Word Order: Mark 3.1

From: George Blaisdell (maqhth@hotmail.com)
Date: Thu May 13 1999 - 11:40:07 EDT

<x-flowed>Dear List-members ~

I did a little exercise with these 7 words that I hope might prove of value.
  It has to do with the sequencing of ideas as they appear in the sentence,
slowing them way down, so as to get the dramatic flavor and meaning of Greek
language thinking as it exemplifies here.


HN ~ 'Was' ~ Opens the thought sequence with a verb that already engenders
in the listener the question: 'Was what?' ~ 'What was?' [The tension is

EKEI ~ 'there' [in that place] ~ So something was 'there' ~ and the question
remains: 'What??' 'What was there??' [The tension builds.]

ANQRWPOS ~ Finally!! 'A man' was there. [The tension releases.]

So the sequence, unlike English, requires questioning on the part of its
hearer, an active participation in the thinking process. English relies on
sequence, saying 'A man was there'. Greek, saying the same thing, poses it
in a series of two implied questions, [EN and EKEI], answering them with the
third word. [ANQRWPOS]

Tnen comes EXHRAMMENHN ~ Just when you have figured out that a man was
there, you are told 'being withered'... Another question! WHAT being
withered?? And you are again actively engaged in the question of 'what?'
being withered. [The tension re-sets, now with a little more context]

So you get ECWN ~ 'Having'?? That's not 'what' is being withered!! That
obviously is ANQRWPOS having ~ not being withered ~ So at this point you
know that a man was there having something being withered, but you don't
know what it is yet, and you are by this point very ready to receive the
glad news: [The tension has escalated, including, as it now does, the
previous context of this very sentence.]

TON CEIRA ~ Which finally lets you know what it is that the man there is
having that is withered ~ The Hand'!!!

So it appears from this little straightforward and uncomplicated sentence,
one that would be said without a second thought by a Koine speaker, that the
sequencing of words engages the listener's active participation in the
thought process of the speaker in a way that English does not do, because
its word order builds in questions that are then answered, creating a
tension of unanswered questions until the end, when it finally all comes

I would further submit that every word that begs such a question is
emphasized precisely because of the question it engenders. The answers to
the questions are climatic, and thus have different emphasis, being
cathartic of the tension of the building sequence of unanswered questions
presented by the word order.

What better communicative mnemonics??

Our English is dull in comparison:

"A man was there who had a withered hand."

Yargghh!! :-)

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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