[b-greek] Re: BLEPW & hORAW MK 8:23-24

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Tue Jun 20 2000 - 15:22:49 EDT

on 06/20/00 6:03 AM, Mike Sangrey wrote:

> Take a 20 word Greek sentence with the verb at
> the end. IMCO (In My Current Opinion), it is the START of a mistake to
> take that whole sentence, put it on the dining room table and construct
> the relations from the whole. The mistake is made then when one builds
> the meaning of the sentence from the diagram working from the verb out.
> The author did not do it that way; the reader shouldn't either.


Yes, I see what you are driving at. I have been reading another book by
Simon Dik* and it has been making me think long and hard about how analysis
should be performed on TEXTS.

Simon Dik suggests that we should shun transformations. This statement has a
number of implications. I will only explore one of them.

We should not think of a predication found in a TEXT (or utterance) as a
realization of some underlying proposition in Subject-> Verb-> Object form.
The so called "surface structure" of a predication is in fact the object of
our analysis and should remain the object of our analysis. The word order of
a predication has a lot to do with pragmatic functions and if we mess with
the word order to reduce a predication to a proposition in SVO form then we
have lost this pragmatic information.

This observation has implications for syntax diagramming and sentence flow
analysis as taught in standard text books on NT Greek exegesis like Gordon
Fee's. I will not explore the implications any further at this time since I
am still mulling it over.

To see how all of this applies to the analysis of biblical Greek one need
only get a copy of: Stephen Levinsohn's Discourse Features of New Testament
Greek, 2nd Ed. SIL 2000. Levinshon explores this subject in some detail.
Everyone who is doing intermediate or advanced study of NT Greek needs to
have a copy of this book. No exceptions.



Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*Dik, Simon. The Theory of Functional Grammar (Part 1), Mouton de Gruyter

**a long post script****

BTW, several years ago a number of people asked me to provide them with an
outline of a "language model" which I refused to do. Simon Dik has done
this. His books are expensive (borrow do not buy!) and they are written for
linguists but they do present a language model in some detail. Not the only
language model, but one of the options. I find that with a lot of hard work
I can understand Simon Dik's model, at least the basic outline of it. I find
his model "useful" and that is all I expect of any language model. Language
models are just a means of helping us put a structure around our work.

Most of my loud complaints about the existing textbooks on NT Greek grammar
have to do with the inadequacy of the underlying model. When people ask me
to point out individual errors in one of these books they are missing the
point. The problem isn't in errors of detail, the problem is in the paradigm
(an abused word). NT Greek text books published in the1990's should not be
using a paradigm from the 1890's. Most of them are.

If someone like Randal Buth would just set aside 10 years and write a
reference grammar using a currently viable language model then we could all
give a sigh of relief and just tell people to buy Randall's book. The
argument against this I keep hearing is that these language models go in and
out of style too quickly to get something into print. If we took this
attitude about cars we would still be driving ox carts. The very existence
of Stephen Levinsohn's "Discourse Features of New Testament Greek" is a
repudiation of this argument. This book is now in its second edition after
eight years and it will probably still be used for at least another decade
with perhaps a third edition.


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