John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 15th, 2018, 11:43 am

Actually the targum (a later development) is compsed with older midrashic material in mind and that midrashic material is behind John's opening. This material is reflected in the all encompassing blessing recorded in the Mishnah from earlier practice known and shared by John ברוך אתה יהוה שהכל נהיה בדברו "blessed are you LORD that everything has come into being through his Word."

As for 8.25 no it is not Semitic per se.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 15th, 2018, 1:54 pm

RandallButh wrote:
September 15th, 2018, 3:14 am
Ναί yes, Stirling, I have long commented that John is good Greek and the most consistently good Greek in the Gospels. The question is deceptive among Gospel readers because John has a limited vocabulary and comes across as 'easy'. One explanation for this is that the stories represent the preaching/teaching of the Judean apostle while being recorded and written down by mother-tongue Greeks, perhaps at/near the apostle's death.

Randall,

Yes and Gospel Dialogue is a genre within a genre. Dialogue permits the omission of anything that can be assumed[1]. Cryptic responses are not unusual in Attic Tragedy. So the question about "good greek" involves genre considerations.

[1] Relevance Theory? Not really, I got the idea from Hemingway.
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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 15th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Good Greek uses word order in nuanced Greek ways.
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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 16th, 2018, 9:31 am

On targums and Hebrew midrashic influence, see the response at original thread on Jn 8.25.

On good Greek:
Good Greek uses word order in nuanced Greek ways.

As I write this I had just read Jam 3.8:
τὴν δὲ γλῶσσαν οὐδεὶς δύναται ἀνθρώπων δαμάσαι·

Excellent word order. first item relating to context, second item a marked significant point and split from the insignificant part of the same phrase followed by verb, insignificant part of subject, and complementary infinitive.

John's word order will be better than Mark's. yes, that is a subjective evaluation.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 17th, 2018, 7:20 am

RandallButh wrote:
September 16th, 2018, 9:31 am
On targums and Hebrew midrashic influence, see the response at original thread on Jn 8.25.

On good Greek:
Good Greek uses word order in nuanced Greek ways.

As I write this I had just read Jam 3.8:
τὴν δὲ γλῶσσαν οὐδεὶς δύναται ἀνθρώπων δαμάσαι·

Excellent word order. first item relating to context, second item a marked significant point and split from the insignificant part of the same phrase followed by verb, insignificant part of subject, and complementary infinitive.

John's word order will be better than Mark's. yes, that is a subjective evaluation.
You anticipated my next question, which was to provide an example. Now, is this a criterion that ancients themselves ever used, or something modern readers are imposing on the text?
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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 17th, 2018, 7:52 am

Ancients discussed simple structures vs. convoluted "periodic" structures. They assumed Greek word order conventions and read whatever the author wrote. See Demetrios.

The gospels are generally in "simple" sentences. For "periodic (elaborate)" see Luke 1.1-4, Acts 1.1-4 and many examples in Hebrews, some Pauline, too. But Luke's intros do not typify Luke in general. His style is very up and down and distinctive between the Gospel and Acts. Compare the connective statistics, for example.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 17th, 2018, 8:00 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 7:20 am
RandallButh wrote:
September 16th, 2018, 9:31 am
On targums and Hebrew midrashic influence, see the response at original thread on Jn 8.25.

On good Greek:
Good Greek uses word order in nuanced Greek ways.

As I write this I had just read Jam 3.8:
τὴν δὲ γλῶσσαν οὐδεὶς δύναται ἀνθρώπων δαμάσαι·

Excellent word order. first item relating to context, second item a marked significant point and split from the insignificant part of the same phrase followed by verb, insignificant part of subject, and complementary infinitive.

John's word order will be better than Mark's. yes, that is a subjective evaluation.
You anticipated my next question, which was to provide an example. Now, is this a criterion that ancients themselves ever used, or something modern readers are imposing on the text?
There are hints of it, but nothing with the precision of modern scholarship. Most writers talk about "euphony," as if it were obvious. But sometimes we get a little more. For example, Demetrius, De eloquentia 199 Καὶ ὅλως τῇ φυσικῇ τάξει τῶν ὀνομάτων χρηστέον, ὡς τὸ Ἐπίδαμνός ἐστι πόλις ἐν δεξιᾷ ἐσπλέοντι εἰς τὸν Ἰόνιον κόλπον· πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ὠνόμασται τὸ περὶ οὗ, δεύτερον δὲ ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅτι πόλις, καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἐφεξῆς.

τὸ περὶ οὗ = topic = Randy's item relating to context
ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν = comment/focus = Randy's marked significant point

If Demetrius was talking about the syntactic subject and predicate instead of the logical subject and predicate (topic/comment), it would hardly explain Greek word order.
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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 17th, 2018, 8:10 am

Demetrius, De eloquentia 199 Καὶ ὅλως τῇ φυσικῇ τάξει τῶν ὀνομάτων χρηστέον, ὡς τὸ Ἐπίδαμνός ἐστι πόλις ἐν δεξιᾷ ἐσπλέοντι εἰς τὸν Ἰόνιον κόλπον· πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ὠνόμασται τὸ περὶ οὗ, δεύτερον δὲ ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅτι πόλις, καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἐφεξῆς.

τὸ περὶ οὗ = topic = Randy's item relating to context
ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν = comment/focus = Randy's marked significant point
Nice quote. Thank you.
One small point: Demetrius is talking about "Comment" or salient information, while I was pointing out Focal Comment material, as marked salient information, i.e., the salient material that is also fronted before the verb.
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RandallButh
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by RandallButh » September 17th, 2018, 8:11 am

Demetrius, De eloquentia 199 Καὶ ὅλως τῇ φυσικῇ τάξει τῶν ὀνομάτων χρηστέον, ὡς τὸ Ἐπίδαμνός ἐστι πόλις ἐν δεξιᾷ ἐσπλέοντι εἰς τὸν Ἰόνιον κόλπον· πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ὠνόμασται τὸ περὶ οὗ, δεύτερον δὲ ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅτι πόλις, καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἐφεξῆς.

τὸ περὶ οὗ = topic = Randy's item relating to context
ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν = comment/focus = Randy's marked significant point
Nice quote. Thank you.
One small point: Demetrios ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν is talking about naturally-placed "Comment" or salient information, while I was pointing out Focal Comment material, as marked salient information, i.e., the salient material that is also fronted before the verb.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:25 and the adverbial accusative την αρχην

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 17th, 2018, 11:11 am

RandallButh wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 8:11 am
Demetrius, De eloquentia 199 Καὶ ὅλως τῇ φυσικῇ τάξει τῶν ὀνομάτων χρηστέον, ὡς τὸ Ἐπίδαμνός ἐστι πόλις ἐν δεξιᾷ ἐσπλέοντι εἰς τὸν Ἰόνιον κόλπον· πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ὠνόμασται τὸ περὶ οὗ, δεύτερον δὲ ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅτι πόλις, καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἐφεξῆς.

τὸ περὶ οὗ = topic = Randy's item relating to context
ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν = comment/focus = Randy's marked significant point
Nice quote. Thank you.
One small point: Demetrios ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν is talking about naturally-placed "Comment" or salient information, while I was pointing out Focal Comment material, as marked salient information, i.e., the salient material that is also fronted before the verb.
Right. Demetrius is talking about the "natural order of words" τῇ φυσικῇ τάξει τῶν ὀνομάτων, and then cites a sentence from Thucydides (of all people, 1.24.1) to demonstrate what that natural order looks like. τὸ περὶ οὗ, simply the subject, ὃ τοῦτό ἐστιν, the predicate, and then "the rest in order." I would have to say that there is nothing here that suggests that "word order" as it has become a discussion in discourse analysis in biblical studies is in view. The only way we really have to determine what the ancients thought of as euphonous is to read what they wrote and attempt to analyze it. Randall, you could well be right, but it would take some doing to prove it.
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