I think we need a course on how to read works by linguists. If you come to linguistics from a background of seminary courses on biblical languages, your approach, particularly your basic unexamined assumptions are going to set you up for misreading people like Levinsohn. I mention him because he talks about GA's and switched reference. You need to understand that Levinsohn doesn't approach language description like Mounce or Wallace. He has a fundamentally different method. So if try to apply something he says within a framework operating according to rules of Mounce—Wallace it will lead to absurd results. I detect this happening in these discussions. We have people who are not comprehending the incompatibility between radically different frameworks. You can't take an idea from one framework and walk into the other framework and critique that idea. It doesn't wash.
The criticism of GA as switched reference appears to me as a case in point. You simply haven't understood what Levinsohn is doing in general. His method.
I'm not sure your point in any way advances this discussion. It feels like a passive-aggressive slight against those you presume to be ignorant in some way without actually giving any details on what is driving your assumption. More detail would be far more useful.
You need to understand that Levinsohn doesn't approach language description like Mounce or Wallace. He has a fundamentally different method.
This of course goes both ways. Modern linguistic approaches do not have a monopoly on describing what is going on in Ancient Greek, even though they are a very welcome voice in the discussion. If Levinsohn wants to use the traditional grammar category "genitive absolute" that is buying into a grammatical program that he is manifestly not generally using. This term has meaning in traditional grammar. By using it, he is inviting discussion of his work in terms of that category. He is apparently trying to discuss a phenomenon that others have discussed in different terms and that requires discussion in understanding Greek. Well and good. It also invites his claimns that GA function differently than nominative circumstantial participle phrases to be considered in all instances where they occur, to test its usefulness at describing the language as a whole. Naturally, his work is not invalidated if counter-examples are found that he did not set out to explain. But, it may turn out that his work is not adequate for describing other authors or corpus' use of the GA construction.
...people like Levinsohn. I mention him because he talks about GA's and switched reference.
I have his work in mind, specifically, as I have read it (as well as virtually everything he has written on Greek--big fan, even though I find a variety of his points not entirely convincing especially because he restricts his corpus to just the NT). My point about it being an inadequate description for Koine Greek
is because, in the terms in which Levinsohn (and Healey and Healey) lay out their work, it seems to be inadequate, or at least it has a lot of seemingly obvious counter-evidence to deal with that has not been done, to the extent of my knowledge. I don't hold them responsible for that evidence, as they did not set out to explain it. Their work is NT focused, and, as Levinsohn explicitly argues, each author should be assessed on their own individual merits. However, this does leave open the possibility that other explanations for Koine Greek are valid and possibly better than a "switch reference" approach. It is obviously a useful approach, and I think it works like Levinsohn describes in the NT.
I very intentionally said that this description fails to account for the syntactic pattern traditionally called "genitive abosulte" in Koine Greek as a whole
. This is based on my own reading, as well as reading by others--both from within traditional and linguistic-informed paradigms--which find evidence of genitive participle constructions behaving, for all intents and purposes, like nominative participle phrases. Perhaps there is a deeper, unifying explanation for someone to find and clearly articulate. I'm welcome to see such a contribution.
Nathaniel J. Erickson
NT PhD candidate, ABD
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
ὅπου πλείων κόπος, πολὺ κέρδος
ΠΡΟΣ ΠΟΛΥΚΑΡΠΟΝ ΙΓΝΑΤΙΟΣ