[b-greek] Re: But what about prepositions-Genitive

From: Glenn Blank (glennblank@earthlink.net)
Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 20:36:30 EDT

Hello, Virgil.

I had written,

>Question # 2..2) Is the notion of process generally indicated in other
>occurrences of the
>> genitive in NTG?

On: Sat, 26 May 2001 14:46:46 -0600, you wrote,

> Glenn, to this I would say....absolutely ! The genitive case is more
>that adjectival. A.T. Robertson says..." It is the case of
>specification...speaking to " kind of ".

I agree, Virgil, that the genitive indicates specification, whether "kind
of," as in supplying the attributes of the head noun to which the genitive
noun is attached, or "source of," as in where the referent of the head noun
comes from, or "part of," as in what group is the referent of the head noun
associated with. But that does not imply that the genitive case is more
than specification. In fact, that is *precisely* what adjectives do -- they
specify. Nor does it imply that the genitive case encodes process.

> Consider ourselves for example Glenn. We are of the human kind. However
>not just because someone gives an adjectival tag to us. No, we are of the
>human kind...being the result of an actual and real process. [mother and
father, birth, etc.]

> In John 21:8 we see the reality of something that transpired in
>a real way in the fishes..TO DIKTUON TWN ICQUWN . . .this is an example of
the gentive referring to the
>practical..real exchange between two nouns that tells us of something real.
. Something had to have "occurred" in the fishes that
>caused them all to go to the net.

> verse 11 the emphasis is shifted to
>indicate not the net's oneness and identification with the fishes, but the
>"fulness" is (characterized by) the fishes which are then characterized by
>the genitive (not adjective like 'full' MESTON) ...by the genitive MEGALWN
>indicating again the result of process . . . This is
>specification that did not just happen...it occurred over time and with
>process [little fish becoming big fish].

>....First the instant reality...the genitive, carried away. Why not the
>accusative? Because what was happening to Israel in that time was
>something more than was just being done to them. Mathew uses the genitive
>to bring us to that reality. . .we are not talking merely about where they
were going. Mathew is
>transporting us there to feel what they felt like as the carried away ones
>became characterized by who and what the Babylonian captures were. The
>sights, the sounds, the food, the jeers and mocking, the Babylonian type
>humiliation.. . . the breach of the walls, the capture, the march, the
>hopelessness, the enslavement. All in the genitive of BABYLON. And all that
>had been processed over time that had resulted in the bringing about of
>Babylon and Babylonians

If I understand you correctly, Virgil, you are saying that every time the
genitive construction occurs, it is referring to something which in the real
world has to involve a process, and therefore, the genitive case signifies

>I'm really just in the beginning of looking into these matters, however I
>somewhat confident that wherever there is a genitive construction, you will
>find these priniciples at work, I believe. I would welcome looking at any
>genitive consruction to see if this is so. I expect it to be.

Yes, of course. It would *have* to be the case. Because *everything* in
the real world involves a process, regardless of what grammatical
construction is used to refer to it. Whether the writer uses a genitive
case, a dative case, an accusative case, a nominative case, or a vocative
case, the case can be made that the actual event itself involves a process.
Hence, your hypothesis is meaninglessly unfalsifiable.

Let me illustrate using verb tenses. I think we would agree that the
perfect tense highlights a [completed] process (you quoted Zodhiates to this
effect). Similarly, the imperfect tense refers to an action as continuing.
The aorist tense, however, simply refers to the action itself, without any
focus on duration or process. Hence,

   1) The farmer has plowed the field.
   2) The farmer was plowing the field.
   3) The farmer plowed the field.

Now in reality, all three sentences refer to the same event. And the event
itself of necessity involves a process: the farmer must hook to plow up to
his tractor, crank up the tractor, and then drive back and forth across his
fields in successive, parallel rows. This process is part of reality,
regardless of which expression is used to encode it. Nevertheless, 1) and
2) focus on that process, while 3) does not.

However, using your logic, one could "prove" that the aorist tense focuses
on process by finding this and all other occurrences of the aorist tense,
imagining the event that it refers to, and pointing out that the event is a
process in the real world.

Perhaps it would clarify matters to think in terms of the Stratificational
Grammar Model (Ilah Fleming, Sydney Lamb, et al), which distinguishes
between the referential stratum (what actually happens in the physical
world), the semantic stratum (how the writer conceptualizes and organizes
this physical event in his mind), and the syntactic stratum (how he encodes
this conceptualization in language). Notice that what the syntax expresses
is *not* the actual physical event itself, but how the writer happens to be
coneptualizing it at the moment. Hence, when I say "The farmer plowed the
field," I am conceptualizing "plowed the field" as a single, isolated event,
regardless of the fact that in the actual, physical world, it is a whole
series of inter-related actions (actually, actions that could be broken down
into an infinite number of parts).

You asked something to the effect of "why does Mark not use some other case
other than the genitive if he is not trying to convey the importance of the
process?" The answer is that the preposition EK requires the following noun
to be in the genitive case. Hence, it is there because of grammatical
constraints, not to express any semantic notion. But then you might ask why
he uses the preposition EK. But how else would you convey the notion of
being raised "out of" or "from" something. The EK conveys the *source* from
which the people believe John was raised, not the process by which he was

Why is the genitive used in John 21 rather than some other case? (TO
DIKTUON TWN ICQUWN) Because the genitive case is the normal case for
conjoining two nouns. Any other case would have been ungrammatical. TO
DIKTUON TOUS ICQUOUS (accusative) just does not occur in NTG. Perhaps one
would find something like TO DIKTUON TOIS ICQUOIS (dative), but that would
be saying something very specific "the net with (that is, alongside of) the
fish. It would not be talking about one thing (a net of fish) but two
things (a net and the fish).

I agree with Randall when he says that the genitive case is the default
case. Every noun must be assigned some case, and when there is no specific
reason to assign another case, the genitive case will be assigned. Hence,
you will find a number of situations where the genitive case occurs and one
can say nothing more about it than that no other case was appropriate, and
it has to have some case, so it gets genitive case.

You are trying to read far too much into the grammar of the language. An
infinite number of things are true about any physical event, but to say that
any reference to that event in language encodes all of those infinite
aspects of the event is not only untenable, but impossible. If language
worked that way, it would mean that a single word communicates everything,
and hence, language would end up not communicating anything at all.

With regards,

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:58 EDT