Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Forum rules
Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Shirley Rollinson
Posts: 354
Joined: June 4th, 2011, 6:19 pm
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Shirley Rollinson » April 15th, 2017, 9:32 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 14th, 2017, 5:05 pm
paorear wrote:
April 14th, 2017, 4:59 pm
Specifying Mary the mother of Joses and then Mary the mother of James (i.e. both are Mary the mother of Jesus) was also overspecifying but with different qualifiers the second time for a nuance, but also basically unnecessary from the point of view of identifying which Mary was in focus. This keeps this Mary in focus as well, while bringing in Jesus' brothers.
Any idea why he refers to her by both sons, then one, then the other?

Anyone?
I thought it referred to two Marys - Mary of Magdala, and Mary the mother of James (probably James the Less - see Mark 15:40). "Mary" (Maria, Miriam, Maryam - Moses' sister) was a very popular name for Jewish girls. There were probably lots of them in any Jewish community, hence the need to differentiate between them.
0 x



RandallButh
Posts: 1056
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by RandallButh » April 16th, 2017, 3:04 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 15th, 2017, 9:37 am
So for you discourse experts ... is this pretty much what Levinsohn is saying about the passage? How does this differ from Runge? What am I missing?

Is the attention to topic and focus the main benefit of looking at the discourse features in this passage?
Nothing wrong with tracking 'topic' and 'focus'. The 'situational point of departure' that you mentioned is also a kind of topicalization in many/most analytical systems. I group 'situation and topic' together into 'contextualizing constituent', a sentence constituent that provides a marked link to the greater context.

Maybe of more interest for today is recognizing that the contextualized setting is the SECOND outing of the women, post crucifixion. Matthew 28.1 (read literally and by itself) implies that the women went out Saturday night, Mark mentions going out Saturday night 'for spices', and Luke 23 implies that the women would be back as soon as the Shabbat ended, i.e. Saturday after sundown. (PS Luk 23 'dawning of Shabbat' refers to Friday night, Mat 28 'dawning of first day' was also Sat night.) Personally, I think the the Markan outing on Saturday night left the women confused (not mentioned by Mark) because they didn't find anything at the tomb and tried again early the next morning. For that matter, even John mentions two visits of a woman to the tomb Sunday morning.
0 x

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 1104
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 17th, 2017, 12:53 pm

paorear wrote:
April 14th, 2017, 4:59 pm
Over-encoding/Overspecification is either when a referent is specified (with qualifiers) the same way more than once in a row, or when the same referent is specified again with slightly different qualifiers.

So specifying Mary the Magdalene twice was unnecessary so that qualifies. It's maintaining focus on that specific Mary.

Specifying Mary the mother of Joses and then Mary the mother of James (i.e. both are Mary the mother of Jesus) was also overspecifying but with different qualifiers the second time for a nuance, but also basically unnecessary from the point of view of identifying which Mary was in focus. This keeps this Mary in focus as well, while bringing in Jesus' brothers.
Mary Magdalene doesn't attain the status of a participant until her third introduction. The other mentions of her as an observer among other women doesn't really count as an introduction of a participant. It nails down a salient issue that she was there all along as an eyewitness. After the third introduction she becomes an agent in the narrative.

The two Marys serve as representatives for a cloud of female witnesses. Mary Magdalene gets a speaking role in John's gospel.
0 x
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3744
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2017, 1:45 pm

RandallButh wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 3:04 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 15th, 2017, 9:37 am
So for you discourse experts ... is this pretty much what Levinsohn is saying about the passage? How does this differ from Runge? What am I missing?

Is the attention to topic and focus the main benefit of looking at the discourse features in this passage?
Nothing wrong with tracking 'topic' and 'focus'. The 'situational point of departure' that you mentioned is also a kind of topicalization in many/most analytical systems. I group 'situation and topic' together into 'contextualizing constituent', a sentence constituent that provides a marked link to the greater context.
This makes sense.

But the thing that interests me most here, and the thing I am weakest at, is knowing how to use these discourse features as marked links to the greater context.

Let me step back and look at this from a naïve standpoint. If I read this passage without having read Levinsohn or Runge, I would say that the topic of the passage is the resurrection and the focus is on the women whose experience is being told. If I try to take these discourse features into account, using my intuitive associations with the words 'topic' and 'focus', I would probably say that the topic is Mary and Mary, very early on the first day of the week, and the focus is Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον.

But actually, there's an awful lot of focus on the women, as I read this text. So trying to use the everyday meaning of these words isn't giving me the right hooks to the big picture. Can you help?
RandallButh wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 3:04 am
Maybe of more interest for today is recognizing that the contextualized setting is the SECOND outing of the women, post crucifixion. Matthew 28.1 (read literally and by itself) implies that the women went out Saturday night, Mark mentions going out Saturday night 'for spices', and Luke 23 implies that the women would be back as soon as the Shabbat ended, i.e. Saturday after sundown. (PS Luk 23 'dawning of Shabbat' refers to Friday night, Mat 28 'dawning of first day' was also Sat night.) Personally, I think the the Markan outing on Saturday night left the women confused (not mentioned by Mark) because they didn't find anything at the tomb and tried again early the next morning. For that matter, even John mentions two visits of a woman to the tomb Sunday morning.
This is exactly the kind of thing I find more interesting. When I actually study a text like this, in Greek or in English, I often start with who, what, when, where, why, how. Who were these women, what are we told about each of them, their emotional state, how they respond to various events? Where are they when they are observing where Jesus is laid? Who is laying him in the tomb, and what relationship do the women have to those people? Why do they not approach them and make arrangements to ensure that his body will be anointed? Why do the women come very early in the morning - had they coordinated things with the others, or are they trying to make sure they are the first to embalm his body before some stranger comes and does it? So far, I can see that these discourse features are useful for answering these questions, but in the same way that understanding the relationships among verbs in a single sentence would be helpful for answering the same questions.

Are these kinds of questions on a different level than discourse features, where discourse features are like other aspects of sentence-level grammar, helping us understand each individual sentence without telling us how to tie sentences together, at least beyond the level of a few sentences, or across the boundaries defined by a single frame or point of departure? Or is there a stronger connection that helps me interpret the overall structure of a passage in ways I have not yet understood?

Do I need to a better understanding of topic and focus to understand the answer to these questions?
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 17th, 2017, 7:09 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 1:45 pm
Let me step back and look at this from a naïve standpoint. If I read this passage without having read Levinsohn or Runge, I would say that the topic of the passage is the resurrection and the focus is on the women whose experience is being told. If I try to take these discourse features into account, using my intuitive associations with the words 'topic' and 'focus', I would probably say that the topic is Mary and Mary, very early on the first day of the week, and the focus is Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον.
As Arnold Zwicky on Language Log likes to say, Labels Are Not Definitions (Or Descriptions). Though technical terms are meant to be suggestive of the phenomena they describe, it is not good practice to immediately start reasoning with a technical term until one understands how it is defined or what it covers. I see a lot of strife over "correct" terminology due to the attempt to have the labels do the work of describing/defining a (new) concept rather than do what labels are supposed to do: provide a convenient handle to a concept already constructed.

I suppose this means that both writers and readers have to work harder. Writers should probably have to do some teaching (every time) of the basic concepts until they become part of the standard curriculum. Readers should realize that they can't just assume what a technical term means just by looking at it.
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3744
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2017, 8:12 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 7:09 pm
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 1:45 pm
Let me step back and look at this from a naïve standpoint. If I read this passage without having read Levinsohn or Runge, I would say that the topic of the passage is the resurrection and the focus is on the women whose experience is being told. If I try to take these discourse features into account, using my intuitive associations with the words 'topic' and 'focus', I would probably say that the topic is Mary and Mary, very early on the first day of the week, and the focus is Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον.
As Arnold Zwicky on Language Log likes to say, Labels Are Not Definitions (Or Descriptions). Though technical terms are meant to be suggestive of the phenomena they describe, it is not good practice to immediately start reasoning with a technical term until one understands how it is defined or what it covers. I see a lot of strife over "correct" terminology due to the attempt to have the labels do the work of describing/defining a (new) concept rather than do what labels are supposed to do: provide a convenient handle to a concept already constructed.
In a philosophy class I took, we would make a list of different definitions for the same term, let's try that here:
  • topic (discourse) - the topic of a discourse unit such as a passage
  • topic (sentence) - the topic of a sentence
Hmmm, but aren't the terms 'discourse topic' and 'sentence topic' / 'sentential topic' already used with these meanings?

Regardless, I'm not sure this is a case of clear and simple definitions with a little overlapping terminology, but I may need to go back and reread some things. Maybe I was just being obtuse, but I was having a hard time finding crisp definitions that allowed me to know precisely what was intended by the terms, or a clear discussion of the relationship between the topic of a sentence and the topic of a discourse unit.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 7:09 pm
I suppose this means that both writers and readers have to work harder. Writers should probably have to do some teaching (every time) of the basic concepts until they become part of the standard curriculum. Readers should realize that they can't just assume what a technical term means just by looking at it.
As a reader, I think I know that. But it wasn't really until I started using Levinsohn's data to see what it says about specific passages that I began to understand how he is using these terms. I'll have to go back and reread his book now to see if it should have been clearer to me then.

At any rate, I am mostly trying to understand these concepts, learn how to apply them, and find terms and definitions that I could use to clearly explain them to others. I am a concrete thinker, so part of what I am looking for is a clear understanding of the relationship between the topics at various levels - the sentence topic and the discourse topic in this passage, for instance.

BTW, is Lambrecht's book helpful on this? It seems to be saying it addresses this kind of question:

https://www.amazon.com/Information-Stru ... 016MYWOSI/

Or are there other books / articles that would help me sort this out?
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 17th, 2017, 11:59 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 8:12 pm
Regardless, I'm not sure this is a case of clear and simple definitions with a little overlapping terminology, but I may need to go back and reread some things. Maybe I was just being obtuse, but I was having a hard time finding crisp definitions that allowed me to know precisely what was intended by the terms, or a clear discussion of the relationship between the topic of a sentence and the topic of a discourse unit.
* * *
At any rate, I am mostly trying to understand these concepts, learn how to apply them, and find terms and definitions that I could use to clearly explain them to others. I am a concrete thinker, so part of what I am looking for is a clear understanding of the relationship between the topics at various levels - the sentence topic and the discourse topic in this passage, for instance.
As far as I can tell, there's no simple relation between the two. They're different things. The fact that they share the term "topic" seems to be creating expectations they are more closely related, but they are not.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 8:12 pm
BTW, is Lambrecht's book helpful on this? It seems to be saying it addresses this kind of question:
Lambrecht's books has been very popular and influential. He provides (his own) definitions for topic and focus. It is similar to what Levinsohn is doing, but not identical. I think Levinsohn follows Simon Dik more (whom I haven't read). So does Helma Dik.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 8:12 pm
Or are there other books / articles that would help me sort this out?
Levinsohn has actually published quite a bit. To understand him, that's the first and best place to go. His coursebook, though dated, lays out several of the concepts, but he's been updating them in other publications. Many of these are on his website. If you can read Spanish, you may find his introduction to his Galatians analysis helpful.
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

RandallButh
Posts: 1056
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by RandallButh » April 18th, 2017, 2:44 am

Jonathan, most every linguistics lecture on this area has to warn students that "topic" does not mean "topic". But it usually doesn't do any more good than telling Greek students that "Present" subjunctives/infinitives are not "present".

And Stephen is correct, that people try to come up with terms that may be more transparent. That is why I used "Contextualizing Constitutent". It is less given to presumptive misleading. By the time it means something to someone, the meaning is broadly in the correct direction.
0 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3744
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 18th, 2017, 10:15 am

RandallButh wrote:
April 18th, 2017, 2:44 am
Jonathan, most every linguistics lecture on this area has to warn students that "topic" does not mean "topic". But it usually doesn't do any more good than telling Greek students that "Present" subjunctives/infinitives are not "present".
Hah! I feel right into that trap.
RandallButh wrote:
April 18th, 2017, 2:44 am
And Stephen is correct, that people try to come up with terms that may be more transparent. That is why I used "Contextualizing Constitutent". It is less given to presumptive misleading. By the time it means something to someone, the meaning is broadly in the correct direction.
I like "Contextualizing Component". I agree that this is clearer. Especially since it implies that it is a component of something - a sentence, perhaps.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3744
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Levinsohn on Mark 16:1-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 18th, 2017, 10:19 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 11:59 pm
Jonathan Robie wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 8:12 pm
I am a concrete thinker, so part of what I am looking for is a clear understanding of the relationship between the topics at various levels - the sentence topic and the discourse topic in this passage, for instance.
As far as I can tell, there's no simple relation between the two. They're different things. The fact that they share the term "topic" seems to be creating expectations they are more closely related, but they are not.
I really do think I've heard some other people imply that there is a closer relationship than that, but those people may be confused too.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 11:59 pm
Lambrecht's books has been very popular and influential. He provides (his own) definitions for topic and focus. It is similar to what Levinsohn is doing, but not identical. I think Levinsohn follows Simon Dik more (whom I haven't read). So does Helma Dik.
I have Simon Dik's book. It is very clearly written, I should work my way through it.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
April 17th, 2017, 11:59 pm
Levinsohn has actually published quite a bit. To understand him, that's the first and best place to go. His coursebook, though dated, lays out several of the concepts, but he's been updating them in other publications. Many of these are on his website. If you can read Spanish, you may find his introduction to his Galatians analysis helpful.
Thanks, I'll look there. My ... Spanish ... is not great. But that kind of technical Spanish may or may not be possible.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Post Reply

Return to “New Testament”