b-greek-digest V1 #14

b-greek-digest            Friday, 24 November 1995      Volume 01 : Number 014

In this issue:

        Q? Greek syntax?
        review Palmer 1995
        Re: TO TELEION / 1 Cor. 13:10


From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen@epas.utoronto.ca>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 11:53:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Q? Greek syntax?

I came across a thin volume at the Society of Biblical Literature
meeting in Philadelphia: "Levels of Constituent Structure in New
Testament Greek" by Michael Palmer (1995). it is of some interest
theoretically. I talked to Palmer, and the sense is that there's
virtually nothing in Gov-Binding or related frameworks on New
Testament Greek syntax, especially the curious facts around nominal structure.

Q1. is it the case that no one else is working on NTGreek syntactic structures?

Q2. is it the case that no one else is working on *Modern* Greek
syntactic structures? especially the nominals? are they similar????
are there refs I could look at? especially assuming the DP hypothesis?

Q2B. if the syntax is broadly similar, perhaps I should ask for
greek-speaking linguists to help explore the Modern as a heuristic for
the study of the ancient dialects? especially the nominals?

Vincent DeCaen		 	  decaen@epas.utoronto.ca

Near Eastern Studies,		      Religion & Culture,
University of Toronto	       Wilfrid Laurier University


From: Vincent DeCaen <decaen@epas.utoronto.ca>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 12:39:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: review Palmer 1995

I would like to know where/how to get out a book review of the
following: in the meantime, I offer an informal e-review.

Palmer, Michael W.  1995.  Levels of Constituent Structure in New
Testament Greek.  Studies in Biblical Greek, no.4.  New York: Peter Lang.

As some might know by now, I work for much of my time on the formal
syntax of Biblical Hebrew.  That's why it was such a treat to come
across someone working on analogous problems in NT Greek.  I think
this year's SBL pointed up the growing interest in matters linguistic,
and Palmer's book offers a useful starting point for the consideration
of syntactic structure.

The first thing to say is that it is now clear why Biblical
grammarians need to learn how to use computer-assisted research tools
and info retrieval systems; and why X' (read "X bar", X a variable), a
standard term in theoretical linguistics, will be a familiar concept
for the next generation of grammarians.

Palmer set himself two very limited goals, and within those parameters
the limited goals were met. 1) an introduction to syntax and the
application to Greek.  2) the argument that a naive 50s view of phrase
structure cannot handle basic Greek syntax.

Ch.2 is a clean, concise overview of progress in linguistics as it
relates to phrase structure (=syntax) up to but not including the
Minimalist turn in the late 80s/early 90s (it's not clear whether we
should include the Principles-and-Parameters turn of the early 80s;
but if Palmer didn't assume P&P, I think responsible will work have to
assume P&P explicitly).

Ch.3 is a useful, enlightening discussion of method, and repays
rereading. He intelligently addresses the problem of working on a dead
language, relying prinicipally on Lightfoot's "Diachronic Syntax".  He
also considers hypothesis formation.  (I would add as an aside that I
consider this line an "ideology of science" and recommend Feyerabend's
"Against Method" 3d ed 1993 as secondary reading.)

Ch.4 is a gentle introduction to constituent structure, and Ch.5
continues with an argument for an intermediate level between syntactic
head and syntactic phrase (maximal projection) for nominals, viz. N' (read
"N bar", N for noun).  It's not clear the level of difficulty assumed
by Palmer: although I assumed he aimed low, it might still not be low
enough.  (But students shouldn't be put off by a challenge.)

my sense, though not being an expert in Greek as such, is that he
copes with Greek nominals in an enlightening manner.  I would add, and
it's not a criticism of the work as such, that much has happened in
generalized X' theory including the hypothesis of DET (determiner)
heading its own projection DP (determiner phrase) that could take his
analysis much further.  I would be happy to discuss offlist how such
an improvement would look (you can get a cleaner analysis, but you
also get adjunction to D' vs N', with consequences and predictions
that deserve extended treatment).

I should add that I've been commissioned to write a companion volume
for the Hebrew Studies series, "Biblical Hebrew Syntactic Structure: A
Government-Binding Approach".  It will be different in many respects,
being more of a primer with application to Hebrew. I'm looking for
guidance from those in Biblical studies as to what should be in it,
what structures to be examined, what audience to aim it at, etc., etc.
perhaps those coping with Palmer's book might give me a sense of where
the difficulties arise in reading/understanding, what could be done
differently, etc, etc.  I would be grateful for such feedback, and
will acknowledge the time/effort of respondents in this regard (ie, in
concept development, etc).

Vincent DeCaen		 	  decaen@epas.utoronto.ca

Near Eastern Studies,		      Religion & Culture,
University of Toronto	       Wilfrid Laurier University

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history,
is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that
progress has been made, through disobedience and through
rebellion.				    --Oscar Wilde


From: David Moore <dvdmoore@dcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 00:15:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: TO TELEION / 1 Cor. 13:10

Bruce Terry <terry@bible.acu.edu> wrote:

>[A]round 1830, Edward Irving, a noted
>Presbyterian preacher in London, began preaching that I Cor. 13:10 (When t=
>perfect comes, the thing in part will be done away) implies that these gif=
>should still be in use today since Jesus had not yet come again.  To count=
>this argument, some changed their exposition of TO TELEION from perfection=
>the second coming to completion when all prophecy was finished.  In a 1976
>lecture here at Abilene Christian, Carroll Osburn noted that the earliest =
>he had been able to find this revised argument (which both Byron and I gre=
w up
>hearing) was in the 1878 commentary by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.  I
>suppose that was in reaction to Irving's position some 50 years before.
>For me, a more crucial question than the meaning of TO TELEION is the
>significance of hOTAN in verse 10.  Edward Irving argued that this implied
>that TO EK MEROUS "the thing in part" would not cease (except for times of
>corruption in the church) *until* TO TELEION should come.  I no longer bel=
>this follows.  In verse 11, Paul says, hOTE GEGONA ANHR, KATHRGHKA TA TOU
>NHPIOU "When I became a man [NRSV adult], I put away the things of the chi=
>Paul did not retain all his childish speech, thinking, and reasoning until=
>age of manhood.  Those things gradually passed away as they were no longer
>needed or appropriate.  I see no real difference between hOTE in verse 11 =
>hOTAN in verse 10 as regards this; he uses hOTAN in verse 10 because the t=
>of the coming of TO TELEION was indefinite and hOTE in verse 11 because he
>knew when he had become a man.  But neither means "At the time of and not =
>whit before" as oft imagined both by Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals ali=

=09Edward Irving is rather a wild card, both for Pentecostals and for
other premillennial Evangelicals.  Although strong emphases appeared in his
theology which antedated similar themes in both these groups, it is
difficult to find anyone who knows about him that doesn'=92=92=94=92t maint=
reservations about certain aspects of his theology.  Bruce=92s comments
about his position on 1Cor. 13:10 and context, however, are of interest as
an explanation of the rise of the interpretation equating TO TELEION with
the completion of the canon.=20

=09Caution is certainly advisable when we are dealing with a
passage the carries as much theological weight, practically speaking, as
this one.  Bruce has mentioned hOTAN and hOTE.  The first, used with the
aorist subjunctive, indicates that the action of the subordinate clause
precedes that of the main clause (BAGD s.v. hOTAN).  I.e., TO TELEION will
come before "that which is in part" will be done away.  hOTE, used in v.
11 with the imperfect, refers to some extended time that, with his use of
the perfect of 11b, Paul simply indicates came to an end with the
establishment of a new situation.  It is important to understand that these
matters from Paul=92s personal life simply serve as an illustration of what
he is trying to convey.  We must not put more weight on such an
illustration than it is able to carry.=20

=09To catch his meaning here, the pericope must be considered as a
whole and understood in the context of the entire matter of the spiritual
gifts being treated especially in chapters 12 through 14.  And it wouldn'=
hurt to keep in mind the larger context of the whole of 1Cor. and the rest
of the Pauline corpus.  But, to limit my discussion to vv. 8-13, it seems
good to recall Ken Litwak'=92s comments on this passage in which he called
attention to the language of v. 12 that practically doesn'=92=92=94=92t adm=
it any
understanding other than reference to the perfection we, as believers,
shall experience in the eschaton.  Also, it seems that Paul is lifting up
AGAPH as something that will not be affected by the coming of the
eschaton.  Although most take faith and hope as equally eternal with love,
Paul may have in mind an implicit argument here in which he is saying that
love will never pass from the scene but even faith and hope, as important
as they now are, will no longer be needed one day.  (Cf. Rom. 8:23-25).=20

=09Nevertheless, we must recognize that Paul is cautioning about the
use of spiritual gifts.  But his cautions do not have the purpose of
ending the use of the gifts (1Cor. 14:39; 1Thes. 5:20, 21).  Rather he is
saying that they must be exercised in AGAPE if they hope to be of any real
and eternal benefit.=20

Regards to all,

David L. Moore                             Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida                               of the  Assemblies of God
dvdmoore@dcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us           Department of Education


End of b-greek-digest V1 #14


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