2 John 5

New Testament • Re: 2 John 5 οὐχ ὡς ἐντολὴν γράφων σοι καινήν
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