Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

A forum to read through Galatians together, commenting on anything significant, contributing materials that would be helpful for a grammatical guide to the book.
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cwconrad
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Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by cwconrad » October 14th, 2013, 8:28 am

Moderator's Note: I am splitting this off from discussion of Galatians 1:1-5, because it is really a discussion of how we should go about reading a text together like this in the first place. I am also asking participants to (1) discuss openly here, where possible, rather than sending me private notes on the question, I am only one person, and (2) be careful to be respectful, laying out what you would prefer and why, instead of attacking others. If your approach is good, argue for it on its merits.

Stephen Carlson wrote:Continuing the top-down approach, after segmenting the text, looking at how the segments function in terms of discourse, and looking at the focus structure within each segment, it is now good to look in more detail at the verbs.
Jonathan has done the parsings:
Jonathan Robie wrote:
  • ἐγειρ-αντος (ἐγείρω, raise) - Participle, Singular aorist active: genitive (m)
  • δ-όντος (δίδωμι, give) - Participle, Singular aorist active: genitive (m)
  • ἐξέληται = ἐκ:ἑλ-ηται (ἐξαιρέω, take away from) - 3rd person singular; aorist subjunctive; mediopassive
  • ἐν:ἑστ-ῶτος (ἐνίστημι, here: be present in) - Participle, Singular perfect active: genitive (m)
Unfortunately, there is no indicative in sight in Gal 1:1-5, so tense is out, but we can still look at aspect and mood.
Gal 1:1f wrote:τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν who raised him from the dead
Aorist active participle of ἐγείρω (ἐγείρειν, ἐγεῖραι. The Aktionsart (lexical aspect, actionality, situation type, what have you) of the predication is an achievement (a change of state) and the aorist stem indicates that the aspect is perfective, meaning that it is viewed as complete.

Though the participle does not indicate time per se, a complete action is generally in the past, as is the case here.

The voice is "active" and the diathesis is transitive. One participant (God the Father) caused a change of state (becoming raised) in another participant (Jesus Christ). Like most transitives, there is a strong distinction between subject and object, as agent and patient respectively.
Gal 1:4a wrote:τοῦ δόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν who gave himself for our sins
Aorist participle of δίδωμι (δίδοναι, δοῦναι). As before, we have an achievement, and the perfective aspect of the aorist stem indicates that it is viewed as complete.

Though the voice is "active", the reflexive pronoun ἑαυτόν means that the diathesis is a direct reflexive: one participant is both the agent and the patient. Although the middle is often viewed as a reflexive voice, it is important to keep in mind that the prototypical sense of the reflexive is not really handled by the middle but by the reflexive pronoun used with an active verb. The middle is used with indirect reflexives (e.g., autobenefactives, where the subject is conceived to benefit from the action) or weak reflexives (e.g., submissives, where the subject is viewed as letting, rather than causing, the action to happen to itself).
Gal 1:4b wrote:ὅπως ἐξέληται ἡμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος πονηροῦ in order that he rescue us from the present evil age
Aorist subjunctive of *ἐξαίρέω (ἐξαιρεῖσθαι, ἐξελέσθαι). Another achievement viewed as complete, but the subjunctive with ὅπως indicates that the action is viewed as complete in a kind of future, posterior to Jesus Christ's giving himself in the preview clause.

Here, the voice is middle, and the aorist middle naturally fits an autobenefactive sense (take away for oneself), but often these undergo a lexical specialization, so always necessary to keep looking up these middles in the lexicon until one becomes accustomed to its sense. Here, it means rescue. (This is why I buck the tide and prefer to lemmatize the active and middle separately in such cases.)

We also have ἐνεστῶτος as a perfect participle of ἐνίστημι. This old perfect has a stative sense, present. In fact, ἐνεστῶτος is the Greek grammatical term for the present.
I have no quarrel with any of this detailed analysis, but I can't refrain from asking the question, Cui bono? Seems to me that anyone who understands all these terminological distinctions wouldn't need the analysis and that one who does not understand them won't be helped by them toward understanding the text any better. That is the standard objection raised against the grammar/translation pedagogy. On the other hand, this thorough parsing analysis of each form, if applied to a database of all GNT words, might be immensely useful for search and comparison of the whole database (provided there's a consensus on all the terminology in use, of course).

One question: The term "diathesis" here seems to be used not for "voice" but for transitivity/intransitivity. I haven't seen the term used that way, but then, I don't know the literature; has this usage of the term become standard, and if so, where?
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 (Parsing)

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 14th, 2013, 8:47 am

cwconrad wrote:I have no quarrel with any of this detailed analysis, but I can't refrain from asking the question, Cui bono? Seems to me that anyone who understands all these terminological distinctions wouldn't need the analysis and that one who does not understand them won't be helped by them toward understanding the text any better. That is the standard objection raised against the grammar/translation pedagogy. On the other hand, this thorough parsing analysis of each form, if applied to a database of all GNT words, might be immensely useful for search and comparison of the whole database (provided there's a consensus on all the terminology in use, of course).
Well, Jonathan wanted to create a syntactic analysis as we go through the text, with any interesting comments on grammatical features that appear. I wanted to support him on this and I was hoping it could be a point of departure for discussions on matters that may come up, but if no one cares about this, then maybe it's not worth it. We're all volunteers here.
cwconrad wrote:One question: The term "diathesis" here seems to be used not for "voice" but for transitivity/intransitivity. I haven't seen the term used that way, but then, I don't know the literature; has this usage of the term become standard, and if so, where?
As is typical, some researchers make it synonymous with voice; others make it more conceptual than the morphological category, in that voice grammaticalizes various kinds of diathesis, just as aspect grammaticalizes various kinds of action (Aktionsart).
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cwconrad
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Galatians 1:1-5

Post by cwconrad » October 14th, 2013, 2:21 pm

cwconrad wrote:I have no quarrel with any of this detailed analysis, but I can't refrain from asking the question, Cui bono? Seems to me that anyone who understands all these terminological distinctions wouldn't need the analysis and that one who does not understand them won't be helped by them toward understanding the text any better. That is the standard objection raised against the grammar/translation pedagogy. On the other hand, this thorough parsing analysis of each form, if applied to a database of all GNT words, might be immensely useful for search and comparison of the whole database (provided there's a consensus on all the terminology in use, of course).
I fear that my interjection of this comment on the parsing of the verb forms in Gal 1:1-5 may be misunderstood. Perhaps I should clarify my comment and state clearly that what I wrote expresses my own personal pedagogical stance toward analytic aids supplied to a reader of a Biblical Greek text or, for that matter, of any ancient Greek text. I’ve also questioned the extensive fine-tuning of the morphological analysis, just as I have on other occasions questioned the hair-splitting subdivision of genitive-case usages set forth in Wallace’s GGBB. I believe in the old rule that says we shouldn’t multiply entities beyond what we need.

I have, I think, consistently expressed my view that such analytic aids (interlinear texts, parsing guides, and the kind of “instant details” provided in Biblical software to be viewed by mousing over a noun or verb form in an electronic text) are more likely to hinder than to promote the sort of instant recognition and interpretation of morphological variants when reading continuous Greek texts. Others, I am well aware, disagree with me on this matter and have claimed that such analytic aids have helped them in a transition from being relatively helpless beginners to being competent readers who will readily consult lexica and grammars where difficulties arise in reading, but who no longer need to parse each verb, noun, pronoun or adjective and then figure out how, a genitive plural of λόγος fits syntactically into the sequence of words preceding and following it. If there are students who can make use of these aids in the course of learning to read Greek and then leave them behind, more power to them!

I noted that this sort of parsing aid is commonly associated with the grammar/translation pedagogy. In the case of Biblical Greek, that pedagogy drills the student in morphology, vocabulary and standard rules of syntax and sets the task for beginning students as turning Biblical Greek texts into intelligible English phraseology. The Greek text is to be understood as a composite of identifiable forms that conform to identifiable rules such that the composite can be converted to a comparable composite in English or another target language. The whole concern here is the discernment of forms and patterns that can be converted into the appropriate forms and patterns in the target language. The concern is not to grasp the meaning of the Greek text in the sequence in which it was conceived by the Greek-speaker’s mind and voiced or penned by the Greek speaker, but to decode the Greek text and recode its content into an English text. My own thinking is that a student who is no longer a beginner should be able to read the text without having to analyze its morphology and without concern for producing a suitable English version; the objective is grasping the meaning of the text; if there are difficulties in the phrasing or unusual syntax or lexical choices, those are matters for discussion. I don’t think that the close reading undertaken in this forum is something to be undertaken by a beginner who hasn’t yet mastered the morphology and basic syntax ordinarily encountered in beginning and intermediate level classes.

That’s what I think. I’m not claiming to speak for anyone but myself. It seems to me that there’s a difference between a text prepared to help a beginner work through simple texts and a commentary that delves into questions arising in the minds of those who have a mature competence at reading Greek.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 (Parsing)

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 14th, 2013, 3:56 pm

cwconrad wrote:That’s what I think. I’m not claiming to speak for anyone but myself. It seems to me that there’s a difference between a text prepared to help a beginner work through simple texts and a commentary that delves into questions arising in the minds of those who have a mature competence at reading Greek.
Thanks for your thoughts. It is consistent with what you've been saying more than twenty years. I don't disagree with any of this, but I am bit surprised here about the emphasis on the beginner. Sure, much of this material is inappropriate for beginners, but this forum has a place for beginners and this topic isn't in it.

As for more mature readers, well, we all come from different places and we have different things that strike us about the text. What interests me may not interest you, and vice versa. For my own work on Galatians, I spent weeks trying to discern the difference, if any, was between between καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ εὐαγγελίζηται ὑμῖν παρ’ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν and καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ὑμῖν εὐαγγελίζηται παρ’ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν in Gal 1:8, and none of the standard reference had any guidance whatsoever.

Frankly, Gal 1:1-5 doesn't have much that's particularly challenging to more mature readers, and I realize what can be said about it is likely to come off as banal. Sorry about that. But I wanted to share the kind of things I look for when I'm studying a text rather than merely reading it. Stan Porter has this phrase "lexis in context," and I've long found it frustrating because it does not articulate what about the lexis and what about the context one should be looking for. I never liked it when someone would say, "context dictates this interpretation," without being about to point out what in the context leads that interpretation and why.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 14th, 2013, 4:12 pm

A couple of observations.

People seem to have a variety of ways to approach the text, they have come to these ways via quite a bit of study, and there is no One True Method here on B-Greek. I suspect we've been pretty good at discussing really small units of text because our various approaches generally allow us to do that quite well.

Stephen's approach to segmenting the text is probably different from most of what the rest of us are doing, but we all segment the text somehow. When I asked him for details on how he does his segmentation, he had an answer that came with lots of jargon, I'm not yet convinced that the method is precise enough and comprehensive enough to justify the conceptual overhead, but I haven't tried this approach myself yet. Stephen has been doing discourse analysis based on this, and his approach is something I want to see. I am not yet sure that I would take the same approach, but that's why I want to see it in action.

I also hope other people will feel very free to approach the same text with a different approach, different approaches will yield different insights. This is not an edited work or a peer-reviewed journal, anyone can feel free to pick and choose insights from the posts that appeal to them.

I am frankly not sure what kinds of material is most useful for reading a text together like this, but I do think we find that out by trying different approaches.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » October 14th, 2013, 5:05 pm

I don't see how you can do close reading of a NT text and stay within the permanents of the b-greek focus. Of all the things one might address in a close reading, about 10% fall within the limits of what is permitted to be discussed here. So I guess in my view you are attempting the impossible.
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by Louis L Sorenson » October 14th, 2013, 7:37 pm

Does the phpBB software we use support nested threads? I think we need to implement that feature, if possible.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 14th, 2013, 8:23 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Does the phpBB software we use support nested threads? I think we need to implement that feature, if possible.
No, it does not.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by cwconrad » October 15th, 2013, 8:46 am

My experience of the in-print commentaries I've read is that they discuss the items that the commentator finds interesting, problematic, or somehow remarkable; sometimes and some of them I found much more useful than others, but quite often it seemed to me that they discussed at great length things that I didn't find problematic or particularly interesting. I think that different persons find different items problematic and probably also find different things especially interesting. I'll probably be bringing up items that I've found problematic in the Greek text, such as Gal 1:7 that I've already brought up. I would assume, however, that our focus here will still be fundamentally upon the Greek text of Galatians as a Greek text, and that we'll be raising questions that call for evidence within the Greek text as such.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Mark Lightman
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Re: Galatians 1:1-5 - how do we discuss this?

Post by Mark Lightman » November 12th, 2013, 12:01 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:how do we discuss this?
Ἑλληνιστί.

http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 12&t=60423
If your approach is good, argue for it on its merits.
W.H.D. Rouse wrote (p. 2) in defense of his Direct Method of learning a language:
It is also reinforced by psychology and common sense; for both these great philosophies agree that you arrive at your goal sooner if there are no impediments between; nor less by commerce, which shows us that the profit is greater if there are no middlemen.
http://www.vivariumnovum.it/edizioni/li ... method.pdf
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