discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

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Stirling Bartholomew
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discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 6th, 2018, 3:20 pm

I'm currently reading very slowly through Athanasius On the incarnation. The paragraph quoted below presents a modest level of challenge for anyone studying discourse analysis. I got started on it and thought it would be more fun to have others take a look at it.
Athanasius on the incarnation

1.3 Εἰς δὲ τὴν περὶ τούτων διήγησιν,
χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης· ἵνα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν
τῆς ἐν σώματι φανερώσεως τοῦ τοσούτου καὶ τηλικούτου
πατρικοῦ Λόγου γνῶναι δυνηθῇς, καὶ μὴ νομίσῃς ὅτι
φύσεως ἀκολουθίᾳ σῶμα πεφόρεκεν ὁ Σωτήρ· ἀλλ' ὅτι
ἀσώματος ὢν τῇ φύσει, καὶ Λόγος ὑπάρχων, ὅμως κατὰ
φιλανθρωπίαν καὶ ἀγαθότητα τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ Πατρός, διὰ
τὴν ἡμῶν σωτηρίαν, ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῳ σώματι ἡμῖν πεφανέρωται.

Now in dealing with these matters it is necessary
first to recall what has already been said. You must
understand why it is that the Word of the Father,
so great and so high, has been made manifest in
bodily form. He has not assumed a body as proper
to His own nature, far from it, for as the Word He is
without body. He has been manifested in a human
body for this reason only, out of the love and
goodness of His Father, for the salvation of us
men.

Archibald Robertson 1891
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 7th, 2018, 10:49 am

Interesting passage. It might stimulate more discussion of if you mentioned a couple of the challenges you see.
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S Walch
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by S Walch » May 7th, 2018, 1:47 pm

Is there a Critical Apparatus to this at all? I see that Archibald has omitted translating ὁ Σωτήρ/the saviour, so just wondering whether that's an oversight/purposeful omission.

There are quite a few things in the translation that also don't add up, example:

καὶ μὴ νομίσῃς ὅτι φύσεως ἀκολουθίᾳ σῶμα πεφόρεκεν ὁ Σωτήρ
and you may not think it was in conformity with his own nature that the Saviour has worn a body.
=
He has not assumed a body as proper to His own nature


Archibald's translation seems more like a paraphrase than anything else.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 7th, 2018, 2:45 pm

S Walch wrote:
May 7th, 2018, 1:47 pm
Is there a Critical Apparatus to this at all? I see that Archibald has omitted translating ὁ Σωτήρ/the saviour, so just wondering whether that's an oversight/purposeful omission.

There are quite a few things in the translation that also don't add up, example:

καὶ μὴ νομίσῃς ὅτι φύσεως ἀκολουθίᾳ σῶμα πεφόρεκεν ὁ Σωτήρ
and you may not think it was in conformity with his own nature that the Saviour has worn a body.
=
He has not assumed a body as proper to His own nature


Archibald's translation seems more like a paraphrase than anything else.
When I look at the syntax the first five lines it doesn't surprise me that Archibald did some rearranging. Before I launch into questions about information structure I always do a syntax analysis. In this text you're forced by the discourse structure to analyze above the level of the clause. There's no way around it. That's one thing that makes it interesting.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 7th, 2018, 4:57 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
May 7th, 2018, 2:45 pm

When I look at the syntax the first five lines it doesn't surprise me that Archibald did some rearranging. Before I launch into questions about information structure I always do a syntax analysis. In this text you're forced by the discourse structure to analyze above the level of the clause. There's no way around it. That's one thing that makes it interesting.
I don't know. I didn't have any particular problems myself reading the text, and I think it's possible to produce a translation in which there is no significant information loss, even the kind of ofttimes awkward ones student and teachers produce in class better to see the syntax.

1.3 Εἰς δὲ τὴν περὶ τούτων διήγησιν,
χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης· ἵνα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν
τῆς ἐν σώματι φανερώσεως τοῦ τοσούτου καὶ τηλικούτου
πατρικοῦ Λόγου γνῶναι δυνηθῇς, καὶ μὴ νομίσῃς ὅτι
φύσεως ἀκολουθίᾳ σῶμα πεφόρεκεν ὁ Σωτήρ· ἀλλ' ὅτι
ἀσώματος ὢν τῇ φύσει, καὶ Λόγος ὑπάρχων, ὅμως κατὰ
φιλανθρωπίαν καὶ ἀγαθότητα τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ Πατρός, διὰ
τὴν ἡμῶν σωτηρίαν, ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῳ σώματι ἡμῖν πεφανέρωται.

"With regard to an explanation concerning these things, there is a need for remembering what was said before, in order that you are able to know both the cause of the manifestation in the body of so great a one and of such a great Word of the Father, and that you not think that the Savior bore a body consistent with his nature, but that being bodiless in nature, and existing as the Word, nevertheless, according to the philanthropy and goodness of his own father, on account of our salvation, he manifested to us in a human body."

Horrible English, really, but it somewhat accurately (if I do say so myself) reflects the Greek and makes sense in English. A real translation should make it smoother English and play with perhaps better glosses for some of the words, but again, why omit the word for Savior, unless in fact there is a text critical issue?

Now, having said all that, there might indeed be some interesting discourse issues. Of course, being an apprentice level curmudgeon raised on classical philology, I would call them stylistic and rhetorical features and use different metalanguage....
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 8th, 2018, 3:59 pm

Barry,

Εἰς δὲ τὴν περὶ τούτων διήγησιν,
χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης· ἵνα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν
τῆς ἐν σώματι φανερώσεως τοῦ τοσούτου καὶ τηλικούτου
πατρικοῦ Λόγου γνῶναι δυνηθῇς,

Yes, we will sacrifice English literary elegance if we want to mirror what's going on in this paragraph. One of the first things I noticed was the scarcity of finite verbs. We're four lines and 26 words into the paragraph before we encounter the first finite verb.

... χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης ... is a fragment. The following ἵνα ... δυνηθῇς reflects backward and we translate the fragment in light of the ἵνα clause or another way of looking at it:

Εἰς δὲ τὴν περὶ τούτων διήγησιν [gap] ἵνα ... δυνηθῇς

We read χρεία ... μνήμης in light of its position in the gap between two complex constituents. This style of writing demands analysis above the clause level. I don't care what we call it. No point in quibbling about metalanguage.

postscript:

I just chatted with Michelle at Accordance. Contemplating acquisition of the Athanasius library. I decided against it. After 25 years using Accordance, I will probably bailout when Mac OS 10.14.X becomes unavoidable. It is more demanding to work without the software, particularly lexical semantics. My hard copy of Lampe is essentially unused.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 9th, 2018, 6:11 pm

Two things, one quite amusing (at least to me). I couldn't make heads or tails out of what you were saying, until I realized that you weren't writing the Greek γάρ but the English gap... :lol:

Secondly, I'm not sure I would call it a sentence fragment, simply the main clause with the verb ἐστί or the equivalent understood from context.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 10th, 2018, 3:14 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 6:11 pm
I'm not sure I would call it a sentence fragment, simply the main clause with the verb ἐστί or the equivalent understood from context.
The expression understood from context is an umbrella covering a multitude of discourse scenarios. The fragment χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης doesn't suggest, to me at least, a prototypical verbless clause, in which case understood from context means that the fragment cannot stand on its own.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: discorse: Athanasius On the incarnation

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 11th, 2018, 8:25 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 3:14 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 6:11 pm
I'm not sure I would call it a sentence fragment, simply the main clause with the verb ἐστί or the equivalent understood from context.
The expression understood from context is an umbrella covering a multitude of discourse scenarios. The fragment χρεία τῆς τῶν προειρημένων μνήμης doesn't suggest, to me at least, a prototypical verbless clause, in which case understood from context means that the fragment cannot stand on its own.
Well, if by that you mean that the reader or hearer needs to get through a large portion of the sentence before he realizes he has to supply the main verb, then yes. Of course, a native speaker would do so rather automatically without the need to worry about prototypical verbless clauses. :lol:
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Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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