David Lim wrote:Mike, I am not sure whether you are supporting the point I was trying to make from the start. I was saying that, contrary to the way the relevant portion in Funk's Grammar is phrased, I believe that whether the proper name can be declined or not has nothing to do with whether the article is used or not. But you also said that the article is relevant to the meaning of proper names, which I don't understand. It seems to me that the semantic meaning of a proper name is entirely contained by the name itself. The article does not contribute anything, with the sole exception of "ΚΥΡΙΟΣ" in the Septuagint and the new testament that is a substitute word for "יהוה", where of course "ΚΥΡΙΟΣ" is not used as the count noun that it originally was.
When I say meaning, I'm not talking about the lexical semantics of a word. Technically, proper names do not have any meaning at all--they only have referents. I'm talking about the meaning of the text, the meaning of the discourse. If the article didn't contribute anything at all, then it wouldn't be used. But it is used, so surely it means something.
David Lim wrote:As for definiteness, for those who have never come across this term, I would simply define it as how definite a reference to an entity is. A definite noun clause points to a specific noun, whereas an indefinite noun clause does not point to any specific noun or example of it, at least on the grammatical level. For example, in the phrase "the king must rule well", "the king" is definite because it refers to a particular person. In contrast, in "a king must rule well", "a king" is indefinite and refers to no particular person. Since proper names refer to specific persons by virtue of the purpose of names, they are by default definite.
You've named one of two key aspects of definiteness here. That's good. Specificity is the dominant feature of the English definite and indefinite articles, but it is not the dominant feature of the Greek article. The other feature involved in the concept of definiteness is identifiability
and it is central to the use of the article and drives why the article is or is not used with various nouns and proper names. Let's look at a bit of text, focusing on the proper names and the use of the article.
Luke 1:5-25 (NA27) wrote:Ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἱερεύς τις ὀνόματι Ζαχαρίας ἐξ ἐφημερίας Ἀβιά, καὶ γυνὴ αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν θυγατέρων Ἀαρὼν καὶ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς Ἐλισάβετ. 6 ἦσαν δὲ δίκαιοι ἀμφότεροι ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ, πορευόμενοι ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν τοῦ κυρίου ἄμεμπτοι. 7 καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον, καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλισάβετ στεῖρα, καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν.
8 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἱερατεύειν αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ τάξει τῆς ἐφημερίας αὐτοῦ ἔναντι τοῦ θεοῦ, 9 κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατείας ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ κυρίου, 10 καὶ πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος ἦν τοῦ λαοῦ προσευχόμενον ἔξω τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ θυμιάματος. 11 ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἑστὼς ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ θυμιάματος. 12 καὶ ἐταράχθη Ζαχαρίας ἰδὼν καὶ φόβος ἐπέπεσεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. 13 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος·
μὴ φοβοῦ, Ζαχαρία,
διότι εἰσηκούσθη ἡ δέησίς σου,
καὶ ἡ γυνή σου Ἐλισάβετ γεννήσει υἱόν σοι
καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννην.
14 καὶ ἔσται χαρά σοι καὶ ἀγαλλίασις
καὶ πολλοὶ ἐπὶ τῇ γενέσει αὐτοῦ χαρήσονται.
15 ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον [τοῦ] κυρίου,
καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ,
καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται
ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ,
16 καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ ἐπιστρέψει
ἐπὶ κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν.
17 καὶ αὐτὸς προελεύσεται ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ
ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει Ἠλίου,
ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα
καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων,
ἑτοιμάσαι κυρίῳ λαὸν κατεσκευασμένον.
18 καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον· κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο; ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς. 19 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἐγώ εἰμι Γαβριὴλ ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἀπεστάλην λαλῆσαι πρὸς σὲ καὶ εὐαγγελίσασθαί σοι ταῦτα· 20 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα, ἀνθʼ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου, οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν.
21 Καὶ ἦν ὁ λαὸς προσδοκῶν τὸν Ζαχαρίαν καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐν τῷ χρονίζειν ἐν τῷ ναῷ αὐτόν. 22 ἐξελθὼν δὲ οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν ὅτι ὀπτασίαν ἑώρακεν ἐν τῷ ναῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς καὶ διέμενεν κωφός. 23 καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ, ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ. 24 Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας συνέλαβεν Ἐλισάβετ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε λέγουσα 25 ὅτι οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.
Notice that you're not going to see a proper named used with an article until (1) after
that particular person is introduced or (2) if the speaker can already confidently assume that his audience can identify the person. Thus in verses 5-7, Ἐλισάβετ is first introduced as Zechariah's wife and only after that is the article used with her name: ἡ Ἐλισάβετ in verse 7.
Now, you might notice in this section that there is surely far more going on than merely that simple rule: the article is used with participants who have already been introduced in a discourse. There are numerous places where Zechariah's name appears after he's been introduced where he has no article:
vs 12: καὶ ἐταράχθη Ζαχαρίας
vs 13: μὴ φοβοῦ, Ζαχαρία
vs 18: καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας
πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον
In verse13, this is cased by the use of the vocative, where there is no form of vocative article, but these other two demonstrate an important principle. The appearance of the article is not the only manner of expressing definiteness. Word order also does. If a participant is already known and identifiable in a stretch of text but is not particularly prominent or contrastive with another participant, placing after the verb is a perfectly adequate way to showing that he (or she) is definite. This is one of the major ways languages that do not have definite articles (e.g. Latin & Russian
). And we see this with Ζαχαρίας in both verse 12 and verse 18. In both cases, Luke could have just as easily replaced the proper name with "he" without causing much confusion to the reader or simply chosen to not use an explicit subject all.
There is, of course, far more that could be said. Things are more complicated when you're dealing with why the article doesn't
occur with participants who have already been introduced and to explain the principles that drive that would take a massive amount of time and space than I have here.
At the very least, I can rather confidently promise that when you find a name that does
has the article with it, that particular participant has already been introduced earlier in the text (or that particular name refers to a person that is so incredible well-known to the writer's audience that he or she has absolutely no need of introduction).