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sub-set propositions

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sub-set propositions

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:04 am

According to Wallace in GGBB, p. 41, there are two types of S-PN constructions.

(a) The subset proposition. >> This is where the S (subject) is a subset of the PN (predicate nominative).

(b) The convertible proposition. >> This construction indicates an identical exchange. This is the less frequent semantic relationship between S and PN. In this construction, both nouns have an identical referent. The mathematical formulas of A=B, B=A are applicable in such instances. There is complete interchange between the two nouns.

In this thread I'm mainly concerned about subset propositions , i.e. (a) above. As noted, this is a situatinon where the S is a subset of the PN. Thus "the word of the cross is foolishness" (1 Cor. 1:18) is not the same as "foolishness is the word of the cross," since there are other kinds of foolishness. "God is love" is not the same as "love is God," etc...

Question: Can we conclude that by definition, in a subset proposition the S and PN cannot both be definite nouns ? That is, the PN will either be qualitative, or indefinite but not definite ?

The answer seems fairly obvious to me, -- "yes" on both counts, -- but I would like the readers input.

Thanks for your time...
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Re: sub-set propositions

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:12 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:According to Wallace in GGBB, p. 41, there are two types of S-PN constructions.
...

Question: Can we conclude that by definition, in a subset proposition the S and PN cannot both be definite nouns ? That is, the PN will either be qualitative, or indefinite but not definite ?


This is a bit of NT Greek "traditional grammar" found for example in Zerwick (171-175) and converted by Wallace into a RULE using some sort of math-like approach to the problem. Natural language is not math.

The syntactical analysis of the use of the article in NT Greek has a long tradition and much that tradition has been reevaluated in the last half century by linguists involved in bible translation. Quite recently Chapter 6 of Richard A. Hoyle, Scenarios, discourse and translation. SIL 2008.
http://www.sil.org/silepubs/Pubs/50670/ ... lation.pdf

The article with predicate nominative is used when the information is hearer old. It need not be discourse old. If the currently active scenario includes the idea represented by the substantive/noun then the article will be use even if it has not been referenced previously in the discourse. Failing a currently active scenario, if the idea is part of a shared cognitive framework then it can be assumed to be cognitively assessable and thus hearer old. That is the default pattern. On the other hand a hearer old substantive can be left anarthrous as a form of salience marking.

None of this addresses your question. But I think Wallace's approach is likely to get you headed down the wrong road on this. Smyth §1152:
Even in the predicate the article is used with a noun referring to a definite object (an individual or a class) that is well known, previously mentioned or hinted at, or identical with the subject ...


Notice the or. It doesn't have to be identical with the subject. Consider John 1:49:

John 1:49 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” ESV

RP: εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς ♦ NA/UBS: βασιλεὺς εἶ


So why the article in English? The lack of the article βασιλεὺς marks it as salient, since βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ is part of the shared cognitive framework thus always hearer old without being discourse old.

On the other hand, reading the Byz Textform:
Ἀπεκρίθη Ναθαναήλ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. Robinson-Pierpont 2005

Is this really a convertible proposition? Would ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ unambiguously point to the same referent as Ῥαββί in this context? I don't think so.

FOOTNOTE: Iver Larsen (Denmark/East Africa SIL) has had some favorable things to say about Hoyle's treatment of the article in Scenarios and Discourse.
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Re: sub-set propositions

Postby Isaac Newton » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:03 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Isaac Newton wrote:According to Wallace in GGBB, p. 41, there are two types of S-PN constructions.
...

Question: Can we conclude that by definition, in a subset proposition the S and PN cannot both be definite nouns ? That is, the PN will either be qualitative, or indefinite but not definite ?


This is a bit of NT Greek "traditional grammar" found for example in Zerwick (171-175) and converted by Wallace into a RULE using some sort of math-like approach to the problem. Natural language is not math.

The syntactical analysis of the use of the article in NT Greek has a long tradition and much that tradition has been reevaluated in the last half century by linguists involved in bible translation. Quite recently Chapter 6 of Richard A. Hoyle, Scenarios, discourse and translation. SIL 2008.
http://www.sil.org/silepubs/Pubs/50670/ ... lation.pdf

The article with predicate nominative is used when the information is hearer old. It need not be discourse old. If the currently active scenario includes the idea represented by the substantive/noun then the article will be use even if it has not been referenced previously in the discourse. Failing a currently active scenario, if the idea is part of a shared cognitive framework then it can be assumed to be cognitively assessable and thus hearer old. That is the default pattern. On the other hand a hearer old substantive can be left anarthrous as a form of salience marking.

None of this addresses your question. But I think Wallace's approach is likely to get you headed down the wrong road on this. Smyth §1152:
Even in the predicate the article is used with a noun referring to a definite object (an individual or a class) that is well known, previously mentioned or hinted at, or identical with the subject ...


Notice the or. It doesn't have to be identical with the subject. Consider John 1:49:

John 1:49 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” ESV

RP: εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς ♦ NA/UBS: βασιλεὺς εἶ


So why the article in English? The lack of the article βασιλεὺς marks it as salient, since βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ is part of the shared cognitive framework thus always hearer old without being discourse old.

On the other hand, reading the Byz Textform:
Ἀπεκρίθη Ναθαναήλ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. Robinson-Pierpont 2005

Is this really a convertible proposition? Would ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ unambiguously point to the same referent as Ῥαββί in this context? I don't think so.

FOOTNOTE: Iver Larsen (Denmark/East Africa SIL) has had some favorable things to say about Hoyle's treatment of the article in Scenarios and Discourse.


Thanks for your thoughts Bartholomew.. I should be more specific as to exactly what I'm seeking in this thread. So my asking very specific questions , I think , is the best way to approach the problem.

(a) Would you agree that in a sub-set proposition the S and the PN cannot both be definite ? So for example, if we take both θεὸς (anarthrous) and ὁ λόγος (articular) at John 1:1c as definite nouns, then καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος is not a subset proposition but a convertible proposition . Agree / Disagree ?

(b) Also , my reading of Wallace's "pecking order" rule in p. 43 of his GGBB ("the subject will be articular") suggests that this rule is inapplicable where both S and PN are definite, more generally that is, that this rule is invalid where both nouns have the same semantic tag . Agree / disagree ?

(c) A construction with two definite nouns would be a convertible proposition ? Agree/disagree ?

(d) If however we take θεὸς qualitatively at John 1:1c but ὁ λόγος as a definite noun, then this is a subset proposition. Agree/disagree? .

(e) And only in subset constructions would Wallace's "pecking order" rule about the articular noun being the subject noun (see GGBB , p. 43) come into play ? Agree/disagree ?
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Re: sub-set propositions

Postby Markos » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:07 pm

Isaac Newton wrote: (a) Would you agree that in a sub-set proposition the S and the PN cannot both be definite ? So for example, if we take both θεὸς (anarthrous) and ὁ λόγος (articular) at John 1:1c as definite nouns, then καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος is not a subset proposition but a convertible proposition . Agree / Disagree ?


Agree.

(d) If however we take θεὸς qualitatively at John 1:1c but ὁ λόγος as a definite noun, then this is a subset proposition. Agree/disagree?


Strongly agree. And I do indeed take the θεός there as indefinite/qualitative, so that "καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος" means essentially καὶ ὁ λόγος τις θεὸς ἦν or καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν θεῖος. On the other hand,"καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος" would mean "Jesus is Yahweh and Yahweh is Jesus."

χάρις σοι καὶ σοῖς ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ, ὦ φίλε Ἰσαάκ!
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Re: sub-set propositions

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:32 am

Markos wrote:
Strongly agree. And I do indeed take the θεός there as indefinite/qualitative, so that "καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος" means essentially καὶ ὁ λόγος τις θεὸς ἦν or καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν θεῖος. On the other hand,"καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος" would mean "Jesus is Yahweh and Yahweh is Jesus."




Yes, we would end up with a statement of identity at clause c if that were the case, leading inextricably either to Modalism (at best) or to linguistic nonsense (at worse). What is required in this third clause is a statement of essential predication, and this can only be achieved by a qualitative [or an indefinite] Θεὸς . I think the ancient Greek grammarian Origen in his Commentary on John, Bk II, ch.3, explained the reasons for the anarthrous θεὸς very well.



DanielWallace in GGBB, p. 268 is instructive in this matter:

"Further, calling θεὸς in John 1:1c definite is the same as saying that if it had followed the verb it would have had the article. Thus it would be a convertible proposition with λόγος (i.e., "the Word" = "God" and "God" = "the Word"). The problem of this argument is that the θεὸς in 1:1b is the Father . Thus to say that the θεὸς in 1:1c is the same person is to say that "the Word was the Father." This, as the older grammarians and exegetes pointed out, is embryonic Sabellianism or modalism. The fourth Gospel is about the least likely place to find modalism in the NT."

χάρις σοι καὶ σοῖς ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ, ὦ φίλε Ἰσαάκ!


May God's abundant blessings and favour rest upon you Markos.
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