Skip to content

2 John 5

RandallButh wrote: You are on the right track with 'topicalization'. The WS participial clause has fronting for contextualization, but with καινήν left behind in its default saliency position. Sort of like volunteering in an army joke where everyone steps backward, leaving the volunteer "forward". (In the language, though, moving foward was a 'demotion of saliency'/orientation/contextualization/topicatlization, and corresponds to moving backward in the joke.) The ἐντολή object was topicalized and the σοι was dragged along by the verb, as two sub-units within the clause. Maybe even the γράφων σοι can be said to be heightened pragmatically for contextualization in this case by its attraction of σοι.
Thanks for that. I like the idea that the whole part οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι is "topicalized" or "contextualized" and your explanation thereof. I'm not so sure about the reason for the placement of σοι, though, as I don't see any pragmatical heightening of that element. If I understand Devine and Stephens' work on the phonetics of the Greek accent correctly, there should be a (pitch) peak at γράφων here -- even though it may not be pragmatically prominent. I'm currently testing a hypothesis that clausal clitics in Koine need to be hosted by the first accentual peak in their intonation unit, so maybe that is why σοι is hosted by this element since the grave accent on ἐντολὴν won't produce a peak according to D&S. (Of course, if Koine isn't tonal or if D&S's work on intonation isn't applicable to the Koine of 2 John, then this whole line of investigation could be wrong-headed.) There is some flexibility in that οὐχ ὡς ἐντολήν σοι γράφων also fits the hypothesized rule, so this choice would still need to be accounted for, but I think this would have to involve extra heightening on (οὐχ ὡς) ἐντολήν to move σοι from its default / base-generated position, a heightening that does not seem contextually appropriate here.
RandallButh wrote: I would expect all of this to have been instantly communicated in antiquity through intonation by a good reader or speaker. The frontings would not have had any focal intonation, perhaps generating a kind of residual/latent/secondary focal intonation on the default yet salient καινἠν.
Yeah, that's the kind of thing I'm exploring and whether there is independent evidence for it in the intonation system as investigated by D&S. In particular, I would be especially interested in instances of fronted lexical graves that are not topics. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — January 18th, 2014, 8:22 am
I should clarify that the NA28 text is indeed under discussion but also that it now agrees with the Byzantine (and Hort) against that of the NA27 and SBLGNT. The NA27 text doesn't bother me so much (strong focus on οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν καινήν to be corrected by the ἀλλά clause, and γράφω σοι is left in situ), but I wouldn't mind discussion of that either. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — January 17th, 2014, 4:39 am
The SBL and NA28 texts are nice, but the Byz family produced the one under discussion and it needs elucidation within the Greek language. It should not be overlooked simply because other texts are/were available, not that anyone was suggesting that. Statistics: Posted by RandallButh — January 17th, 2014, 3:59 am
SBLGNT: καὶ νῦν ἐρωτῶ σε, κυρία, οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν ⸂καινὴν γράφων σοι⸃ ἀλλὰ ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους. Statistics: Posted by Eeli Kaikkonen — January 17th, 2014, 3:43 am
You are on the right track with 'topicalization'. The WS participial clause has fronting for contextualization, but with καινήν left behind in its default saliency position. Sort of like volunteering in an army joke where everyone steps backward, leaving the volunteer "forward". (In the language, though, moving foward was a 'demotion of saliency'/orientation/contextualization/topicatlization, and corresponds to moving backward in the joke.) The ἐντολή object was topicalized and the σοι was dragged along by the verb, as two sub-units within the clause. Maybe even the γράφων σοι can be said to be heightened pragmatically for contextualization in this case by its attraction of σοι. I would expect all of this to have been instantly communicated in antiquity through intonation by a good reader or speaker. The frontings would not have had any focal intonation, perhaps generating a kind of residual/latent/secondary focal intonation on the default yet salient καινἠν. Statistics: Posted by RandallButh — January 17th, 2014, 2:49 am
 
2 John 5 wrote: καὶ νῦν ἐρωτῶ σε, κυρία, οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι καινὴν ἀλλὰ ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ἵνα ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους.
The word order of 2 John 5 bothers me. Normally, when one sees a constituent fronted (here οὐχ ὡς ἐντολήν) before the verb like this, one is expecting a narrow focus (or emphasis) on it, but here the set of alternatives is not commandment vs. non-commandments but a new commandment vs. one that they've had from the beginning. In other words, a batter place for focus would be on καινήν since it contrasts with the content of the ἀλλά clause. But if that is the contrast of the άλλά clause, why does the negative ούχ seem to scope over the entire participial construction instead of being placed right before καινήν? Also why is οὐχ ὡς ἐντολήν fronted? Some kind of topicalization, since it seems to be common to καινή and ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς? Finally, how does one account for the position of σοι? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — January 17th, 2014, 1:30 am
 
Dan King wrote: Is there anywhere an explanation from the NA committee as to why they have changed the word order? It seems that since both textforms were current in Byzantine-age mss, both were broadly unproblematic to readers, though at some point at least one scribe though to improve the text a bit by changing the order. He may have 'felt' that he was thereby making the text slightly clearer (or more natural), but even mother-tongue speakers do not always agree on such things, and I suspect many ancient readers would not have felt the difference
There's no specific statement per se from the NA committee on why they changed the reading. What is known is that they have a new approach to evaluating which manuscripts are important in the Catholic Epistles and this might be an example where it made a difference. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — February 14th, 2014, 11:50 am
Is there anywhere an explanation from the NA committee as to why they have changed the word order? It seems that since both textforms were current in Byzantine-age mss, both were broadly unproblematic to readers, though at some point at least one scribe though to improve the text a bit by changing the order. He may have 'felt' that he was thereby making the text slightly clearer (or more natural), but even mother-tongue speakers do not always agree on such things, and I suspect many ancient readers would not have felt the difference Statistics: Posted by Dan King — February 13th, 2014, 2:09 am