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Mark 5:42

Levinsohn is using strengthening as a technical term. It is a fallacy to assume that a technical term means what the non-technical meaning might suggest. One has to study his usage of the term to understand what it means. I haven't seen any disagreement yet on the actual substance, just unwarranted extrapolations from the particular name he gave to the function. Labels aren't definitions. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 26th, 2014, 11:39 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote:
moon wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Well, that seems to be what Levinsohn is describing by "strengthening." Are you objecting to his choice of terminology or to his understanding of the function of γάρ?
Yes. I am objecting to the notion of "strengthening".
It is still not clear to me whether you are objecting to Levinsohn's notion or terminology of "strengthening."
=== When Levinsohn says that γάρ clause provides background information that strengthens some aspect of the previous statement, I think the notion and the terminology cannot be separated. I guess he wanted to come up with a most general constraint that can cover all usages of γάρ. That constraint is that of strengthening. But in Mk 5:42, γάρ, it seems, simply provides a related background information, which makes the picture of the described situation more concrete, that is, not just a girl but a girl who is 12 years old. It seems I do not like this notion and terminology because it forces me to find some strengthening connection where such a connection is not clear. Statistics: Posted by moon — June 26th, 2014, 10:29 am
 
moon wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Well, that seems to be what Levinsohn is describing by "strengthening." Are you objecting to his choice of terminology or to his understanding of the function of γάρ?
Yes. I am objecting to the notion of "strengthening".
It is still not clear to me whether you are objecting to Levinsohn's notion or terminology of "strengthening." Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 26th, 2014, 12:10 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote:
moon wrote:Eeli and Barry, thanks for the involvement with this thread. When I said "background information for the sake of background information", the background information provided was supposed to be related to to some aspect of the event just described.
Well, that seems to be what Levinsohn is describing by "strengthening." Are you objecting to his choice of terminology or to his understanding of the function of γάρ? There are lots of ways of providing relevant background information. Mark's choice is to use an immediately following clause signaled by γάρ. I'm not sure other authors would choose the same mechanism.
Stephen, Yes. I am objecting to the notion of "strengthening". Levinsohn said that discourse particle δε is also used to state background information. The difference between γάρ and δε is that the background information introduced by γάρ is provided for the purpose of STRENGTHENING some aspect of the previous statement, and the background information introduced by δε is provided for the purpose of DEVELOPING some aspect of the previous statement. But I would like to experiment with the hypothesis that Mark uses γάρ simply to provide relevant background information, not necessarily to "strengthen" some aspect of the prevous statement. Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 25th, 2014, 8:49 pm
 
moon wrote: Eeli and Barry, thanks for the involvement with this thread. When I said "background information for the sake of background information", the background information provided was supposed to be related to to some aspect of the event just described.
Well, that seems to be what Levinsohn is describing by "strengthening." Are you objecting to his choice of terminology or to his understanding of the function of γάρ? There are lots of ways of providing relevant background information. Mark's choice is to use an immediately following clause signaled by γάρ. I'm not sure other authors would choose the same mechanism. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 25th, 2014, 5:45 am
 
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: Giving background information only for the sake of giving background information doesn't sound very sound :) . If it's background for something it's not logical to say it's "just for the sake of background" without any further explanation. It's like saying "she walked around, for some people had laughed at Jesus". The latter part is background just for the sake of background. But it's not logical. There must be a natural connection between the two parts. That's the idea of γαρ. If there's no logical connection the background information can be given in some other way, for example "there was a girl, twelve years old, who...". I have another proposal for the logical connection: the girl was old enough to walk. Otherwise the reader could take her ability to walk as a miracle about which the people "were completely astonished".
Eeli and Barry, thanks for the involvement with this thread. When I said "background information for the sake of background information", the background information provided was supposed to be related to to some aspect of the event just described. But the nature of the background-foreground relatedness is inferred from the context. I guess that the usual notion of "explanation" is weaker than the notion of "reason/cause", but still too strong to cover all the usages of γαρ. Whenever I meet γαρ, I find myself trying to find some logical connection, even the one not expressed or not easily implied. Perhaps this is a wrong presupposition learned from the traditional grammar. In this particular case, the logical connection that she was old enough to walk might have been in the mind of the author. But the author might have communicated her age simply as a further background detail about her, in order to picture the situation more concretely. Yes, there is another way to say this, for example "there was a girl, twelve years old, who...". But for Mark, who loves to use short sentences side by side, the GAR clause seems to be a good way to express an afterthought. But, surely my proposal needs a lot of testing, but I think it is interesting. Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 24th, 2014, 6:54 pm
I have always simply read this as explanatory, giving the reason why the girl starts walking around. I suspect that κοράσιον (in the sense of "little girl") could be any age before puberty, perhaps with a usage of very young girls (pre-toddlers?) and it was important to Mark to communicate that she was of a proper age to get up and walk around. Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — June 24th, 2014, 6:42 am
Giving background information only for the sake of giving background information doesn't sound very sound :) The problem is that the thing after γαρ should be background information for the thing before it. But why would it be in this case? There must be a logical connection. If it's background for something it's not logical to say it's "just for the sake of background" without any further explanation. It's like saying "she walked around, for some people had laughed at Jesus". The latter part is background just for the sake of background. But it's not logical. There must be a natural connection between the two parts. That's the idea of γαρ. If there's no logical connection the background information can be given in some other way, for example "there was a girl, twelve years old, who...". I have another proposal for the logical connection: the girl was old enough to walk. Otherwise the reader could take her ability to walk as a miracle about which the people "were completely astonished". Statistics: Posted by Eeli Kaikkonen — June 24th, 2014, 6:31 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: There are a number of proposals for the meaning of γάρ in the literature. Your proposal seems rather vague. I would encourage you to consult the literature and try to synthesize an understanding with constant reference to many examples, rather than get hung up on one particular example.
Stephen, I guess that is what I am trying to do. Having read many reference grammars about GAR, I am trying to find a most flexible and general constraint that can cover all uses of GAR. Mk 5:42 seems to be a test case. Any proposal for GAR should be able to explain Mk 5:42 in a natural manner. The proposal that in a narrative GAR signals an off-line background information is not vague, though it is the least constrained among all proposals I have read and considered. Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 24th, 2014, 6:07 am
There are a number of proposals for the meaning of γάρ in the literature. Your proposal seems rather vague. I would encourage you to consult the literature and try to synthesize an understanding with constant reference to many examples, rather than get hung up on one particular example. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 24th, 2014, 4:27 am
David and Stephen, thanks for the input. (1) David's suggestion that Mark metioned the age of the girl in order to convey that she was so young that she immediately went around is interesting. But that suggestion seems to be based on the presupposition that the GAR clause is supposed to "support" the previous assertion. But the point of this verse is that perhaps our understanding of GAR may be too rigid. This example suggests that at least in narratives, the GAR clause simply provides off-line background information, that is the background information that is off the main line of story. The constraint that GAR imposes is neither support nor strengthening nor explanation. The information provided by GAR clauses strengthen or support or explain some aspects of the previous statement but it could simply provide background information for the sake of providing background information. NIV seems to suggest this position by using the parenthesis: Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 24th, 2014, 3:59 am
 
moon wrote: But still it seems that the notion of "strengthening" is too strong to be applied to this case. The sentence ημ γαρ ετων δωδεκα simply identifies her in a little bit more details. Is there something which I am not aware of in the jargon "strengthening"?
My feeling is that the so-called "strengthening" is something like "she was still young, which is why she immediately started walking about again as little children would". Statistics: Posted by David Lim — June 23rd, 2014, 11:08 am
yeah, if you want to understand what Levinsohn means by strengthening, it is best to consult his writings, such as Discourse Features of New Testament Greek (2001). There, he begins his treatment of γάρ as follows:
Levinsohn 2000:91 wrote: Background material introduced by γάρ provides explanations or expositions of the previous assertion (see Winer 1882:566-67, Robertson, n.d.:1190, Harbeck 1970:12). The presences of γάρ constrains the material the material that it introduces to be interpreted as strengthening some aspect of the previous assertion, rather than as distinctive information.
So, there really isn't an incompatibility between strengthening and background material, as I see it. The only strange thing about Mark 5:42 is why, out of all the information to add to the main clause, the author relates the girl's age. Persumably, it was important for some reason. There isn't a royal road straight from a label to its definition. The best way to understand it is to read the pertinent literature and study the examples to get a feel for what the scholar is referring to. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 23rd, 2014, 7:58 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: Mark's use of γάρ is considerable looser than that of other authors, but here it can be seen as strengthen in what sense she is a κοράσιον.
Hmm. That makes sense. But still it seems that the notion of "strengthening" is too strong to be applied to this case. The sentence ημ γαρ ετων δωδεκα simply identifies her in a little bit more details. Is there something which I am not aware of in the jargon "strengthening"? Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 23rd, 2014, 6:55 am
Mark's use of γάρ is considerable looser than that of other authors, but here it can be seen as strengthen in what sense she is a κοράσιον. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — June 23rd, 2014, 4:27 am
The discourse particle GAR is used to " explain" the previous sentence. And the discourse grammar by Levinsohn says: The presence of GAR constrains the material that it introduces to be interpreted as STRENGTHENING some aspect of the previous assertion. I wonder how Mk 5:42 can be explained according to these grammars. και ευθυσ ανεστη το κορασιον και περιεπατει, ην γαρ ετων δωδεκα. Here the statement that she was of age twelve simply states some background information. In what sense would it strengthen or support or explain some aspect of the previous assertion? Or do we need to loosen the constraint posed by GAR, so that it can simply state some background information without any attempt to explain something? Moon Jung Statistics: Posted by moon — June 23rd, 2014, 4:07 am