Re: Mk 3:1 (To Dale )

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2000 - 07:05:01 EST

At 9:23 AM -0600 3/12/00, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>On 03/12/00, ""Carl W. Conrad" <>" wrote:
>> At 7:28 AM -0600 3/12/00, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>> >Carl,
>> >
>> >In this case, do you consider the participial clause
>> >EXHRAMMENHN EXWN THN XEIRA to be in attribute position
>> >with respect to the preceding word ANQRWPOS?
>> >
>> >The translation "a man with one hand that was withered" suggests that.
>> No, I'd consider it predicative, but I don't think that all the grammatical
>> distinctions to be made in the Greek text carry over into English
>> translation (as I said, I wouldn't quibble with the translation "a man with
>> a withered hand" for the reason that it adequately conveys in ordinary
>> English what the Greek says. If I were really being nit-picky, I'd say "a
>> man who had one hand that was withered"--I do think both participial
>> phrases are adjectival--but ordinary English doesn't commonly make that
>> sort of distinction.
>Let me characterize first the distinction between attribution and
>I remember example sentences I learned from the textbook:
>(a) He has a friend who (or that) is very kind.
>(b) He has a friend, who is very kind.
>In (a) the relative clause is used to define or qualify a friend of his.
>In (b), the speaker has already in mind a particular friend, and describes
>him to be very kind. So, the relative clause in (a) is attributive, while
>the relative clause in (b) is predicative.
>So, the question on Mark 3:1 comes down to whether (1) or (2) is a
>correct understanding:
>(1) There was a man there, who had one hand, which was withered.
>(2) There was a man there who had one hand, which was withered.
>(I excluded "..... a hand that was withered" because
>the hand is referred by "THN XEIRA", and is already in focus
>rather than being defined by "withered")
>You think that (1) is the right understanding. It means the speaker
>has a particular person in mind at the point when "there was a man
>there" is uttered, and the speaker continues to describe him with
>additional predication. It seems fine. But the speaker may have uttered
>"a person with his hand" in one breath. In this case, the clause
>EXWN THN CEIRA (with his hand) can be thought of as attributive.
>I wonder why you think this clause is predicative.

Dale Wheeler, to whom this thread is "putatively" (whether that means
'attributively' or 'predicatively' I leave to others to divine--wonderful
word that, "divine"), has not yet tuned in or chimed in; I'm anxious to
hear what he has to say. For my part, I have a gut feeling which I don't
trust very much at this point but that I also cannot quite shake, and that
is that the distinction you're trying to postulate here, Moon, is one that
describes English usage rather than Greek usage. I may very well be wrong,
but I think the distinction between (a) and (b) above is the distinction
between "limiting" and "non-limiting" or "restrictive" and
"non-restrictive" relative clauses. I rather think that (b) would get
expressed in "ordinary" Greek more or less as FILTATOS ESTIN EKEINWi hO
hETAIROS--and that FILTATOS would still be predicative if the word-order
were altered to ESTIN EKEINWi hO hETAIROS FILTATOS. I think however that
(a) would be expressed by ESTIN EKEINWi hO FILTATOS hETAIROS or by ESTIN

CEIRA, yes, I think the word-order and the anarthrous state of both
ANQRWPOS and EXHRAMMENHN points to (1) above as the MORE PRECISE rendering
of the Greek. BUT what I would hasten to add here is that, although I think
there is a nuance of difference between (1) and (2), I think that this
difference becomes negligible in English because it's making a distinction
that is really not significant to English speakers, and for that reason I
would have no quarrel with a version of Mark 3:1 reading "And there was a
fellow there with a withered hand"--becayse U think that's the more
'natural' way to express in (American) English the substance of what the
Greek is saying.

Perhaps the Discourse Analysis people might offer advice on this; I confess
that my English grammar and my Greek grammar are both rather dated and that
Discourse Analysis is to me as yet a "foreign language." I definitely feel,
however, that Mark's phrasing isolates the phrase EXHRAMMENHN ECWN THN
CEIRA and focuses sharp attention upon the fellow thus characterized and
still sharper attention on the state of his hand. It's not just that he has
a hand (he probably has two, in fact); rather it's that the one had to
which special attention is called is grotesquely unhealthy. That this
fellow stands out and that his hand stands out is highlighted in this
sentence as a challenge both to Jesus and to those who have peculiar
notions about what is permissible on the Sabbath day. Notice the difference
between the word order in 3:1 and what we're given two verses later:
MESON.' Here both the participle ECONTI and the adjective XHRAN are in
attributive position, the reason being, I think, that these distinctive
features highlighted in 3:1 are now part of the defining formula of what we
might now call in English "that withered-hand-guy." But in English, we'd
normally formulate that sentence, "and he says to the fellow with the
withered hand ..."

I still think this is a difference between ordinary (American) English
usage and Greek usage, and that we ought not to attempt to describe the
Greek usage in terms that are only applicable to English usage.

Hey, Dale, are you there?


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 WWW:

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