There is a bit of a "move along, nothing to see here" quality to the discussion. We're told that the omission of the article with a substantive in a prepositional phrase is "entirely normal," but this section and the discussion employs the word "omission" which suggests to me that its presence is somehow expected. Moreover, the discussion is not entirely clear that the problem is the "omission" is with those substantives that would ordinarily take the article in other contexts.Porter 1992:113-4 wrote: 2.8.4 Omission of article in prepositional phrases. The article of a substantive in a prepositional phrase is often omitted. Moulton describes this use as entirely normal, stating further, "There is nothing indefinite about the anarthrous non there.'²Mk 2.1: ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν (he is at home), literally 'in house'.1 Pet. 1.5: τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐστάχῳ (those being guarded for in [the] power of God through [the] faith for [the] prepared salvation to be revealed in [the] last time), where English articles are demanded for sense.
2. Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 82.
Now, others grammarians would identify those substantives as "definite" (or "identifiable" in more recent literature), but Porter rejects definiteness as a way of understanding the article, largely on the grounds that "Use of the article in Greek is not like use of the definite article in English, not least because Greek does not have the same choice of forms" (p. 103). In particular, (NT) Greek lacks an indefinite article and so the systems are too different to be comparable. (Note how opposite Porter's approach is to von Siebenthal's.)
What Porter does is as follows:
This is not a helpful explication of the article. As far as I can tell, "particularity" and "individuality" basically mean the same thing, and their definitions are synonymous: "The article may particularize a substantive." (p.104) and "Individual items may be specified without use of the article." What Porter does is set up a distinction between particularity=specificity and non-particularity/qualitativeness=categorical as important and then states that the Greek article does not encode this distinction!Porter 1992:104 wrote:When the article is used, the substantive may refer to a particular item, or it may represent a category of items. When the article is not used, the substantive may refer to the non-particular or qualitative character of an item, or it may refer to an individual item. One immediately notices that the presence or absence of the article may affect the sense of the substantive in two related ways. Uses (a) and (d) are similar in meaning, as are uses (b) and (c) (translations may well reflect this similarity). Matters of particularity and individuality are established not on the basis of whether the article is present, but on the basis of the wider context.
Code: Select all
Substantive Use 1 Use 2 =========================== ================== =============== Articular (with article) (a) particular (c) categorical Anarthrous (without article) (b) non-particular (d) individual (qualitative)
Now, my expectation from a grammar that I would prefer to know what a linguistic form means, rather than what it does not mean. At any rate, here is his treatment of the "individual" use that we see in prepositional phrases:Porter 1992:105 wrote:This formulation illustrates that in Greek the presence or absence of the article does not determine whether the substantive is particular or non-particular, categorical, or individual.
If you look closely, all of these examples involve prepositional objects. But it is not clear whether this is the basis for erecting the category.Porter 1992:105 wrote: 1.2.2 'Individual' use without the article. Individual items may be specified without use of the article.Jn 4.27:μετὰ γυναικὸς ἐλάλει (he was speaking with [the] woman)Col. 2.20: ἐν κόσμῳ (in [the] world); Jn 1.1: ἐν ἀρχῇ (in [the] beginning; 1 Jn 1.1: ἀπ' ἀρχῆς (from [the] beginning). See section 2.8.4 below.