Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 4th, 2020, 3:39 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
July 4th, 2020, 11:43 am
Robert S. Daniel wrote:
July 3rd, 2020, 6:40 am
Which word is missing an antecedent? Isn't it usually pronouns that take antecedents?
I probably used the wrong word here. I tend to use the word 'antecedent' to mean 'something introduced earlier that is referred to here', which is a little sloppy. Sorry to be confusing.
I knew what you meant, although "unexpressed subject" or "impersonal use" would be more accurate. However, I'm not sure how unusual the Greek actually is. In my "Homer devotional" today, Od. 7.10-11:

Ἀλκινόῳ δʼ αὐτὴν γέρας ἔξελον, οὕνεκα πᾶσιν
Φαιήκεσσιν ἄνασσε, θεοῦ δʼ ὣς δῆμος ἄκουεν·

The previous context is talking about Nausikaa's maid, Eurymedousa, so the third person plural has no previous reference in the context. I've seen this kind of thing more than once in Homer, and I've vague memories of it in other authors as well.

The reason I commented above that the syntax was odd was not the third person plural usage, but the predicate, πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικὸν αἰρόμενον ὑπὸ τεσσάρων, which obliquely (literally!) introduces the actual subject of the verb in the prepositional phrase ὑπὸ τεσσάρων.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Robert S. Daniel
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Re: Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

Post by Robert S. Daniel » July 5th, 2020, 4:48 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
July 4th, 2020, 11:36 am
Now we come to:
καὶ ἔρχονται φέροντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικὸν αἰρόμενον ὑπὸ τεσσάρων.
There's no clear signal that ἔρχονται and συνήχθησαν do not have the same subject. Grammatically, they could, and there's not a clear shift in context. I was surprised to see new characters introduced in this way, and was wondering why it did not, for instance, say something like:

καὶ ἔρχονται τινες φέροντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικὸν αἰρόμενον ὑπὸ τεσσάρων

or

καὶ ἔρχονται τινες φέροντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικὸν αἰρόμενον ὑπὸ τεσσάρων
That's what I thought you probably meant, but I thought I should ask just to be sure. So what I'm proposing is this: can't participles function as substantives? In which case there is an explicit subject of ἔρχονται, namely the participle φέροντες or actually the entire phrase that it introduces. Is that a possibility?

I agree that Luke is being much more clear. Maybe the difference in style reflects Mark writing in a manner that reflects spoken language more than Luke, who is being careful to phrase everything just right as a careful writer does.

Waddayathink?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 5th, 2020, 6:53 am

Robert S. Daniel wrote:
July 5th, 2020, 4:48 am

That's what I thought you probably meant, but I thought I should ask just to be sure. So what I'm proposing is this: can't participles function as substantives? In which case there is an explicit subject of ἔρχονται, namely the participle φέροντες or actually the entire phrase that it introduces. Is that a possibility?

I agree that Luke is being much more clear. Maybe the difference in style reflects Mark writing in a manner that reflects spoken language more than Luke, who is being careful to phrase everything just right as a careful writer does.

Waddayathink?
You would expect the article with the participle, otherwise it naturally reads as predicate.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Randy Leedy
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Joined: September 6th, 2017, 2:46 pm

Re: Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

Post by Randy Leedy » July 7th, 2020, 11:07 pm

Came across this thread while just browsing around in B-Greek after putting up a post a few minutes ago; unfortunatley the circumstance of my life at present don't give me much time to spend here.

It seems to me that what's happening here is simply that the specific identity of the actors in this passage is not important; what's important is their actions that manifest faith in Jesus.

I'm sure that the work on who "they" are in the synoptics has much more insight to share, and perhaps not all passages would lend themselves equally to the significance that I think I perceive here. It seems to me that, where English would use an indefinite subject like "some people," NT Greek is quite content to omit the subject entirely--after all, what information does such a phrase contain that in any way expands upon the elliptical subject? No subject is needed, the subject that might be supplied is merely redundant, the specific identity of the subject would presumably provide no further illumination for the narrative action (unlike, for example, when some Pharisees challenge Jesus on a point of law), so why express a subject at all? It seems to me quite likely that the author had no idea who the people were and therefore would be unable to identify them apart from special revelation, which, while by no means impossible, would in this case provide only a pointless detail.

Perhaps I'm missing something here?

Randy Leedy
www.NTGreekGuy.com
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Mark 2:3 - could missing antecedent be intentional?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 8th, 2020, 9:30 am

The generalized third person plural is not all that uncommon:
d. When it is a general idea of person, and usually in the third person plural of verbs of saying and thinking: ὡς λέγουσιν as they say D. 5. 18. So φᾱσί they say, οἴονται people think; cp. aiunt, ferunt, tradunt.
Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 259). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.
130. The indefinite subject ‘one’. (1) The impersonal passive (Lat. itur ‘one goes’) is not common in the NT and was never extensively used in Greek generally. (2) For ‘one’ it is much more customary to employ the 3rd plur. (without subject). The range of ideas expressed by verbs so used has been enlarged under the influence of Aramaic (which is not fond of the passive; in classical Greek the construction is used primarily with verbs of saying, etc. as is the case in MGr: Thumb2 §254). Οἱ ἄνθρωποι may also appear as subject. (3) In the case of formulae introducing citations, e.g. λέγει etc., ὁ θεός, ἡ γραφή or the like is understood as subject.
Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 72). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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