From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 10:13:39 EST
At 9:24 AM -0500 10/30/00, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>Mark Armstrong wrote:
>> 2. Elliptical construction. This term has arisen from my examination of
>> Mark 2:10, "IVA DE EIDHTE.........". The adverbial clause is described by
>> Morna Hooker as an elliptical construction - apparently because it has no
>> direct linkage with a main verb or participle in the pericope, or maybe its
>> antecedent is back in verse 5. In any case, verse 10 gives the choice
>> between two alternatives.
>Maurice A. O'Sullivan <email@example.com> said:
>> Again from the SOED:
>> Elliptical Gram. Characterized by ellipsis; spec. (of sentences etc.)
>> defective, lacking a word or words needed to complete the sense.
>Although I'm sure I'm being a pedantic nitpicker here, and THAT against
>the Oxford Dictionary!,
Yes, you do pick a doozy of a nit to pick!
> but I find this way of defining ellipsis as
>My quibble is with "complete the sense." I think of it as "adhere to
>the commonly accepted grammar." If one didn't have some sense of the
>intended sense, one would have a hard time determining what that word or
>words might be. Ellipsis appears to me to be a form of economy while
>sometimes adding meaning which is only possible by the intelligent use
>of empty space.
>If I say, "I walked the pier." Everyone knows the `sense'; it needs
>nothing to complete it. However, I would have conformed better to the
>grammar by saying, "I walked _on_ the pier." Although, depending on
>context, the former may better convey the sense intended. The former
>offers some semantic color not painted on the canvas by the later.
>Furthermore, labeling a particular construction as elliptical when that
>construction is used in a long since dead language is doubly difficult--do
>we really understand how the language flowed naturally on the street, the
>market place, the kitchen? Is grammar to be defined by the mathematical
>rigor of the sanitized language lab; or is it the experienced guide
>through the living symbiosis of the glade?
>If we define `ellipsis' too rigidly, then it could be applied much too
>frequently. Ironically then, it looses much of its benefit for exegesis.
>Well, sorry for the knee-jerk reaction; I see the description `ellipsis'
>used too frequently for my tastes. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
Yes, perhaps so. And particularly in the verse that gave rise to this
picked nit. It's in the controversy narrative normally entitled, "The
Healing of the Paralytic," and the particular ellipsis here in question
appears in verse 10. The context including that is:
(9) (addressed to the Pharisaic nit-pickers): TI ESTIN EUKOPWTERON, EIPEIN
TWi PARALUTIKWi: AFIENTAI SOU hAI hAMARTIAI, H EIPEIN: EGEIRE KAI ARON TON
KRABATTON SOU KAI PERIPATEI? (10) hINA DE EIDHTE hOTI EXOUSIAN ECEI hO
hUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU AFIENAI hAMARTIAS EPI THS GHS -- (this is the
construction that is never completed, and I'm sure this is what Morna
Hooker is referring to as an ellipsis--so strong is it that some might even
call it an anacoluthon, although it's clear enough that Jesus' immediately
following action is what is being undertaken for the purpose of
demonstrating to the Pharisees that Jesus has authority on earth to forgive
sins) LEGEI TWi PARALUTIKWi: (11) SOI LEGW, EGEIRE ARON TON KRABATTON SOU
KAI hUPAGE EIS TON OIKON SOU. Nevertheless, I don't think the ellipsis
referred to in this text is fully intelligible unless one envisions
dramatically the scene wherein the paralytic is healed so that the
Pharisees may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.
Granted that there are lots of common expressions where the omitted element
is readily understood; some have even become common idioms, as Koine Greek
THiDE (scil. THi hODWi) for "this way" or EN THi ERHMWi (scil. GHi) for "in
the wilderness." or MAKRAN (scil. hODON) for "far away = "a long way away."
Perhaps the definition of "ellipsis" is an opportunity to employ that
wonderful little beastie we were talking about the other day, the
"scalar"--perhaps there's an imperceptible gradation between what should
and what should not be called an "ellipsis."
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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