Re: Greek Word Order

From: Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (
Date: Wed Jan 29 1997 - 12:08:37 EST

Dear BG-list members:

May I add, besides the bibliography already suggested, the following: A.
Niccacci, "Marked Syntactical Structures in Biblical Greek in Comparison
with Biblical Hebrew", _Liber Annuus_ (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum,
Jerualem) 43 (1993) 9-69.

Outline of the paper:
1. The compound nominal clause in Hebrew; 2. Corresponding structures in
Greek; 3. On subject and predicate; 4. Word order in Greek; 5. A
preliminary note on stress; 6. Non-verbal stressed elements becoming the
predicate; 7. Non-verbal elements in the first place, not stressed; 8. Two
main slots in the sentence; 9. Conclusion.

Abstract of the paper:
Biblical Greek is investigated with the same criteria used by the author
for the syntax of biblical Hebrew. Greek marked structures are analysed
having a non-verbal element in the first place of the sentence. As in
Hebrew, the non-verbal element is promoted to the role of the predicate
because it contains the new information and is stressed. This kind of
sentence corresponds to what is called the cleft sentence in English and
the "phrase coupˇe" in French. In three syntactical functions, however, the
initial non-verbal element is not stressed and is not the syntactical
predicate: the circumstantial clause, the antecedent construction and the
presentative sentence. These four types of marked structures (clefted,
circumstantial, antecedent, and presentative) contrast with the unmarked
structure, or normal independent sentence, having the verb in the first
place. This surprising agreement with the word order of biblical Hebrew
poses the problem of biblical Greek in its relationship to classical Greek.
Biblical Greek (the LXX and to a lesser extent the NT) is a translation
language as far as the syntax of the verb is concerned. 110 examples are
quoted, mostly from the LXX, together with their Hebrew original.

Alviero Niccacci

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