Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 14th, 2012, 6:33 am

Jason Hare wrote:To bring this back up, a friend sent me a few verses that might be set here for your consideration:

1 Peter 1:3
Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν δι᾽ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν,

Should we not consider ἐκ νεκρῶν here to be specifically modifying ἀνάστασις? Is this justified only by the fact that ἀνάστασις is seen as an action (and is, by extension, a way of referring to a verb)? Or, is it a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective?


Though it's superficially possible that ἐκ νεκρῶν could motify the participle ἀναγεννήσας, my sense of the context is that it modifies the noun ἀναστάσεως.

I'm not sure what you mean by "justified" though. Syntactically, prepositional phrases can modify either nouns or verbs, so, yes, either option is "justified." Semantically, the preposition ἐκ has an elative notion, which fits with either ἀναγεννήσας or ἀναστάσεως.

The language "functioning as an adjective" is a bit infelicitous because it is confounding a syntactic category (i.e. part of speech) with a syntactic function. If you mean "as an adjective" in the sense of modifying nouns (or more precisely, modifying the head of a noun phrase), then just skip the analogy and state the function directly: modifying the noun.

Jason Hare wrote:
Colossians 1:18
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων,

Is this also because of the verbal notion of birth?


Similar answer, the PP ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν modifies the noun πρωτότοκος. I don't understand what the relevance of the "verbal notion of birth" and I see this PP as partitive.

Jason Hare wrote:
Philippians 1:5
ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν

Same question but with three prepositional phrases apparently modifying κοινωνία.


Yes, I think so. No appeal to a "verbal notion" is necessary though.

Jason Hare wrote:
Romans 11:15
εἰ γὰρ ἡ ἀποβολὴ αὐτῶν καταλλαγὴ κόσμου, τίς ἡ πρόσλημψις εἰ μὴ ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρῶν;

Is ἐκ νεκρῶν not modifying ζωή?


Yes, I think ἐκ νεκρῶν is modifying ζωή.

Jason Hare wrote:What should we make of verses like Luke 11:50-51, where prepositional phrases are used to further elucidate the subject of a verb?
Luke 11:50-51
ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης, ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης.


I'm not so sure. I think that ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου recharacterizes ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης, which themselves modify the participle ἐκκεχυμένον (which itself modifies τὸ αἷμα). But it's a little confusing with the repetition of αἵματος.

Jason Hare wrote:Thanks for any clarification that may come of this. I was hoping to find some examples of prepositional phrases functioning as modifiers of noun phrases without the use of an article.


No problem, but I'm not sure how helpful this was. I feel like these examples are directed to some unexpressed, presupposed theoretical claim, but I don't know what it is, but it seems to have something to do with "having a verbal notion," whose relevance I'm not seeing.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » November 14th, 2012, 2:28 pm

Stephen,

It is just that previously in this thread it was stated that prepositional phrases do not normally modify nouns when they are not marked with articles - that they are always adverbial and must be understood to modify verbs. We were looking for clear examples of prepositional phrases that modify nouns. When I said "justified" I was referring to a justifiable explanation of why ἐκ νεκρῶν would modify a noun without the bounds of an article. It's what prompted me to start this thread in the first place - discussing the use of prepositional phrases without articles to modify nouns.

"Function as an adjective" is the same as "function adjectivally," which is opposed to "function adverbially" in this case. The question is whether given prepositional phrases would modify nouns or verbs - that is, if they would be functional adjectives or functional adverbs. I understand that prepositional phrases can modify nouns, but it was stated in the thread previous to this one (I can't remember where we were talking about it) that prepositional phrases are adverbial by nature.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 14th, 2012, 2:45 pm

OK, Jason. Wasn't that David Lim's hypothesis that the prepositional phrase (PP) in all a-N-PP orders is always adverbial? I thought that this proposal quickly became unfalsifiable when profferred counterexamples were claimed to be adverbial in the sense that it was modifying some verbal notion within a noun.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » November 14th, 2012, 3:10 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:OK, Jason. Wasn't that David Lim's hypothesis that the prepositional phrase (PP) in all a-N-PP orders is always adverbial? I thought that this proposal quickly became unfalsifiable when profferred counterexamples were claimed to be adverbial in the sense that it was modifying some verbal notion within a noun.


We didn't provide the examples, which was what I was attempting to do here - to look at some examples in which prepositional phrases modified nouns without the constraint of the article.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Paul Thomson » November 14th, 2012, 3:48 pm

Just to clarify. I provided Jason with these examples in another forum, when I was asking for opinions on Romans 1:20

16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι. 17 δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται, Ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται.

18 Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων, 19 διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς· ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν. 20 τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται, ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους, 21 διότι γνόντες τὸν θεὸν οὐχ ὡς θεὸν ἐδόξασαν ἢ ηὐχαρίστησαν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ἡ ἀσύνετος αὐτῶν καρδία.

I was asking whether Paul was saying to the Romans 1. that the things of God hidden since the foundation of the world are being now clearly seen through the achievements now being perceived [through the gospel]?

Or is Paul saying to the Romans 2. that the hidden things of God have been clearly seen since the foundation of the world by men through God's achievements that men have always been perceiving?

I thought 1.

Jason suggested that ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου should be regarded as modifying καθορᾶται, despite their separation, because if ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου was meant adjectivally it should be fronted by a definite article. But he also said that he had heard that there are examples of exceptions to that rule. I asked for some of those examples, and he directed me to this thread.

What do people think about Romans 1:20. Which of the two is Paul more likely to mean?

God bless.

Paul
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 14th, 2012, 4:34 pm

Paul Thomson wrote:20 τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται, ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους,

I was asking whether Paul was saying to the Romans 1. that the things of God hidden since the foundation of the world are being now clearly seen through the achievements now being perceived [through the gospel]?

Or is Paul saying to the Romans 2. that the hidden things of God have been clearly seen since the foundation of the world by men through God's achievements that men have always been perceiving?


Isn't there a third option, construing ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου with τοῖς ποιήμασιν, somewhat like this: "for his invisible things, [as they are] perceived with the things [he] made from the creation of the world, are clearly seen..."?

Most translations I consulted seem to favor option 2.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » November 15th, 2012, 5:05 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Paul Thomson wrote:20 τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται, ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους,

I was asking whether Paul was saying to the Romans 1. that the things of God hidden since the foundation of the world are being now clearly seen through the achievements now being perceived [through the gospel]?

Or is Paul saying to the Romans 2. that the hidden things of God have been clearly seen since the foundation of the world by men through God's achievements that men have always been perceiving?


Isn't there a third option, construing ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου with τοῖς ποιήμασιν, somewhat like this: "for his invisible things, [as they are] perceived with the things [he] made from the creation of the world, are clearly seen..."?

Most translations I consulted seem to favor option 2.


Correct. To quote myself from the other forum:

Jason Hare wrote:If Paul had meant the first, he should have written τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ τὰ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου. Prepositional phrases are most naturally attached to the verbs. It is only on rare occasion that a prepositional phrase is used adjectivally without the addition of another article to place it in the attributive position to a noun (they are actually in hot debate about theologians who study Greek, such as where it says that you are justified from faith). As it is here, we should certainly read (as the NIV has translated it) that “his invisible qualities” have been understood “from the creation of the world.”

I would certainly think that this would need to be fronted with the article if that's what it meant.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby David Lim » November 16th, 2012, 11:29 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:OK, Jason. Wasn't that David Lim's hypothesis that the prepositional phrase (PP) in all a-N-PP orders is always adverbial? I thought that this proposal quickly became unfalsifiable when profferred counterexamples were claimed to be adverbial in the sense that it was modifying some verbal notion within a noun.


Yes. Well I don't agree that it is falsifiable. For example, if you found some phrases of the form "T N PP" where "T" is the article, "N" is a noun referring to a physical object and "PP" is a prepositional phrase that clearly modifies "T N" then these will be counter-examples to my hypothesis, such as "The book on the table is blue." which shows that English necessarily has the kind of ambiguity in "I read the book under the table". I claim that Greek doesn't have this for articular references based on my hypothesis, barring grammatical mistakes. As it is, let me just state my views on the examples Jason brought up:

1 Peter 1:3
Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν δι᾽ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν,
Yes it is saying "through the ( resurrection out of [the] dead ) of Jesus Christ" which implies "Jesus Christ was raised out of the dead."

Colossians 1:18
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων,
Likewise for this one.

Philippians 1:5
ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν
Similarly this implies that "your sharing is for the good tidings and is from the first days until now". My hypothesis is that we mentally expect a prepositional phrase to modify some verbal idea, whether explicit or not, which is why when we read/hear all the prepositional phrases here, we immediately associate it with sharing and never once consider "impossibilities" such as "the good tidings that are from the first days until now".

Romans 11:15
εἰ γὰρ ἡ ἀποβολὴ αὐτῶν καταλλαγὴ κόσμου, τίς ἡ πρόσλημψις εἰ μὴ ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρῶν;
Yes again.

Luke 11:50-51
ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης, ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης.
Unlike Stephen, I take "ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου ..." to be somewhat in apposition to "τὸ αἷμα". The reason is that it functions that way, similar to how we might say "He read all the books, from the oldest books to the newest books." in English.


And for Rom 1:20 here is how I read it:
20 { τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ } ( ( ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν ) νοούμενα ) καθορᾶται, { ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης }, ( εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους ),
"ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν" modifies "νοούμενα", which modifies "καθορᾶται" by circumstantially describing "τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ". "εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους" also modifies "καθορᾶται". I think option 2 is roughly similar to what I show above.


(And Jason, thanks for showing how to use "indent"; I think it is helpful on the eyes. :))
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby ed krentz » November 16th, 2012, 5:05 pm

Is it not possible that Paul is using a rhetorical device called syntaxis apo koinou in which the phrase is to be understood with both of the possible associated terms?

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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby David Lim » November 16th, 2012, 10:53 pm

ed krentz wrote:Is it not possible that Paul is using a rhetorical device called syntaxis apo koinou in which the phrase is to be understood with both of the possible associated terms?

Well, though in general it is possible, I tend to think that most purported instances are not so, because we don't have much evidence that the author of Romans purposely embedded multiple meanings at every possible juncture. Furthermore I think it is impossible in Rom 1:20 because "ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου" and "τοῖς ποιήμασιν" separately modify "νοούμενα", the first specifying how much (the extent of what is comprehended) and the second specifying how so (the means of comprehension). So since "ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου" cannot be in parallel with "τὰ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ", under my hypothesis he would have had to say "τὰ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ τὰ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου" if he wanted to convey "his invisible [things] from the creation of the world". Even without assuming my claim, the context supports reading them separately: "διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς, ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν.". "τὰ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ" corresponds to "τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ" which "ὁ θεὸς αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν".
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