Re: Literarkritik vs. Sprachkritik?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Sep 12 1997 - 10:49:02 EDT

At 7:36 AM -0500 9/12/97, Rod Decker wrote:
>In the context of Greek grammar, what is the difference between
>*Literarkritik* and *Sprachkritik*? I understand literary criticism, but
>what about Sprachkritik? Is that just grammar? Or is there some other
>methodological emphasis intended? (The problem may simply be my very
>limited familiarity with German literature/vocabulary.)
>The reference that seems to contrast them reads as follows:
>"Die Literarkritik wird begrenzt und das Vorstellungsmodell des Redaktors
>verŠndert. Die Methodenlehre wird durch die Sprachkritik erweitert und
>durch die Form- und Gattungskritik prŠzisiert."
>(This is from a big fat German vol that I've been picking away at: Peter
>Dschulnigg, *Sprache, Redaktion und Intention des Markus-Evangeliums
>Eigentuemlichkeiten der Sprache des Markus-Evangeliums und ihre Bedeutung
>fuer die Redaktionskritik.* Stuttgarter Biblische Beitraege, vol. 11.
>Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1984.)

You'd better get some other opinions, Rod--which is why I'm respoding
on-list. Judging from the title of the book, it looks like it is very much
concerned with the way Mark's use of language bears upon redaction-critical
questions. So it really isn't strictly a matter of "Greek grammar," but of
how the language is being used. I don't know whether "Sprachkritik" conveys
the sense of English "Discourse Analysis," but it surely does seem to me
that G "Sprache" and English "discourse" overlap considerably in meaning,
even if they don't cover quite identical semantic territory. It is
certainly the case, however, that judgments about "Mark"'s Greek usage are
inescapably bound up with questions of exactly what elements of Greek usage
in Mark's gospel derive from oral or literary sources that he has used and
which are really his own composition. This has always seemed to me to be
very much like an uncomfortable juggling act whereby one stands on one foot
while trying to probe with the other for a place in the air to put the foot
one is standing on. What kind of Greek did "Mark" write--and what kind did
he take from sources? How do you distinguish what he wrote from what he got
from his sources?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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