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Inspecting 1 John 1:1

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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:15 am

I know I've had more farewells than Frank Sinatra on this thread, but having read some recent posts I wanted to comment on one point.

As I understand it, Isaac is taking verse 1 as a complete sentence, as follows:

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

Apart from other issues which are under discussion (notably the masculine/neuter aspect in relation to λόγος), I am still very concerned about the structure of the proposed sentence. There seems no grammatical connection between [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς and what precedes it.

For example, at Acts 17.23 we have:

οὖν ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε, τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν.

which the Authorised Version translates:

'Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.'

In this sentence, the main clause - τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν - is not complete in itself, but is only intelligible by reference to the relative clause. As far as I am aware, this is the normal pattern in cases where the relative clause precedes the main clause; for example, see Thucydides 6.89.6:

καὶ ὅπερ ἐδέξατό τις, τοῦτο ξυνδιασῴζειν, ...

Here again, the main clause is intelligible only in relation to the preceding relative clause.

However, in Isaac's proposed sentence in 1 John 1.1, the main clause - [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς - is complete in itself, and does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses. So, in Isaac's version, on what verb do the relative clauses depend? It can't be the hypothetical γράφω, since on Isaac's reckoning that is not taking a direct object in this sentence, but rather governs περὶ. In any case, since Isaac is saying that the relative pronouns denote the Word, you could hardly have the latter as the direct object of γράφω.

As far as I can see, Isaac's structure would work if the relative pronouns denoted what was being written about the Word, since I think γράφω + (acc. of what is written) + (περὶ + gen. of whom/what it is written about) would probably be acceptable, but Isaac is rejecting that. To get what he wants, one would need something like:

Ο ΗΝ ΑΠ᾽ ΑΡΧΗΣ, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν, τοῦτο καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν ...

However, given Isaac's 'sentence' as it is, and as he wishes to take it, I simply cannot see how the thing can work grammatically. Can Isaac or anyone else provide any parallel examples (even one would help)?

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:20 pm

Hi Frank Sinatra,

John W. wrote:I know I've had more farewells than Frank Sinatra on this thread, but having read some recent posts I wanted to comment on one point.

As I understand it, Isaac is taking verse 1 as a complete sentence, as follows:

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

Apart from other issues which are under discussion (notably the masculine/neuter aspect in relation to λόγος), I am still very concerned about the structure of the proposed sentence. There seems no grammatical connection between [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς and what precedes it.

For example, at Acts 17.23 we have:

οὖν ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε, τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν.

which the Authorised Version translates:

'Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.'

In this sentence, the main clause - τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν - is not complete in itself, but is only intelligible by reference to the relative clause. As far as I am aware, this is the normal pattern in cases where the relative clause precedes the main clause; for example, see Thucydides 6.89.6:

καὶ ὅπερ ἐδέξατό τις, τοῦτο ξυνδιασῴζειν, ...

Here again, the main clause is intelligible only in relation to the preceding relative clause.

However, in Isaac's proposed sentence in 1 John 1.1, the main clause - [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς - is complete in itself, and does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses. So, in Isaac's version, on what verb do the relative clauses depend? It can't be the hypothetical γράφω, since on Isaac's reckoning that is not taking a direct object in this sentence, but rather governs περὶ. In any case, since Isaac is saying that the relative pronouns denote the Word, you could hardly have the latter as the direct object of γράφω.




What exactly is that (bold above) supposed to mean ? How can you say "the main clause does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses" ? --

ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.





As far as I can see, Isaac's structure would work if the relative pronouns denoted what was being written about the Word,[/b] since I think γράφω + (acc. of what is written) + (περὶ + gen. of whom/what it is written about) would probably be acceptable, but Isaac is rejecting that. To get what he wants, one would need something like:

Ο ΗΝ ΑΠ᾽ ΑΡΧΗΣ, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν, τοῦτο καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν ...

However, given Isaac's 'sentence' as it is, and as he wishes to take it, I simply cannot see how the thing can work grammatically. Can Isaac or anyone else provide any parallel examples (even one would help)?

Best wishes,

John


If you think that, then you have not grasped the grammar of the sentence at all..
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:46 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:What exactly is that (bold above) supposed to mean ? Look at the following sentence:

εἶπαν οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι Τεσσεράκοντα καὶ ἓξ ἔτεσιν οἰκοδομήθη ὁ ναὸς οὗτος, καὶ σὺ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ἐγερεῖς αὐτόν;ἐκεῖνος δὲ ἔλεγεν περὶ τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ.


Don't you see the parallel here with what I'm doing at 1 John 1:1 ? You seem to be in desperation mode right now.



Isaac - I'm sorry to have to say this, but is it really necessary for you to pepper all your posts with comments like: 'You seem to be in desperation mode right now'? Ever since I've been on this thread, you've liberally insulted your fellow posters at every opportunity, calling them 'disingenuous', alleging they have 'much fear', and generally impugning their motives. Take a look at the rest of the forum - no one consistently behaves in this way except you.

I came on this thread to discuss with you (as I thought you would want) an interesting passage of Greek in a friendly manner. In fact, it appears you have zero interest in listening to anyone's views but your own. If anyone disagrees with you, you seem to take it as a personal affront; while, since of course your view is the only one which could possibly be true, anyone who differs must be motivated by fear, desperation, or sectarian hatred. It does make one wonder why you bothered to start this thread in the first place.

You really are doing yourself no favours, and your constant snide remarks add absolutely nothing to the discussion. In fact, the only person on whom they actually reflect is yourself.

That said (and I'm sorry, but I think it did need saying), and turning to your specific comment above, the example you give bears no relation to the present passage; most importantly, it contains no relative pronoun (if you're thinking of ἐκεῖνος, that's a demonstrative), the relationship between which and the main clause was the whole point of my post.

If you genuinely want to discuss these points in a courteous, open-minded and constructive manner, then I (and no doubt others) would be happy to do so - but that choice can only be yours. It really doesn't have to degenerate into Isaac v. the world, even though that seems how you are determined to see it.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:48 pm

John W. wrote:
Isaac Newton wrote:What exactly is that (bold above) supposed to mean ? Look at the following sentence:

εἶπαν οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι Τεσσεράκοντα καὶ ἓξ ἔτεσιν οἰκοδομήθη ὁ ναὸς οὗτος, καὶ σὺ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ἐγερεῖς αὐτόν;ἐκεῖνος δὲ ἔλεγεν περὶ τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ.


Don't you see the parallel here with what I'm doing at 1 John 1:1 ? You seem to be in desperation mode right now.



Isaac - I'm sorry to have to say this, but is it really necessary for you to pepper all your posts with comments like: 'You seem to be in desperation mode right now'? Ever since I've been on this thread, you've liberally insulted your fellow posters at every opportunity, calling them 'disingenuous', alleging they have 'much fear', and generally impugning their motives. Take a look at the rest of the forum - no one consistently behaves in this way except you.

I came on this thread to discuss with you (as I thought you would want) an interesting passage of Greek in a friendly manner. In fact, it appears you have zero interest in listening to anyone's views but your own. If anyone disagrees with you, you seem to take it as a personal affront; while, since of course your view is the only one which could possibly be true, anyone who differs must be motivated by fear, desperation, or sectarian hatred. It does make one wonder why you bothered to start this thread in the first place.

You really are doing yourself no favours, and your constant snide remarks add absolutely nothing to the discussion. In fact, the only person on whom they actually reflect is yourself.

That said (and I'm sorry, but I think it did need saying), and turning to your specific comment above, the example you give bears no relation to the present passage; most importantly, it contains no relative pronoun (if you're thinking of ἐκεῖνος, that's a demonstrative), the relationship between which and the main clause was the whole point of my post.

If you genuinely want to discuss these points in a courteous, open-minded and constructive manner, then I (and no doubt others) would be happy to do so - but that choice can only be yours. It really doesn't have to degenerate into Isaac v. the world, even though that seems how you are determined to see it.

Best wishes,

John


Would you please re-read my post and answer the question I asked you?
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:41 pm

I am not quite sure what exact problem John W (aka Frank Sinatra :D [this is a joke by the way, just to lighten things up a bit]) has with the following:

ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.


Maybe he thinks the "main clause does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses" because he's reading it like an English sentence ? As everyone with elementary koine skills knows, word order is much more flexible in Koine, so the above is the same as saying the following:

[γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν


In the peace of God who is the Father, who is in heaven.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jaihare » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:15 am

Isaac Newton wrote:Hi Frank Sinatra

Isaac Newton wrote:John W (aka Frank Sinatra :D [this is a joke by the way, just to lighten things up a bit])

What's the joke here? Why do you find this funny?
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:11 am

Hi, Jason. To be fair to Isaac, I was the one who first used a reference to Frank Sinatra (see my post at the top of this page), and I've certainly no objection to things being lightened up a little - goodness knows, they could do with it on this thread :).

Isaac - with regard to your question, I assume you mean this bit (as you edited other bits of your previous post later on):

'What exactly is that (bold above) supposed to mean ? How can you say "the main clause does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses"? --

ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.'

What I meant by this was that the statement '[I am writing] about the Word of Life' (or, in your version, 'the Word, the Life') makes complete sense in its own right; if you read it you wouldn't go looking for a relative clause to complete the sense. In contrast, in the other examples of pre-placed relative clauses which I cited (from Acts and Thucydides) the main clause does not make sense if read on its own. In the Acts example, for instance, 'him declare I unto you' leaves one asking 'who is "him"?'; you only get the complete sense when you add in the preceding relative clause ('Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship'). As I said, in my experience, this is how pre-placed relative clauses function; in your proposed sentence for verse 1, however, it is not.

You have said that in koine word order is more flexible. I'm really a Classicist, and I certainly don't necessarily discount what you say on this point, though it would be helpful to have input from some other koine students as to whether they too think it is flexible enough to accommodate the word order of your proposed sentence, especially when the main verb has to be guessed at by the reader. I would also point out that in verse 3 we have ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, which precisely follows the word order I am saying we would expect in verse 1, with ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν only making sense by reference to the preceding relative clause; and if John is following that word order in verse 3, it's unclear to me why he would have done something completely different - especially with a relative clause which includes some of the same wording (ὃ ἑωράκαμεν and ἀκηκόαμεν) - only two verses earlier.

Best wishes,

John
Last edited by John W. on Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:39 am

Isaac Newton wrote:If you think that, then you have not grasped the grammar of the sentence at all..


Isaac - you have said on this thread that verse 1 is simple, and have described your view as 'the only real possibility here'. Yet this is what one of your principal sources (Bateman, as quoted by you on p. 3 of this thread) says of your interpretation of the opening pronoun:

'This view is not impossible (W 336-45), but it remains an awkward grammatical construction (HJS, 21-22).'

Partly by setting the opening words in bold, you've represented this as meaning that this interpretation is 'a distinct possibility' (an expression which suggests a degree of support almost amounting to endorsement as probability), but clearly, in view of the remainder of the sentence, that isn't what Bateman is saying at all. He concedes the possibility of this view, but immediately qualifies this by saying 'it remains an awkward grammatical construction' (the bit you didn't set in bold).

Now evidently Bateman doesn't think this passage easy, or the Greek simple (has any reputable scholar ever thought so?); nor does he regard yours as the only option. In fact, at the end of the full passage you quoted, he plumps for a different option, viz. that the pronoun refers to 'the person, words, and deeds of Jesus'.

It's one thing (and perfectly fair) to have a preferred option, as you clearly (to say the least :)) do; it's quite another to rule out categorically any scope whatsoever for a different interpretation.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Markos » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:13 pm

John W. wrote:You have said that in koine word order is more flexible. I'm really a Classicist, and I certainly don't necessarily discount what you say on this point, though it would be helpful to have input from some other koine students as to whether they too think it is flexible enough to accommodate the word order of your proposed sentence, especially when the main verb has to be guessed at by the reader.

Hi, John. Did Isaac say that Koine word order was more flexible than English, or than Attic? My sense, which comes from reading dozens of texts in both dialects, is that word order is less flexible in Koine than in Classical authors. John in particular tends to use a more standard, logical word order, closer to what you would find in Hebrew or English than in Attic. But I couldn't find Isaac's actual quote.
Isaac Newton wrote:[I am writing] about the Word, the Life, which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and [which] our hands have touched.

No, no special appeal to Koine would make one rearrange the sentence into this bizarre word order. Koine or otherwise, the ὃ's cry out for a main verb, and you get that with ἀπαγγέλομεν in verse 3. I know I am just repeating what everyone else on this thread besides Isaac has said over and over again, but I find no other way of advancing the discussion.
Isaac Newton wrote:In this thread, I've observed appeals to authority (especially to Wallace), to numbers, to ad hominems , to passion and to force of will, but not to real grammar.(emphasis added.

Isaac, in other fields, an appeal to numbers may indeed be fallacious, but when it comes to language, it IS numbers that determine what something means, NOT "grammar." "Grammar" is simply codification of actual usage (numbers) and even under the best circumstances, the grammarian falsifies as much as he clarifies. New Testament exegesis (recently defined by one wag as an attempt to derive meaning from a language which one does not control) is plagued by people who rely on grammar rather than a fluent mastery of the language. If I want to determine what a Greek text means, I do NOT run to the grammars or even the commentators, many of whom do not really control the language, but rather to fluent native speakers. We don't have fluent native speakers, but Textkit is lucky to have people like John and Michael and William (and maybe even Markos :D) who have read a lot of Greek. We have an intuitive sense for what a text means. These "numbers" are actually our best evidence, not "real grammar."

Think about it in English. An NBA owner recently said that he did like his girlfriend bringing black people to his basketball games. Now, there is some doubt about exactly what he meant, and I was curious to hear the whole quote to see what he meant. I you-tubed it and it struck me a pretty racist, but, just to be sure, I asked a few friends to listen to it as well. We all pretty much agreed on what it meant. What I did NOT do, was look anything up in an English grammar book.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:02 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:I am not quite sure what exact problem John W (aka Frank Sinatra :D [this is a joke by the way, just to lighten things up a bit]) has with the following:

ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.


Maybe he thinks the "main clause does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses" because he's reading it like an English sentence ? As everyone with elementary koine skills knows, word order is much more flexible in Koine, so the above is the same as saying the following:

[γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν


Hi, Markos. Above is the relevant quote from Isaac. I thought he meant 'more flexible than in Attic', but on rereading it I think he may have meant 'more flexible than in English'. I would agree with the latter to the extent that (as I said earlier) Greek, as an inflected language, can do things with word order which are difficult to replicate in an English translation, but I don't think this affects my assessment of (what seems to me) the extreme difficulty of extracting the sense Isaac wants from the actual word order of verse 1.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Andrew Chapman » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:11 pm

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς–

2καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν–

3ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν, ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν,

It strikes me that the second of the relative clauses in verse 1 has an easier fit, as it were, with περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς than the others do. In other words:

ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς makes sense as a relative clause. In English, we can say:

What we heard about the word of life..

whereas we can't say 'What was from the beginning about the word of life'

nor even:

'what we saw about the word of life' etc.

I checked this out re ἀκούω and sure enough ἀκούω τι περί τινος does occur:

Τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ; [Luke 16.2, also 9.9; cf 7.3]

So, personally at least, when I hit περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς I relate it back to ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν more than the other relative clauses, because it fits with it .. and then this is one of the verbs that is repeated in verse 3. What we heard (and saw) about the word of life.. what we saw and heard, we announce to you.

Andrew
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:07 pm

John W. wrote:Hi, Jason. To be fair to Isaac, I was the one who first used a reference to Frank Sinatra (see my post at the top of this page), and I've certainly no objection to things being lightened up a little - goodness knows, they could do with it on this thread :).

Isaac - with regard to your question, I assume you mean this bit (as you edited other bits of your previous post later on):

'What exactly is that (bold above) supposed to mean ? How can you say "the main clause does not depend for intelligibility on the preceding relative clauses"? --

ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.'

What I meant by this was that the statement '[I am writing] about the Word of Life' (or, in your version, 'the Word, the Life') makes complete sense in its own right; if you read it you wouldn't go looking for a relative clause to complete the sense. In contrast, in the other examples of pre-placed relative clauses which I cited (from Acts and Thucydides) the main clause does not make sense if read on its own. In the Acts example, for instance, 'him declare I unto you' leaves one asking 'who is "him"?'; you only get the complete sense when you add in the preceding relative clause ('Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship'). As I said, in my experience, this is how pre-placed relative clauses function; in your proposed sentence for verse 1, however, it is not.

You have said that in koine word order is more flexible. I'm really a Classicist, and I certainly don't necessarily discount what you say on this point, though it would be helpful to have input from some other koine students as to whether they too think it is flexible enough to accommodate the word order of your proposed sentence, especially when the main verb has to be guessed at by the reader. I would also point out that in verse 3 we have ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν, which precisely follows the word order I am saying we would expect in verse 1, with ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν only making sense by reference to the preceding relative clause; and if John is following that word order in verse 3, it's unclear to me why he would have done something completely different - especially with a relative clause which includes some of the same wording (ὃ ἑωράκαμεν and ἀκηκόαμεν) - only two verses earlier.

Best wishes,

John


But this is irrelevant . And beyond that, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς does indeed cry out for a relative pronoun, arguably even more so that your examples ( from Acts and Thucydides) especially so on account of there being an implied verbal idea ( γράφω /γράφομεν / λέγω ) so that the phrase περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς is looking to complete a thought begun.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:21 pm

Markos wrote:Isaac, in other fields, an appeal to numbers may indeed be fallacious, but when it comes to language, it IS numbers that determine what something means, NOT "grammar." "Grammar" is simply codification of actual usage (numbers) and even under the best circumstances, the grammarian falsifies as much as he clarifies. New Testament exegesis (recently defined by one wag as an attempt to derive meaning from a language which one does not control) is plagued by people who rely on grammar rather than a fluent mastery of the language. If I want to determine what a Greek text means, I do NOT run to the grammars or even the commentators, many of whom do not really control the language, but rather to fluent native speakers. We don't have fluent native speakers, but Textkit is lucky to have people like John and Michael and William (and maybe even Markos :D) who have read a lot of Greek. We have an intuitive sense for what a text means. These "numbers" are actually our best evidence, not "real grammar."

Think about it in English. An NBA owner recently said that he did like his girlfriend bringing black people to his basketball games. Now, there is some doubt about exactly what he meant, and I was curious to hear the whole quote to see what he meant. I you-tubed it and it struck me a pretty racist, but, just to be sure, I asked a few friends to listen to it as well. We all pretty much agreed on what it meant. What I did NOT do, was look anything up in an English grammar book.


I cannot fully agree with bold above , for grammar (especially in written language) is always paramount, but I do agree than any grammatical sentence must get it's context and sense from an appeal to the numbers, the correct numbers. Notice I said "correct" numbers because the statement at 1 John 1:1 would have to appeal to the 1st century Koine readership. But you're trying to make an argument from the consensus of 21st century English readers , from people 2000 years removed from the idiom, quirks and general tendencies of that language, from those who don't even properly read Koine (let alone converse in it at a child's level) with a distinct (and occasionally a rabid) "Deity of Jesus" bent.

It must also be born in mind that are no "experts" when it comes to the Koine.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Markos » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:14 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:But you're trying to make an argument from the consensus of 21st century English readers , from people 2000 years removed from the idiom, quirks and general tendencies of that language, from those who don't even properly read Koine (let alone converse in it at a child's level) with a distinct (and occasionally a rabid) "Deity of Jesus" bent.

ἆρα λέγεις ὅτι σὺ λαλεῖς Ἑλληνιστὶ μεὶζον ἢ ἐγώ? εἰ νομίζεις ούτως, γράφε μοι ὧδε. οἱ φίλοι κρινοῦσι τἰς ὁ μεῖζων σὐγγραφεὺς, ἐγὼ ἢ σύ. δύναμαι δέ ποιῆσαι ἠχωγραφήν ἐν ῇ λαλῶ ταχέως ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς μου. ἆρα σύ δύνασαι οὧτως ποιεῖν? εἰ σὐ δύνασαι λαλεῖν Ἑλληνιστι, δεῖξον ἡμῖν, παρακαλῶ.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:20 am

I would like everyone to spare a few minutes to read the following entitled Greek Professors: Do They Know Greek?
http://danielstreett.com/2011/09/12/gre ... gogy-pt-3/



In this post, I want to ask, what level of proficiency in Greek have most Greek professors reached themselves?



A Test for Greek Professors

In November, 2008, I presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society on teaching Greek communicatively. As an experiment, I began my presentation by passing out a quiz for attendees to take. I’m guessing it was the first time that had ever happened! Attendance was pretty good–around 30 audience members. Here’s the quiz. See how you can do


Write the Greek word/phrase for the following common English words or phrases:
1. Yes ______________
2. Chair or Seat ______________
3. Ball ______________
4. Cat ______________
5. Monkey ______________
6. Nine ______________
7. Red ______________
8. Cold ______________
9. Nose ______________
10. To jump ______________
Bonus: “Hello, how are you?” “Goodbye!”___________________



The Results

What? Not so hot? Don’t feel too bad; you’re not alone. Now, keep in mind that most of those who attend ETS are faculty at colleges or seminaries. There are also a large number of doctoral students, and a smattering of other graduate students. And, only people who currently teach Greek or hope to teach Greek would want to attend a paper on Greek pedagogy. So, my audience was made up of mostly Greek professors and doctoral-level students who had probably taken, on average, 4-7 years of Greek by now and some of whom had been teaching Greek for 20-30 years by now.

After the audience had finished, I collected their quizzes. The average “grade” was 0.4 out 10 correct. Most testees could not answer any of the questions correctly, although they tried. The highest grade was 2 out of 10. Now, this audience included many scholars who had written best selling Greek textbooks and grammars. Of course, I won’t name names!Analysis

So, let’s analyze the quiz and results. First, the quiz. All of these words are the kind of items that you would encounter in the first week of an ESL/EFL class: numbers, colors, animals, weather, basic actions, question/answer words, conversational openers and closers, etc. If you have ever taken Spanish, French or another modern language, you could probably give answers to many of the quiz questions in those languages.

Now, the results: out of all the audience, two or three were able to write the word for “yes,” a couple got the word for “nine,” one got a semi-correct answer on “chair” (he put θρόνος, while I think καθέδρα would be the default), and one got pretty close on “Hello” (putting χαίρειν, the literary greeting, instead of χαῖρε, the more common spoken salutation). You can see the correct answers at the bottom of the post.

What would you think of a German professor who couldn’t count to ten in his language? A French professor who did not know “bonjour” or “au revoir?” A Spanish professor who didn’t know rojo or el gato?

Greek Professors Admit: They Don’t Know Greek!

I can hear the howls of protest: “Some of these words on your quiz don’t even appear in the Bible!” Ah, so you only care to know the tiny slice of the Greek language that appears in the Bible? Every 4-year old Greek child would score 10/10+the bonus on this quiz. Is it too much to ask those who teach Greek for a living to strive for the vocabulary of a 4-year old? BTW, of the 10 items, only 1 does not appear in the Bible (ball), though 2 items only appear once (monkey in 2 Chron 9:21, cat only in Ep.Jer. 1:21). The rest are not rare at all. And in terms of wider Greek literature, ball, monkey and cat are not rare. Here are the word counts from the TLG: σφαῖρα – 6157x, πίθηκος – 766x, αἴλουρος – 356x. That’s not counting all the compound words where they would make up a part of the word.

But, if you are still skeptical, let me relate to you the nearly universal response that I receive from Greek professors when I advocate for a communicative method. Many are very receptive to, even enthusiastic about, the possibilities in such a method. But, without exception, I hear from them: “I simply don’t know Greek well enough to teach it this way!” “I could never carry on a whole class in Greek!” And so on.

Give these profs credit. At least they’re being honest and open about the problem. We Greek profs can parse ‘till the cows come home. We’re experts at filling out paradigm charts. We love to explain the historical role of the digamma in irregular verbs. We can nerd on an on about proclitics and enclitics (ok, maybe not, but you get my point ). What we lack is simple proficiency in Greek.

Perhaps you still think the emperor has clothes. Perhaps you think knowledge of basic vocabulary, or the bare minimum of communicative competency is too much to ask. “We are trained to read Greek, not speak it or compose in it!” you say. Very well: How many Greek professors can read Josephus, Plutarch, or Λόγγος for pleasure (οὔπω ἐγώ)? How many can read Aesop’s fables without constant resort to the lexicon (see, for example this one, which uses one of our quiz items!)? The sad answer: οὐ πολλοί. Could the reason be that they, too, were trained in the “chop, analyze and translate” school of Greek? I think so.

And, admitting the problem is the first step to finding a solution . . .
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Markos » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:36 am

παλαὶ ἀνέγνων ταύτην τὴν γραφὴν παρὰ Δανιηλ Στρειτ. ἐδυνήθην δ' ἀκριβῶς ἀπεκρίνεσθαι πάντα τὰ ἐρωτήματα. καὶ σύ?
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jeidsath » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:42 am

τίς ἐστίν οὗτος ἀνήρ Mark Lightman; ἔφε "I just took your quiz. I got them all right." νῦν βοήσωμεν εἰς αὖτον.

http://danielstreett.com/2011/09/12/greek-professors-do-they-know-greek-basics-of-greek-pedagogy-pt-3/#comment-72
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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κλέπτε νόῳ, ἐπεὶ οὐ παρελεύσεαι οὐδέ με πείσεις.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:20 am

Isaac Newton wrote: But this is irrelevant . And beyond that, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς does indeed cry out for a relative pronoun, arguably even more so that your examples ( from Acts and Thucydides) especially so on account of there being an implied verbal idea ( γράφω /γράφομεν / λέγω ) so that the phrase περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς is looking to complete a thought begun.


I'm sorry, Isaac, but I don't think it is irrelevant. Let me put it another way. I gave you three examples (one from Thucydides, one from Acts and one from a couple of lines later in this very epistle) of how, in my experience, pre-placed relative clauses work in Greek; in all three cases, the relative clauses supply the direct object of the main clause. But in the sentence you are making out of verse 1, the relative clause doesn't supply the direct object of the main clause, since there isn't one; nor does it give even the indirect object (which is supplied by the words περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς in the main clause itself).

I've asked you for just one other example (which could be either from the NT or another Greek text) of the sort of construction you envisage for your sentence, but so far you haven't provided one. Since - as even your source Bateman says - your option involves 'an awkward grammatical construction', it would be helpful if you could back it up with a parallel.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:05 am

Another point has started to worry me re verse 1:

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν ...

In Greek ἀκούω normally takes the genitive of the person from whom something is heard, and the accusative of the information heard. ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν here would be fine if it goes with περὶ etc. ('what we have heard concerning...'), but I'm not at all sure whether it can be applied to a person.

This may cut across the masculine/neuter, Trinitarian/Unitarian business which keeps popping up on here (generally with malign consequences). I haven't (yet) engaged with all that, and certainly don't pretend to understand it, or how the different interpretations of this passage bear upon it. But be that as it may, I still doubt whether the accusative here can be squared with Isaac's take on the sentence.

Does anyone have a NT equivalent of Betant's Lexicon Thucydideum, which might help us ascertain whether ἀκούω ever takes an accusative of person in the NT? In Classical Greek the only time it does that I can think of is when it is accompanied by a participle, in the sense 'I heard that person X did something'.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Andrew Chapman » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:09 am

John W. wrote:For example, at Acts 17.23 we have:

οὖν ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε, τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν.

which the Authorised Version translates:

'Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.'

In this sentence, the main clause - τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν - is not complete in itself, but is only intelligible by reference to the relative clause. As far as I am aware, this is the normal pattern in cases where the relative clause precedes the main clause; for example, see Thucydides 6.89.6:

καὶ ὅπερ ἐδέξατό τις, τοῦτο ξυνδιασῴζειν, ...

Here again, the main clause is intelligible only in relation to the preceding relative clause.

Hi, I was interested in this pattern with a demonstrative pronoun functioning as what I think may still be called the antecedent in a main clause which follows the relative clause. (If the clauses were reversed in order, it would still make sense and mean much the same thing, I think:

καταγγελλω τουτο, ο ευσεβειτε)

I just came across these two examples in Galatians, one with and one without the demonstrative pronoun in the main clause:

εἰ γὰρ ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ, παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω. [Galatians 2.18]

(The 'main clause' is contained within the protasis of a conditional sentence, but I don't think that makes any difference.)

Which things I destroyed, these things I build again.

ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.. [Galatians 2.20]

In this case, the main clause could stand on its own, as you put it - 'I live by faith in the Son of God'. But perhaps this is a peculiarity of ζαω, because it can stand without an object.

Andrew
Last edited by Andrew Chapman on Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:29 am

John W. wrote:
Isaac Newton wrote: But this is irrelevant . And beyond that, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς does indeed cry out for a relative pronoun, arguably even more so that your examples ( from Acts and Thucydides) especially so on account of there being an implied verbal idea ( γράφω /γράφομεν / λέγω ) so that the phrase περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς is looking to complete a thought begun.


I'm sorry, Isaac, but I don't think it is irrelevant. Let me put it another way. I gave you three examples (one from Thucydides, one from Acts and one from a couple of lines later in this very epistle) of how, in my experience, pre-placed relative clauses work in Greek; in all three cases, the relative clauses supply the direct object of the main clause. But in the sentence you are making out of verse 1, the relative clause doesn't supply the direct object of the main clause, since there isn't one; nor does it give even the indirect object (which is supplied by the words περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς in the main clause itself).

I've asked you for just one other example (which could be either from the NT or another Greek text) of the sort of construction you envisage for your sentence, but so far you haven't provided one. Since - as even your source Bateman says - your option involves 'an awkward grammatical construction', it would be helpful if you could back it up with a parallel.

Best wishes,

John


O.k., we'll just have to agree to dis-agree..
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:52 am

Isaac Newton wrote: O.k., we'll just have to agree to dis-agree..


Fair enough, Isaac, and thanks - but I've not yet read Andrew's post above, and so if that leads me to revise my opinion on the 'relative clause' issue, I'll let you know. That still leaves the problem of ἀκούω + accusative in verse 1 - I don't know if you (or anyone else) can help with that.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote: Hi, I was interested in this pattern with a demonstrative pronoun functioning as what I think may still be called the antecedent in a main clause which follows the relative clause. (If the clauses were reversed in order, it would still make sense and mean much the same thing, I think:

καταγγελλω τουτο, ο ευσεβειτε)

I just came across these two examples in Galatians, one with and one without the demonstrative pronoun in the main clause:

εἰ γὰρ ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ, παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω.

(The 'main clause' is contained within the protasis of a conditional sentence, but I don't think that makes any difference.)

Which things I destroyed, these things I build again.

ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ..

In this case, the main clause could stand on its own, as you put it - 'I live by faith in the Son of God'. But perhaps this is a peculiarity of ζαω, because it can stand without an object.

Andrew


Hi, Andrew, and many thanks for your comments.

In my previous posts I perhaps overemphasised the importance of the demonstrative pronoun in the main clause; as your second example from Galatians shows, the demostrative is sometimes understood. Cf. also Pilate's memorably trenchant comment in John 19.22 - Ὃ γέγραφα γέγραφα. Here, it seems to me, the demonstrative is omitted to enhance the rhetorical effect.

Whether the demonstrative is present or only implied, the key point of course is that, in all these examples, the preceding relative clause furnishes the object of the main clause.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:16 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:I would like everyone to spare a few minutes to read the following entitled Greek Professors: Do They Know Greek?
http://danielstreett.com/2011/09/12/gre ... gogy-pt-3/

That's a nice quiz. I got 8/10, plus I didn't remember "how are you?". I didn't know "monkey", and for "cat" I only remembered the word γαλῆ, which for some reason new Loeb editions of Aristophanes translate "cat", but I think the word really means "weasel". I'm not sure there were cats in the Greek world in the Classical period, though there certainly was later on with the conquest of Egypt. My word for "jump" was ἄλλομαι, but I suppose it's acceptable, not poetic or anything?

I have a complaint with "yes". Although technically ναί is the closest equivalent, I think in actual Greek you would typically repeat the emphasized word of the question, so that the reply "yes" to ἆρα τούτο οἶσθα; would be οἶδα.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Andrew Chapman » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:57 pm

John W. wrote:Whether the demonstrative is present or only implied, the key point of course is that, in all these examples, the preceding relative clause furnishes the object of the main clause.


Hi John,

In your examples, and mine from Galatians, the relative pronoun and its antecedent stand as the object in both clauses. But with the first clause of 1 John 1.1, the relative pronoun is the subject of the first clause. I feel this makes a difference, but I can't put my finger on why.

Let's take a minimal Isaac-type reading, for sake of argument, with just the first relative clause, first with normal word order, and also give it a masculine relative pronoun:

γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, ὃς ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς.

I stand to be corrected, but I think that is OK.

Then change the word order:

ὃς ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

That no longer seems like Greek to me, do you agree? Since all I have done is change the word order, this must be a word order issue, I would have thought.

Andrew
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:40 pm

Hi, Andrew.

In the first clause of 1 John 1.1, I would say that the thing denoted by the relative pronoun is the subject of its own clause there, but also becomes the object (with a demonstrative understood - cf. our earlier exchanges) of the main verb, which I (and you?) would say was ἀπαγγέλλομεν. To offer a crude English example:

'What was on my plate, [that] I ate.'

I agree with you about

ὃς ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

Try as I might, I can't recognise this as acceptable Greek word order - the two clauses just don't cohere, or 'work' in the same way as all the other examples we've looked at so far. Such an order could in my view only work if the relative was neuter, and denoted what one was writing about the Word.

Best wishes,

John
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Andrew Chapman » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:25 pm

John W. wrote:the main verb, which I (and you?) would say was ἀπαγγέλλομεν.

Absolutely, it's completely obvious to me from a common sense point of view, but I have developed an interest in it from what I suppose is a sort of theoretical viewpoint - I guess I am quite interested in how things work, as well as the fact that they do.

Actually, I was half-thinking that τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς was an object in Isaac's scheme. 'I am writing about the word of life' - is 'the word of life' an object of the verb? Now that I think about it, I am inclined to think that περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς might be an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying [γραφω] which is then intransitive. In which case, I think I now understand your point about the object more clearly. Is that what you are saying, that the main clause doesn't have an object in Isaac's scheme? Thanks,

Andrew
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:18 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:
John W. wrote:the main verb, which I (and you?) would say was ἀπαγγέλλομεν.

Absolutely, it's completely obvious to me from a common sense point of view, but I have developed an interest in it from what I suppose is a sort of theoretical viewpoint - I guess I am quite interested in how things work, as well as the fact that they do.

Actually, I was half-thinking that τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς was an object in Isaac's scheme. 'I am writing about the word of life' - is 'the word of life' an object of the verb? Now that I think about it, I am inclined to think that περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς might be an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying [γραφω] which is then intransitive. In which case, I think I now understand your point about the object more clearly. Is that what you are saying, that the main clause doesn't have an object in Isaac's scheme? Thanks,

Andrew


Of course it is , though in my "scheme" the genitive word τῆς ζωῆς is functioning in an epexegetical way to the preceding λόγου. I'm not averse to the way you have it however.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:06 am

John W. wrote:Hi, Andrew.

In the first clause of 1 John 1.1, I would say that the thing denoted by the relative pronoun is the subject of its own clause there, but also becomes the object (with a demonstrative understood - cf. our earlier exchanges) of the main verb, which I (and you?) would say was ἀπαγγέλλομεν. To offer a crude English example:

'What was on my plate, [that] I ate.'

I agree with you about

ὃς ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

Try as I might, I can't recognise this as acceptable Greek word order - the two clauses just don't cohere, or 'work' in the same way as all the other examples we've looked at so far. Such an order could in my view only work if the relative was neuter, and denoted what one was writing about the Word.

Best wishes,

John


There is no difference between saying Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς and saying [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς. Both can be translated into English as follows:

"[I'm writing] concerning the Word, that is, the Life which was from the beginning."

You have a problem with the former because that sort of word order would not be acceptable in English. Stop reading it like an English sentence.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jaihare » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:30 am

Isaac Newton wrote:
John W. wrote:Hi, Andrew.

In the first clause of 1 John 1.1, I would say that the thing denoted by the relative pronoun is the subject of its own clause there, but also becomes the object (with a demonstrative understood - cf. our earlier exchanges) of the main verb, which I (and you?) would say was ἀπαγγέλλομεν. To offer a crude English example:

'What was on my plate, [that] I ate.'

I agree with you about

ὃς ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς, γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς.

Try as I might, I can't recognise this as acceptable Greek word order - the two clauses just don't cohere, or 'work' in the same way as all the other examples we've looked at so far. Such an order could in my view only work if the relative was neuter, and denoted what one was writing about the Word.

Best wishes,

John


There is no difference between saying Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς and saying [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς. Both can be translated into English as follows:

"[I'm writing] concerning the Word, that is, the Life which was from the beginning."

You have a problem with the former because that sort of word order would not be acceptable in English. Stop reading it like an English sentence.

Actually, you're smoothing over the problems of your proposed text by translating it into English. If you would quit reading it as English, then you might be able to see why everyone else has a problem with what you're proposing.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:16 am

jaihare wrote:Actually, you're smoothing over the problems of your proposed text by translating it into English.


Explain.

If you would quit reading it as English, then you might be able to see why everyone else has a problem with what you're proposing.


Other than an appeal to numbers (3 or 4 people) , you literally didn't contribute anything of substance unfortunately.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jaihare » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:26 am

Isaac Newton wrote:Other than an appeal to numbers (3 or 4 people) , you literally didn't contribute anything of substance unfortunately.

Just more aggression in your posts.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:36 am

What does the koine speaker do when he sees the following sentence ?

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς


Does he process the sentence beginning with Ὃ (which most of you are unfortunately doing) or does he start with γράφω ? That's the first clue.

Remember, this is a highly inflected language and sometimes thinking the sentence in English is the worse thing we can do. People who already speak an inflected language will certainly have an easier time conceptualizing the above sentence. The koine speaker will process the sentence somewhat as follows:

I am writing about the Word, that thing which was from the beginning.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jaihare » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:50 am

Isaac Newton wrote:What does the koine speaker do when he sees the following sentence ?

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς


Does he process the sentence beginning with Ὃ (which most of you are unfortunately doing) or does he start with γράφω ? That's the first clue.

Remember, this is a highly inflected language and sometimes thinking the sentence in English is the worse thing we can do. People who already speak an inflected language will certainly have an easier time conceptualizing the above sentence. The koine speaker will process the sentence somewhat as follows:

I am writing about the Word, that thing which was from the beginning.

As I now see all the time on Facebook: SMH ("shaking my head"). It's just stunning.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:55 am

Sorry for intruding, but can someone tell me where the supplied [γράφω] comes from ? I've read the post for quite some time but can't remember when it became part of the discussion...
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby jaihare » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:07 am

Shenoute wrote:Sorry for intruding, but can someone tell me where the supplied [γράφω] comes from ? I've read the post for quite some time but can't remember when it became part of the discussion...

In English idiom, we say "thin air." Everyone in the thread is just allowing it for the sake of discussion - because "Isaac Newton" thinks that it belongs in the verse as an omitted assumption. No one else here thinks such a thing.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Andrew Chapman » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:44 am

Isaac Newton wrote:
Andrew Chapman wrote:Actually, I was half-thinking that τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς was an object in Isaac's scheme.[/b][b] 'I am writing about the word of life' - is 'the word of life' an object of the verb?

Of course it is

That's not obvious to me at all. If I say 'I am writing a book about golfing' then 'a book' is the direct object of the verb, and 'about golfing' is an adjectival prepositional phrase.

If I say 'I gave the book to Tim' then 'Tim' is an indirect object, I think. If you look up the subject of objects, the idea seems to be that the object is impacted by the action. Here both the book and Tim are impacted, directly or as it were indirectly. But is golfing impacted by my writing a book about it? If I write a book about nineteenth century philosophy, is that impacted? I don't think so.

That's why I doubt that τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς is an object of the (admittedly invisible) γράφω. But I am an amateur, just looking things up on the internet.

Andrew
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:00 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:Actually, I was half-thinking that τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς was an object in Isaac's scheme. 'I am writing about the word of life' - is 'the word of life' an object of the verb? Now that I think about it, I am inclined to think that περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς might be an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying [γραφω] which is then intransitive. In which case, I think I now understand your point about the object more clearly. Is that what you are saying, that the main clause doesn't have an object in Isaac's scheme? Thanks,

Andrew


Andrew - apologies for the late reply.

I must also apologise to you and others for not making things as clear as I would wish. I'm not a grammarian, and others would be better placed to explain the point more clearly, but I'll give it a go.

Between us we've now built up a sizeable list of pre-placed relative clauses (many more could no doubt be found). The common thread in all of them is that the main clause is grammatically incomplete, in that it lacks an object, which is represented in the main clause solely by a demonstrative pronoun (either actual or implied) referring back to the preceding relative clause, which is where the object actually sits. In consequence, if you just read the main clause on its own in all these cases, you are left asking the question 'who or what is the object?' In the example from Acts 17.23, for instance, the main clause is τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν, which makes no sense on its own - what is τοῦτο? For that you have to go back to the relative clause. All the examples of pre-placed relative clauses we have been enumerating work like this - the relative clause is absolutely essential to complete the grammatical sense of the main clause.

Isasc's proposed sentence for verse 1 is completely different, because the main clause - [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς - does not lack an object, and is a grammatically self-contained statement - '[I am writing] about the Word of Life'. The understood verb governs περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, and the statement is complete in itself; the object does not lie within the relative clause. Thus the feature common to all our other examples - that the object is not within the main clause, but within the relative clause - is absent; this is why I say that there is no grammatical connection between the two halves of Isaac's sentence.

All the examples we have looked at work in the way I have described; not a single example in support of Isaac's contention has so far been adduced.

I hope this clarifies things a bit - but let me know if not!

Best wishes,

John
Last edited by John W. on Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby John W. » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:15 am

Isaac Newton wrote:What does the koine speaker do when he sees the following sentence ?

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς [γράφω] περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς




Actually, Isaac, I think the koine speaker would expect the Ὃ to indicate the object of the forthcoming main clause - just as it does in all the other examples we have been accumulating, e.g. ὃ οὖν ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε, τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν (Acts), Ὃ γέγραφα γέγραφα (John 19.22), ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (Galatians 2.20), etc. - not forgetting, of course, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν just two verses later in this very letter!

Let's just suppose that the hypothetical γράφω actually existed and was present (rather than having to be inferred) in your sentence. If readers saw Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς γράφω ..., wouldn't they really expect - given how common the idiom evidently was, as evidenced by all the examples we have cited - Ὃ to be the object of γράφω? And wouldn't they, in all likelihood, most naturally take your sentence

Ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς γράφω περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς

to mean something like

'I write what has been from the beginning regarding the Word of Life'?


Best wishes,

John
Last edited by John W. on Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inspecting 1 John 1:1

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:18 am

jaihare wrote:
Shenoute wrote:Sorry for intruding, but can someone tell me where the supplied [γράφω] comes from ? I've read the post for quite some time but can't remember when it became part of the discussion...

In English idiom, we say "thin air." Everyone in the thread is just allowing it for the sake of discussion - because "Isaac Newton" thinks that it belongs in the verse as an omitted assumption. No one else here thinks such a thing.

Thanks :D
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