James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Iver Larsen » October 6th, 2013, 3:23 am

Since Stephen mentioned me based on a long previous discussion, let me clarify my position which does not follow the tradition.

I do not think the placement of a personal pronoun depends on the prosody or phonology in dependence on a precediing constituent, except in poetry which has special rules. In my view the data can be better explained by an alternative analysis. I would say that the placement of a personal pronoun like other constituents is governed by semantics and pragmatics, when there is a syntactic choice. Once that position has been decided, phonologial accent follows as a consequence of the pragmatic choice.

Stephen mentioned Matthew 26:51 ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον Mark 14:47 has the same order, but Luke 22:50 has ἀφεῖλεν τὸ οὖς αὐτοῦ τὸ δεξίον.

The verb ἀφαιρέω is a divalent verb which can take two constituents: "Take away P from X", where P is the object being removed and X is the person who loses that object. P would be in the accusative and X in the (partitive) genitive, e.g. Luke 10:42 ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς. (which shall not be taken from her.) Therefore, we can analyze the αὐτοῦ in Matt 26:51 and Mark 14:47 as the X participant in the verbal clause: "he took away from him." To that is added the P τὸ ὠτίον (the ear). He removed from him the/his ear. In any given clause, not all participants in an event need to be explicit, so in Luke 22:50 only P is explicit: He removed his right ear (from him). The X as a clause constituent is implicit and clear anyway. The pragmatic difference is that in Matthew and Mark there is a relatively higher prominence on the servant as a person who was struck and happened to lose an ear, while in Luke there is relatively more prominence on the fact that it was an ear he lost. Luke probably did that because he followed up by saying that Jesus took that ear and placed it back (as Stephen mentioned.)

Concerning the presence of a pronoun as a constituent in a clause where the verb already indicates the person, there are three options:

1. No ponoun is used since the pronominal reference is understood from the verb.
2. A pronoun is used in addition to the person reference in the verb.
3. The pronoun is placed before or after the verb.

When 2. is used rather than 1. it means the author chose to put relatively more pominence on the person being referred to than when 1. is chosen. In most cases, when this syntactically "superfluous" pronoun is used, there is a pragmatic reason for it. Because of the prominence resulting from the mere presence of the pronoun, in most cases it will be placed before the verb. Exceptions are when the verbal action is even more prominent than the person who does the action. Another exception to the normal use of pronouns is John's Gospel, because he uses the personal pronouns much more frequently than others, and therefore he may use a pronoun in a situation where he does not want to put particular emphasis on it, unlike if another person was writing. Some analysts prefer complicated rules, while I prefer a more simple explanation, if it explains the data in a satisfactory way. I do not find the dichotomistic split between topic and comment helpful. It is too much black and white, as if language always presents a choice between only two possiblilities.

If we return to
Ἀλλʼ ἐρεῖ τις, Σὺ πίστιν ἔχεις, κἀγὼ ἔργα ἔχω. δεῖξόν μοι τὴν πίστιν σου χωρὶς τῶν ἔργων, κἀγώ σοι δείξω ἐκ τῶν ἔργων μου τὴν πίστιν
I see a double contrast between faith and works and between you and me. Greek is wonderfully flexible and can express nuances that are lost in a lilteral translation into English.
δείκνυμι is again a divalent verb "Show P to X" where X is now in the dative case (beneficiary or recipient). The order in δεῖξόν μοι τὴν πίστιν σου χωρὶς τῶν ἔργων is unmarked. The personal pronoun showing X is close to the verb as expected. The focus is on "show" rather than "me". We need to look at the clause and phrase separately. The clause is Verb-Personal pronoun for Recipient-Object. The nominal phrase τὴν πίστιν σου has a personal pronoun modifying the noun in the default position. The relative focus is on faith rather than you. There is a contrast here between faith and works.
In the second clause κἀγώ σοι δείξω ἐκ τῶν ἔργων μου τὴν πίστιν several things are made more prominent. The fronting in κἀγώ indicates focus on what I am doing as opposed to what you are doing. When I talk about relative prominence, it is not restricted to only two levels: prominent or not prominent, but more or less prominent. So, I would say that in this clause I is the most prominent, you is second and the verb third. After all, the verbal idea of showing was already introduced in the previous clause, so it is old information. However, many good manuscripts have κἀγώ δείξω σοι which is also quite possible. The slight difference is whether you or the showing is relatively more prominent. In addition, the prhase ἐκ τῶν ἔργων μου which is a peripheral phrase in the clause is fronted before the P for emphasis. The nominal object phrase τὴν πίστιν does not need a pronoun in Greek, but it is expected in English. Again, a number of manuscripts do have the pronoun μου at the end. It is optional and its presence does not alter the meaning.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby RandallButh » October 6th, 2013, 6:31 am

Ryan:
An analysis of a "focal reading of σοι" by Levinsohn would need correction. I suspect that Levinsohn would agree when pointed out the non-accentual status of σοι. On the other hand, there are many times when I read pre-verbal words with "grave" accents with a superimposed accute. That is, I would read θεὸς ἦν ὀ λόγος as if θεός ἦν ὀ λόγος. I assume that this is what happened in natural Greek and that the written accents simply followed default rules without considering contextual reading outloud and potential focal pronunciations.

On πιστιν I'm pretty sure that Levisohn would agree, especially if asked explicitly to explain the difference between the πιστιν δείξω and δείξω ... πίστιν. If he were to stay with some title like "secondary Focus" for the latter, then we would simply have a different metalanguage, where I would call this default saliency.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Iver Larsen » October 6th, 2013, 7:11 am

Let me make a small correction to what I wrote. When I wrote divalent, I meant trivalent (three participants/arguments in the verb frame). (It was a brain short circuit with di-transitive).
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Vasile Stancu » October 6th, 2013, 7:26 am

I feel tempted to make a parallel between this subject and the one described in Matt 9:5,6. And if I were to paraphrase that pericope and apply it to this text, I would put it like this:

τί ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον, εἰπεῖν, Πίσπιν ἔχω, ἢ Ἔργα ἔχω; ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι οὕτω τις λέγων ἐρεῖ, ἐγὼ λέγω, Δείχω σοι ἐκ τῶν ἔργων μου τὴν πίστιν.

I believe μου is directly related to ἔργων, because works should be concretely seen, or tangible and always attributable to someone. Logically, it is also related to πίστιν, for it is quite clear that ἔργων and πίστιν are related to each other and regard one and the same person. However, a second μου after τὴν πίστιν would somewhat dilute the more abstract and general nature that 'faith' has for any one person, as compared to 'works'.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby RandallButh » October 6th, 2013, 7:30 am

Iver:
I do not find the dichotomistic split between topic and comment helpful. It is too much black and white, as if language always presents a choice between only two possiblilities.


Of course, to say that word order is simply marking "prominence" and then have everything march along left to right would present only a single possibility and be even more starkly black and white. "Prominence only" is using an even blunter sword.

There is also a caveat: the comment about "topic and comment" does not reflect what I or Runge or Levinsohn or Helma Dik or most linguistics working with 'Focal structures' think and may either be mixing systems or a mis-categorization. Topic--Comment (i.e., Theme--Rheme, as translated from the Czech linguists over half a century ago with terms coined on Greek rhetoric) was developed to describe information flow withn a clause/sentence. But we are here talking about fronting "Contextualizing Constituents", (approx.= Runge's Frames of Reference, Levinsohn's 'Point of Departure') and differentiating these from salient constituents that have special Focal marking, and differentiating these from default structures. So already we are up to "four" items, "special Contextualization", "special Saliency (Focus)", default topic (Subject), default comment (predicate). And there are further refinements.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 6th, 2013, 8:12 am

Iver Larsen wrote:Since Stephen mentioned me based on a long previous discussion, let me clarify my position which does not follow the tradition.

I do not think the placement of a personal pronoun depends on the prosody or phonology in dependence on a precediing constituent, except in poetry which has special rules. In my view the data can be better explained by an alternative analysis. I would say that the placement of a personal pronoun like other constituents is governed by semantics and pragmatics, when there is a syntactic choice. Once that position has been decided, phonologial accent follows as a consequence of the pragmatic choice.

Thanks for restating your position. It's always good to have its proponent set it out instead of a skeptic.

The reason I'm skeptical is that I don't think these two factors are enough to explain the word order, and in many languages unstressed elements like pronouns often follow different patterns of placement. In other words, to claim that unstressed pronouns shift forward for phonological reasons is by no means a strange claim. It happens in languages other than Greek, including mainland Scandinavian languages with the so-called "Scandinavian object shift," where a unstressed object pronoun is moved ahead of the sentential adverb. Compare (in Swedish): Jag kysste inte Marit ("I didn't kiss Marit") with Jag kysste henne inte ("I didn't kiss her"). Researchers have linked this object shift (and its optionality in Swedish) to phonological reasons. In Greek, we have the Wackernagel's Law phenomenon of clitic placement (which probably also held in its ancestral language), which has been resistant to purely semantic/pragmatic explanations.

Iver Larsen wrote:Stephen mentioned Matthew 26:51 ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον Mark 14:47 has the same order, but Luke 22:50 has ἀφεῖλεν τὸ οὖς αὐτοῦ τὸ δεξίον.

The verb ἀφαιρέω is a [tri]valent verb which can take two constituents: "Take away P from X", where P is the object being removed and X is the person who loses that object. P would be in the accusative and X in the (partitive) genitive, e.g. Luke 10:42 ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς. (which shall not be taken from her.) Therefore, we can analyze the αὐτοῦ in Matt 26:51 and Mark 14:47 as the X participant in the verbal clause: "he took away from him."

Thanks for this. I will have to consider this prima facie plausible explanation further.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Iver Larsen » October 7th, 2013, 12:28 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:The reason I'm skeptical is that I don't think these two factors are enough to explain the word order, and in many languages unstressed elements like pronouns often follow different patterns of placement. In other words, to claim that unstressed pronouns shift forward for phonological reasons is by no means a strange claim. It happens in languages other than Greek, including mainland Scandinavian languages with the so-called "Scandinavian object shift," where a unstressed object pronoun is moved ahead of the sentential adverb. Compare (in Swedish): Jag kysste inte Marit ("I didn't kiss Marit") with Jag kysste henne inte ("I didn't kiss her"). Researchers have linked this object shift (and its optionality in Swedish) to phonological reasons.


Thank you for quoting an example that I can relate to. I am curious about this so-called Scandinavian object shift. Do you have a reference for this analysis? I am sceptical because we have the same in Danish: "Jeg kyssede ikke Marit" (I kissed not Marit) and "Jeg kyssede hende ikke" (I kissed her not). But that is not an object shift, at least not in Danish, nor is the placement of the unstressed pronoun optional.

It is correct, though, that a pronoun which functions as an object or indirect object for a verb will be positioned immediately after the verb. An indirect object will come before a direct object. If there is also an adverb in the sentence, including the negative marker, it is a more peripheral element and will be placed after the pronoun. However, if the object is a noun phrase instead of a pronoun, an adverb will be placed before the object. So, the placement of the adverb depends on what the object is, but it is not an object shift. It is possible to move the pronoun object in front of the verb in order to emphazise it: Hende kyssede jeg ikke (Henne kysste jag inte), (Her I did not kiss).

I agree that a pronominal object for a verb is often placed close to the verb(root) across languages whether that object is an affix or a separate word. So, I agree that pronouns behave differently than noun phrases which are not pronouns. But it is not caused by phonological reasons, at least not in Danish, and I am sceptical about such a claim for Greek.

If we talk about possessive pronouns, it is a different matter altogether, since possessive pronouns are constituents in a noun phrase. In Danish a possessive pronoun always comes before the head noun with optional adjectives in between (like English). Greek is ambiguous in this respect because the genitive of the personal pronoun is also used as a possessive pronoun. So, in a given sentence like the one in Matt 26:51 - ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον - the question is whether the pronoun is a personal pronoun functioning as an argument in the verbal frame or a fronted possessive pronoun functioning as a constituent in the noun phrase. I suggest the former as you know.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby RandallButh » October 7th, 2013, 1:50 am

There are also two ways to look at Mt 26.51
ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον

1. One may view αὐτοῦ as attracted to a head phrase for strengthening it, in this case the verb. This is a syntactic device that also fits with what happens with 'enclitics'.

2. Also, the αὐτοῦ may be fronted within the noun phrase, picking up additional mini-focus.

A live pronunciation would distinguish these two.
In case 1, I would guess that the pronoun may have lost its accent like an enclitic, even though the spelling system retains it. I find myself naturally reading this way when thinking through the clause as in number one, where the pronoun is highly pre-supposed information. Such modern reflexes may indeed reflect antiquity, especially remembering the classic case where Israelis naturally contract "et ha-" -את ה as ta- ת. Even first graders write things like שתיתי תמץ in place of the correct שתיתי את המץ "I drank the juice," without knowing that BarKochba did the same 1900 years ago מעיד אני תשמים "I call heaven as witness," and a few other examples. Such writing was not learned in school.
If one reads the written text Mt 26.51 as is, then number 2 is the result. However, the 'mini-focus' would probably have had a normal intonation level, not a full focus intonation like in a hypothetical:
αὐτοῦ ἀφεῖλεν τὸ ὠτίον.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 7th, 2013, 3:39 am

Iver Larsen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:The reason I'm skeptical is that I don't think these two factors are enough to explain the word order, and in many languages unstressed elements like pronouns often follow different patterns of placement. In other words, to claim that unstressed pronouns shift forward for phonological reasons is by no means a strange claim. It happens in languages other than Greek, including mainland Scandinavian languages with the so-called "Scandinavian object shift," where a unstressed object pronoun is moved ahead of the sentential adverb. Compare (in Swedish): Jag kysste inte Marit ("I didn't kiss Marit") with Jag kysste henne inte ("I didn't kiss her"). Researchers have linked this object shift (and its optionality in Swedish) to phonological reasons.


Thank you for quoting an example that I can relate to. I am curious about this so-called Scandinavian object shift. Do you have a reference for this analysis? I am sceptical because we have the same in Danish: "Jeg kyssede ikke Marit" (I kissed not Marit) and "Jeg kyssede hende ikke" (I kissed her not). But that is not an object shift, at least not in Danish, nor is the placement of the unstressed pronoun optional.

It's an object shift the way the (generative) linguists conceive it (the pronoun is base generated in the position where the noun is and shifts in front of the adverb), and all the literature I've read applies this term to this phenomenon in Danish as well. So it does indeed exist in Danish.

As for references, there are many available on the web, but I will point two whose author discusses the phonological aspects of the object shift, the first a dissertation on the topic and the second an article focused on the phonological explanation:
Mayumi Hosono, "Object shift in the Scandinavian languages : syntax, information structure, and intonation" (Ph.D. diss, Utrecht) https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/20984 Abstract:
Abstract wrote:The thesis discusses Object Shift, weak pronoun shift in the Scandinavian languages, from the intonational perspective, by presenting experimental data from all the Scandinavian languages. It is shown that downstep typically occurs in the Object Shift construction but does not occur in the constructions where Object Shift cannot occur. A new hypothesis on Scandinavian Object Shift is presented: the object pronoun moves to cause downstep. Holmberg’s Generalization is accounted for as follows: When main verb movement takes place, the object pronoun moves and causes downstep to eliminate a focal effect on the sentential element(s) after the main verb. In the environments in which downstep must not occur, i.e. in the constructions where the final pitch peak occurs on the (in-situ) main verb, Object Shift does not occur either. A new generalization on Object Shift is also presented: the earlier the pitch gesture occurs, the more likely is Object Shift to occur; the more delayed the pitch gesture is, the more likely is Object Shift to be absent. Object Shift is thus not a dichotomous property, i.e. either present or absent, but a gradient phenomenon in the Scandinavian languages.

Mayumi Hosono, "Scandinavian Object Shift as the Cause of Downstep" http://project.sol.lu.se/uploads/media/ ... umi_01.pdf

Iver Larsen wrote:It is correct, though, that a pronoun which functions as an object or indirect object for a verb will be positioned immediately after the verb. An indirect object will come before a direct object. If there is also an adverb in the sentence, including the negative marker, it is a more peripheral element and will be placed after the pronoun. However, if the object is a noun phrase instead of a pronoun, an adverb will be placed before the object. So, the placement of the adverb depends on what the object is, but it is not an object shift. It is possible to move the pronoun object in front of the verb in order to emphazise it: Hende kyssede jeg ikke (Henne kysste jag inte), (Her I did not kiss).

Yeah, the basic point is that the post verbal placement of the pronoun is fixed in Danish, so it's not pragmatic but syntactic or phonological, but that the post-verbal placement is variable in Swedish (with respect to the sentence adverb) so it's not syntactic but pragmatic or phonological. The most economical explaantion is that it is the same mechanism in both closely related languages, i.e., phonology, and Hosono's dissertation find intonational evidence in support of this theory, where the differences in the intonational phonology among the mainland Scandinavian languages explains the differing placement behavior of post-verbal object pronouns among them.

Iver Larsen wrote:I agree that a pronominal object for a verb is often placed close to the verb(root) across languages whether that object is an affix or a separate word. So, I agree that pronouns behave differently than noun phrases which are not pronouns. But it is not caused by phonological reasons, at least not in Danish, and I am sceptical about such a claim for Greek.

From what I understand of your theory, it does not really explain the differing placement of pronouns vis-à-vis nouns (or noun phrases) in Greek, and I don't understand why you seem so hostile to phonological explanations.

Iver Larsen wrote:If we talk about possessive pronouns, it is a different matter altogether, since possessive pronouns are constituents in a noun phrase. In Danish a possessive pronoun always comes before the head noun with optional adjectives in between (like English). Greek is ambiguous in this respect because the genitive of the personal pronoun is also used as a possessive pronoun. So, in a given sentence like the one in Matt 26:51 - ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον - the question is whether the pronoun is a personal pronoun functioning as an argument in the verbal frame or a fronted possessive pronoun functioning as a constituent in the noun phrase. I suggest the former as you know.

Please see Randall's remarks, but, yes, the ambiguity of Matt 26:52 makes it a less than ideal example of the phenomenon.
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Re: James 2:18: my works, my faith, or both?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 7th, 2013, 3:59 am

D Ryan Lowe wrote:I just discovered today that Levinsohn (2000: 35, 37) analyzes this verse, and also describes τὴν πίστιν as brought into focus, although he doesn't put them in bold like he does for pre-verbal focal constituents. Maybe he also draws a distinction, like you do? Interestingly, Levinsohn analyzes σοι as a focal constituent as well, and not as a point of departure (frame of reference). In any case, I'm still processing, formulating, and refining my views on the "rules."

Yeah, I'm not happy with Levinsohn's analysis here.
Levinsohn, p. 37 wrote:As for v. 18e [= κἀγώ σοι δείξω ἐκ τῶν ἔργων μου / τὴν πίστιν], it contains two focal constituents: τὴν πίστιν (see sec. 3.5) and the pronominal constituent σοι, which is in contrast with μοι.

The problem is that σοι and μοι are enclitic and cannot bear the phonological prominence to be focal. There is indeed a contrast between the two persons, but that is signaled by the κἀγώ at the beginning (contrasting with the implicit σύ of the preceding imperative), right where we would expect it.

Levinsohn on p. 39 gives a better explanation for the placement of σοι in Jas 2:18, though he does not apply it to this text: "A change in the position of pronominal constituents often occurs when a focal constituent precedes the verb." Neverthless Levinsohn seems to think this rule applies only when the pronoun would end the sentence, rather than seeing it as being more generally applicable.
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