to designate a writing and also as a personal subject/antecedent etc.


In fact, one such instance has been staring me right in the face in this very thread:

ουκ ανεγνωτε εν τη βιβλω μωυσεως επι του βατου πως ειπεν αυτω


No wonder I felt that the usage was vaguely familiar....


It's not quite on point. In your example, Μωϋσέως names the person (in the genitive) and βίβλῳ designates the writing.
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Re: To or about?

Postby Evan Blackmore » November 24th, 2012, 11:56 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:It's not quite on point. In your example, Μωϋσέως names the person (in the genitive) and βίβλῳ designates the writing.


True, though of course that doesn't mean that the differences are necessarily significant. Strictly speaking, the writing-designation is τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως, and Μωϋσέως is no more and no less a person-name in that than it would be in any other kind of citation-formula that mentioned him.

But we can agree that no passage comparable in all respects to Rom. 11:2 has been uncovered or is likely to be uncovered. Here, as so often elsewhere, Paul was doing something rather unusual (possibly even unprecedented), and therefore it's difficult to say what the syntax would have signified either to him or to his earliest readers.
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Re: To or about?

Postby David Lim » November 25th, 2012, 7:01 am

Evan Blackmore wrote:
David Lim wrote:It would be good if there was an example where the word used to reference a writing is not directly related to the passage quoted.


I'm sure there are lots of better examples among the innumerable ancient Homeric citations, but Diodorus 4.85.6, narrating the story of Orion, may help:
[...]
And here’s another, Aristotle, Historia animalium 9.22.2:
[...]

Looks convincing to me. I was just looking for evidence that "εν ηλια" in Rom 11:2 could indeed be taken as simply a book/section reference. Thanks!
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