Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Sean Kasabuske
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Sean Kasabuske » October 27th, 2018, 9:35 am

Thank you for your comments, Matthew. Peters finally responded to my email and let me know that he isn't ignoring me, but wants to provide a full replay, so I trust things will be much more clear soon.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Matthew Longhorn » October 27th, 2018, 9:43 am

That’s great, I found him really gracious and willing to share his time. Let me know if I am well off base, would be good to know if I have misunderstood him!
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Matthew Longhorn » February 27th, 2020, 5:53 am

So, it has been a while since Peters published his thesis and I was wondering if anyone has seen other scholars take up his ideas? I can’t recall seeing anyone adopting his views.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 2nd, 2020, 7:45 am

Dan Wallace has a negative book review of Peters here: https://voice.dts.edu/review/greek-arti ... k-article/

Peters has a response to Wallace here: http://bagl.org/files/volume5/BAGL_5-3_Peters.pdf
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 2nd, 2020, 8:44 am

Peters' response kind of lost me here:
The presentation relies primarily on
Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The thesis of
the following response is that, using Kuhn’s framework and
terminology, the debate between Peters and Wallace is characteristic
of the conflict that inevitably arises between the novel theory and
normal science, respectively.
I mean, seriously? Yes, in the 1970's and 80's we were all excited about Kuhn, and he was required or recommended reading for practically every graduate student on the planet. But his overall approach has hardly been uncritically accepted and has been adapted and taken in different directions, and to use him uncritically to defend one's own work (I'm introducing a paradigm revolution, guys!) seems... hubristic.

As usual in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, nice overview of Kuhn, https://tinyurl.com/yanrrwmj.

Now, I haven't read Peters so I want to be cautious, but what I saw in Wallace's review was a number of rather factual points (e.g., failure to interact with significant scholarship on the issue). To dismiss the review as "the traditional view" by writing a philosophy paper rather than specifically engaging the criticisms is not at all convincing. Peters does engage a few items (Rom 9:5), but not enough.

The other reaction I have is the "smell test." Does Peters' thesis really makes sense out of the practically infinite contexts in which we see the article throughout Greek literature, including the documentary papyri, where people are just trying to communicate? NT scholars have to stop publishing works which only use the NT as their database for the language. The NT is one set of documents within a far larger framework, and that larger framework has to be considered...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 2nd, 2020, 4:13 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 8:44 am
Now, I haven't read Peters so I want to be cautious, but what I saw in Wallace's review was a number of rather factual points (e.g., failure to interact with significant scholarship on the issue). To dismiss the review as "the traditional view" by writing a philosophy paper rather than specifically engaging the criticisms is not at all convincing. Peters does engage a few items (Rom 9:5), but not enough.
And the other problem with appealing to Kuhn is this: it amounts to saying "I'm the guy behind a scientific revolution, and you just don't get it yet".

The first step in that scientific revolution is to show that your theory accounts for the data. Wallace gave him some challenges on that front. The corpus as a whole presents many more challenges. Show how your theory accounts for those challenges first, we can applaud the scientific revolution after it's clear that it has happened.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 2nd, 2020, 4:25 pm

Although I do think that there are some cases best described by Kuhn (Chomsky comes to mind), I have a heuristic that anyone who appeals to Kuhn is probably blowing smoke.
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Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Bruce McKinnon » June 2nd, 2020, 5:47 pm

In addition to what others have said above, the number of ad hominem attacks in Peter's response do not help his argument.
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serunge
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by serunge » June 3rd, 2020, 11:37 am

I was on a panel at ETS in 2013 on the article with Peters and Denny Burk with Wallace as respondent. I was scared spitless because I was the stand-in for Levinsohn and had never done any work on the article before that. The papers were incorporated into the recently published in King's The Article in Post-Classical Greek It was the strangest panel I have ever participated in. Peters' claims were drawn wholecloth from the implications of Porter's prominence model, probably best described in Porter's contribution to The Linguist as Pedagogue. There was no reference to cognitive notions like activation status and the salience of new/old information. Rather the presuppositions that morphological bulk and markedness directly correlated with prominence drove his conclusions. We all agreed that articular nouns were marked, but presuppositions lead to completely opposite conclusions about what exactly was marked. I claimed it marked cognitive accessibility rather than definiteness, even though the distinction is not always meaningful. Peters' model demanded that the bulkier form must be more prominent, there was just no way around it without parting with Porter. The model he adopted painted him into a corner. I am not sure whether Porter's own claims about the article (say in Idioms) would support Peters' claims, and I doubt that Porter considered the consequences of applying his model outside the verbal system. But the important takeaway here is to recognize the impact of one's presuppositions and theoretical framework. In linguistics proper, where the models are more legitimately and critically applied, there is probably a lot more grace for adopting SFL versus RRG or Cognitive or Construction Grammar. There are two applications of Porter's model to linguistic topics other than the verbal system that I am aware of: Peters on the article and Ivan Kwong on syntax/word order. Both represent good-faith, true-believer applications of his prominence model. Both lead to novel and unparalleled claims. Peters would attribute my last two adjectives to the Kuhnian shift, indicating that he is well aware that he's left the beaten track.
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Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Bruce McKinnon » June 3rd, 2020, 1:29 pm

Does anyone have a list of the table of contents of the book edited by King? It looks interesting. I was hoping the T of C would be available via Amazon but no luck.
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