Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Other Greek writings of the New Testament era, including papyri and inscriptions
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Matthew Longhorn
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Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Matthew Longhorn » March 31st, 2019, 3:18 pm

I have decided to move on from apostolic fathers for a bit to get a break and a bit of a different style of writing and thought Josephus would be interesting to try to tackle. One thing I am noticing is that he tends to often separate words that are syntactically linked (I don’t know what the appropriate term for this is). An example from antiquities 1:5 is below.
ταύτην δὲ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἐγκεχείρισμαι πραγματείαν νομίζων ἅπασι φανεῖσθαι τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἀξίαν σπουδῆς· μέλλει γὰρ περιέξειν ἅπασαν τὴν παρ᾿ ἡμῖν ἀρχαιολογίαν καὶ διάταξιν τοῦ πολιτεύματος ἐκ τῶν Ἑβραϊκῶν μεθηρμηνευμένην γραμμάτων

What is this kind of structure called grammatically, and is this something fairly idiomatic to Josephus in its frequency? I definitely can’t recall seeing it as often in the Fathers or the NT but could well have just overlooked it due to easier vocab and familiarity with the text. I am having to use LSJ for my lexicon as much in BDAG doesn’t fit, or the words aren’t listed; this is slowing me down and possibly making me over think things
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EricSowell
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by EricSowell » March 31st, 2019, 3:49 pm

Yes, this is a common thing to do in Greek. I don't know what the phenomenon is called, but I assumed it for the purpose of clarity of grouping. If you take τὴν παρ᾿ ἡμῖν ἀρχαιολογίαν as an example, given the fact that word order in Greek can be quite fluid, by putting παρ᾿ ἡμῖν between the article and its noun, the writer makes it clear that παρ᾿ ἡμῖν goes with that noun.

Not sure if that's valid, so would love to hear any corrections.
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MAubrey
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by MAubrey » March 31st, 2019, 7:42 pm

These patterns are in the NT as well, just less common.

Quantifier-Article-PP-N is very normal.

There isn't a name for this above.

But this:

Modifier [VERB] Noun

Is called hyperbaton. It's a means of structuring in the information flow in a particular manner. It happens in the NT, but becomes more and more common the higher up you move in literary register. It's highfalutin language.
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 31st, 2019, 11:18 pm

Athanasius is very fond of hyperbaton. I think of it as packaging information. I've seen nested hyperbaton frequently two levels. Can't recall seeing any three levels. Athanasius also frequently piles everything in front of the finite verb. Can't imagine why you would want to avoid thinking about the syntax. I certainly don't avoid it. Syntax is what started me reading Greek in 1986. On The Incarnation is sometimes an easy read for several paragraphs and then all of a sudden you hit a stretch where thinking about it isn't optional. The first thing I noticed about Athanasius was the striking absence of semantic influence on his syntax.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Matthew Longhorn » April 1st, 2019, 12:50 am

Thanks all, useful feedback.
Mike, any suggestions on good resources to read more about hyperbaton?

Stirling, not sure what you mean re not wanting to think about the syntax?
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 1st, 2019, 11:44 am

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 12:50 am

Stirling, not sure what you mean re not wanting to think about the syntax?
I might be reading to much into your final comment.
... slowing me down and possibly making me over think things.
I don’t know what the appropriate term for this is ...
When you get outside of biblical greek and tackle more demanding material, running into patterns not covered in textbooks and grammars will become routine. For a long time I was obsessed with finding the appropriate metalanguage to apply. Perhaps that would qualify as over thinking things. In Text Linguistics inventing your own metalanguage is common. While reading Athanasius I started thinking of hyperbaton as packaging, and the process of reading as unwrapping the package. This seemed like a transparent metaphor for what Athanasius was doing.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Matthew Longhorn » April 1st, 2019, 12:06 pm

Ah, I see where you got that. By overthinking things I meant that I am noticing things which intrigue me and causing me to have a few rabbit holes that I am trying to not rush down.
With the other Koine I have read recently I have been enjoying reading for the sake of reading and not pondering every grammatical construction. Because the syntax is largely familiar it hasn’t required much conscious thought to understand it.
The fact that this device is so frequent in Josephus is one such example. Having to look up every 5 words or so at the moment means it is harder to get a smooth reading first time through a paragraph or even sentence at times - that makes for harder mental work.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 2nd, 2019, 6:17 am

I don't know if Mike's definition of hyperbaton is from linguistics or discourse analysis, but it is also often defined as a literary device where the substantive and it's modifier are separated by several words. In these sorts of discussions, it's an unfortunate fact that terminology is not always used consistently.

Wikipedia actually has a decent article on the subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbaton
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Jason Hare
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Jason Hare » April 7th, 2019, 4:48 am

MAubrey wrote:
March 31st, 2019, 7:42 pm
Is called hyperbaton. It's a means of structuring in the information flow in a particular manner. It happens in the NT, but becomes more and more common the higher up you move in literary register. It's highfalutin language.
Hyperbaton? Is this how you'd label what's going on in the attached image? (Not meaning to distract here... please be forgiving.) If not, do you know of a name for fronting the PN in such a way?

οὗτοί εἰσιν υἱοὶ θεοῦ
οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ
εἴσιν οὗτοι υἱοὶ θεοῦ
οὗτοι υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσίν

Any pointers as to why each of these might appear or their nuance?
Attachments
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Re: Syntax in Josephus Antiquities

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 7th, 2019, 1:49 pm

I don't make any distinction between discontinuous syntax and hyperbaton. The notion of discontinuous syntax presumes that some constituents belong together. For example the article and it's substantive. What belongs to what isn't always perfectly obvious.

From my morning reading in Athanasius On The Incarnation:
§ 33.1 Τούτων δὲ οὕτως ἐχόντων καὶ φανερᾶς οὔσης τῆς ἀποδείξεως περὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ σώματος καὶ τῆς κατὰ τοῦ θανάτου γενομένης ὑπὸ τοῦ Σωτῆρος νίκης, φέρε, καὶ τὴν ἀπιστίαν τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ τὴν τῶν Ἑλλήνων χλεύην διελέγξωμεν.

§ 33.1 These things being so, and the Resurrection of His body and the victory gained over death by the Saviour being clearly proved, come now let us put to rebuke both the disbelief of the Jews and the scoffing of the Gentiles.

A. Robertson 1891
τῆς κατὰ τοῦ θανάτου γενομένης ὑπὸ τοῦ Σωτῆρος νίκης

A. Robertson joins τῆς with νίκης but we have an intervening γενομένης (Participle fem gen aor part mid sg).
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