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Particle Proliferation!

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Particle Proliferation!

Postby uberdwayne » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:50 pm

Ιωαννην 20:30 wrote:30 Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα σημεῖα ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐνώπιον τῶν μαθητῶν, ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ·


Four particles all in a row! two postpositives. What kind of Symantic situation does this bring to the table. I don't really understand this phrase at all. Can someone help me here? It seems multiple particles in a row tend to trip me up rather frequently!

(w00t! no longer a textkit neophyte!)
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Re: Particle Proliferation!

Postby Markos » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:10 pm

χαῖρε φίλε!

1. We actually have only three particles in a row, not four. It's ἄλλα, not ἀλλά.

2. In discussions like these, I am always reminded of a quote I read somewhere which said that Greek particles should neither be ignored, nor translated, but rather FELT.

3. μὲν οὖν is often used to begin a new thought. That may be what is going on here.

4. I can't prove it--I may be wrong--but I think μὲν οὖν has a certain sound to it, and it sounds good in the middle of certain Greek words and not so good in others. That is, the issue here is one of euphonics, not semantics.

5. μὲν οὖν καὶ, which is found both in Homer and in good Attic prose, had a long history in Greek by the time that John used it. It no doubt sounded different, and had different semantic nuances, to different authors. It would be very difficult to figure out just what is sounded like to John and his audience, just what it meant. Was there, for example, a trace of formality and fanciness in the phrase? No way to know, but quite possible.

6. This COULD be an editorial insertion. I for one do not like breaking up NT texts into various sources, but it is possible here, which would affect how we understand the "discourse analysis."

7. I always like to go to the intra-lingual versions in cases like these.
Nonnus: ἄλλα δὲ θαύματα πολλὰ...Ἰησοῦς ἐτέλεσσε...

Bambas: καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ θαύματα ἔκαμνεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς...

TGV: ο Ιησούς έκανε βέβαια και πολλά άλλα θαύματα...


This won't convince semantic maximalists, but the intra-lingual versions reinforce for me the notion that these discourse particles, (including in the case of TGV no discourse particles at all, that is, asyndeton,) can often be used interchangeably without much difference in meaning.

8. Even though I am a foe of grammar-translation, I am always glad that we have the excellent English versions.

KJV: And many other signs truly did Jesus...

NASB: Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed...

NRSV: Now Jesus did many other signs...

NIV: Jesus did many other miraculous signs...


Any of these translations, or all of them taken together, do a wonderful job of rendering μὲν οὖν καὶ. And note I include in this the NIV, which DOES NOT TRANSLATE IT AT ALL. Not rendering it at all is certainly one way to get at the meaning, because on one level it means nothing.

9. μὲν οὖν καὶ could also be rendered quite well by a pregnant pause, by clearing one's throat, by a sigh. The essence of it is: now-let-me-tell-you-something-about-this-Jesus-guy; he did many other signs...

uberdwayne wrote: I don't really understand this phrase at all. Can someone help me here?


10. Yes, YOU can help yourself. I've noticed you are doing a fine job of experimenting with the discourse particles in the John thread. Try out μὲν οὖν καὶ in writing various Greek sentences and you will begin to get a FEEL for it.

ἔρρωσο.
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Re: Particle Proliferation!

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:39 pm

Markos wrote:1. We actually have only three particles in a row, not four. It's ἄλλα, not ἀλλά.

ugh, a n00b mistake. lol. Glad you caught that! makes a little more sense in light of this insight.

Markos wrote:2. In discussions like these, I am always reminded of a quote I read somewhere which said that Greek particles should neither be ignored, nor translated, but rather FELT.


I think this is a great quote! Ironically enough, I finally decided to purchase Steven Runge's book on Discourse Grammar before this conversation even came up. And from the preview on Amazon, I know he gives a thorough treatment to post positives. It should arrive today! Now, I know what your stance is on this book regarding reading fluency, but I had $30 burning a whole in my pocket so I figures "Why not!" what harm can it do.


As far as this phrase goes, while thinking about it since yesterday, It seems to break with the main story and interject some sort of comment about the narrative, in this case, its to finish the writing. I did a search last night and found 2 other uses of μεν ουν και, One in Luke, and I can't remember where the other one was. I'm at work now, so I can't check :(

I think my problem is that I've learned these particles with English equivalents when in actuality there are none! They seem to introduce sentances in a way that isn't so clear-cut in english and I think the keywords I've learned for them has done a disservice to my understanding.
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Re: Particle Proliferation!

Postby Qimmik » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:37 pm

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα

Isn't καὶ here a conjunction joining the two adjectives Πολλὰ and ἄλλα? Smyth sec. 2879a notes that the adjectives are sometimes joined by καὶ to mean "many others also."

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007%3Asmythp%3D2879
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