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Matthew 1:19

jonathan.borland wrote: Stephen Carlson wrote:Matt 1:19 wrote:Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς, δίακαιος ὢν καὶ μὴ θέλων αὐτὴν δειγματίσαι, ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτήν.

Third, the prosody of the verse corroborates the view that λάθρᾳ does not construe with ἀπολῦσαι. After all, αὐτήν is an unemphatic pronoun and its natural position is second within its intonation unit. This suggests that ἀπολῦσαι is in a separate intonation unit from ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ. If λάθρᾳ were to construe with ἀπολῦσαι, we should expect λάθρᾳ αὐτὴν ἀπολῦσαι or ἀπολῦσαι αύτῆν λάθρᾳ as more prosodically suitable candidates.

You may be correct, but for the sake of argument regarding what Matthew should have written were he intending to construe λαθρα with απολυσαι, wouldn’t your former suggestion, εβουληθη λαθρα αυτην απολυσαι, at least suggest the possibility that λαθρα was to be taken with εβουληθη, and your latter, εβουληθη απολυσαι αυτην λαθρα, place emphasis on λαθρα? Supposing Matthew intended to do neither, wouldn’t the position that actually occurs be the one that he would use to suggest quite naturally that λαθρα was to be taken with απολυσαι?

Thanks for your questions, Jonathan.

As for your first question, whether ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ αὐτὴν ἀπολῦσαι “at least suggest[s] the possibility that λαθρα was to be taken with εβουληθη,” I don’t think so. Unless αὐτήν is emphatic (and I can’t see why, since there is no other fiancee of Joseph to contrast Mary with), then, as an unemphatic personal pronoun, it is going to be found in the “second position” of its intonation unit. This means that αὐτήν is in the same intonation unit as λάθρᾳ and both of these together are separated from ἐβουλήθη.

As for your second question, whether ἐβουλήθη ἀπολῦσαι αύτῆν λάθρᾳ “place[s] emphasis on λαθρα,” I don’t think so either. In fact, it is right where I would expect it to be if it didn’t have any special emphasis.

As for your third question, it is premised on different answers to the first two questions. Even so, it does not seem to take into account the option that λάθρᾳ construes with ἐβουλήθη, the very point under discussion.

Stephen Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — April 6th, 2012, 12:39 pm

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Testament Re: λάθρᾳ in Matt 1:19

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 09:16 AM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bgreek/~3/LOAlJgGPZCA/viewtopic.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

Stephen Carlson wrote: Matt 1:19 wrote:Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς, δίακαιος ὢν καὶ μὴ θέλων αὐτὴν δειγματίσαι, ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ ἀπολῦσαι αὐτήν.

Third, the prosody of the verse corroborates the view that λάθρᾳ does not construe with ἀπολῦσαι. After all, αὐτήν is an unemphatic pronoun and its natural position is second within its intonation unit. This suggests that ἀπολῦσαι is in a separate intonation unit from ἐβουλήθη λάθρᾳ. If λάθρᾳ were to construe with ἀπολῦσαι, we should expect λάθρᾳ αὐτὴν ἀπολῦσαι or ἀπολῦσαι αύτῆν λάθρᾳ as more prosodically suitable candidates.

Dear Stephen,

You may be correct, but for the sake of argument regarding what Matthew should have written were he intending to construe λαθρα with απολυσαι, wouldn’t your former suggestion, εβουληθη λαθρα αυτην απολυσαι, at least suggest the possibility that λαθρα was to be taken with εβουληθη, and your latter, εβουληθη απολυσαι αυτην λαθρα, place emphasis on λαθρα? Supposing Matthew intended to do neither, wouldn’t the position that actually occurs be the one that he would use to suggest quite naturally that λαθρα was to be taken with απολυσαι?

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland Statistics: Posted by jonathan.borland — April 6th, 2012, 12:16 pm

/////////////////////////////////////////// Syntax and Grammar Re: The Instantaneous Imperfect???

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 04:11 AM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bgreek/~3/1gYOkfoeVUg/viewtopic.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

I think there is some confusion of aspect and Aktionsart here. Yes, the aspect of the imperfect is imperfective, but to assume that this refers, therefore to a punctiliar, past event is to mix in pragmatic, Aktionsart categories. I know, all (or at least most of) the grammars, especially first year ones, insist that the imperfect must be translated along the lines of “I was loosing.” I’m not persuaded that is wise. Ask what the Greek texts says, then as how English would say it in the same context. I think that often imperfects in narrative, esp. of λεγω, should be translated using what has too often been viewed as the default for an aorist: “he said.” Doing so, however, says nothing about the aspect of the imperfect form in question–it’s still imperfective. To therefore create a category called “aoristic imperfect” seems, IMHO, rather foolish, esp. when it’s based on how we’d say it in English. Now Dan would not like me to say that is his basis for the category, but even if he thinks he can defend it on other grounds, his readers (esp. students) will never (OK, “rarely”) draw that conclusion.

In a paper that I presented at SBL in 2009, “The Function(s) of the Imperfect Tense in Mark’s Gospel” (http://ntresources.com/blog/?p=684) I suggested that the imperfect functions in two ways: to introduce direct discourse and to introduce offline or summary information. In the first instance, there appears to be a general pattern when λέγω is involved, though with some exceptions. In most of the instances in which direct discourse is introduced with an imperfect of λέγω, the content of the statement cited is of a general nature. It is rarely a specific statement by a single individual. In this situation it is most commonly the case that the imperfect verb is plural, referencing the “statement” of the group. Another common situation is the use of the imperfect in explanatory statements, direct discourse that is typically introduced with γάρ (or sometimes ὅτι) plus λέγω. These statements are offline, not part of the events that form the narrative storyline. Some such imperfects may reflect the nature of the statement or the generalized context of the statement. This could include reference to parabolic teaching, either a single parable (e.g., 3:21, ἐν παραβολαῖς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) or an entire series as in chapter 4 (all 4 parables are introduced with an imperfect, 4:2, 21, 26, 30). The imperfect verb may also refer to a general teaching session to a large group in which a general summary of Jesus’ teaching is recorded (e.g., 7:14, προσκαλεσάμενος πάλιν τὸν ὄχλον ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς).

Other times imperfect verbs are used in explanations of various events. These statements do not tell the reader what happens next; they do not advance the storyline in the narrative. They serve rather to explain what has just been recorded. Some, but not all, of these are explicitly introduced with γάρ or ὄτι, but most are linked only with καί. Other imperfects serve to set the scene for events which follow. Another grouping includes uses which provide miscellaneous background details. This is similar to the preceding one except that these do not function to set the scene at the beginning of a pericope, but may occur anywhere within it. Other imperfects serve as summary statements and are often found in summary sections which include a string of imperfect verb forms.

I also suggested two implications of approaching the imperfect this way. Though some of it repeats my first paragraph above, here’s what I said:

We have traditionally taught our students to translate imperfect verbs as past progressives in English: “ἔλυον, I was loosing.” I am not so sure that is helpful. Although there is a pedagogical advantage of simplicity, it may well start the student off on the wrong foot, assuming that this is what the imperfect means. What ought to be asked, however, is if the imperfect functions the same way in Greek as the past progressive does in English. Is the primary significance of a Greek imperfect tense-form past time with progressive Aktionsart? Although it may well be appropriate to use our default translation in some, perhaps even many instances, if the imperfect functions different from the English past progressive, we should be more sensitive to how the receptor language expresses similar functions. In many cases a “simple” rather than progressive translation is more suitable. The use of the –ing forms may well suggest the wrong point to an English-only reader. If Mark, e.g., is using the imperfect because he is introducing a background explanation or to report a simple statement in the past, then “he said” may be preferable to “he was saying.”

A second implication of this study relates more directly to exegesis. My introductory illustration related to the use of what has been called the inceptive imperfect. What I would suggest briefly is that although such Aktionsart statements are valid considerations (though of the statement rather than of the tense-form), these are at times over-emphasized. Rather than thinking first or primarily of such categories in exegesis, we ought to look at a broader picture.

Statistics: Posted by RDecker — April 6th, 2012, 7:11 am

/////////////////////////////////////////// Syntax and Grammar Re: The Instantaneous Imperfect???

Posted: 06 Apr 2012 03:50 AM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bgreek/~3/wEjbtSLFI1M/viewtopic.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

I must admit, in the years that I’ve been reading the NT, it never occurred to me to create a new grammatical category to explain this usage. “He was saying…” I saw, and still see this, as a feature of Marcan style, and nothing all too remarkable about it.

Part of it is the translationese we tend to use in learning and teaching the language, “was/were + the -ing form of the English verb” is a handy little formula to help beginning students get it. But in fact Greek doesn’t always use the imperfect quite the way English would use that construction, and English context sometimes uses a simple past where Greek uses the imperfect. When students start noticing that, and that there is more than one way correctly to render the imperfect into English, then they are starting to get it… Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — April 6th, 2012, 6:50 am