Re: GAR in Phil. 1:8

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Oct 12 1999 - 07:03:43 EDT

At 8:31 PM -0700 10/11/99, Edgar Foster wrote:
>I know that a series of questions on Phil. 1 have been
>posed of late, but I can't say that I remember every
>query put forth. Therefore, if I am being pleonastic,
>just let me know; but I have a question about the
>function of GAR in Phil. 1:8. Would you consider it a
>paratactic connector or a hypotactic subordinator?


Well, for my part, I don't think I'd ever quite call GAR a paratactic
connector, even if it appears in the opening sentence of what we would
punctuate as a new paragraph or in stichomythia in tragedy or comedy: it
ALWAYS indicates that what is stated in its clause is somehow explanatory
of what immediately preceded it. In dramatic stichomythia one often sees it
in a response to a previous speaker's question, in which context it tends
to mean: "Yes, and the reason for that is ..." I tend to urge students not
to use "for" as the English equivalent of first resort but rather to try,
"That's because ..." and then go on to put it into what works best in the
context in question.

In Phil 1:8 I would understand this verse as Paul's explanation of the
sequence of remarks he has been making in this "Thanksgiving" part of his
formulaic opening of the letter; vss 3-6 follow Paul's epistolary
conventions fairly readily (something like: "I thank God for you and call
you to mind every time I pray, because of the things we share, and this is
what hope I pray for ..."

Now I notice that NA27 indicates a new start at vs. 8 (upper-case K starts
the sentence), while UBS4 does not. In this I think UBS4 is preferable, for
as I see it, Paul in 1:7 is beginning his explanation of his more intense
sense of intimacy with the Philippian congregation: they are, as he sees
it, essentially his co-prisoners for the sake of the gospel. Then in 1:8 he
punctuates that previous statement with an oath: "After all, God KNOWS how
strong are my intimate feelings for you!" Here I'm using "after all" as my
equivalent for GAR.

Perhaps I don't quite understand what you mean by a paratactic function of
GAR. It may very well be that I have a different feeling for ordinary Greek
style than the model you're using implies. My own sense is that the vast
array of particles the Greek thinker/speaker/writer has at his/her command
and that seem often untranslatable to us play a role in structuring speech
in larger units. We really have to see the larger paragraph as the basic
unit of Greek discourse rather than the individual sentence that we so
readily punctuate with a period. I submit that most "periods" used for
punctuation in our Greek texts are of questionable validity or utility, the
reason being (GAR!) that what follows in the ensuing "sentence" is more
often than not a continuation of the same flow of thought and discourse and
NOT, in any significant sense, the start of a new thought. What this means
is that one very important aspect of learning to read Greek and think Greek
after the Greeks is acquiring a feel for the way that Greek speakers
structured their units of thought. If we think first and foremost, when we
are reading Greek, of how this thought is conveyed into an English
structure, we may miss several of the aspects of the unity of the larger
Greek thought structure. We really have to read and understand the Greek
first, and only after we have done that can we properly turn to determining
how best to convey the content of that thought structure into our very
different structures in our target language.

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

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