[b-greek] Re: IOUDAIOUS TE KAI hELLHNAS (Rom 3:9)

From: George Blaisdell (maqhth@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Oct 09 2001 - 14:38:10 EDT

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

"Be not troubling of you the heart..."

>From: "Iver Larsen"

> > Finally, I note that Smyth translates QEOI KAI ZEUS: "the
> > gods and above all Zeus." Where the first item is the
> > general term and the second item specific.

>This, I believe, is something different again and has to do with the
>difference between KAI in Greek and "and" in English.

>Carlton had a similar example:
> > The same emphasis seems to be in Mark 16:7 where you have the group > >
> > "but go tell his disciples and especially Peter that . . ."

>I understand ZEUS to be a discrete element in the set of QEOI.
>Similarly, Peter is a discrete element in the set of disciples.

>This kind of construction is common in Greek, but does not work in English.

>This may well be another general expectation of order in Greek, namely that
>the set is mentioned before the element within the set. I do not think that
>"especially" or "above all" is a correct translation. I
think that imposes English conventions onto Greek. I believe a more accurate
translation is "including":

>Go and tell his disciples, including Peter.

Thanks, Iver, for a marvelous look at KAI. Are you really arguing against
its use in Greek as an emphatic? Or just in these set-subset constructions.
  It would seem that the very mention of Peter and Zeus in the above
examples, being utterly particular, would give them some prominence in the
construction. When I was taught Attic Greek some 350 years ago, KAI was
given a fairly broad range of meanings, among them being 'even' and
'especially'. I mean, why specifically name a particular after having
referenced the group, if not for emphasis?

Your idea that 'emphasis generally comes from the left' seems rooted in the
function in Greek construction of words that are stated first. Beginnings
are important in Greek language in a way that they are not in English. In
English, we tend to start out and trust that we will get around to the point
eventually. In Greek, the point is clearly in view with the opening words,
so that the 'items to the left', as you call them, have an emphasis that I
prefer to call 'carry', for they carry over across the discourse, in that
they so often set the theme or purpose or direction of what follows. Which
is why I tend to think that in Greek, all words are emphasized, for each has
a different function relative to the whole, which is the purpose of the
conversation anyway. In English, a language of forgetfulness, where we seem
to need billions of gigs of memory in our computers, the 'natural'
prominence of 'items on the right' does seem to have taken over, because the
last thing heard is the easiest to remember, and the Greeks, being an oral
mnemonic culture, did not fall prey to this degradation of thought. Yet I
would argue that theyu as well did not fall prey to the reverse either,
giving prominence to the left. Their linguistic focus was centered around


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