[b-greek] Re: Great Divide

From: Brian Swedburg (brian@discoveryhills.org)
Date: Tue Sep 19 2000 - 18:15:43 EDT

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Greetings Clayton and the list,
<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Am I correct in recognizing this as a hermeneutical
proposition? Regarding
<br>specifically, the use of the Greek language, the challenge seems best
met when
<br>the reader/interpreter can discern whether FLFA or SPA features most
<br>objectively allow them to grasp the author's intended meaning.
<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Even as a little Greeker, I have found times when
paragraph level taxis
<br>structure or spans (SPA), or grasping the intended semantic of a noun
<br>aspect of a verb (FLFA)&nbsp; are very objectively definable, and I
have found times
<br>that demand a certain subjective choice be exercised. The trick seems
to be to
<br>painstakingly do both SPA and FLFA.
<br>Brian Swedburg
<p><i>clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; The recent discussion of Gal. 4:14 has reminded me once
again that there is</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; a Great Divide among language aficionados which is constantly
surfacing on</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; this list.</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; The Great Divide might be characterized as a separation
between those who</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; give priority to formal language features and those
who give priority to</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; semantic structure. By priority I mean, the place where
do you start your</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; investigation of a text. If you work from the bottom&nbsp;
up (phonology -</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; morphology - phrase and clause syntax) you are a formal
language feature</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; aficionado (FLFA). If you start out by looking at the
high-level semantic</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; structure you are a semantic priority aficionado (SPA).</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; A semantic priority aficionado (SPA) assumes that an
author of a text</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; starts</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; with some semanitc goal and realizes this goal selecting
from a vast pool of</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; available formal language elements. For this reason
the SPA will begin the</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; investigation of a text with the analysis of the medium
and high level</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; semantic structure and will perhaps at some point wander
down to take a</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; very</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; close look at how the semantic goal of the author was
realized in the low</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; level formal language features.</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; The formal language feature aficionado (FLFA) starts
out at the bottom and</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; attempts to work up through the layers to the semantic
level of the text.</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; However, the FLFA often never arrives at his destination
because the</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; analysis of the low-level language features becomes
such a preoccupation</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; that it becomes an endless quest in and of itself.
The FLFA may not even</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; know how to proceed upward beyond the clause level
syntax. The semantic</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; structure above the clause level is a relatively unexplored
region for many</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; FLFAs.</i><i></i>
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; It would be a grievous error to consider the methods
of the FLFA and SPA</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; as</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; just two different ways of doing the same thing. This
is not the case. The</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; SPA and FLFA are actually removed by vastly different
sets of</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; presuppositions (Great Divide) about the nature of
<p><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the side affects of learning an ancient language
is that the student</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; spends a great deal of time struggling with formal
language features. For</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; this reason alone most NT Greek students become by
default hard core and</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; incurable FLFA's. They spend so many hundreds of hours
mastering a</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; reasonable subset of the language that they become
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; preoccupied</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; with formal language features for the rest of their
life. This is all</i>
<br><i>&nbsp;&nbsp; exacerbated by pedagogy which promotes micro level
analysis over reading.</i>
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