Anaphoric reference (was: Re TON in 1 John 2:13)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat May 03 1997 - 07:38:52 EDT

At 4:45 PM -0500 5/2/97, lakr wrote:
>> At 7:21 AM -0500 4/30/97, Michael Williams wrote:
>> >The article TON appears in an isolated position in 1 John 2:13 and 2:14,
>> >both times in the phrase HOTI EGNWKATE TON AP' ARCHS. In 2:14, it appears
>> >that the antecedent to TON is PATERA. But I have not found the antecedent
>> >for TON in 2:13 that easy to identify.
>> There's no need to look for an antecedent; the usage in TON AP' ARCHS is
>> the very common and traditional one whereby an article with any adverbial
>> expression forms a substantive: hOI TOTE and hOI EN EKEINHi THi POLEI thus
>> mean, respectively, "the men/people of that time" and "the men/people in
>> that city." In the same manner here, hO AP' ARCHS means something like "the
>> aboriginal one." One could suppose it to refer either to God or to the
>> LOGOS, Christ, particularly since it is a Johannine theme to associate the
>> LOGOS with "the beginning," both in the prologue of the gospel and in the
>> proem of the First Letter.
>> Carl W. Conrad
>I have been working on machine translation of Koine Greek and one
>of the things I am looking at is anaphoric references. Does anyone
>know off-hand if the reference is generally the most recent reference
>which matches number and gender ? This set of verses looks like a good
>test case when I have code to test. I hope I am correct in that this
>example is an anaphoric reference, or I will really be embarrassed :)

"Know offhand?" Or do you mean, "have a hunch?" The latter is more often
the case with me. I do think your assumption above is normally right, but
it is the kind of issue that raises doubts in me about machine translation:
I question whether the machine can handle a *constructio ad sensum* where
one must understand the context before one can determine how the words are
to be construed. With respect to anaphoric reference, the nightmare case is
Aristotle, who so frequently uses a neuter pronoun in a relative clause and
the reader sometimes has a devil of a time figuring out the antecedent from
two or more possibilities. But it certainly is easier if there's an
agreement of number and gender.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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