Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2020, 8:16 pm

nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 10:40 am
Though it is often a faux pas in linguistic description to appeal to speaker's choice, one has to wonder if the usage or non-usage of the article in (at least certain) prepositional phrases in certain instances was heavily influenced by the personal preferences of the speaker/writer?
I think for things like the historical present in Mark that's definitely the case. But personal preferences often manifest themselves a greater likelihood of choosing one way to talk about the subject matter over another, even though the different ways of expression may be viewed as more or less "equivalent" in some broader sense. These different ways of talking about the subject matter can be related to different ways of construing the subject matter (e.g., in a cognitive grammar sense as between identifiable, countable, etc.), different dialects, different registers, different information structure, etc. In the case of the articulation of preposition objects, I'd like to know if the different usages we're seeing do in fact correspond to different construals (or whatever) and, if so, what those are.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2020, 8:44 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 1:39 pm
The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek (2019, p. 328 ff.) is a bit clearer with the article in general.
***
It doesn't mention fixed expressions or prepositional phrases at all. All in all, Siebenthal is still much more useful for the NT students, even though it's more confusing at first.
I was going to do this grammar next, but, yes, you're right. CGCG provides a better explanation for the use of the article in general but it fails at describing the major exceptions to their rules. Although it is intended for university students and not professional scholars (though the latter can benefit from the more current thinking in Greek linguistics), I cannot help but think it is a major oversight.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2020, 8:52 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 8:08 pm
Stephen Carlson wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 7:55 pm
By the way, the presence of the article in 1 Thess 1:10 is a hard text-critical problem (hence my interest in getting a good grasp of the issue), and if we can understand the articulation of prepositional objects better, then we can evaluate the intrinsic probabilities for the reading better.
I have yet to be convinced that the articulation of prepositional objects is an item different than the articulation of other objects.
Certainly. It could well be an epiphenomenon of a confluence of other grammatical factors that happen to manifest more frequently in prepositional phrases. If so, this would mean that grammars are descriptively inadequate in lumping them under prepositional phrases. In any case, I would like to get a better grasp on what those factors are.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 10th, 2020, 1:18 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 8:52 pm
[
Certainly. It could well be an epiphenomenon of a confluence of other grammatical factors that happen to manifest more frequently in prepositional phrases. If so, this would mean that grammars are descriptively inadequate in lumping them under prepositional phrases. In any case, I would like to get a better grasp on what those factors are.
I can appreciate the motive to study this. Syntax is fascinating and the traditional textbooks barely scratch the surface concerning topics like this. While looking at ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν in the fathers I discovered that Pseudo-Justinus Martyr gave 41 hits for νεκρῶν with nearly all the permutations. Might be worth taking a look at these.

Pseudo-Justinus Martyr

καθ' ὁμοίωσιν τοῦ ἐγερθέντος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν

πάντων κοσμικὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν,

Πῶς ἐστιν ἀληθὲς τὸ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν κυριεύειν
τὸν κύριον

ἔσονται ἀξιόπιστοι νομοθέται
τοῦ μὴ ἔσεσθαι τῶν νεκρῶν τὴν ἀνάστασιν

διὰ τί ἀπιστεῖτε τὴν ἀνάστασιν τῶν νεκρῶν

ἐπαγγειλαμένῳ καθ' ὁμοίωσιν τοῦ
ἐγερθέντος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν ὑπ' αὐτοῦ εἰς ἄφθαρτον ζωὴν
ἀφθάρτους ποιεῖν καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς ἀνθρώπους;

λέγω δὲ τῶν Χριστιανῶν περὶ τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν
ἀναστάσεως
;

εἰς πίστωσιν τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 10th, 2020, 8:34 pm

Next up is a very popular grammar in seminaries and divinity schools, Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996). Wallace's grammar is an intermediate grammar but it allocates two whole chapters to the article (the second of which specifically devoted to Colwell's Rule and the Granville-Sharp construction). Wallace did his doctoral work on the doctrine of the Greek article so the greater-than-usual coverage of the article in his grammar is a reflection of his personal interest. But in this case, the unbalanced treatment of the article is in our topic's favor.

Wallace's discussion has a section E, on the absence of the article, and he divides anarthrous substantives into three "forces": indefinite, qualitative, and definite. Under the definite category, he subdivides the anarthrous definites into the ten categories, of which "object of a preposition" is the second. Here is his treatment:
Wallace 1996:247 wrote:There is no need for the article to be used to make the object of a preposition definite.⁷⁹ However, this is not to say that all prepositional objects are definite. An anarthrous noun as object of a preposition is not necessarily definite. It is often qualitative (e.g., υἱῷ in Heb 1:2, mentioned above),⁸⁰ or even occasionally indefinite (cf. μετὰ γυναικὸς ἐλάλει—“he was speaking with a woman” [John 4:27]).⁸¹ Thus, when a noun is the object of a preposition, it does not require the article to be definite: if it has the article, it must be definite; if it lacks the article, it may be definite. The reason for the article, then, is usually for others purposes (such as anaphora or as a function marker).

Luke 5:12 πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον
falling on [his] face
John 1:1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος
In the beginning was the Word
Here the noun is also monadic, giving it additional reason to be definite.
Rom 1:4 τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν
who was designated the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead
Two of the three prepositional phrases include definite objects; ἐν δυνάμει is qualitative.
Cf. also Matt 10:22; Mark 2:1; Luke 2:14; John 1:13; 6:64; 2 Cor 10:3; Heb 4:3; 9:12; 1 Pet 1:12; Rev 7:5.

⁷⁹ This is recognized by most grammarians. Cf. Robertson, Grammar, 791; BDF, 133; Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 58-59.

⁸⁰ Cf. also Luke 1:39; Acts 4:27; 1 Cor 3:13; Jas 1:6. It is our impression that most anarthrous nouns after prepositions seem to be qualitative unless they are monadic, proper names, in a gen. construction, or have a qualifying adjective.

⁸¹ Cf. also Mark 4:1; 5:2; Luke 4:11; 5:18; 1 Pet 3:15; Rev 1:11.
There's a lot going on here. This section mostly states the problem, which is a good start in terms of observational adequacy. But the description for the absence with the definites is a bit unfocused. Mostly, it seems to claim that anarthrous prepositional objects aren't really definite (unless "they are monadic, proper names, in a gen. construction, or have a qualifying adjective"), but qualitative. It is hard to get a handle on what Wallace means by a qualitative noun, and I'm not convinced it's a real category. Certainly, the contemporary linguistic treatments that I'm aware doesn't recognize it as a category as such. Nevertheless, my impression is that includes abstract nouns, uncountable nouns, (certain?) classifying nouns, etc. (Given Wallace's traditional grammar-translation approach, I suspect is that it was created to reinscribe English's countable/non-countable distinction to cover cases where English would have bare nouns plus some weird cases like Heb 1:2 tossed in as needed.) A benefit of this category is that Wallace gets to classify certain prepositional phrases used as adverbs by characterizing the object as qualitative.

One difficulty I have with this qualitative-definite distinction--assuming it's real--is that Wallace doesn't always press it far enough, leaving the student just how to determine whether an object is qualitative or definite. Let's look at some of his examples.
  • Luke 5:12 πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον -- Although the only face that the leper could fall on is his own, so in that sense the face is identifiable, why not consider it qualitative, indicating how he fell? It is the upon-one's-face kind of falling that the leper did.
  • John 1:1 ἐν άρχῇ -- why not construe it qualitatively/adverbially as "originally"?
  • Rom 1:14 κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης -- Just as Wallace was able to read Heb 1:2 ἐν υἱῷ as qualitative, why not the same for the spirit of holiness? Granted, there is a theological reason for identifying this with the (monadic) Holy Spirit, but is that really going in the text?
  • Matt 10:22 ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος -- Persevering "to the end": Is this really definite as Wallace classifies it (and licenses the English definite article), or can be construed as adverbial, further specifying the extent of the perseverance.
  • Mark 2:1 Καὶ εἰσελθὼν πάλιν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ δι' ἡμερῶν ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν. -- There are three anarthrous prepositional objects. The problem with Wallace's string cite of examples is that it is sometimes hard to tell which one he had in mind when there are a couple of examples in the verse. I presume it's the last one since Jesus had a definite house in Capernaum, but that one is easily construed as adverbial as Wallace's NET Bible translation renders it ("at home").
  • Luke 2:14 δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ / καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη / ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας -- NET: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with goodwill. -- There are three anarthrous prepositional objects here. It's not clear that any are exclusively definite in Wallace's classification. The first two could be qualitative as his "on earth" translation suggests (but not so much "in the highest"--this is comparable to our discussion about ἐκ νεκρῶν).
  • John 1:13 οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ' ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. -- There are four anarthrous prepositional objects here, I guess he's referring to the last one "from God". As a monadic noun, its definiteness is clear, but can a qualitative construal be excluded? (PS what's going on with the plural αἱμάτων?)
  • John 6:64 ἐξ ἀρχῆς -- See comments on John 1:1
  • 2 Cor 10:3 ἐκ σαρκί / κατὰ σάρκα -- NET translates these as "as human beings" / "according to human standards": hard to see these qualitative renderings as necessarily definite. Perhaps he has the old translations "in the flesh" / "according to the flesh" in mind?
  • Heb 4:3 ἀπὸ καραβολῆς κόσμου -- from what I can tell this and similar phrases are always anarthrous in the NT, even including the genitive. True there is a definite and identifiable foundation of the world, but again it seems difficult to exclude an adverbial construal.
  • Heb 9:12 δι' αἵματος τράγων καἰ μόσχων -- NET: by the blood of goats and calves -- The determination of definiteness seems to be driven by the English translation. Why not "by goats' and calves' blood"?
  • 1 Pet 1:12 either [ἐν] πνεύματι ἁγίῳ or ἀπ' οὐρανοῦ -- Again we're not clear which anarthrous prepositional object he has in mind, and the former has a textual variant on the presence of the preposition. For the former see remarks on Rom 1:14, and for the latter see Luke 2:14.
  • Rev 7:5 έκ φυλῆς Ἰούδα δώδεκα χιλιάδες ἐσφραγισμένοι etc. -- This looks definite, referring to an identifiable tribe. The information structure of this example is marked (I would say it's a contrastive topic) and some proposals for the articulation of prepositional objects involve information structure, but Wallace's grammar does not do information structure.
To sum up this already too long post, Wallace clearly presents the issue that definite objects of a preposition need not bear the article. He states that "often" and "most" anarthrous nouns are actually "qualitative" and not definite. This could be a way forward, if "qualitative" were well defined. Unfortunately, when we look at his examples of anarthrous definite objects, it is not often clear why he decides that it definite rather than qualitative. Monadic nouns for instance are usually definite in his scheme, but not always (e.g., Heb 1:2). Moreover, he largely leaves unexplored his statement that when the article is present it is for a specific reason: I would like to see that explored further.

Despite all these disclaimers, Wallace's treatment suggests to me the following working hypothesis: prepositional objects are (usually?) bare when their definiteness is not at issue. This is just as a starting point and it leads to the question of when and why definiteness may or may not be at issue. For example, we may conclude that definiteness is not at issue in (certain) adverbial uses.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 11th, 2020, 4:58 am

Here's a question, not directly related to any statement in these grammars:

We are talking about prepositions. Prepositions occur only with oblique cases. But oblique cases occur also without prepositions. Are these occurrences governed by different rules even though an oblique case with a preposition can sometimes be semantically replaced with an oblique case without a preposition?
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 11th, 2020, 8:53 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
July 11th, 2020, 4:58 am
Here's a question, not directly related to any statement in these grammars:

We are talking about prepositions. Prepositions occur only with oblique cases. But oblique cases occur also without prepositions. Are these occurrences governed by different rules even though an oblique case with a preposition can sometimes be semantically replaced with an oblique case without a preposition?
That’s a good question. As the textual variant with 1 Pet 1:12 indicates, we can get similar issues with a bare dative. For the genitive, we have a whole set of phenomena under the rubric of Apollonius’ Canon. Though often considered separately, I wonder if there are similar things going on. At any rate, some researchers of article use in other languages argue that it can behave differently for arguments (i.e. many nominatives, accusatives, and some datives) than for non-arguments.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » July 11th, 2020, 10:12 am

By "different rules" I of course mean rules for using the article.

EDIT: the time window for editing an existing post is too short, I wanted to add to my previous post. Stephen's message appeared to me after I submitted this one.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 11th, 2020, 6:06 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
July 11th, 2020, 4:58 am
Here's a question, not directly related to any statement in these grammars:

We are talking about prepositions. Prepositions occur only with oblique cases. But oblique cases occur also without prepositions. Are these occurrences governed by different rules even though an oblique case with a preposition can sometimes be semantically replaced with an oblique case without a preposition?

By "different rules" I of course mean rules for using the article.
note:emphasis added

Like I said before, I'm yet to be persuaded of this. I spent some time searching patristict texts for permutations of τὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν into the fifth century. A few samples from the hundreds reviewed.

*****Without a Preposition*****

Cyrillus Theol., Commentarii in Joannem
Volume 3, page 153, line 3

ἰόντας ὁδοῦ, καὶ νόθην εὐλάβειαν ἐξ ἀμαθίας ἐπιτηδεύοντας
ἀποπέμπεσθαι τὴν πίστιν, οὐ προσίεσθαι τῶν νεκρῶν τὴν
ἀνάστασιν
, ἥκειν

Cyrillus Theol., Fragmenta in sancti Pauli epistulam i ad Corinthios
Page 297, line 4

Ἐπὶ καιροῦ δὴ λίαν καὶ σοφῶς εὐαγγέλιον ἀποκαλεῖ τὸ
περὶ τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως κήρυγμα, καὶ αὐτοῦ δὲ
πάντως που Χριστοῦ· καὶ γάρ ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ἀγαθοῦ παντὸς

Cyrillus Theol., Fragmenta in sancti Pauli epistulam i ad Corinthios
Page 310, line 18

διεκφαίνοντος τὴν τῶν οὐρανίων σωμάτων τὴν ὡς ἐν δόξῃ
διαφορὰν, ἀποφέρει τέως πρὸς τὴν τοῦ πρώτου δύναμιν τῆς
τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως
ἐμφέρειαν, καί φησι τὸ ἑξῆς·
<Σπείρεται ἐν φθορᾷ, ἐγείρεται ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ.>

Cyrillus Theol., Solutiones
Page 563, line 10

νεκροὺς ὁ Θεὸς καὶ Πατήρ. ὅτι δὲ οὔπω γέγονεν ἡ ἀνά-
στασις τῶν νεκρῶν
, ἀλλ' ἔσται κατὰ καιροὺς, πιστώσεται
γράφων ὁ πάνσοφος Παῦλος, ὅτι Ὑμέναιος καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος

Cyrillus Theol., Commentarii in Lucam (in catenis)
Volume 72, page 892, line 41

(A f. 265, C f. 150) Παρήγαγε γὰρ αὐτοῖς καὶ
Μωϋσέα εὖ εἰδότα τῶν νεκρῶν τὴν ἀνάστασιν· ἐν
γὰρ τῇ βάτῳ, φησὶν, εἰσκεκόμικε λέγοντα Θεόν·

Cyrillus Theol., Commentarius in Isaiam prophetam
Volume 70, page 1185, line 27

τὴν ἐλπίδα πεπλουτήκασιν. Οὐδεὶς μὲν γὰρ παρ'
Ἕλλησι λόγος τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως ἦν, ἀπι-
στεῖται δὲ καὶ εἰς δεῦρο τὸ μυστήριον. Μονονουχί φα

Cyrillus Theol., Commentarii in Lucam (in catenis) (4090: 108); MPG 72.
Volume 72, page 821, line 52

δείξῃ, πείρᾳ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ ταῦτα πεπρᾶχθαι. Πρὸς ὃν
ἐροῦμεν· Τὴν κρίσιν ἔσεσθαι μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν
τῶν νεκρῶν
, ἡ θεία πανταχοῦ λέγει Γραφή· ἀνάστα-
σις δὲ οὐκ ἔσται, μὴ αὖθις ἡμῖν ἐπιφοιτήσαντος τοῦ

Cyrillus Theol., Quod unus sit Christus
Aubert page 724, line 7

{Β – } Τὸ τί δὴ φής;
{Α – } Ἔφη που Χριστὸς τοῖς ἀναιρεῖν ἐθέλουσι τὴν
ἀνάστασιν τῶν νεκρῶν
· «Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ὁ ποιήσας τὸν
ἄνθρωπον ἐν ἀρχαῖς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς;»


*****With a Preposition*****

Gregorius Nazianzenus Theol.,
Volume 36, page 376, line 18

Νῦν ὁρίζοντος. Καὶ πάλιν· Ἔγειραι, ὁ καθεύδων,
καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι
ὁ Χριστὸς, λύων τὴν νύκτα τῆς ἁμαρτίας·

NOTE: ἀνάστα* ἐκ [τῶν] νεκρῶν and ἐκ [τῶν] νεκρῶν ἀνάστα* are ubiqutous in the fathers.

Gregorius Nyssenus Theol., In inscriptiones Psalmorum
Volume 5, page 172, line 4

ἔνδειξιν παρελήφθη, δι' οὗ τῶν ἐπιθανατίως νενοσηκότων
ὁ ἀποτροπιασμὸς τοῦ θανάτου ἐγένετο διὰ τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν
ἀναστάσεως
τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, ἣν σημαίνει τὸ κενοτάφιον.

Eusebius Scr. Eccl., Theol., Demonstratio evangelica
Book 4, chapter 16, section 13, line 3

ὁμολογοῦντές φαμεν· «ἀγαλλιασώμεθα ἐν τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου». σωτήριον
γὰρ τοῦ Χριστοῦ τί ἂν ἕτερον νοοῖτο, εἰ μὴ ἡ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασις
αὐτοῦ
, δι' ἧς καὶ πάντας τοὺς πρὶν ἐκπεπτωκότας ἀνίστησιν; ὅθεν

Pseudo-Justinus Martyr, De resurrectione
Morel page 588, section C, line 10

γενόμενος υἱὸς ὁ λόγος ἦλθεν εἰς ἡμᾶς, σάρκα φορέσας, ἑαυ-
τόν τε καὶ τὸν πατέρα μηνύων, διδοὺς ἡμῖν ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐκ
νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν
καὶ τὴν μετὰ ταῦτα ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Ἔστι δὲ
οὗτος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν καὶ δεσπότης· οὗ

Pseudo-Justinus Martyr, Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos
Morel page 418, section D, line 5

γουμένως μὲν μηνύων δι' αὐτῆς τὴν ἐσομένην διὰ Χριστοῦ
πάντων κοσμικὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἔπειτα δὲ διὰ
τὴν ψυχαγωγίαν τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν τῶν ἀπογνόντων ἑαυτοὺς τῷ

This doesn't prove anything. Just a suggestion that one might want to look at patterns outside the NT.
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Re: Greek Grammars on the Articulation of Prepositional Objects

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 11th, 2020, 9:50 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
July 11th, 2020, 6:06 pm
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
July 11th, 2020, 4:58 am
By "different rules" I of course mean rules for using the article.
note:emphasis added

Like I said before, I'm yet to be persuaded of this. I spent some time searching patristict texts for permutations of τὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν into the fifth century. A few samples from the hundreds reviewed.

***

This doesn't prove anything. Just a suggestion that one might want to look at patterns outside the NT.
Thanks for the data dump, Stirling, though without any analysis it is a bit hard to guess what you think it shows. Nevertheless the suggestion to look at patterns outside the NT is a good one, always in order, though the nice thing about looking at very common phenomena such as articular usage is that even in the NT there are plenty of examples to study.
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