[b-greek] Re: John 20:28 - English used to interpret Greek?

From: Dan Parker (stoixein@sdf.lonestar.org)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 14:41:12 EST

Iver said:

> When I sometimes use English examples to explain a general point, they are used
> for illustrative purposes, not as primary arguments. We are not in a court of
> law "proving" things. We are trying to understand how language works.
> Best wishes,
> Iver Larsen

Iver, I do the same thing. I made my comment because I have seen others
use English examples exclusively and with the purpose of proving a point
in Greek grammar with respect to both Sharp and Smart. I am glad to
see you don't agree with this practice, and wanted to make sure that
those who employ this method don't use your comments to support their
efforts in this direction.

I appreciate that you have a more global view of linguistic rules and
have an interest in finding parallels in multiple languages. However,
I am not aware of any such effort with respect to Sharp's rule either.
Perhaps you could direct me to such research.

Daniel Wallace and Granville Sharp both argue against this
approach. Wallace in the article "Sharp Redivivus? A Reexamination of
the Granville Sharp Rule" found at www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/sharp.htm
very severely criticizes this approach. He says:

        Gregory Blunt argued essentially from English grammar. His
        principal argument was a tacit syllogism:

        Greek and English are identical with respect to the use of the
        article. There are many exceptions to Sharp’s rule in English.
        Therefore, his rule is invalid in Greek.

        Blunt thus spent an inordinate amount of time producing English
        examples (e.g., “the King and Queen”) that seemed to violate the
        rule. He held to an explicit connection between Greek and English
        in terms even of surface structure, making typically prescriptive
        statements about how the Greek article must behave. To such
        arguments Sharp retorted, “he has not been able to produce
        against the Rules one single example from the Greek text of
        the New Testament, (the only true criterion of their truth) [27]

                27 Others such as the anonymous reviewer of Middleton’s
                Doctrine of the Greek Article in Monthly Review 62 (1810)
                also argued from the standpoint of English grammar,
                assuming almost a universal language (or at least a
                one-to-one correspondence between Greek and English)
                on a surface structure. He states that Middleton “is,
                however, quite singular in this opinion [that there
                is not a one-to-one correspondence], since scarcely a
                modern scholar can be found who has written on the Greek
                article without expressly noticing the great resemblance
                between it and the article in modern languages. It would
                seem that Middleton was linguistically ahead of his time.

Thus Wallace and Sharp both argue against using English and in fact
Wallace strongly implies that modern linguists agree with him. So I am
very interested in any references or studies with respect to Sharps that
deals with languages other than Greek.

I can easily apply Sharps words in defence of his rule to the defense
of Smart's Rule. [If Sharp can capitalize "Rule" so can I!] Of a detractor
he said

        "he has not been able to produce against the Rules one single
        example from the Greek text of the New Testament, (the only
        true criterion of their truth)"

Dan Parker

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