Word Order Signifigance: Mark 3.1

From: George Blaisdell (maqhth@hotmail.com)
Date: Sun May 16 1999 - 00:40:42 EDT


A fun thing about a literal rending of this sentence is that it sounds like the beginning of a limmerick:

Was existing in that place a man
Being withered is having the hand

Any takers??? :-)

The first three words form a sub-unit of this sentence, because they could stand alone without the rest.

1} The first word announces something existing, and alerts us that whatever this existent might be, its existence is the main focus of this sentence. It is the beginning of the first sub-unit of thought of this sentence, as well as the first word of the whole sentence. It remains in focus throughout the entire sentence with every word it.

2} The second word, the middle of this sub-unit, connects the sentence to the sentence previous to it ~ Thus it locates this existent [to be disclosed] in its spatial relationship to the previously indicated 'place'. English often would place this word first in the sentence, establishing the chain of linkage of narration from tail to head, so to speak. Not the Greek here. The linkage is in the center of the 'head', and not at its beginning. It is mildly stressed by not anwsering the implied question of HN with an existent, or a DE, but with a 'where'...

3} The third word answers the question posed by HN, finishing the sub-unit's thought. The existent indicated by HN is a man. Its stress is the catharsis it provides by naming the existent announced by HN.

4} The fourth word has two positions ~ it is the beginning of the second half of the sentence, and as well is the middle of the sentence as a whole. And it is an adjectival participle, that does NOT modify ANQRWPOS, setting another [huge] question in the attentiveness of the listener, for he must assume that it is something, and has to wonder what it might be, since the context is only a man esisting in a place. It could be anything!

5} The fifth word gives the listener the next clue as to what is withered. [The first being that it has to do with the man 'there' in some way not indicated.] It tells the listener that whatever is 'being withered' is something that the man 'there' is 'having'. It is the middle word of the second half of the sentence, and like the middle word of the first half of the sentence, it does NOT answer the issue raised by 'being withered', and instead ADDS TO the tension of the whole sentence by NOT answering it. And by now, having given us all these 'lead ins', that would make a good comedy routine in English, the final term's road has been made straight! :-)

6-7] THN CEIRA ~ The hand ~ Emphasized greatly by its great cathartic service to the building tension of the narrative flow. I have wondered if the article is there because of this function ~ A kind of "And what do you think that might BE??? Hhmmm?? Why, my friend, it is THE HAND!!" [I gotta watch these stray thoughts! :-) ]

Contra-Carl, at least in this common little narrative sentence, the importance of the center can be seen in the following way:

1 ~ There is nothing unusual about there being a man in that place.

2 ~ Nor is there anything unusual about him having hands.

3 ~ What is unusual is that this hand of his is withered.

4 ~ And it is precisely this witheredness that is the point
    of this sentence, right there in the middle.

5 ~ And it is the witheredness of this hand that will
    be the focus of the sentence[s] that follow, thus
    lending support to the idea that Greek thought moves
    from center to center, with respect to its word order.

6 ~ The three 'center' words in this sentence all seem to
    confirm this approach, even the last ECWN, which links
    the man to the hand, and is found in the center of the
    second half of the sentence, just as ECEI, found in the
    center of the first half of the sentence. links up to
    what preceded IT...

7 ~ All three are stressed not by their 'position' only,
    but as well by the fact that none answer the natural
    questions forced by the sequence of the words themselves.

Now lemme hear some limmericks!! :-)


George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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