[b-greek] ambiguity [formerly scalars (was: 5 Case v. 8 Case)]

From: Mark Beatty (marksresearch@hawaii.rr.com)
Date: Fri Oct 20 2000 - 01:11:38 EDT

On October 19, 2000 Randall Buth wrote:

The genitive for example is a discrete formal category, yet often is
ambiguous or blurred as to semantic relationship. Denying that ambiguity
actually clouds the picture. It is important to recognize that an author
had an option of explicitly stating the full relationships clearly if that
fit one's purpose.

I would argue that the situation is much worse than this. I would argue
that all words and morphemes are ambiguous, (ambiguous meaning that they
have many meanings). The lists of Wallace and the many entries in BADG or
Kittle illustrate the many possible meanings of words and morphemes. When
you put these words and morphemes into phrases and sentences, however, the
ambiguity lessens. When you put these sentences into paragraphs, the
meanings become clearer. When you put these paragraphs into sections and
divisions, then the meanings become even clearer. When you have multiple
non-contradictory books in a corpus, then the ambiguity is lessened even
more. When you live out the meaning of a given text, then the ambiguity for
is also lessened by the feedback of reality. (Clearer means having one
distinct meaning that could fit the context.)

If this is true, then the problem with our semantics is simply that we do a
poor job of studying the context.

For example, based on my syntactic theory, I view the genitive "of the
faith" in Hebrews 12:2 as structurally prominent for the deictic purpose of
referring back to faith in the many "by faiths" in Hebrews 11. Because of
this I view the two nouns in 12:2 ARCHGON and TELEWTHN (forgive errors in
my transcription) as being in line with the context of Hebrews 11. Thus I
interpret ARCHGON as "the leading example" and TELEWTHN as "the perfect
example". ("The genitive thus would mean, "WHAT Jesus is an example of".
Does this match one of Wallace's categories?)

If, however, "of the faith" in Heb 12:2 was not structurally prominent
and/or if it was not referring to the faith of Hebrews 11 but a different
kind of faith, then it would be translated as something quite different,
such as "the author and perfecter of our faith".

The words and morphemes are ambiguous. It is the context, often the larger
context of paragraphs, sections, and divisions that clear up the ambiguity


Mark Beatty

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