[b-greek] Re: 5 Case v. 8 Case

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 11:12:48 EDT

At 10:53 AM -0400 10/17/00, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 06:03 PM 10/16/00 -0400, Clay A. Kahler wrote:
>>A friend of mine is asking some questions that I can not answer. I spoke
>>of my preference of 8 case greek over 5 case. I mentioned that it allowed
>>room for misinterpretation, and that this might have resulted in some of
>>the liberalism that we have today.
>There are only 5 syntactic forms. The 8 case system requires interpretation
>of which function the syntactic form is serving.

Perhaps the wrong terminology here? I think we want to say 5 morphological
forms, and one might want to argue (I might, at any rate) that there are 8
syntactic functions being served by the five surviving morphological
case-forms in historical Greek of antiquity.

> Because of that, once you
>characterize one form more precisely according to the function you feel it
>takes, you have ruled out some interpretations. Sometimes this is
>clear-cut, at other times a form could easily be interpreted as having one
>of two different functions.
>I think it is generally best to start by understanding what the Greek forms
>might legitimately mean, and leave aside labels like "liberalism" or
>"fundamentalism" entirely. These labels tend to make us want to be open to
>seeing only certain meanings in the Greek text. If our purpose, in
>approaching the text, is to reconstruct what we already believe, there's no
>point in going to the trouble to learn Greek. Let's start by figuring out
>what the text seems to mean - and in some cases, there are several
>legitimate interpretations.

Right; those labels don't have anything to do with understanding the Greek
text nor, I think, with understanding Greek grammar. My impression is that
those who favor a "five-case" and those who favor an "eight-case"
conception of case usage both range across a pretty broad spectrum of
theological perspectives. But we don't want to talk about theological
perspectives at all on B-Greek.


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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