Word Order in Mat 16,18

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Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby Peter Streitenberger » May 27th, 2013, 5:40 pm

Dear Friends,
in Mat 16,18 it reads:
καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν

Why is μου fronted and placed before τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ? Can we find this feature elsewhere and how can we name it ?
Thank you for your help !
Yours
Peter, Germany
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby MAubrey » May 27th, 2013, 6:26 pm

Peter Streitenberger wrote:καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν

Why is μου fronted and placed before τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ? Can we find this feature elsewhere and how can we name it ?

The pronoun here is enclitic and thus does not follow the same rules/principles for word order that other forms do.

It has been my contention that such pronouns attach to the prosodic phrase of a clause that receive the primary sentence stress. This vast majority of this time, this phenomenon results in what is known as Wackernagel's Law, where enclitic pronouns appear after the second "word" in an "clause," where "word" and "clause are a phonological unit rather than lexical/syntactic. Other cases, particularly with genitive enclitic pronouns like this one, tend to stretch the standard conceptualization of the principle.

Some have been less confident that the question of sentence stress is the case, their own proposes tend toward the same result in terms of the interpretation...I would expect that Stephen Carlson will likely say something here too.
Mike Aubrey
Canada Institute of Linguistics & Trinity Western University Graduate School
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby RandallButh » May 28th, 2013, 1:40 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:Dear Friends,
in Mat 16,18 it reads:
καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν

Why is μου fronted and placed before τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ? Can we find this feature elsewhere and how can we name it ?
Thank you for your help !
Yours
Peter, Germany


I think that it is being quietly tucked in under the verb. It is an example of something called a "Language Independent Preferred Order of Constituents" (LIPOC) in Functional Grammar. In Greek the principle is worked out in what is called Wackernagel's (Tendency) that Michael mentioned for enclitics. The Greek enclitic tends to follow the lead word or heavy word of a phrase. for an interesting example, note how εστιν moves around as you read your next pages. Εστιν, of course, as a verb is on the heavy end of consideration for LIPOC.

Here is another example from Luk 14:23
ἵνα γεμισθῇ μου ὁ οἶκος·
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 28th, 2013, 3:51 am

My view is similar to Mike's, except I'm not convinced in the notion of a "primary sentence stress" for Greek.

What we have in Matt 16:18 are two intonation units, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ and οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, each with their own stress on the first phonological word. Speakers of many languages of the world, including Greek, like to follow what Knud Lambrecht has called the Principle of the Separation of Reference and Role. This principle holds that people like to introduce a new discourse participant and talk about it in different intonation units. Here, "this rock" is introduced in the first unit καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ and then talked about in the second.

In the second intonation unit, Wackernagel's "law" holds and the stress on οἰκοδομήσω pulls the clitic μου forward to behind the verb.

Since Koine Greek is a VO language and since it is rare for verbs to be topicalized, this usually manifests itself as the clitic "being quietly tucked in under the verb," as Randall put it. There are some fairly rare exceptions, however. We recently discussed John 13:8 where the genitive clitic pronoun was pulled forward even before the verb: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1754
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby Peter Streitenberger » May 28th, 2013, 6:49 am

Dear Friends,

thank you ! So you agree that the fronting of MOU has phonological reasons and there is not intention to stress the pronoun ? I initially thought that would be the case.
Yours
Peter, Germany
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby Stephen Hughes » June 3rd, 2013, 2:25 am

Hi Peter
I think it is put in that order because there is no implied verb between τὴν ἐκκλησίαν and μου, as it would be in a τὴν ἐκκλησίαν μου (the church which I build / established / am the head of ...), in that way it has a direct relationship with the verb (as a reference external unchanged by the action of the verb) - which is something like "for myself", "according to my own plans", "for my own purposes", but of course not so specified (as there is no preposition with it). This is different to the way that Church is referred to in Acts 20:28 it says ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ, "provide pasture and security for the Church which belongs to (of) / which has the essential characteristic of / which worships / which has been justified by the Lord and God." The πύλαι ᾍδου in our verse, "gates of Hades" does include an implied verb, like "the gates which are between us and Hades", or "the gates which display / symbolise the military strength of Hades".

As something external to the action of the verb, it is similar to the dative with ἐν, which is also external to the verb's action and unchanged by it like in Romans16:1 τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς where the sea port of Κεγχρεαί is the external reference unchanged by the verb. But the difference is that the ἐν + dative is not a reference for the action of the verb it is just the surroundings "the church which is in Cenchreae (but let's not get side-tracked into thinking too much about the place)".

At Matthew 8:8, we see οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς ἵνα μου ὑπὸ τὴν στέγην εἰσέλθῃς "on my account" ("I am not such a great person that you would come in to the house on my account"), in Matthew 17:15 καὶ λέγων, Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς πάσχει·"consider the anguish of my heart, and that you see me kneeling here pleading with you" (have mercy in proportion to / in response to me / my actions) "and saying, Lord, show your mercy to (my) son in response to the kneeling and pleading that you see, because he is moon-struck and suffers badly". In that way, because it excludes all other (implied) verbs it give the verb an "in your face" sense of urgency and immediacy. Mark 5:30 Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; "who touched my clothes wanting something from me" (rather than "who touched the clothes that I am wearing (my clothes)). Luke 14:24 οὐδεὶς ... γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου. "on account of me" / "because I have become a stumbling block to their (even) tasting the food (let alone eating the whole banquet)", as opposed to τοῦ δείπνου μου ** ("the dinner which I have hosted / prepared").

I can't think of a word to describe the characteristic, perhaps "exclusive verbal referentiality". I'm sorry if I've expressed myself poorly.
Last edited by Stephen Carlson on June 4th, 2013, 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added paragraph breaks
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby RandallButh » June 3rd, 2013, 3:01 am

In that way, because it excludes all other (implied) verbs it give the verb an "in your face" sense of urgency and immediacy. Mark5:30 Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; "who touched my clothes wanting something from me" (rather than "who touched the clothes that I am wearing (my clothes)). Luke14:24 οὐδεὶς ... γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου. "on account of me" / "because I have become a stumbling block to their (even) tasting the food (let alone eating the whole banquet)", as opposed to τοῦ δείπνου μου ** ("the dinner which I have hosted / prepared").


Stephen, those are good thoughts, though I think that that idea of 'implied verb' is unnecessary and distracting. A person can always add an implied 'being' or 'possession' verb to a noun phrase. I do agree that ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν strengthens ἐλέησόν.

The sentence Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; can profit from a differentiated comparison:
Τίς ἥψατο μου τῶν ἱματίων; (there is also a lowest rung default: Τίς ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων μου; )
The second option (Τίς ἥψατο μου τῶν ἱματίων;) would have strengthened ἥψατο, sharing some prominence with Τίς. The raising of μου all the way to Τίς can be read as strengthening Τίς while establishing μου as contextualization (non-focal), my default reading, though one may also edit as μοῦ, a less-likely option since there is no vowel to help erode the vowel of a potential ἐμοῦ.

PS: I would disagree with "on account of me" / "because I have become a stumbling block to their (even) tasting the food (let alone eating the whole banquet)". That over interprets μου and misses the point of the parable: everybody gets invited and potentially brought in, those kind get left out. The 'me' and the identity of the owner are deep background and not the 'point' but part of the 'given'.
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Re: Word Order in Mat 16,18

Postby Stephen Hughes » June 4th, 2013, 9:03 am

RandallButh wrote:I think that that idea of 'implied verb' is unnecessary and distracting.

That depends on what language you (as a reader) are used to dealing with and on the syntax of a given passage.

Of course the cases inherently express relationship not meaning, but even when the grammatical relationship is understood at a conceptual level, it is not easy to understand how it should be taken in a real sense. Working out the implied verbs allows one to define more clearly what the relationship between two nouns might be. In fact, taking the genitive to mean “of” is understanding an implied verb to “have” (it doesn’t have to be added). As for the genitive not being understood as an implied verbal (or other relationship) suffice it to say that some of my colleagues like to use the Bible to teach English. As much as I love the Book, I don't follow suite because Biblical English has an over-use of the word "of", where it has been translated from the Greek genitive (and a stilted verbal system). It is often very apparent that students have been learning English from the Bible.

So if the genitive doesn't mean "of" (or "my", "your"), (even though that is used as a fall-back translation), what does it mean? The genitive case shows us that the noun (or nominal phrase) in the genitive is not involved (or affected) by the action of the verb. The genitive absolute is a clear example of that. It doesn't mean "while" or "as" (as it is possible to translate it), but it indicates that there is an action going on which is not affected by the verb of the paragraph, but it has some bearing on the action. The same (dissociated from + unaffected by) is true of all genitives (more or less) even when they are associated with other units in the sentence.

Two examples random examples showing the dissociated referentiality of the genitive where it is not useful to supply (deduce) an implied verb are;

First, in Acts 21:26 διαγγέλλων τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ , ἕως οὗ προσηνέχθη ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου αὐτῶν ἡ προσφορά we find that the apostle is “declaring the fulfillment of the days of the sanctification, until when the offering will be offered for each and every one of them”. Here, the genitival relationship between τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν and τῶν ἡμερῶν is not helped by finding an implied verb – the noun is derived from the verb. Having a genitive prompts us to ask a silent question, “How (in relation to what?) are we to understand the ἐκπλήρωσις (end of a specified time)”? We understand it in relation to the days, but the days themselves are not affected by this ἐκπλήρωσις (the sun still rises and sets etc.), but in this context, we consider them special days that get extra meaning from being contextualised by the ἁγνισμός but the “purification” per se is independent of any day. οὗ “when” is the point of finishing the time, i.e. the ἐκπλήρωσις τῶν ἡμερῶν “the completion of the [length of time measured by] days”. The ἕως explicates (or matches) added sense (of finishing) that the ἐκπλήρωσις gives to αἱ ἡμέραι. To look at the ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου αὐτῶν first as a genitival phrase, we would say that the action of the passive verb προσηνέχθη ἡ προσφορά is taken in relation to the “every one of them”, but they can either be unaffected (grammatically) by doing it “the offering was offered by every one of them”, or unaffected by the action as that the offering was done for them and they were not part of the process of the actual offering (which was carried vicarously out by a priest), or it could be that I am looking too deeply to distinguish the two senses of ὑπέρ.

For a second example, and another way in which the genitive as an external point of reference (unaffected by the verb), being one of the contexts within which the verb should be understood the case of the middle ἐπιλαμβάνομαι (usually plus genitive) such as in Mk.8:23 ἐπιλαβόμενος τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ τυφλοῦ is conveniently translated by "taking the blind man by the hand", but in the sense of a relationship to the middle verb expressed by the genitive cases, is something like; the verb the first one τῆς χειρὸς relates to the verb as the a (linguistically) unaffected reference point for the action of ἐπιλαβόμενος and the second τοῦ τυφλοῦ relates to the verb as the referential context of the person who is, of course, not affected by the middle verb, I think it is clearly "take the hand of the vision impaired person" as that would be the a contexualised (or referred) referentiality (which in my experience / understanding doesn’t naturally occur).
Last edited by Stephen Carlson on June 4th, 2013, 10:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added paragraph breaks; fixed italics.
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