Discontinuous Constituents (Josephus)

From: Micheal Palmer (mwpalmer@earthlink.net)
Date: Tue Apr 01 1997 - 14:27:45 EST

I have a question about discontinuous constituents, a topic relevant to
*New Testament* Greek, though my example comes from Josephus.

It has been a long time since I did any serious reading of Josephus, but I
remember that some years ago I came to the conclusion that the text of the
Antiquities sometimes has very polished Greek, but at other places has
horrible mistakes (like the wrong case for a noun following a preposition)
which could only be written by someone with a poor command of the language.
So... when I found an example of a discontinuous constituent of a type
which I have never seen in the New Testament, I wondered if it was an
example of poor Greek or is acceptable outside the New Testament but just
doesn't happen to occur (for whatever reason) *in* the New Testament.

The text is Antiquities, XX. 1, and it reads as follows (with my emphasis
marked between **):

        After the death of King Agrippa, as I reported in the previous book...

Here the main verb of the subordinate clause (KAQWS...APHGGELKAMEN)
intervenes between the article THi and the noun BIBLIWi. When writing
_Levels of Constituent Structure_ I concluded that this never happens in
the New Testament. Clearly there *are* examples of discontinuous
constituents at many points in the New Testament, but I could find none
where a main verb was inserted in the middle of a Noun Phrase (though
clearly *participles* do appear within Noun Phrases).

Is Josephus just writing bad Greek, or is this same thing found in other
Hellenistic Greek authors outside the New Testament? Do any of you know of
clear examples in the New Testament?

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College


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