minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

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Stirling Bartholomew
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minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 1st, 2018, 1:32 pm

Looking for a minimalist explanation of μὲν οὖν in the following passage from John of Damascus. Far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter what framework is employed to explain how μὲν οὖν is used here. The objective is an exclamation which reduces obfuscation. In other words, an answer which could be used in a seminary level course on Koine grammar.

Ἀγαρηνοὶ καὶ Ἰσμαηλῖται προσαγορεύονται. Σαρακηνοὺς δὲ αὐτοὺς καλοῦσιν ὡς ἐκ τῆς Σάρρας κενοὺς διὰ τὸ εἰρῆσθαι ὑπὸ τῆς Ἄγαρ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ· Σάρρα κενήν με ἀπέλυσεν.

[99] Οὗτοι μὲν οὖν εἰδωλολατρήσαντες καὶ προσκυνήσαντες τῷ ἑωσφόρῳ ἄστρῳ καὶ τῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ, ἣν δὴ καὶ Χαβὰρ τῇ ἑαυτῶν ἐπωνόμασαν γλώσσῃ, ὅπερ σημαίνει μεγάλη.

[100] Ἕως μὲν οὖν τῶν Ἡρακλείου χρόνων προφανῶς εἰδωλολάτρουν, ἀφ' οὗ χρόνου καὶ δεῦρο ψευδοπροφήτης αὐτοῖς ἀνεφύη Μάμεδ ἐπονομαζό- μενος, ὃς τῇ τε παλαιᾷ καὶ νέᾳ διαθήκῃ περιτυχών, ὁμοίως ἀρειανῷ προσομιλήσας δῆθεν μοναχῷ
There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner ofAntichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’

[99] These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great.

[100] And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk,
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 1st, 2018, 8:44 pm

This perhaps fits:

2. μὲν οὖν is freq. used with a corresponding δέ, so that each Particle retains its force, Od.4.780, Pi.O.1.111, S.OT244, 843, Ph.359, D.2.5, etc.: but freq. also abs., so then...

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (p. 1102). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

But particles can be highly idiosyncratic in use with certain authors, particularly the farther one moves from the classical period. I think here it might simply be used to strengthen the affirmations, but something we might do in English not with any word or group of words, but with phrasing in writing or tone of voice in speech.
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Tony Pope
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Tony Pope » August 2nd, 2018, 4:30 am

I wonder if any of these may help for the use without answering δέ (two 19th c. grammars and then a recent discussion from Harvard):

Jelf §730 b, about 2/3 of the way down the paragraph.
https://archive.org/stream/grammarofgre ... t#page/430

Winer-Moulton, 566. See part (2) of Moulton's footnote 1.
https://archive.org/stream/atreatiseong ... 9/mode/2up

Μὲν οὖν in Thucydides (scroll down to 3.11.5):
https://chs.harvard.edu/CHS/article/display/6217
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 2nd, 2018, 3:24 pm

Tony,

I looked at these works. The Harvard site was what prompted me to phrase the question the way I did. I couldn't navigate directly to a discussion of μὲν οὖν since their index isn't hyperlinked. What I did find was worded in a manner that made it hard to understand. Apparently the classical philologists have been dabbling in linguistics and they use the terminology in an idiosyncratic manner which makes them impossible to understand. Even A. T. Robertson seems relatively lucid by comparison. It takes decades to learn how to read A. T. Robertson. I don't have decades to learn how to read this Harvard Particles website.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 1st, 2018, 8:44 pm
But particles can be highly idiosyncratic in use with certain authors, particularly the farther one moves from the classical period. I think here it might simply be used to strengthen the affirmations, but something we might do in English not with any word or group of words, but with phrasing in writing or tone of voice in speech.
This is precisely the reason I raised the question. The grammars seem to use a lot negative statements about μὲν οὖν when it isn't followed by δέ. It isn't this it isn't that, but what is it? The first question to get out of the way: Is μὲν οὖν a constituent? Or is it two independent constituents? Looking at the statistics of μὲν οὖν with and without δέ in John of Damascus suggests that ὲν οὖν is an item[1].

[1] an archaic idiom borrowed from LA speak of thirty years ago.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 3rd, 2018, 11:55 am

Smyth puts this concisely:
§2901. μὲν οὖν lit. certainly in fact, μέν being a weaker form of μήν. μὲν οὖν has two common uses, according as the particles have a compound force, or each has its own force.
However, roughly a millennium separates the literature Smyth is targeting and John of Damascus who uses μὲν οὖν frequently[1] and half the time with no corresponding δὲ.


[1] A rough count in the works considered authentic is 250, if you include the works tagged dubious and spurious the count is about 350. Both show roughly 50% with and without corresponding δὲ. These numbers have not been verified by careful observation of each instance but they serve to indicate that the author habitually used these expressions.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 4th, 2018, 11:38 am

A treatment from the discourse (functional) perspective:
The particle μέν (so called “repetitive”) and its combinations μὲν δή and μὲν οὖν are used
in order to summarize and thus close a previous topic before a new one begins.
PARTICLES AND DISCOURSE COHESION IN ANCIENT GREEK
Antonio R. Revuelta Puigdollers, p. 11.

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to describe (part of) the use of Ancient Greek particles as topicalizing devices that contribute to discourse cohesion.

http://www.academia.edu/2018663/_2009_P ... ient_Greek
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 5th, 2018, 3:18 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 2nd, 2018, 3:24 pm
Is μὲν οὖν a constituent?
You'll sometimes see the spelling μενοῦν, which suggests that it can be. There's even one in Luke 11:28.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: minimalist explanation μὲν οὖν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 5th, 2018, 7:27 am

μενοῦν (also μὲν οὖν) Lk 11:28 (for negative s. οὐ μὲν οὖν) and μενοῦνγε (also μενοῦν γε), particles used esp. in answers, to emphasize or correct (B-D-F §450, 4; Rob. 1151f), even—contrary to earlier Gk. usage—at the beginning of a clause (Phryn. 342 Lob. [322 R.]) rather, on the contrary (Soph., Aj. 1363; Pla., Crito 44b; X., Cyr. 8, 3, 37) Lk 11:28 v.l. Indeed Ro 10:18. ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε more than that Phil 3:8. μενοῦνγε σὺ τίς εἶ … ; on the contrary, who are you … ? (or, who in the world are you to [take issue with God]?) Ro 9:20.—M-M.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 630). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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