[b-greek] Re: theos and ho theos'--

From: GregStffrd@aol.com
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 18:45:58 EST

In a message dated 03/02/2001 7:18:00 AM Pacific Standard Time,
dixonps@juno.com writes:

 I am assuming an anarthrous predicate nominative has a particular nuance
 in the mind of the author, one and only one of the following:
 definiteness, indefiniteness, or qualitativeness. >>

Dear Paul:

Why do you assume the above, and where did you come up with a category such
as "qualitativeness" that excludes any notion of definiteness or

<< What evidence do you
 have for a predicate nominative carrying simultaneous nuances of two or
 more, for example, QEOS in 1:1 being both qualitative and indefinite? >>

I believe we can both agree that nouns convey both a definite and an
indefinite semantic in numerous instances. Right? That being said, I accept
that fronting (along with extraposition) is a Greek device that allows for a
certain emphasis of the noun, which emphasis _I think_ is of a qualitative
nature. I cannot prove this but, since the noun, as a noun, already conveys
the indefinite or definite semantic, I ask myself, Is there something about
the qualities conveyed by the noun in any normal use of the term that might
be at issue in a given instance, and hence require some type of emphasis or
highlighting? Or is the terms itself simply emphasized and AS A RESULT the
qualities of the terms are naturally also emphasized? I do not press the
qualitative nuance, but simply recognize it as a possible result of fronting.
But I see nothing problematic with recognizing that fronting emphasizes the
fronted term and as a result the qualities of that term are highlighted,
being an inherent part of the term.

<< Of course, if we define qualitativeness as being a subset of
 then sure. But, the common understanding is that the three are mutually
 exclusive by definition. >>

I understand, but I see no evidence for the existence of "qualitativeness"
for nouns of personal description or for instances of known non-personal
classes, where the noun is viewed as having neither an indefinite or definite


> Also, I never said that the PN's indefiniteness or definiteness
> would be emphasized by fronting; I do not believe that, either.
> What I said was "the qualities of [indefinite or definite nouns]
> receive emphasis by means of fronting." I do not believe that
> any PNs somehow lose or do not convey an indefinite or
> definite semantic simply because they are fronted.
<< Be careful you don't fall into the same error as Colwell and others who
 illogically affirmed the converse of his rule (the exposure of that
 fallacy was one of the contributions of my thesis). By saying "the
 qualities of indefinite or definite nouns receive emphasis by means of
 fronting," you are saying nothing that contributes to the argument. >>

I am saying nothing like what Colwell said, and what I say contributes to the
argument by articulating my view, namely, that NOUNS may have the qualities
that they inherently have associated with them emphasized by means of
fronting. How is this comparable to Colwell?

<< Sure, if we know the nouns are definite or indefinite, then by pushing
 them forward we are emphasizing them. >>

Our knowledge of whether nouns are definite or indefinite comes from their
use in the context. When they are emphasized, we usually emphasize their
qualities, too: "He is a THIEF"; "He is KING"; etc.

<< But, this says nothing about
 whether an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding the verb is definite
 or indefinite, nor the likelihood of such. >>

I am not speaking about the likelihood of the indefinite or definite
semantic, but about the resulting emphasis created by fronting. How do you
gather from this device that the nouns are qualitative, being neither
definite or indefinite? In looking at the contexts of certain uses of certain
terms, anyone can take a noun's qualities and say that the emphasis of
certain terms in certain contexts fits well, but that is because the noun
used fits well (hence, the choice for its use in the first place) and so its
qualities MUST also fit! That does not prove anything about whether the noun
loses or does not have definiteness or indefiniteness.

<< In order to ascertain that,
 one has to consider all occurrences of the anarthrous predicate
 nominative by the author, then contextually determine the definiteness,
 indefiniteness or qualitativeness. That is what Colwell should have
 done, but did not (he considered only definite predicate nominatives).
 It is what I did in my thesis. >>

I understand that, but you still have not justified the existence of
"qualitativeness" as involving a noun that is neither definite or indefinite
when used for instances of class terms whether personal or non-personal, and
yet it seems you want me to show that a noun can be indefinite or definite
and have its qualities emphasized.

Again, simply because the qualities of the noun used "fit" with the context
(which we would expect) it does not justify the existence of
"qualitativeness" as you and others have defined it. If I say, hUIOS EIMI,
regardless of whether hUIOS is definite or indefinite the qualities ARE

So if in explaining the use of the term I suggest a purely qualitative
semantic, well, it's going to "sound" okay because the qualities associated
with the term were meant to be received in this context regardless of whether
it is definite or indefinite. But to suggest it is neither is, to me, to beg
the question and to ignore the much simpler explanation that there is simply
an emphasis of the term itself, which would include the qualities of that
term. It is not an either-or proposition as I see it.

Greg Stafford

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