# Thursday, March 24, 2011

I’ve been working on translating the Epistle of Barnabas for my Apostolic Fathers Interlinear. This morning I was in chapter 9, and ran across verses 3–4. The Greek text is that of Lake:

3 καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκουε οὐρανέ, καὶ ἐνωτίζου γῆ, ὅτι κύριος ἐλάλησεν ταῦτα εἰς μαρτύριον.
καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκούσατε λόγον κυρίου, ἄρχοντες τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου.
καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκούσατε, τέκνα, φωνῆς βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. οὐκοῦν περιέτεμεν ἡμῶν τὰς ἀκοάς, ἵνα ἀκούσαντες λόγον πιστεύσωμεν ἡμεῖς.
4 ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ περιτομή, ἐφʼ ᾗ πεποίθασιν, κατήργηται. περιτομὴν γὰρ εἴρηκεν οὐ σαρκὸς γενηθῆναι· ἀλλὰ παρέβησαν, ὅτι ἄγγελος πονηρὸς ἐσόφιζεν αὐτούς.

Here’s my rough translation thus far:

3 And again he says, “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, because the Lord has spoken these things as a testimony.”
And again he says, “Hear the word of the Lord, rulers of the people.”
And again he says, “Hear, O children, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” So then he circumcised our ears so that upon hearing the word, we might believe, 4 but even the circumcision upon which they trust has been abolished. For he declared that circumcision is not of the flesh, but they disobeyed because an evil angel tricked them. (Barn 9.3–4)

This is so interesting on a number of levels. First, some editions vary on the verse break. Lightfoot, Holmes and Kraft begin verse 4 earlier, after the last quotation (after “wilderness”). That leaves the αλλα structure together. But strangely (at least to me) Holmes and Kraft both insert a paragraph break in the middle of their v. 4, before αλλα και. Ehrman has no paragraph break. And Kraft has a section title (for vv. 4b–5) breaking it up as well. This is a section break?

I think that Lake’s v.4 boundary ends up in the middle of a sentence when translating. I think the αλλα και is a hinge, with the part following the αλλα και (“but even”) correcting/replacing what went before, and thus being highlighted. Follow it with me: After some discussion about circumcision and appeal to OT texts (in previous verses as well) we get Barnabas’ conclusion: “He circumcised our ears so that we might believe”. At least, that is what the OT texts would lead you to believe. However, Barnabas tells us that was wrong: “but even the circumcision upon which they trust has been abolished.” That’s the salient bit (forget the part about the evil angel, that’s Barnabas’ own contribution), that circumcision was no longer the coin of the realm. This is followed with a γαρ clause, giving reason for the correction (that they got hoodwinked by an evil angel).

I suppose in the larger scheme of Barnabas 9, one could put a paragraph break here because it is a hinge in the argument. I can see that. But my view of αλλα is such that I think we get more mileage in seeing a tight relation here, with focus on the portion following αλλα και. Barnabas’ point is that circumcision isn’t what they think it is, and this part of the argument is where he sticks it to ‘em. Of the translations I’ve consulted, I think Ehrman is closest; he at least has no paragraph break—but that could be a function of his edition, he rarely if ever has paragraph breaks within chapters.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:13:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, October 29, 2010

Well, not me, but it’s always good to see people reaching similar conclusions.

Thanks to Mike Aubrey and Steve Runge for pointing this out to me, from Bryn Mawr Classical Review:

Turn-initial ἀλλά in Greek drama is the subject of Annemieke Drummen’s paper, who discusses how this particle contributes to discourse cohesion in dialogue. She builds on an article by Basset on the use of ἀλλά in Aristophanes’ Ranae and, on the basis of a larger corpus, concludes that the context plays indeed a major role in attributing a fundamental value to the particle. Turn-initial ἀλλά marks a correction of the preceding words or actions, which can be either an explicitly stated element, a presupposed element, an implication or the discourse topic. Although it does not create relations, ἀλλά makes them explicit, rendering alternative interpretations impossible.

The review is of:

Stéphanie Bakker, Gerry Wakker (ed.), Discourse Cohesion in Ancient Greek. Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philosophy 16.   Leiden/Boston:  Brill, 2009.  Pp. xx, 284.  ISBN 9789004174726.  $138.00.

I’d love to get a copy of the book which sounds excellent, but I’d settle for a peek at the article and the referenced article by Basset.

Post Author: rico
Friday, October 29, 2010 8:02:34 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, June 01, 2010

[Part of my More Non-negative αλλα series]

27 Νῦν ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται,
καὶ τί εἴπω;
πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης;
ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ὥραν ταύτην.

28 πάτερ, δόξασόν σου τὸ ὄνομα. (Jn 12.27-28a, NA27)

27 “Now is my soul troubled.
And what shall I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name.” (Jn 12:27-28a, ESV)

The contrast in the statements preceding and following the αλλα in v. 27 is rather obvious; instead of pleading to the Father to be saved from the hour (the counterpoint), Jesus notes that he has instead come to glorify the Father (the point). The contrast is evident. The Father is in focus, but instead of requesting deliverance from the Father, Jesus is seeking to ascribe glory to the Father. Here there is an interlude of sorts between αλλα and the contrasted item. This interlude (here a “reason-result frame” according to Runge’s LDGNT) uses a cataphoric pronoun to point the reader/hearer forward; the resolution being in v. 28 (in addition to functioning as the point of the counterpoint/point pair). This all serves to make Jesus’ action to glorify the Father much more prominent in the scope of the narrative.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 9:04:39 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, May 20, 2010

[Part of my More Non-negative αλλα series]

41 ἦραν οὖν τὸν λίθον.
ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἦρεν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἄνω καὶ εἶπεν·
   πάτερ, εὐχαριστῶ σοι
      ὅτι ἤκουσάς μου.
42 ἐγὼ δὲ ᾔδειν ὅτι πάντοτέ μου ἀκούεις,
ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον τὸν περιεστῶτα εἶπον,
   ἵνα πιστεύσωσιν
      ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας.
(Jn 11.41-42, NA27)

41 So they took away the stone.
And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said,
   “Father, I thank you
      that you have heard me.
42 • I knew that you always hear me,
but I said this on account of the people standing around,
   that they may believe
      that you sent me.” (Jn 11.41-42, ESV)

The αλλα in verse 42 serves as the hinge of a Counterpoint/Point structure that is the whole of the verse. The contrast is between the Father and those present who hear Jesus. Jesus began his words (the raising of Lazarus) by giving thanks to the Father for hearing him. He explains this by saying he did it for the benefit of those present, not for the benefit of the Father. The aspect of correction or replacement is in the understanding of those present. Jesus did not give thanks to the Father to ensure the Father’s hearing of his request; he instead gave thanks in order that those present, who will witness the miracle, know the source of the miracle.

The whole of verses 41-42 could be skipped, with the call of verse 43 of Lazarus to “come out”, and the Father would have still heard Jesus. But by stopping and attributing the source of the miracle before it happens, those hearing know the source of the miracle as it happens, and can believe. The structure in verse 42 does this, using αλλα and a Counterpoint/Point, to make prominent who is hearing Jesus, and what their response to his words and actions should be.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, May 20, 2010 8:57:33 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, May 10, 2010

[Part of my More Non-negative αλλα series]

Ταῦτα εἶπεν,
καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο λέγει αὐτοῖς·
   Λάζαρος ὁ φίλος ἡμῶν κεκοίμηται·
   ἀλλὰ πορεύομαι ἵνα ἐξυπνίσω αὐτόν. (Jn 11.11, NA27)

After saying these things,
he said to them,
   “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,
   but I go to awaken him.”(Jn 11.11, ESV)

In this instance, the contrast is quite evident; between Lazarus “falling asleep” and Jesus going “to awaken him”. The information that Lazarus had “fallen asleep” was important, but more important to the context is that Jesus was going to change Lazarus’ state from being asleep to being awake.

The disciples don’t quite get it, it seems; they think Jesus is actually talking about sleeping and waking up, and if so, don’t understand what the big deal is. So, bless ‘em, they follow up so that it can be clear for us too:

The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (Jn 11.12-15, ESV)

Jesus has to re-explain himself to say that he means that Lazarus has, in fact, died; and that the reason Jesus is going is to raise Lazarus from the dead. Given this information, the contrast seems even higher (death –> life) as does the aspect of correction/replacement.

Post Author: rico
Monday, May 10, 2010 9:36:06 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, May 04, 2010

[Part of my More Non-negative αλλα series]

25 ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ·
   σὺ τίς εἶ;
εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς·
   τὴν ἀρχὴν ὅ τι καὶ λαλῶ ὑμῖν;

   26 πολλὰ ἔχω περὶ ὑμῶν λαλεῖν καὶ κρίνειν,
   ἀλλʼ ὁ πέμψας με ἀληθής ἐστιν
   κἀγὼ ἃ ἤκουσα παρʼ αὐτοῦ ταῦτα λαλῶ εἰς τὸν κόσμον.
(Jn 8.25-26, NA27)

25 So they said to him,
   “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them,
   “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.[1] 
   26 I have much to say about you and much to judge,
   but he who sent me is true,
   and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” (Jn 8.25-26, ESV)

Several grammars (Porter’s Idioms, Dana and Mantey) list Jn 8.26 as an example of αλλα used with an emphatic sense. Porter writes:

Jn 8.26: ἀλλʼ ὁ πέμψας με ἀληθής ἐστιν (indeed, the one who sent me is true), where the emphatic sense solves the problem of continuity with the first part of the verse: πολλὰ ἔχω περὶ ὑμῶν λαλεῖν καὶ κρίνειν (I have many things to say and judge concerning you); [2]

There is no need to appeal to a separate emphatic sense of αλλα to understand its function in this passage.

First are the words of the Jews that Jesus was in dialogue with. Not willing to accept his words, they appeal to Jesus asking who he is. They are attempting to establish by what authority he speaks, in this way they can dismiss his words by dismissing his authority.

Jesus’ first response is a further question asking if he has been consistent in how he has represented himself to them. After this comes the counterpoint: Jesus states that he has “much to say and judge” concerning them. The statement following αλλα offers both contrast and correction. Jesus clarifies that he did not come on his own, but that he was sent by one who “is true”. Further, the words he brings, including the judgment, are not his own. He is a representative of the one who sent him; the words and judgment are true, and are from the sender. The ESV misses this aspect, a better translation of the apodosis may be “but he who sent me is true, and what I have heard from him, these things I declare to the world.”

The counterpoint-point structure make this information regarding source prominent. The use of αλλα draws out the contrast between the expectations of the Jews and the response of Jesus. The judgment of the Jews brought by Jesus is not from Jesus, it is from the one who sent Jesus.

[1] Note that both NA27 and UBS4 punctuate this statement as a question: “What have I been telling you from the beginning?” NASB follows NA/UBS punctuation; but NET, NIV and RSV do not.

[2] Porter, S. E. (1999). Idioms of the Greek New Testament (205). Sheffield: JSOT

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 8:02:21 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 30, 2010

[Part of my More Non-negative αλλα series]

9 ἔστιν παιδάριον ὧδε
   ὃς ἔχει πέντε ἄρτους κριθίνους καὶ δύο ὀψάρια·
ἀλλὰ ταῦτα τί ἐστιν εἰς τοσούτους;
(Jn 6.9, NA27)

9 “There is a boy here
   who has five barley loaves and two fish,
but what are they for so many?” (Jn 6.9, ESV)

The surrounding context is important for understanding the degree of contrast in this statement. Earlier, the disciples (Philip and Andrew) had established that there was a large, hungry crowd. The crowd size had not been reported at this point, but the amount of food needed to feed the crowd had been: “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little” (Jn 6.7). The crowd is large.

Into this scene comes Andrew bringing report of a boy who has some food with him: Five barley loaves and two fish. The contrast is apparent. The disciples need at least two hundred denarii worth of bread to feed the crowd; they only have the relatively meager amount from the boy. The conclusion is that the available means (five loaves and two fish) cannot meet the available demand (two hundred denarii worth of bread). The apodosis offers correction or replacement in that, according to Andrew, five loaves and two fish is not enough to feed the crowd.

The exchange between Philip and Andrew establishes the lack of available resources to feed the crowd, providing the setting for Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 30, 2010 7:21:00 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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In the process of revising the αλλα paper for potential publication I realized that my original thought was to analyze all non-neg αλλα in the New Testament.

[On publishing the paper: I have ideas on where to submit, but do you have suggestions for me? Let me know the journal(s) you think I should submit to in the comments.]

I made it through Romans (mostly) before concluding it was just too much info for a paper. The paper only had non-negative instances in the synoptics, though. This means I’ve got some preliminary analysis of most non-negative αλλα in John, Acts and Romans. I’m planning on putting that content up as blog posts over the next few weeks.

I also reviewed many more grammars and even lexicons on their treatment of αλλα. I may pop some of that content up here too.

In the past, I’d used the “ETS 2008” tag/category to collect these, in the interest of keeping everything together, I’ll be using that same tag for these additional posts.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 30, 2010 7:13:11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The majority of times one runs into αλλα in the NT (and the Apostolic Fathers, for that matter) it occurs with a negator of some sort. The default case is to negate something in order to highlight that which follows. That is, when we say “not that, but this” we’re typically wanting “this” to be the important bit in the context. There is typically some sort of implicit contrast between “that” and “this” (e.g., dark vs. light, big vs. small, etc.) as well. We bring “that” on the table, then negate it, then say, “no, not really that, but this other thing”. In the vast majority of these instances, the “not that” portion can be completely removed and the clause has no inherent change in meaning. It’s just dull.

Enter Rom 3.31, which ends a section that most are very familiar with:

νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; μὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλὰ νόμον ἱστάνομεν. (Rom 3.31 NA27)
So do we nullify the law through faith? Certainly not! Instead we uphold the law. (Rom 3.31)

Here αλλα is the hinge between nullifying the law and upholding it. So the contrast is between getting rid of something, and having that something remain in force.

Interesting here is how the negation happens. It isn’t a simple negative. We get the Pauline emphatic negation of μὴ γένοιτο or “Certainly not!”. This amps up the rhetoric even more. Talking about abolishing or nullifying the law was serious stuff, but it fit the context where Paul was talking about how the gentiles were justified by faith, not by works of the law. The logical conclusion is that the law is no longer necessary. But Paul anticipates this conclusion, baits his reader/hearer, and then smashes him back down with “Certainly not!” and then, using αλλα makes his contrasting conclusion, that the law is actually being upheld in all of this.

Note that the same exact facts could’ve been communicated with “Therefore we uphold the law.” But that would’ve been boring. Instead Paul not only used a point/counterpoint (cf. Runge’s DGGNT) he also amped up the negation. On top of an already rhetorically heated section.

I just started re-reading Paul after working through the Gospels and Acts. Paul, how I’ve missed you!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 7:58:24 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, August 08, 2009

Here’s the Greek:

5 οὐκ ἔσται ὁ λόγος σου ψευδής, οὐ κενός, ἀλλὰ μεμεστωμένος πράξει.

Here’s my translation [at present]:

5 Your speech should not be false or empty, but filled with action.

The key here for me, given the presence of αλλα, is the contrast between κενός and μεμεστωμένος, which is why I translate the portion following αλλα as “filled with action”. In my view, αλλα marks contrast and also indicates the portion following the αλλα corrects or replaces the portion before it. The above is an instance of correction, what you say should be backed up by what you do.

The basic idea of μεστοω [according to BDAG, anyway], is that the speech/word is “made full” by one’s action. This is where the idea of completed/fulfilled/confirmed comes from. It’s as if one’s actions verify that his words/speech is worthy of being listened to. The idea is almost as if one’s actions verify that one’s speech it true.

Given the innate contrast, it seems better (at least to me) to play off of that contrast by using “filled” to translate μεμεστωμένος and using “with action” to translate πράξει.

Here’s how others I know of translate the verse:

Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action. (Lake)

Thy word shall not be false or empty, but fulfilled by action. (Lightfoot)

Your word must not be false or meaningless, but confirmed by action. (Holmes)

Your word will not be false or empty, but will be fulfilled in action. (Varner, who follows the Greek text of Rordorf & Tuilier’s 1978 edition, which was republished in 1998 as part of Sources Christiennes)

Your word shall not be false or empty [but shall be fulfilled by deed]. (Niederwimmer, he sees the brackets as a later addition)

Your word must not be empty or false. (Ehrman, who apparently takes the reading of the Apostolic Confessions over Heirosolymitaunus [as does Niederwimmer, apparently]; note his Greek text is a modified version of Bihlmeyer)

These guys all have (or had while alive) more Greek in the tip of their left pinkie toe than I’ve got in the entirety of my being, but given contrast marked by αλλα and the notion of correction, I still think I like “filled with” better; though “fulfilled by” is a pretty close second (that I could actually be convinced of).

Post Author: rico
Saturday, August 08, 2009 8:45:33 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Sunday, July 12, 2009

As my regular, very intelligent, highly esteemed, and most worthy readers know, I spent a lot of time dealing with the conjunction αλλα in 2008; the results of which are in the paper I wrote for the 2008 national ETS meeting (paper here).

Today I was doing a quick read the text of First Thessalonians (reconciling English with Greek) and I noticed some good examples of αλλα, so I thought I’d blog them. There are 13 examples. I’ll list each briefly and offer (hopefully brief) comments. Actually, I only got through eight before I stopped (not enough time), but hopefully you get the picture.

My basic premise is that αλλα indicates either correction or replacement. That is, the item following αλλα corrects or replaces the item preceding; and that additionally these items are contrasted such that the latter item is highlighted. In other words, the second item in the contrast is the more important information; it is what the structure puts in the spotlight. After the Greek is a very quick and not well thought out translation of relevant text (but not all of the Greek, I’m trying to work quickly here). Also, since I am working quickly, note I haven’t proofed/revised/rewritten anything, this is pretty much a raw dump — please offer feedback on whatever you see.

1 Thess 1:5
ὅτι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐγενήθη εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν λόγῳ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ καθὼς οἴδατε οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν ἐν ὑμῖν δι ̓ ὑμᾶς 
that our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much certainty,…

Here the correction is in how the gospel came to the Thessalonians: It didn’t just come in word, but it came (that’s the correction) in power, with the Holy Spirit, and with much certainty (and that’s the important part). It was more than mere words. This “not only/but also” is a frequent formula and typically indicates correction. 

1 Thess 1:8
ἀφ ̓ ὑμῶν γὰρ ἐξήχηται ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μόνον ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ ἀλλ ̓ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἐξελήλυθεν ὥστε μὴ χρείαν ἔχειν ἡμᾶς λαλεῖν τι 
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and in Achaea but in every place your faith, that which is in God, has gone out, so that we have no need to say anything

Again, we have correction and the “not only/but also” formula. The word of the Lord didn’t just go through Macedonia and Achaia; it went everywhere the news about the Thessalonians went. The important part is how this news has spread.

1 Thess 2:1-2
Αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε ἀδελφοί τὴν εἴσοδον ἡμῶν τὴν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ὅτι οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν ἀλλὰ προπαθόντες καὶ ὑβρισθέντες καθὼς οἴδατε ἐν Φιλίπποις ἐπαρρησιασάμεθα ἐν τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν λαλῆσαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι
that it was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been poorly treated, just as you know, in Philippi, we had the courage in our God to speak to you the gospel of God, in much opposition/conflict.

Here Paul is clarifying/correcting that his (and Timothy, and Silas, see the prescript (1Th 1.1) arrival in Thessalonica was not in vain or in error; but that it was — after what happened in Philippi — indeed meant to happen. Paul is saying that it wasn’t an accident, instead it was intended of God for them to bring the Thessalonians the gospel in this way, after the incident(s?) in Philippi. Note the next clause group is another αλλα statement.

1 Thess 2:3-4
ἡ γὰρ παράκλησις ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐκ πλάνης οὐδὲ ἐξ ἀκαθαρσίας οὐδὲ ἐν δόλῳ ἀλλὰ καθὼς δεδοκιμάσμεθα ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον οὕτως λαλοῦμεν οὐχ ὡς ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκοντες ἀλλὰ θεῷ τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν
For our appeal does not from error, or from impurity, or with deceit, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so that we speak not as people-pleasers but as to God, the tester of our hearts.

Here there are two different αλλα statements. Paul is first clarifying the source; the word he brings comes not deceitfully but in fact they have been “approved” by God to do this. That’s pretty much the opposite of deceit. Secondly, as to motive, Paul corrects that they come not to please people, but to please God. The important bits are that Paul’s message comes from God, and that Paul speaks not so that people will be pleased, but so that the one who tests Paul’s heart will be pleased with the results of the test.

1 Thess 2:7
δυνάμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι ὡς Χριστοῦ ἀπόστολοι ἀλλὰ ἐγενήθημεν νήπιοι ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν ὡς ἐὰν τροφὸς θάλπῃ τὰ ἑαυτῆς τέκνα

While we could have made demands as Christ’s apostles, instead we became as infants in your midst, as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

The first portion of the αλλα statement may actually run up to the start of v. 5 (see Runge, Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament) but this is enough to get the idea. Note the contrast between making demands as apostles and instead being as infants. While they could’ve made demands, they instead took the more gentle route, and this is what Paul desires to highlight in the context. He gets their attention with the first statement, and then turns it on its head with the second (now more salient) statement.

1 Thess 2:8
οὕτως ὁμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι ὑμῖν οὐ μόνον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς διότι ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε
In this way longing for you, we determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own souls/life 

The correction is in what was shared. They didn’t just share the gospel (cf. 1Th 1.5 above) but they shared their whole lives, so it was evident how the gospel had affected them. This again, by heightening the contrast, puts the spotlight on the second portion of the statement. If you’re preaching this, the important part is that Paul/Timothy/Silas shared their whole souls/lives with the Thessalonians. That’s how they were able to model the gospel to them.

1 Thess 2:13
Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ ἀδιαλείπτως ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρ ̓ ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐδέξασθε οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπων ἀλλὰ καθώς ἐστιν ἀληθῶς λόγον θεοῦ ὃς καὶ ἐνεργεῖται ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν
… you accepted it not as the word of men but just as it truly is, the word of God

Again, remember my premise: correction or replacement is involved, and the second item is highlighted (prominent) in the current context. Here there is contrast innate between “the word of men” and “the word of God”. Paul had gone to pains earlier (using αλλα) to note the source of their preaching and the motive of their preaching (cf. 1Th 2.3-4 above): It was from God, to please God. Note also the “just as it truly is” statement. This puts even more prominence/importance on the second half of the structure.

So, to recap my position on αλλα, which I’m hoping the above discussion has made evident:

  • it indicates correction or replacement
  • it involves comparison/contrast between two items: the first premise and the following correction or replacement of that premise
  • as such, the correction/replacement is the more important information. If you’re preaching, that is the thing you should focus on, because that is what the author (here Paul with some help from Silas and Timothy) has highlighted in the immediate context.
Post Author: rico
Sunday, July 12, 2009 8:54:42 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 03, 2009

In his book A Stylometric Study of the New Testament, Anthony Kenny writes:

The Fribergs divide the Greek conjunctions of the New Testament into three classes. The two clauses or propositions of structures which are joined by a conjunction may be intended to have equal prominence in their context, or one may be given greater weight than another. Accordingly, the conjunctions which link them may be classed as co-ordinating (giving equal weight), as subordinating (introducing a clause less prominent than that to which it is linked), or as hyperordinating (introducing a clause more prominent than that to which it is linked). Thus every conjunction will be tagged either CC, CS or CH. (Kenny, 32).

Based on what I've learned about αλλα, my understanding is that αλλα should always be, in the Fribergs terminology, "hyperordinating". But an examination of their analysis shows that of the 638 NT instances, the Fribergs tag 553 of them hyperordinating (aka "superordinating"), 84 of them as coordinating, and one instance as subordinating. This post examines Rev 2.9, the lone "subordinating" αλλα in the NT.

Οἶδά σου τὴν θλῖψιν καὶ τὴν πτωχείαν, ἀλλὰ πλούσιος εἶ, καὶ τὴν βλασφημίαν ἐκ τῶν λεγόντων Ἰουδαίους εἶναι ἑαυτοὺς καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν ἀλλὰ συναγωγὴ τοῦ Σατανᾶ. (Rev 2.9, UBS4)

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Rev 2.9, ESV)

There are two αλλα in this verse; according to the Fribergs, the "subordinating" αλλα is the first, τὴν πτωχείαν, ἀλλὰ πλούσιος εἶ ("and your poverty (but you are rich)"). The second is "hyperordinating" (what would be expected).

So, what is it about the first instance that is different? Is it because the αλλα clause is seen as secondary to the primary clause; an in-stream parenthetical comment that doesn't seem to add much to the larger structure? The larger point seems to be built around the comparison between "your tribulation and your poverty and the slander ...", with the party doing the slandering further qualified as not Jews (though they confess to be Jews) but instead a "synagogue of Satan". In this latter instance, "the synagogue of Satan" has the prominence (indeed, Fribergs mark it as hyperordinating, thus it being the "more important" of the conjoined items). This is fairly standard with αλλα, the following statement offering correction to the first one and highlighting the correction.

[Note: The following paragraph has been added subsequent to the original post]

Upon further reflection, I believe the compared clauses are "I know your affliction and poverty" and "but you are rich". The corrective response is not simply to the note of poverty; "affliction" and "poverty" are one unit, joined by και (and perhaps too the genitive phrase following the αλλα?); the correction is to that unit, not simply to being poor.

[Back to the original post]

I'd argue the same thing for the earlier instance. In the context of the two conjoined items, "your poverty, but you are rich" it is the encouragement of the author to his audience. This is the letter "to the angel of the church in Ephesus", thus these words are from Christ to that church. While they find themselves temporally poor, they are to be encouraged that in fact they are rich in what matters. While their circumstances are tough, those circumstances will change—indeed, they already have begun to change. To me, this as well seems to be the basic "corrective" use of αλλα, correcting the first item and marking the correction as the important, salient bit in the comparison of elements.

I'd have to say that, at least with the first instance of αλλα in Rev 2.9, the Friberg's morphology should mark it as "conjunction, superordinating (hyperordinating)" instead of "conjunction, subordinating".

This as well serves as a case to show once again why I don't like such morpho-syntactic labels applied at the word level; it leads many who use such data to think there is something about αλλα itself in this instance that is "subordinating" or "hyperordinating". In reality, the conjunction morphology (part-of-speech) is just a convienent place to hang this item when it rightly belongs at a higher level of the annotation. But since "morphologies" only consider words as data tokens, they only have words to hang such data on—whether it rightly belongs on the word (as several "morphological" criteria do) or whether it rightly belongs at a higher level of the discourse (marking phrasal relations, clausal relations, or discourse-level relations).

While I am fairly sure that the Fribergs don't intend to mark αλλα itself as somehow morphologically producing a "hyperordinating", "coordinating" or "subordinating" result, less-informed use of such resources could easily make (and attempt to defend) such a conclusion. This is a common problem, and it is visible everywhere in everything. Calvin would (rightly) dispute against many who claim to be "Calvinists" as having misrepresented his thought; Darwin would also (rightly) dispute many who claim to be "Darwinists".

Anyway, enough from me. I don't know that I'll work through the 84 "coordinating" instances of αλλα to show how I would instead consider them to be "hyperordinating". But you never know. Maybe. In case you want to peek at them, here are the references:

Mt 24:6; Mk 3:27; 4:22; 6:9; 11:32; 13:7, 24; 14:28, 49; 16:7; Lk 6:27; 7:25, 7:26; 11:42; 16:21; 21:9; 23:15; 24:21, 22; Jn 1:31; 3:28; 5:42; 6:22, 36, 64; 8:26; 11:11; 14:31; 15:21, 25; 16:2, 4, 6, 7, 20; Ac 10:20; 19:2; 26:16; Ro 4:2; 5:15; 6:5; 10:2, 16, 18, 19; 11:4; 1Co 2:9; 3:2; 4:3, 4; 6:6, 11(3x); 1 Co 6:12(2x); 7:7; 8:7; 9:12; 10:5; 12:24; 15:35, 40, 46; 2Co 1:9; 7:11(6x); 8:7; 11:1; Ga 4:8; 4:23; Eph 5:24; Php 1:18; 2:17; 1Ti 1:16; Heb 3:16; Jas 2:18; 1Pe 3:16; Re 2:6; 10:7.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 3:04:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You've heard about it for months, now you can read it too. I've posted my ETS 2008 paper on my conference papers web site.

If you're interested in the background posts I've made regarding the paper over the past nine months or so, see the ETS 2008 category. I've also written a lot that didn't make it in the paper due to length considerations; perhaps I'll consider posting that information in blog-post-sized chunks over the next while if there is interest. This extra material contains primarily review of lexicons, grammars and monographs as well as brief examination of particular instances. If you'd like to see that kind of stuff, please let me know by commenting on this post.

Finally, thanks to all who offered comments and feedback along the way. Particular thanks to Steve Runge for pushing, prodding, and encouraging me through the whole thing. I bit off much more than I could chew, but Steve's help and encouragement along the way saw me to the end. I understand much more now about conjunctions than I ever thought I would. Thanks, Steve.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:00:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I believe I'm done with my paper for this year's ETS meeting. I'll probably sit on it for a few days, then re-read it just to hit the last remaining stuff that jumps out at me. But honestly, for all intents and purposes, it is done. It's a good feeling.

I mentioned the paper initially back in March of this year ("In Praise of Almighty αλλα") and have blogged about different aspects along the way (see the ETS 2008 category). If you work through those, I don't think you'll run across anything too surprising when you hear/read the paper.

I will post a copy of the paper and the conference handout to the blog, probably sometime next week (Wednesday or Thursday, likely).

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:00:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, November 06, 2008

I've written before (and also hold this in my paper for the upcoming ETS meeting) that αλλα is a marker of contrast. This means that when one runs across an αλλα, the first thing that one should do is determine the items being contrasted. You'll likely miss the import of the passage and the structure if you don't do this.

In most cases this is easy. Here's an example from 1Cl 4.13, the Greek and English are that of Lake:

13 διὰ ζῆλος Δαυεὶδ φθόνον ἔσχεν
     οὐ μόνον ὑπὸ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων,
     ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὸ Σαοὺλ βασιλέως Ἰσραὴλ ἐδιώχθη·.

13 Through jealousy David incurred envy
     not only from strangers,
     but suffered persecution even from Saul, King of Israel.

This is a pretty standard "not only ... but also" / οὐ μόνον .. ἀλλὰ καὶ construction. It happens in the NT frequently. The idea here is that David may very well have expected to incur envy from strangers, but Clement says that even Saul was jealous of him to the point of persecuting him. The contrast is between the 'strangers' and Saul. Most examples of αλλα are like this. Particularly when a negator is used, the items being contrasted are fairly easy to find.

But then, right after this verse, we come to 1Cl 5.1. A chapter that actually starts with αλλα. So what is being contrasted?

1 Ἀλλ ̓ ἵνα τῶν ἀρχαίων ὑποδειγμάτων παυσώμεθα, ἔλθωμεν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἔγγιστα γενομένους ἀθλητάς· λάβωμεν τῆς γενεᾶς ἡμῶν τὰ γενναῖα ὑποδείγματα.

1 But, to cease from the examples of old time, let us come to those who contended in the days nearest to us; let us take the noble examples of our own generation.

Chapter 4 of First Clement is a laundry list of OT personages, listing examples of jealousy (such as that described in 4.13 above). Chapter 5 switches the focus from examples of the past to examples of the present. The balance of chapter 5 speaks of "pillars of the church" and gives further examples of Paul and Peter.

This example of αλλα is interesting because the contrasted items are at the paragraph level and perhaps might even be said to be at a higher level. But most, if they were classifying this instance of αλλα, would call it transitional because it seems to transition the discourse to a different topic. And that's true, it does. However, this isn't a different use or sense of αλλα; it is simply αλλα doing what it does at a higher level in the discourse; instead of functioning as a conjoiner of phrases or clauses, this instance joins (depending on how you view it) paragraphs or clause complexes and clues us in that these higher-level discourse items are being contrasted.

Denniston (The Greek Particles (amazon.com)) notes this sort of usage, but it is hard to find in grammars that focus specifically on the Greek of the New Testament era.

Yet another reason why reading Greek, and reading Greek from outside of the NT but still in the same general era can be an enlightening exercise.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 06, 2008 7:00:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, October 31, 2008

[Disclaimer: I work for Logos Bible Software and love every minute of it. The links to Logos below are just that, links. I get no commission or brownie points from click-thrus or any sales.]

Logos will be at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (in Providence, RI, Nov 19-21, 2008) and also at the national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (in Boston, MA, Nov 21-25, 2008).

The specials mentioned below are only available at these conferences. And I'm not even listing all of them, just the ones that I find interesting and which I think you (my humble reader) may be interested in. There are 12 specials designed for the conferences, I'm only listing three of them below. If you'll be at the conferences, please stop by the booth for more info on all of the conference collections, or to purchase them.

These are awesome collections of top-notch texts useful for Biblical Studies. Listed first is perhaps the best deal you'll ever find on the combination of ICC NT vols and several (33!) very useful JSNTS monographs.

New Testament Studies Bundle (64 Vols.)

Show Only Price  $1,199.95
Show Savings (off Retail): $4,541.45

Advanced Greek Supplement (6 Vols.)

Show Only Price $299.95
Show Savings (off Retail) $111.91

ANE Studies Bundle (30 Vols.)

Show Only Price $639.95
Show Savings (off Retail): $806.94

As I said, that is only three of the twelve bundles. If you're at the show, be sure to ask about the "Scholar's Reference Bundle" which includes all of ICC, all of WBC, and a few other commentary sets. These are specials on the big stuff that you won't want to miss.

Post Author: rico
Friday, October 31, 2008 8:00:41 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, October 19, 2008

So I'm reading Charles E. Hill's essay "Ignatius, 'the Gospel' and the Gospels" in Gregory & Tuckett's The New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers: Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers (amazon.com). In Hill's discussion of ISm 5.1, there it is:

Gundry argues that the strong adversative, αλλα, just before 'the gospel' distances it from the law and the prophecies and aligns it with 'our human sufferings'. But any distinction intended with the adversative is surely temporal (note μεχρι νυν). (Hill, in Gregory & Tuckett (amazon.com) 277-278).

Hill is arguing that at least some of Ignatius' uses of ευαγγελιον are in reference to a written gospel. Gundry, whose work I'm not familiar with (R. Gundry, 'ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ: How Soon a Book', JBL 115 (1996), 321-5; I'll have to check out the article), is arguing the opposite, at least in this case.

My eyes and ears perk up when I see something attributed to αλλα, the 'strong attributive'. So we can all be on the same page, here is the Greek and English of Ign. Smyrn. 5.1:

5.1 Ὅν τινες ἀγνοοῦντες ἀρνοῦνται, μᾶλλον δὲ ἠρνήθησαν ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ, ὄντες συνήγοροι τοῦ θανάτου μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἀληθεῖας· οὓς οὐκ ἔπεισαν αἱ προφητεῖαι οὐδὲ ὁ νόμος Μωσέως, ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ μέχρι νῦν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον οὐδὲ τὰ ἡμέτερα τῶν κατʼ ἄνδρα παθήματα·
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (186). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

5.1 Certain people ignorantly deny him, or rather have been denied by him, for they are advocates of death rather than the truth. Neither the prophecies nor the law of Moses have persuaded them, nor, thus far, the gospel nor our own individual suffering;
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (187). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

In reading about αλλα (lexicons, grammars, monographs, etc.), in examining every instance in the NT and in the Apostolic Fathers, and in thinking about what αλλα does, my basic conclusion is similar to that of Heckert. I don't see the 'adversative' nature of αλλα functionally separating things, I think αλλα essentially marks a relationship of contrast between two items at the same discourse level (so, words, phrases, clauses, paragraphs, discourses, etc.). The degree of contrast is dependent upon context (vocabulary, other grammatical elements, etc.). Instances of αλλα normally occur with a "not", hence the so-called 'adversative' nature. But even without "not", the contrast is there, you just have to look.

In other words, contra Gundry, I'd say that in Ign. Smyrn. 5.1, αλλα doesn't distance anything from anything else. It denotes that two items are in fact joined for the sake of contrasting them. In this case, "the prophecies and the law of Moses" are contrasted with "the gospel" and "our own individual suffering". Importantly (and most favorable to Hill's argument, I'd say) "the gospel" is being contrasted against "the prophecies and the law of Moses". Ignatius is running through a list of things that, by all rights, should have persuaded those who deny, but haven't. The prophecies haven't, the law of Moses hasn't, the gospel hasn't, and the present suffering of Christians hasn't. As Hill points out, μεχρι νυν ("until now") is the kicker here. We have the past (prophecies and law) in contrast with the present (gospel and suffering).

Additionally, I'd say that in such comparisons, the stuff after αλλα (gospel and suffering) is the more prominent of the material. In other words, I'd say the structure highlights that "the gospel" and "our own individual suffering" haven't even served to persuade these deniers of the truth. While the prophecies and law of Moses should've done the persuading, that isn't really Ignatius' point; his point is that not even up to this point, these people, knowing the gospel (written or not) and seeing our suffering, even now still deny the truth.

In other words, I don't think the use of αλλα has anything to do with separating written content from oral content (in this instance); I think it has to do with Ignatius' amazement that folks could still deny in light of having the gospel and seeing the suffering that professing Christians were willing to endure.

Update I (2008-10-20): Note the comment by Mike Aubrey (of εν Εφεσω). He asks if I see αλλα as only functioning in a coordinating relationships. On your question, Mike, I'd have to say "yes", though I'll note that even Denniston has some examples (as I recall, in his sections on both αλλα and μεν) where αλλα and other conjunctions (even asyndeton) are used to respond to either a general idea ascertainable from the context, or in response to something well before in the discourse. I'd say Mk 16.5-7 (see my previous post on these verses) is an example of stuff like this.

Update II: Also please note that Dr. Carl Conrad, of B-Greek fame, sent along the following note which, for some reason, the commenting feature didn't allow him to post:

Rick, I think you're probably right about this; despite my warnings not to confuse the conjunction ἀλλὰ with the neuter accusative plural pronoun ἄλλα, I rather suspect that the conjunction originated in an adverbial usage of the neuter accusative plural pronoun with a sense "otherwise" — that it became a stronger equivalent of δὲ in μὲν ... δὲ (beginning Greek students are still taught that μὲν ... δὲ means "on the one hand ... on the other hand"). But (ἀλλὰ) there's an interesting idiomatic expression in older Greek using the pronominal adjective ἄλλος/η/ο with a καὶ to underscore the term following the expression (LSJ s.v. ἄλλος II.6) ἄλλοι τε καὶ ἐκεῖνος = "especially 'that one'"; an adverbial use is also not uncommon: ἄλλως τε καὶ (LSJ s.v. ἄλλως I.3) with the sense "especially." My surmise may very well be wrong, but I've long thought that ἀλλὰ derives originally from the adjectival pronoun ἄλλα used in the adverbial accusative.


Post Author: rico
Sunday, October 19, 2008 3:00:47 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, October 06, 2008

I don't know what it says about me, but I have found a typo in my printed copy of BDF. (It is also in my electronic copy.) Not that I don't doubt there are typos; I just never figured I'd find a typo—in a Greek grammar of all places.

Of course it is in the section of BDF that deals with αλλα. Where else would I find such a thing?

So get out your pencils and get ready to scribble in your own copy (I can't be the only one who does this—correct typos/known errors in printed copies—can I?)

The section in question is §448.4 (p. 233). If you use BDF, you know there is a larger-print section and a smaller-print section for most areas; this is in the smaller-print §448.4.

(4) A simpler form is found in Jn 7:49; 1Co 10:20. In multiple questions (with the answer in each case given or suppressed) Mk 11:8f. = Lk 7:24ff.

The typo is Mk 11:8f; it should be Mt 11:8f. Mt 11.8 has Lk 7.24 as parallel; Mk 11.8 is completely unrelated.

This all goes to show that one must always check all references carefully, particularly if you're doing work for a conference paper, journal or dictionary article, dissertation, or monograph of some sort.

Note: The reference index in BDF (p. 303) is actually correct here, it has Mt 11:8f. pointing to §448.4; there is no reference index entry for Mk 11:8f.

Further note: What is going on with αλλα in Mt 11.7-9 is really cool!

Even further note: Know of other such corrections for BDF? Use the comments to let me know.

Post Author: rico
Monday, October 06, 2008 7:30:03 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, September 09, 2008

From Eugene E. Loos' Logical Relations in Discourse (amazon.com). This is from Ernst-August Gutt's essay on "Logical Relations, Relationships and Relevance":

Just dealing with these two uses, the tempting solution would be to say either that there are two homophonous suffixes -m, or that the suffix -m has two distinct senses, one marking a conjunctive relationship and the other something like an alternative relationship. However, Ivan Lowe pointed out in his introductory lectures that it is not the most helpful way to begin one's analysis: by assuming a complex solution from the start one may miss a possible simpler solution. (Loos 11).

Gutt is specifically referring to a connective in Silt'i, an Ethio-Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. But the general principle is a good one for both lexical analysis and specifically the analysis of connectives ... like αλλα.

Don't worry, I'm not getting all gushy about relevance theory on y'all. But the principle seems like a good thing to keep in mind.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 9:30:43 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, July 24, 2008

The ETS 2008 tentative program is out, earlier than I ever recall. That's awesome. I finally get to see when my paper is scheduled to be given.

Rhode Island Convention Center
Room 551B

Discourse Grammar and Biblical Exegesis
Rick Brannan (Logos Bible Software)
The Discourse Function of αλλα in Non-negative Contexts

Looks like a good session; my friend Steve Runge presents before my paper, and Randall Buth presents before him. If you find yourself at ETS on Thursday morning, you might want to drop in for the whole session.

ETS 2008 | greek | links
Post Author: rico
Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:00:35 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thanks to Dr. Carl Conrad, I've been shown a fatal flaw in the below; I've confused the adjective ἄλλα with the conjunction ἀλλὰ. Now it all makes so much sense! Thank you, Dr. Conrad, for the correction. And for the reminder to double-check parsings before spending too much time trying to figure out something that doesn't make sense.

The below is left as testimony to my folly. When you need a laugh, do please read it again.

Here is Holmes' Greek for the first sentence of IgnEph 7.1, followed by his English.

7.1 Εἰώθασιν γάρ τινες δόλῳ πονηρῷ τὸ ὄνομα περιφέρειν, ἄλλα τινὰ πράσσοντες ἀνάξια θεοῦ·

7.1 For there are some who maliciously and deceitfully are accustomed to carrying about the Name while doing other things unworthy of God.

The above is from his second edition, but the third edition is exactly the same. For some comparison, here's Ehrman:

For some are accustomed to bear the name in wicked deceit, while acting in ways that are unworthy of God.

So as to be complete, here's Kirsopp Lake's translation.

For there are some who make a practice of carrying about the Name with wicked guile, and do certain other things unworthy of God;

The Greek is the same in all three editions, so we're comparing apples to apples. The question is, what is αλλα doing in this statement?

My basic contention at this point is that αλλα is a marker of contrast (as Heckert has posited); I'm comfortable with saying that it indicates discontinuity (which is what Porter and O'Donnell note) but contrast seems the better term, and I really don't see much difference between "contrast" and "discontinuity" anyway. The second part of my contention is that when one encounters an αλλα, one must realize there need to be two parts in order for contrast to be made (or for there to be discontinuity); with αλλα, the latter part corrects/replaces the former part.

My contention, then, is that looking for these two things when examining instances of αλλα is essential, and that if you can do this you don't need to worry about sense-classifying αλλα. You don't need to worry if it is continuative, or adversative, or contrastive, or what-have-you.

Further, particularly in situations like we find here in Ignatius to the Ephesians, the latter part (the correction/replacement) is set up such that it is the more prominent/salient piece of the whole sentence/paragraph. It is the author's primary point, it gives the punch to what he's trying to get through our (well, mine, anyway) thick skulls.

This instance in Ignatius to the Ephesians provides a good example. The standard gloss "but" doesn't fit (mostly because there isn't a negative involved, which would heighten the contrast and make "but" feel more appropriate), so we see some translators use "and" (Lake) and others use "while" (Ehrman and Holmes, though perhaps in these instances "while" comes from the participle and αλλα is left untranslated). But that doesn't really help us to see the contrast (whatever degree of contrast is present is indicated by the context, not by αλλα) or the things being contrasted, and it isn't easy to see what corrects/replaces the other. So let's look at the Greek again:

Εἰώθασιν γάρ τινες δόλῳ πονηρῷ τὸ ὄνομα περιφέρειν,
ἄλλα τινὰ πράσσοντες ἀνάξια θεοῦ

Basically, there are some people who "bear the name" yet while bearing the name (note that this in itself is important to Ignatius, who calls himself "the God-bearer" in his epistolary introductions) they do things unworthy of God. This is the contrast, that they say represent themselves in one way, but act in another.

What is the correction/replacement? It is the same thing, basically. My boy Iggy is pointing out that these evil, nefarious people who claim to "bear the name" are really not to be trusted because their actions betray them. This is Iggy's point: They're not who they say they are, so beware. They should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

That this is the salient bit of this sentence is born out by the following sentence. Again, Holmes' translation:

You must avoid them as wild beasts. For they are mad dogs that bite by stealth; you must be on your guard against them, for their bite is hard to heal.

You can see exactly what Ignatius is doing now; paying attention to the discourse cues in the original language helps us understand even better how he got there.

Of all of the translations cited, I'd say I like Ehrman's best. But even then, the αλλα is obscured, and the basic sorts of things that I contend it clues us in to are hard to see. At the same time, accounting for all of that in a translation is hard, and I don't have a better suggestion. So, at the very least, consult the Greek as you read the English. Sometimes you'll be very surprised at how the translator renders what's happening in the original language text. But, particularly with particles and conjunctions, the work pays off.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, June 28, 2008 9:30:17 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Sunday, June 15, 2008

I couldn't sleep on Friday night, so to let Amy catch some Z's I slipped into the study which is next door to our bedroom. I found Goodspeed & Colwell's A Greek Papyrus Reader on the shelf and figured I'd scan through it to see if I could find any interesting instances of non-negative αλλα in papyri.

Boy, howdy did I find one. Check out P.Oslo ii.55. Greek text is from Perseus; translation is from APIS.

Διογένης Πυθαγόρᾳ τῷ ἀδελφῷ χαίρειν.
ἴσθι Θέωνα τὸν παράδοξον τὸν ἀναδιδόντα σοι ταῦτά μου τὰ γράμματα οἰκεῖόν μου ὄντα καὶ σχέσιν ἀδελφικὴν ἔχοντα πρός με. καλῶς οὖν ποιήσεις, ἄδελφε, τοῦτον ὑποδεξάμενος ὡς ἂν ἐμέ. ἀλλὰ καὶ τόπον ἐπιτήδειον αὐτῷ ἀπὸ ποδὸς ἐξηρτισμένον παράσχες, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα ἐλθὼν μαρτυρήσῃ μοι τὰ τῆς προαιρέσεώς σου.
Πυθαγόρᾳ βουλευτῇ [ ϝαξ. ]

Diogenes to his brother Pythagoras, greeting.
Know that Theon, the extraordinary person who is handing you this letter, is a close friend of mine and has a brotherly relation to me. You would do well, dear brother, to receive him as you would me. Prepare a room as well as you can and let him have it, so that he can bear witness to me about your disposition.
Verso:;To Pythagoras, councillor.

There are two (!!) non-negative αλλα in this short letter, and the translation seemingly skips over them both. So what are these instances doing?

As I've read grammars, monographs, etc. and evaluated instances of αλλα in the NT and Apostolic Fathers, my basic approach in examining them has become twofold: First, I consider αλλα to mark some sort of contrast (or 'discontinuity', as Porter & O'Donnell would call it), the degree of contrast is provided by surrounding context; second, there is usually some correction or replacement going on with the contrasted items. I'm still working on this, but that's about as simple as I can boil it down right now.

[NB: At this point, I should make clear that I'm still thinking through this example; the below is me writing trying to apply things I've noticed to this example to see if they work. These things may change. —RB]

Goodspeed and Colwell (A Greek Papyrus Reader, p. 10, item 19) title this letter “Letter of Recommendation”, and that is what it is. The sender is providing a recommendation of the carrier, so that the carrier will be treated well by the letter recipient. Goodspeed and Colwell summarize the letter thusly: “Diogenes urges his brother Pythagoras to receive the admirable Theon as though he were Diogenes himself.” (Goodspeed & Colwell, 10).

In the letter, the first αλλα is a hinge within the paragraph, the two items that are being contrasted involve the status of the carrier, Theon. After introducing Theon as a friend who is as close as if he were a brother, Diogenes urges Pythagoras to “receive [Theon] as you would me”. He is to receive his own room, apportioned as well as possible. Pythagoras is not simply to perceive Theon as if he were Diogenes, his actions are to confirm this by preparing a place for Theon. The contrast is between receiving Theon (ὑποδεξάμενος) and furnishing a well-apportioned room for him (ἐξηρτισμένον). The correction/replacement is in the unstated expectation that Pythagoras is to do more for Theon than he would do otherwise. Instead of treating him as a visitor, he is to treat him as a brother, both in word and deed.

From this comes the second αλλα, this in conjunction with a ινα clause. This clause makes Diogenes’ expectations explicit: Treat Theon well, for he will report to me how you are doing. The translation of προαίρεσις as “disposition” is curious. LSJ provide a general definition of “choosing one thing before another” (LSJ 1466) but further delineate nine senses, one of which (#7) is “character, reputation” and another (#8) “devotion, affection, goodwill”. The correction is in the expectation. Diogenes purposes to ensure Theon is treated well, and underscores this by making explicit that Theon will report back regarding Pythagoras’ hospitality.

Diogenes' purpose for writing the letter is to ensure that Theon is treated well by Pythagoras. The use of αλλα in the second half of the letter helps Diogenes achieve this purpose, helping Pythagoras to understand the importance of treating his guest not simply properly but as if he were his brother Diogenes himself.

There is a progression in these statements tied together with αλλα: Don't just receive Theon, but provide him a room as you would do for me. And not only that, but know that he will report back to me how you have done in this matter. The important bit for Pythagoras: Make sure the report back to Diogenes is a good one.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, June 15, 2008 9:30:11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, June 03, 2008

As I mentioned earlier, a blog post I wrote a few years back was footnoted on p. 151 in the proceedings from the 2006 LIABG symposium.

The article is titled "Conjunctions and Levels of Discourse", by Stanley E. Porter and Matthew Brook O'Donnell, running from p. 145 to p. 156 and is basically the same paper that was presented to the European Associate of Biblical Studies Annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary, from Aug. 6-9, 2006.

I never thought I'd be footnoted in a serious grammatical discussion; I suppose this is proof that the blogosphere can have some sort of influence/impact on current discussions in all areas of Biblical studies. Even blog posts by a motivated autodidact (read: no graduate degree held) such as myself.

The context is in the section of the article titled "3. The Greek Conjunction System", speaking of "Vertical Axis of Levels of Discourse". This has to do with the level of discourse on which the conjunction may function. Is it just a joiner of words or word groups, or is the joining further up (vertically) the ladder of discourse (join words, join word groups, join clauses, join clause complexes, paragraphs, discourses or whatever).

The post that Porter & O'Donnell refer to is about 1Th 5.15. In that post, I don't really make any statements, I just ask a lot of questions about how αλλα functions based on what happens with constituent order before and after αλλα. I was asking if αλλα might be doing something more in that context.

Porter & O'Donnell's point on p. 151 is that αλλα functions "only at the lower levels (but perhaps not the lowest level of the word). This conjunction joins word groups in Mt 9.13 ... clauses in Mk 4.17 ... and clause complexes in 1Th 5.15." (Porter & O'Donnell, Proceedings, 151).

Now, I would say that what I suggested in 2006 concerning αλλα in that instance was wrong (specifically the section breakdown near the top of the post); v. 15 is a standard μη .. αλλα instance, where v. 15a is a foil that serves to make 15b more prominent in the discourse. On the segmentation of units, I think Porter & O'Donnell's suggestion in the footnote (vv. 14-15a, 15b-18a, 18b-21ff) is fine. I have no problem using the term "clause complex" instead of "subparagraph" or "paragraph"; those are all strange terms that mean what one wants them to mean anyway. The idea that αλλα is somehow indicating a relationship between two separate clause complexes (vv. 14-15a & 15b-18) is the important bit for my concerns with αλλα at present.

My confusion today stems in the sentence that runs from p. 151 through 152. In the above-quoted portion of p. 151, they limit αλλα to word group, clause, and clause complex connections. But on the sentence running from pp. 151-152, they note:

An initial analysis indicates that there are a limited number of conjunctions that function at all of the levels of discourse. These include only και, δε, αλλα, and some of the negative conjunctions, such as ουδε and  μηδε. All of the rest of the conjunctions are more circumscribed in the linguistic levels at which they may be used (Porter & O'Donnell, Proceedings, 151-152)

Porter & O'Donnell's only level above clause complex is paragraph (I think, they don't seem to explicitly list them but they mention paragraph above clause on p. 151); and the only level below word group is word.

[Corrected, 2008-06-04] Porter & O'Donnell list the following discourse levels along the vertical axis: word, word group, clause, clause complex, paragraph and discourse (p. 151)

I would say that there are instances of αλλα that join paragraphs, and Porter & O'Donnell seem to acknowledge this as well (based on p. 152). That's good, because I plan to have examples of αλλα functioning at the paragraph level in my ETS paper (unless my preliminary analysis changes between now and then, which it may). But this discussion gives me some more support in positing αλλα as a paragraph conjoiner in certain contexts.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 4:09:35 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Aposiopesis" is a new one for me. Stumbled across this one reading R.T. France on Mk 11.31-33 (in his NIGTC volume) this morning.

The four words that remain, ἀλλὰ εἴπωμεν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, can be construed either as the beginning of a second conditional clause matching ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ in v. 31, but with the ἐάν left unexpressed, or as a further deliberative question, ‘But shall we say “From men”?’, or even as a tentative decision on their part, ‘But let us say “From men” ’, which is then aborted by their recognition of the diplomatic gaffe that would involve. While the general sense is clear, the syntax is awkward, and the decision on how to punctuate the aposiopesis after ἀνθρώπων is a matter of taste.

France, R. T. (2002). The Gospel of Mark : A commentary on the Greek text (455). Grand Rapids, Mich.;  Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans;  Paternoster Press.

Here's the definition from MW's eleventh edition:

"the leaving of a thought incomplete usu[ally] by a sudden breaking off (as in “his behavior was—but I blush to mention that”)

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Here's the text; France is referring to the spot in v. 32, at the end of the words attributed to the scribes and chief priests (where the ESV has an emdash).

31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mk 11.31-33)

Update (2008-05-26): Two excellent comments on this post. The first, from David Fish, is a pointer to a blog post of his own where he recollects his first experience with aposiopesis. Do check it out, and check out David's blog, Random Thoughts from a Fish, as well. 

The second is a comment from Dave Novick, reminding us to check Bullinger's Figures of Speech for these sorts of things. Dave writes, "He's got an article devoted to it on page 151. The article divides the good number of Biblical examples into 4 categories: Promise, Anger and Threating, Grief and Complaint, Enquiry and Deprecation. I thought I'd pass that on, in case you (and others) weren't already familiar with it."

So there you go.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, May 22, 2008 6:00:03 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, May 16, 2008

One thing I'm doing to get an idea of how αλλα functions is examining synoptic parallels for instances of non-negative αλλα. Do the parallels also use αλλα? If not, are they using different structures to communicate the same thing, or are they communicating different things?

Here's my initial rough draft for the instance in Mt 9.18.

Mt 9.18 (|| Mk 5.23 || Lu 8.41-42)

18 Ταῦτα αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτοῖς ἰδοὺ ἄρχων εἷς ἐλθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων ὅτι
    Ἡ θυγάτηρ μου ἄρτι ἐτελεύτησεν
    ἀλλὰ ἐλθὼν ἐπίθες τὴν χεῖρά σου ἐπ’ αὐτήν καὶ ζήσεται
(Mt 9.18, NA27)
18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying,
    “My daughter has just died,
    but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
        (Mt 9.18, ESV)

The parallels in Mark and Luke disclose that the “ruler” in this instance is Jairus. His daughter has died; he desires Jesus to heal her and restore her to life. In this case, there is a degree of contrast involved in the context. Jairus is asking for Jesus to move his daughter from the state of death (τελευτάω, aorist active indicative) back into the state of life (ζάω, future middle indicative). The underlying contrast is both lexical (contrast between death and life) and grammatical (between the aorist and future tenses). In this instance, αλλα functions as a hinge between the two contrasting statements, heightening the contrast and shifting focus onto the apodosis: Jairus believes that if Jesus comes and touches her, she will live.

The differences between the synoptic accounts of this event are notable. Here are the Markan and Lukan accounts:

23 καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι
    Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει
        ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ
            ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ
(Mk 5.23, NA27)
23 and implored him earnestly, saying,
    “My little daughter is at the point of death.
        Come and lay your hands on her,
            so that she may be made well and live.” (Mk 5.23, ESV)

41 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἦλθεν ἀνὴρ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰάϊρος
καὶ οὗτος ἄρχων τῆς συναγωγῆς ὑπῆρχεν
καὶ πεσὼν παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Ἰησοῦ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ

    42 ὅτι θυγάτηρ μονογενὴς ἦν αὐτῷ ὡς ἐτῶν δώδεκα καὶ αὐτὴ ἀπέθνῃσκεν
Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑπάγειν αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι συνέπνιγον αὐτόν
(Lu 8.41-42, NA27)
41 And there came a man named Jairus,
who was a ruler of the synagogue.
And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house,
    42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. (Lu 8.41-42, ESV)

In the Markan and Lukan accounts, Jairus initially represents his daughter as being sick unto the point of death but still alive; information of the girl’s death comes later from a servant who arrives on the scene (Mk 5.35 || Lu 8.49). In Matthew she is represented as being dead throughout Jesus and Jairus’ interaction.

In Mark, Jairus’ request is twofold: “so that she be made well and live”. The request in Luke is much more subtle: “he implored [Jesus] to come to his house”. But recall that in Matthew, the request is not to make Jairus’ daughter well, but for Jesus to place his hands on her so that she may live again.

Matthew, compressing the event of Jesus and Jairus’ initial interaction, packs all of the contrast and drama of the event into Jairus’ request that Jesus, by touching his daughter, restore her life from death. Jairus by his statement shows that he thinks Jesus is able to, with his very touch, restore the dead to the living. Mark and Luke both spread this aspect of the drama out. First, Jairus requests that Jesus heal his daughter (Mark only refers to Jesus healing through touch; Luke has Jairus requesting that Jesus simply come to his house to heal, with means unspecified). Then the interlude with the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, who is healed through touching Jesus’ garment, which shows the power of Jesus to heal by touch. Only after this do Mark and Luke update the reader with the further information that Jairus’ daughter has died. They both do this by focusing on the hopelessness of the situation; now that the daughter has died there is no reason to further bother Jesus. But Jesus overhears this report (Mk 5.36 || Lu 8.50) and goes to Jairus’ house anyway, where his touch—in all accounts he takes the daughter by the hand—restores her to life.

In Matthew, then, Jairus’ request is initially larger and more hopeless. Instead of asking Jesus to heal his daughter from a grave illness, he asks that his dead daughter be restored to life. Each synoptic account uses different grammatical means to make this request: Mark focuses on means, requesting Jesus’ touch to reverse the slide from death back toward life. Luke focuses on Jairus’ method of request, passionately imploring that Jesus come to his house to heal his dying daughter. Matthew’s version, with αλλα in a non-negative context, relies on the contrast between death and restoration to life to quickly establish the impossibility of the situation. Mark and Luke reinforce/increase the hopelessness later (and thus increase the drama) by the introduction of the servant with news that Jairus' daughter has, in fact, died.

All three instances end up in the same place, with Jesus’ touch restoring Jairus’ daughter to life. Matthew’s use of αλλα in a non-negative context is the only instance that places all of the contrast at the head of the story, previous to the healing of the woman with the issue of blood.

(end of what I wrote this AM)

Which account do I like best? Actually, I like Mark's version the best because of the progression:

  • Jairus: Your touch will heal my daughter, so she will live.
  • Jesus: Whoa, who touched me?
  • Woman: I did. And I'm healed.
  • Jesus: Your faith has made you well.
  • Jairus' servant: Don't waste your time bothering Jesus, Jairus, your daughter is dead.
  • Jesus: Don't fear, only believe.
  • Jesus goes to house.
  • Mourners: You're too late, she's dead.
  • Jesus: She's not dead, she's only sleeping.*
  • Jesus: Takes her by the hand, asks her to rise, and she does.

The whole thing starts with Jairus stating Jesus' touch will heal. Then the woman with the issue of blood touches Jesus' garment and is healed. Then we find out that Jairus' daughter is dead. Then it's confirmed she's dead. Then his touch raises the dead girl; though Jesus is quick to teach it isn't necessarily his touch, it is the belief—the belief of the woman with the issue of blood that she'd be healed, and the belief of Jairus (stated at the start of this episode) that Jesus could make his daughter better. I think that ties it better together than Matthew's or Luke's versions of the story. I'd take Matthew as a close second. Mark creates more suspense/drama with the progression from gravely ill to dead; Matthew front-loads the contrast (using lexical and grammatical means, and marking it even more by using αλλα) and the drama, making Jairus' faith in Jesus to heal seem even greater.

* Resisting urge to write, "She's only mostly dead ..."

Post Author: rico
Friday, May 16, 2008 10:15:51 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A comment from Justin on a recent αλλα post noted:

I ran into a funny αλλα recently.  In 1 Peter 3.16 there is a use that seems to develop the previous verse thought.  If it were to contradict the previous thought it would be a really strange translation.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here's the response I emailed back to him:

There's a lot going on in 1Pe 3.13-16 with both δε and αλλα.

One of my contentions/thoughts about αλλα is that yes, it is a marker of contrast, but contrast has a range -- is isn't simply on or off; it is more like a dial than a switch. The range has to do with contextual cues. When the context of αλλα involves a negative then a positive (e.g., "not [that], but [this]") the contrast is high. Contrast is similarly high with positive-negative  context (e.g., "[that], but not [this]").

There are, however, a small portion of αλλα that seemingly involve no negative (at least directly). The two αλλα in 1Pe 3.13-16 fit in this group. So I'd say they're still contrasting, it is just not as blatant because the author isn't using contextual cues (positives/negatives) to amp up the contrast. In vv 15-16, the contrast is much more subtle, having to do with the way the defense is made. A more amped-up way of saying it would be, "Be prepared to make a solid defense, but don't bite the guy's head off". The contrast is in the way the defense is made, it isn't made ... er ... defensively, it is made positively and respectfully but strongly. Peter didn't use the amped-up version, and he did that on purpose because that was what he needed to do to make his point. The spotlight is still on the portion following αλλα (make the defense with gentleness and respect); that is the important bit of the comparison/contrast.

At least, that's what I think right now. I hope to look into each of the non-negative instances (there are over 90 of them) a bit further over the next months.

I've got a lot of work to do before finishing this paper ...

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 1:45:11 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Symbol of Chalcedon is one of the more important historical and theological documents of the church. If you've never heard of it, you should really read more about it.

But this post isn't about the theological and historical importance of the Symbol of Chalcedon (which dates back to Oct 22, 451 AD/CE). It's about the difference between αλλα and δε.

Creeds, confessions, and other statements of faith, by their very nature, attempt to be precise with their language. Words and phrasing are chosen to convey a particular point in language as unambiguous as possible. So even though the Symbol of Chalcedon dates around 400 years after the New Testament was written, the Greek version is still helpful to us in considering use of conjunctions. The text below conforms to Drobner, The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (amazon.com), pp. 487-488 as much as possible. I took the Greek from the CCEL version of Schaff's Creeds of Christendom and fixed some typos and rearranged a few words to (upon a quick visual comparison) match the Greek presented in Drobner. The English is that of Jaroslav Pelikan and Valerie Hotchkiss, eds., Creeds & Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, (amazon.com) vol 1 p. 181; though note I've rearranged some lines so that the English content is in the order of the Greek content.

I've made statements involving δε blue, and the one statement involving αλλα red. Note the differences between them.

Ἑπόμενοι τοίνυν τοῖς ἁγίοις πατράσιν So, following the saintly fathers,
ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν ὁμολογεῖν υἱὸν the confession of one and the same Son,
τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν our Lord Jesus Christ
συμφώνως ἅπαντες ἐκδιδάσκομεν, we all with one voice teach
τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν θεότητι the same perfect in divinity
καὶ τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν ἀνθρωπότητι, and perfect in humanity
θεὸν ἀληθῶς καὶ ἄνθρωπον ἀληθῶς the same truly God and truly man
τὸν αὐτὸν ἐκ ψυχῆς λογικῆς καὶ σώματος, of a rational soul and a body;
ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρὶ κατὰ τὴν θεότητα, consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity,
καὶ ὁμοούσιον ἡμῖν τὸν αὐτὸν κατὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity
κατὰ πάντα ὅμοιον ἡμῖν χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας· like us in all respects except for sin;
πρὸ αἰώνων μὲν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς γεννηθέντα κατὰ τὴν θεότητα, begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity
ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτων δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν and in the last days
τὸν αὐτὸν δἰ ἡμᾶς καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν the same for us and for our salvation
ἐκ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου τῆς θεοτόκου κατὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα, from Mary, the Virgin God-bearer, as regards his humanity;
ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν Χριστόν, υἱόν, κύριον, μονογενῆ, one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, acknowledged
ἐν δύο φύσεσιν, in two natures
ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιφέτως, ἀχωρίστως γνωριζόμενον· which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation;
οὐδαμοῦ τῆς τῶν φύσεων διαφορᾶς ἀνῃρημένης διὰ τὴν ἕνωσιν, at no point was the difference taken away through the union,
σωζομένης δὲ μᾶλλον τῆς ἰδιότητος ἑκατέρας φύσεως but rather the property of both natures is preserved
καὶ εἰς ἓν πρόσωπον καὶ μίαν ὑπὸστασιν συντρεχούσης, and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being;
οὐκ εἰς δύο πρόσωπα μεριζόμενον ἢ διαιρούμενον, he is not parted or divided into two persons,
ἀλλ᾽ ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν υἱὸν καὶ μονογενῆ, but is one and the same only-begotten Son,
θεὸν, λόγον, κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν· God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ,
καθάπερ ἄνωθεν οἱ προφῆται περὶ αὐτοῦ just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him,
καὶ αὐτὸς ἡμᾶς ὁ κύριος Ιησοῦς Χριστὸς ἐξεπαίδευσεν and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us,
καὶ τὸ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῖν παραδέδωκε σύμβολον. and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us.

So, what are the differences, at least in the above context, between αλλα and δε? Well, working on the general assumption (via Heckert (amazon.com)) that δε is a marker of development and αλλα is a marker of contrast, we can note the following:

The first instance of δε: First, this is a μεν .. δε statement, which clues us in even more that these three lines are related in some way. Second, note the chronology: Christ was begotten "before the ages from the Father" and "in the last days for us and our salvation". The creed is speaking to the begotten-ness of Christ's divine nature and human nature. Both go together; there is development and comparison happening here. The μεν .. δε statement is a spectrum speaking as to the whole of the begotten-ness of the natures of Christ. There's no way this could be comparably (and as unambiguously) written using αλλα instead of δε.

The second instance of δε: The context of this instance is confirmatory; both natures of Christ are distinctly preserved and not co-mingled. The gathering of the natures in one person did not cause them to unite into one nature; "the property of both natures is preserved". The two distinct natures are present in one single person as the following και (which is generally 'additive' according to Heckert (amazon.com)) tells us. The δε statement is used to confirm that both natures remain separate; it is the developmental hinge in moving from two separate natures (lines previous to δε) into the και statement that these two natures are contained in one "subsistent being".

The instance of αλλα: This is a somewhat standard "not this, but that" instance of αλλα. The vast majority of New Testament and Apostolic Fathers instances of αλλα are of this kind. But the immediate context is important. The discussion of two natures precedes and has just developed into two natures/one person. The αλλα statement now unambiguously states that this is not two persons, but is one person. This is not development, this is contrasting the negated option with the positive option (in this case a direct false/true comparison) to make the αλλα phrase prominent. Considering the history of the doctrine of the nature(s) and person(s) of Christ until this point, which was all over the board (two natures/two persons, one nature/two persons, one nature/one person, etc.) this statement is clear, forceful and unambiguous. Not one nature, but two. Not two persons, but one. The following summary statement (last four lines of the symbol) are equally strong, noting that two natures/one person is grounded in the prophets (Hebrew Bible), was taught by Jesus (New Testament) and handed down this way from the fathers (tradition).

Now, it could be argued that there isn't much difference between the second δε and the αλλα. It is true, their immediate functions in these contexts are similar. At this point, I'd argue that the δε statement, especially with the και following, is largely developmental. It is the shift from speaking of natures to speaking of persons. The αλλα statement doesn't do that; it is more focused on making clear that Christ is one person, not two, even though he has two natures, not one.

Aren't conjunctions fun? Now, if αλλα and δε are important in contexts like the Symbol of Chalcedon; how important is is to have a general understanding of the discourse function of conjunctions when reading the Greek New Testament?

Post Author: rico
Saturday, May 03, 2008 10:29:36 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, April 28, 2008

If you're a child of the 80's like I am, you have all sorts of useless lyrics from TV theme songs stuck in your head. Today, I'm thinking of that 80's TV juggernaut "The Facts of Life" (itself a spinoff from "Diff'rent Strokes"):

You take the good,
You take the bad,
You take them both
and there you have
the Facts of Life ...

That's what I think of when I think of Louw-Nida's description of αλλα, spread across at least five articles. Here's the first unedited draft of the paragraph that reviews LN for my αλλα paper:

Louw-Nida provide a rather conventional view of αλλα, classing it in domains 89 (“Relations”, articles 96 and 125) and 91 (“Discourse Markers”, articles 2 and 11). Thus Louw-Nida break αλλα into four primary senses, providing glosses of “but” (89.125), “and” (89.96), “yet” (91.2) and “certainly” (91.11). The primary entry is 89.125, which describes αλλα as a “marker of emphatic contrast”. The article at 89.96 seems to provide a place to describe the unique instance of 2Co 7.11. The other senses, categorized as discourse markers, cover the use of αλλα in transitions (91.2, somewhat like BDAG’s second and third senses) and as a “marker of contrastive emphasis” (91.11). How “contrastive emphasis” differs from “more emphatic contrast” is not specified. While some heed is paid to the function of αλλα in discourse contexts, this seems more in use of categorization (as “Relations” and “Discourse Markers”) and in use of the term “marker” to describe αλλα.

I didn't even discuss 89.136, which (among other things) has notes on μεν .. αλλα (though I probably should, but the article is just a citation of Ro 14.20 and nothing more, so I'll likely relegate it to a footnote). But the thing that I noticed was how very similar 89.125 and 91.11 are: "contrastive emphasis" vs. "more emphatic contrast"? The difference seems primarily that one (89.125) works at the clause/phrase level (a 'relation'), while the other (91.11) works at a higher discourse level (as a 'discourse marker'). But they do the same things in the same ways. So there is good and bad in here: Good in noting different levels (phrase/clause and paragraph/discourse) on which αλλα functions; bad because it presents this as if these are different senses of αλλα when they aren't.

As I review lexical and grammatical descriptions of αλλα, two things become clear:

First, nobody knows what the heck to do with 2Co 7.11-12. It almost always ends up in a special sense all by itself (though 1Co 6.11 sometimes is included). All sources seem to note a "continuative" sense here, but then can only muster the one example. Seems weird that αλλα would be doing something fundamentally different here than elsewhere.

Second, descriptive terms like "adversative", "contrast" and "emphasis" are common, but these have more to say about the contexts in which αλλα is used and less to say about αλλα itself. And that's fine—I don't know that there is much we really can do to formally define αλλα; but if that's the case we shouldn't pretend that we are defining it by giving seemingly authoritative short glosses that don't really help the average user of lexicons and grammars (though I wonder how often the average user would actually look up and then skim and then actually read or work through an article on a conjunction). This said, we shouldn't describe αλλα as an "adversative particle" or provide morphology like "conjunction, adversative" or "conjunction, contrastive". We should more appropriately say that it occurs in adversative or contrastive contexts. (Hint: maybe when examining 2Co 7.11-12, instead of simply classing it as "continuative" because there is a chain of 6 αλλα in a row, we should look and see if there is any contrast that αλλα could be intensifying here?)

As I think through all of this, I bounce ideas off of my friend and colleague Steve. One thing he mentioned the other day has stuck in my mind (in a good way). He said that it is helpful in situations like these to think of contrast like a dial. Contrast is in the context (particularly with αλλα, where it usually stands between negative and non-negative things); use of particular grammatical phenomena, such as conjunctions, verb tense, etc., can heighten or lessen the degree of contrast in a given context. In other words, thinking specifically about αλλα, the contrast (or "emphasis" or an adversative nature) isn't put into the context by the simple use of αλλα; the use of αλλα can sharpen the degree of contrast in that particular context.

I s'pose that's my beef with the grammatical and lexical descriptions, then. When we describe αλλα as "adversative" or "contrastive" or what-have-you, we seem to be saying that these qualities are in the context simply due to the presence of αλλα, and if it was taken out these qualities would be gone. But the reverse is actually true: αλλα is being used because that contextual quality already exists; the author is using αλλα for specific purposes to tweak the context so that it communicates what he desires.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 28, 2008 6:10:04 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My friend and colleague Steve keeps on sending me juicy bits of αλλα-riffic goodness as fodder for the paper I'm working on. He's sent me items from the NA27 apparatus where variants include αλλα in some way (which I haven't blogged on yet, though I might sometime). Today he sent me this tidbit from Gospel of Thomas. The source is the Critical Edition of Q (amazon.com), (RBL Review) in the Hermeneia Commentary series.

This is interesting because there are (at least) two sources for this logion: Nag Hammadi II 2 (though in Hermeneia Q, this is a translation/retroversion of the Coptic) and P.Oxy 654. The difference I'm interested in is found in G.Thom. 3.3 (yes, there are several other differences). This is interesting to me because I would class it as a "non-negative" instance; and that is what my paper is supposed to be on. The surrounding content is roughly the same, but one source uses αλλα and the other uses και. There is a difference in the two; it shows what swapping a simple conjunction (here αλλα and και) can do to our understanding of a text.

First, from Nag Hammadi:

Gos. Thom. 3.1–3 (Greek Translation from Coptic of Nag Hammadi II 2)
(1) Λέγει Ἰησοῦς·
   ἐὰν οἱ ἡγούμενοι ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν·
      ἰδοὺ ἡ βασιλεία ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἐστιν,
         φθήσεται ὑμᾶς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.
   (2) ἐὰν (δʼ) εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν·
      ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ ἐστίν,
         φθήσονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἰχθύες.
   (3) ἀλλὰ ἡ βασιλεία ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν καὶ ἐκτὸς ὑμῶν.

Gos. Thom. 3.1–3 (Nag Hammadi II 2)
(1) Jesus says:
   If those who lead you say to you:
      Look, the kingdom is in the sky,
         then the birds of the sky will precede you.
   (2) If they say to you:
      It is in the sea,
         then the fish will precede you.
   (3) Rather, the kingdom is within you, and outside of you.

Now, P.Oxy 654:

Gos. Thom. 3.1–3 (P. Oxy. 654)
(1) λέγει Ἰ[η(σοῦ)ς·
   ἐὰν] οἱ ἕλκοντες <ὑ>μᾶς [εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν·
      ἰδοὺ] ἡ βασιλεία ἐν οὐρα[νῷ,
         ὑμᾶς φθήσεται] τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρ[ανοῦ·
   (2) ἐὰν δʼ εἴπωσιν
      ὅ[τι ὑπὸ τὴν γῆν ἐστ[ιν,
         εἰσελεύσονται] οἱ ἰχθύες τῆς θαλά[σσης προφθάσαν]τες ὑμᾶς·
   (3) καὶ ἡ βασ[ιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ] ἐντὸς ὑμῶν [ἐσ]τι [κἀκτός.]

Gos. Thom. 3.1–3 (P. Oxy. 654)
(1) Jesus says:
   [If] those who entice <you> [say to you:
      Look,] the kingdom is in the sky,
         [there will precede you] the birds of the sky.
   (2) [But if they say]:
      It is under the earth,
         [there will enter it] the fish of the sea [ahead of] you.
   (3) And the kingdom [of God] is within you, [and outside.]

What's the difference? Well, the retroversion/translation of Coptic from Nag Hammadi (with αλλα) seems to be a bit cleaner with more symmetry (note unity/parallel structure in vv. 1-2 and absence of same in P.Oxy 654). In Nag Hammadi, the αλλα clause essentially replaces the statements beforehand. The kingdom isn't localized to the sky, it isn't localized to the sea; instead it is everywhere. It's not like the fish and birds are closer to it than you, or that they'll get there before you. The "ones who lead you" are wrong; the kingdom isn't above the earth or below the earth, it is within you and outside of you.

In the Oxyrhynchus version, however, the και doesn't mean that the previous material is corrected/replaced; instead it is just more information on the stack. The kingdom is everywhere; not just in the sky, not just 'under the earth'; it's everywhere. So the "ones who entice you" are somewhat correct, it is true that the kingdom is above the earth and under the earth; but it isn't limited to those locales. Know that the kingdom is both within you and outside of you.

Update (2008-04-25): Wieland Willker (see his Textcritical commentary, you'll find it useful) emailed the following because comments weren't working for him for some reason:

Sometimes KAI functions simply as a punctuation mark.
Perhaps this is the case here:

It is under the earth,
[there will enter it] the fish of the sea [ahead of] you.
The kingdom [of God] is within you, [and outside.]

Just a thought ...

He's given us a good reminder: when translating, the Greek doesn't always have to have a word or words in the target that represent it, it could be represented by punctuation. And sometimes, (e.g. asyndeton, ellipsis) the target language needs to supply words to fully convey the original. Anyway, here was my response.

Hi Wieland.

Thanks for the note. I understand what you're saying. I'd say that και has a basic function (an additive function seen in both its conjunctive and adverbial forms), and that there is a range or spectrum for that functionality. This is reflected in translation; it can be translated as a simple full-stop in several circumstances. But the presence of και implies some sort of relationship with the clause that precedes, whether translated or not.

I suppose that's my primary point -- that the relationship between clauses is different when one uses και as compared to when one uses αλλα. Obvious, yes, but I think some folks get so focused on putting English to Greek that they forget to stop and understand what's going on in the Greek, particularly with function words like conjunctions and particles. Please note I'm *not* saying you're doing that, just wanted explain some underlying motives/biases I have.

Thanks again for the comment -- I appreciate your work!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 2:30:28 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here's some fun stuff from J.D. Denniston's Greek Particles (amazon.com). These are from the introduction so they are necessarily generic.

The different methods of connexion.These are, broadly speaking, four: (a) Additional, (b) Adversative, (c) Confimratory, (d) Inferential. But the divisions are everywhere fluid. (Denniston, Intro, xlvii)


(b) Adversatives are of two kinds: eliminative adversatives, used often where on of two contrasted members is negative, the true being substituted for the false (par excellence μεν ουν and normally αλλα), and balancing adversatives, where two truths of divergent tendency are presented (δε, μην, μεντοι, etc.) (Denniston, Intro, xlix, bold mine)

Note that "eliminative" and "balancing" are Denniston's way of saying "strong" and "weak" adversatives, respectively. Then, the money quote (for my purposes):

(7) Abnormalities of reference in connexion. The connexion established is, normally, of course, between consecutive units of speech: words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. There are, however, certain exceptions. In dialogue, owing to the quickness of thrust and parry, or the self-absorption of one of the participants, a speaker sometimes links the opening of his speech to his own preceding words, not to the intervening words of the other person. ... In S.El.1035 (p. 443) αλλʼ ουν looks back to 1017-26: or perhaps it would be truer to say that its point d'appui is the general situation, the whole attitude of Chrysothemis, rather than any particular set of words, an explanation which applies also to E.Alc.713 (και μην, p. 354), and IT 637 (μεντοι, p. 405). (Denniston, Intro, l, bold mine)

The page references are references to further discussion within Denniston. So, p. 443 gives us the context of the citation that Denniston mentions:

1035 ('Well, since you refuse to help me (1017-26), do at least realize what that refusal means'). (Denniston, 443)

So Denniston supports the idea that αλλα can provide a link between discontinuous text; or that the adversative/contrast/whatever you want to call it can be a response to a general idea floating in the ether (the "general situation", as Denniston calls it). Both of which support contentions I previously posted on in The αλλα Funnel.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:48:28 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Reading grammars for more information on αλλα, I came across this paragraph from Funk's Hellenistic Grammar, §611 (Chapter 41, "Function Words/Negatives":

Negatives, conjunctions, sentence connectors, and subordinators may be termed function words (Fries: 87-109) or structure signaling words (Roberts, 1958: 151f., 224ff.). The point of these labels is that such words are nearly lexically empty, i.e. they have little or no dictionary meaning of their own. However, they are grammatically significant in indicating the structure of sentences and parts of sentences (cf. §§001ff.). Some of them are so common as to require acquaintance at the grossest level of the language. This simply means that one must learn how they function early in the process. One may guess at the meaning of lexically full words, or leave them blank when reading (cf. §003), but one must know the grammatical "meaning" of function words to be able to proceed at all. It is the case, of course, that some function words are  more pervasive and significant than others. (Funk 475, bold added)

I think this statement from Funk gets at the problem that most people have when approaching conjunctions. They approach them as "lexically full" words. Words that have a reliable and relatively consistent translation.

But they don't. As Funk writes, they're "lexically empty". They have oodles of grammatical meaning and tons of information to shed on how the text is read, but they have no reliable functional equivalent. If our approach to conjunctions is like:

  • δε means "but"
  • και means "and" (except for when it means "also")
  • ουν means "therefore"
  • γαρ means "for"
  • αλλα means "but" (but it's a stronger 'but' than δε, of course)
  • etc., etc.

Then it's no big surprise that we miss so much when we attempt to stitch our glossed-up English word-swapping into something coherent that truly represents the Greek we're supposedly translating (but more realistically, we're decoding). I say this knowing I'm as guilty (or more guilty) of it as the next person; I'm not innocent here.

What's the way out of the slough of despond? Buck up, Pilgrim, because Funk hints at it in this very paragraph: "This simply means that one must learn how [function words] function early in the process."

So the answer is, "early in the process", to pay attention to how these words work; not so that you know what to put in the blank on next week's vocab/translation test, or so you know what to slide in when you do on-the-fly translation in your next reading class, or so that you know which words to ignore when you're choosing the 'important' words from next week's sermon text, but so that you can understand what the author/writer is communicating. Because that is the goal. Right?

(side note: That last "but" ... it would be an αλλα if that was Greek, not a δε.)

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:08:45 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, April 07, 2008

I've recently finished a first-pass examination of every instance of αλλα in the Apostolic Fathers. While I report numbers here, the big thing to notice are trends; the specific numbers may change as I re-evaluate things between now and November.

There are no surprises in the 352 instances evaluated.

First, αλλα usually occurs with a negated clause or phrase.

  • The negator μη (or something very much like it, such as μηδε) is used 82 times.
  • The negator ου and its kin are used 188 times (though note some of these are ου μη).

When I say μη or ου, I'm also including things like μη μονον and ουκ μονον and even ουδεν, μηδεν, μηκετι, ουκετι and stuff like that. Maybe not completely and technically accurate, but I have the details down in a spreadsheet I can use later to disambiguate if need be.

There are 76 'clearly' positive (so, no negator on either side of αλλα); there are six that I've found confusing enough to pass on for now. What could be confusing? Sometimes negators are involved, though it is difficult to determine if the entire context is negative, or if something else is going on. These usually involve use of μηδεν.

Recall, my submitted abstract involved examining the "positive" instances, so these instances will be followed up and re-examined.

As mentioned above, the negator occurs both before and after αλλα.

  • Of the 82 instances of the negator μη, there is only one that has the negator after αλλα, though there are four instances (e.g. Ign Tral. 5.1) that have negators on both sides of αλλα.
  • Of the 188 instances of ου and its kin, 21 instances occur after αλλα (αλλʼ ουκ is a relatively common formation), and seven instances that have negators on both sides of αλλα.

What have I found most interesting? Well, it has to be how the Shepherd of Hermas uses αλλα without negation. Of course, this is the largest item in the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers, but 39 of the 76 'positive' instances are found in the Shepherd. There are some pretty cool things going on in those 39 instances that have no analogue in the New Testament; I'm guessing that I'll end up working through a few of them for the paper as examples of how αλλα functions and what that means for evaluating αλλα from the perspective of discourse analysis.

What's my next step? I have similar data tables for the NT and the Apostolic Fathers. I believe my next step will be to re-evaluate the positive instances in the NT (90 clearly positive instances out of 638; but I have 35 more complex/confusing instances to re-evaluate and classify). After this, I'll be able to really start writing. I've already got a high-level outline in my head, it'll be interesting to see how it fleshes out.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 07, 2008 6:13:15 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, March 31, 2008

When looking into the use of αλλα, one needs to (at least to some degree) consider the difference between αλλα and δε. Grammarians have hopelessly associated the two together. The conjunction δε is usually described as having "adversative" qualities, though it can also be "continuative" or even "transitional". The primary description of αλλα seems to be that it, as an adversative, is "stronger than δε" (though sometimes it is "transitional" too, they say). So αλλα is the "strong adversative" while δε is the "weak adversative". Or something like that.

And that description is somewhat helpful, but it leaves a lot to be desired. All these different functions/descriptions are based, it seems, on context of usage. When looking at the problem from a discourse level, however, these contextual descriptions don't really help, particularly when the basic recommendation for translation is to just use the English "but" for both cases. That may be accurate translation, but it doesn't really help us understand what is going on in the Greek and what function these two conjunctions have.

What are "strong" and "weak" adversatives? It seems the strong adversative is normally a corrective (and normally a negative particle or adverb is involved); the weak is normally a development of argument of some sort. Here's Hermas, Visions 3.1.9, in Holmes' 2nd edition, first in Greek then in English. This excerpt has two instances of αλλα; we're only interested in the second one for purposes of this blog post. <CP ...> marks the "counterpoint", typically the first phrase/clause that αλλα responds to; <P ... > marks the "point", typically the salient bit of the whole comparison.

(9) <CP θέλοντος οὖν μου καθίσαι εἰς τὰ δεξιὰ μέρη οὐκ εἴασέν με,> ἀλλʼ <P ἐννεύει μοι τῇ χειρὶ ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἀριστερὰ μέρη καθίσω>.
διαλογιζομένου μου οὖν καὶ λυπουμένου
   ὅτι οὐκ εἴασέν με εἰς τὰ δεξιὰ μέρη καθίσαι, λέγει μοι·
      Λυπῇ, Ἑρμᾶ;
         ὁ εἰς τὰ δεξιὰ μέρη τόπος ἄλλων ἐστίν,
            τῶν ἤδη εὐαρεστηκότων τῷ θεῷ
            καὶ παθόντων εἵνεκα τοῦ ὀνόματος·
         <CP σοὶ> δὲ <CP πολλὰ λείπει ἵνα μετʼ αὐτῶν καθίσῃς>·
         ἀλλʼ <P ὡς ἐμμένεις τῇ ἁπλότητί σου,
            καὶ καθιῇ μετʼ αὐτῶν,>
               καὶ ὅσοι ἐὰν ἐργάσωνται τὰ ἐκείνων ἔργα
                  καὶ ὑπενέγκωσιν ἃ καὶ ἐκεῖνοι ὑπήνεγκαν.

Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (346). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

(9) <CP Then when I wanted to sit down on the right side, she would not let me,> but <P indicated to me with her hand that I should sit on the left side>.
Then as I thought about this and was sad
   because she would not permit me
      to sit on the right side,
   she said to me,
      “Are you sad, Hermas?
         The place on the right side is for others,
            who have already pleased God
            and have suffered for the sake of the Name.
         But [δε] <CP you fall far short of sitting with them.>
         But [αλλα]
            <P persevere in your sincerity,
               as you are now doing,
               and you will sit with them,>
                  as will all who do what they have done
                  and endure what they have endured.”

Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (347). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Can you get the sense of the difference between δε and αλλα? Heckert summarizes δε as a "marker of development". In this case, δε is a further development of the preceding statement describing the meaning of the right side. The right side is for others; Hermas has fallen short of the status the others have achieved. The status of the right side and reason for Hermas' exclusion is more clear with the δε statement. This instance of δε would probably normally be classed as a "continuative" or "copulative"; in this instance it represents a further development of the state of those on the right side. In short, those on the right have "already pleased God", Hermas hasn't done this yet, therefore he is not worthy.

After explaining the right side, and why Hermas can't sit there, the good lady offers him some hope. This is the counterpoint, the foil the αλλα statement ends up responding to. Αλλα sits in the middle. Heckert calls αλλα a "marker of contrast". Here, the contrast is between Hermas' falling short of those on the right side, and what Hermas can do to achieve right-side worthiness. In the CP, Hermas can't sit with those on the right side as he is unworthy of them. But in the P, the good lady offers Hermas hope! He can sit with them if he keeps up what he has started.

This gets to what has been cookin' in my thinking concerning the use of αλλα, from the discourse level. I've looked at a lot of instances of αλλα (approaching 1000!) in both the NT and the Apostolic Fathers. When αλλα is used, as Heckert maintains, there is contrast involved. But I also think that when αλλα is used, it is the statement that happens after the αλλα that is being made prominent. That is, in this case, the important bit isn't that Hermas can't sit on the right side. The important bit is that, if he does the right stuff, Hermas will be able to sit on the right side among the honored of God, those who have suffered for the sake of the Name.

In other words, I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that αλλα does involve contrast, as Heckert maintains. With αλλα, there always seems to be a pair of things, whether the comparison/contrast is in the same phrase, in the same clause, in the same sentence, in the same paragraph, or whether the αλλα appears to be contrasting previous content at the discourse level or even contrasting an underlying idea floating in the contextual ether. The αλλα makes the contrast explicit and the content following the αλλα is the more salient bit. It is the reason for the contrast, it is the important piece of the puzzle that keeps the discourse going.

At least, that's where I'm at now. These things may change.

Post Author: rico
Monday, March 31, 2008 5:26:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Epistle to the Romans uses μη γενοιτο (usually translated, "May it never be!" or "By no means!") five times. In four of those instances, it stands between a counterpoint and point that has αλλα as hinge (Ro 3.31; 7.7, 13; 11.11; the other instance is Ro 6.15). [On Counterpoints and Points, see this article on the Logos blog and also see this conference paper on negation by Dr. Steve Runge -- RB] Here's a sample, the <<..>> denote the CounterPoint (CP) and Point (P):

Ro 3.31:

<<CP νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως;>> μὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλὰ <<νόμον ἱστάνομεν.>> (NA27)

<<CP Do we then overthrow the law by faith?>> By no means! On the contrary, <<P we uphold the law.>> (ESV)

So, Paul answers his own rhetorical question with the obvious answer (μη γενοιτο!), then uses αλλα to fill out the comparison/contrast.

In examining instances of αλλα in the Apostolic Fathers, I noticed one instance of the same thing going on in the Epistle of Barnabas:

Ep.Barn 6.3:

εἶτα τί λέγει; Καὶ ὃς ἐλπίσει ἐπʼ αὐτὸν ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. <<CP ἐπὶ λίθον οὖν ἡμῶν ἡ ἐλπίς;>> μὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλʼ <<P ἐπεὶ ἐν ἰσχύϊ τέθεικεν τὴν σάρκα αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος.>> λέγει γάρ· Καὶ ἔθηκέν με ὡς στερεὰν πέτραν. (Holmes 2nd Ed)

Then what does he say? “And whoever sets his hope on him will live forever.” <<CP Does our hope, then, rest on a rock?>> By no means! But <<P he says this because the Lord has established his flesh in strength.>> For he says: “And he established me like a solid rock.” (Holmes 2nd Ed)

The comparison/contrast is less straightforward in Ep.Barn., but you get the contrast, particularly when you look at the end of v. 2, " ... 'Behold, I will set into the foundations of Zion a precious stone, especially chosen, a cornerstone, highly valued.'" That rolls right into v. 3; all of it referring to Is 28.16. The author of Ep.Barn. is saying that this passage in Isaiah doesn't mean that a rock will save us, he points to a different passage of Isaiah (Is 50.7) to explain the rock reference; vv. 4-5 have three more citations doing the same thing. All in accordance with the allegorizing style of the letter. The bottom line is that it isn't a rock that saves us (that's ridiculous!), it is the Lord that saves us.

Anyway, I found it interesting that the Epistle of Barnabas uses, at least in this one instance, rhetoric similar to the Epistle to the Romans. No, I'm not saying that Paul wrote Barnabas (or that Barnabas, influenced by Paul, wrote Barnabas). I'm just noting a little gem I found while sifting through mounds of data.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:32:14 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, March 17, 2008

Though it is traditionally called "Second Clement", implying that the same author is responsible for both First and Second Clement, scholarship has for centuries (as I recall) considered them to come from different sources. Lightfoot, in his one-volume edition from the late 19th century, simply calls it "An Ancient Homily" instead of "Second Clement".

As I've been examining instances of αλλα in the Apostolic Fathers, I ran across a peculiar thing.

In First Clement (and in NT, for that matter), when the phrase "not only ... but (also) ... " is used, the phrasing is "ου μονον .. αλλα και" with uniformity (though cf. 2Ti 2.20, Εν μεγαλη δε οικια ουκ εστιν μονον .. αλλα και ..).

In Second Clement, however, the phrasing of "not only ... but (also)" is uniformly "μη μονον .. αλλα και" (or some variant of μη μονον, like 2Cl 9.10, "μη απο στοματος μονον αλλα και .. " or even 2Cl 13.1, "και μη .. μηδε θελομεν μονον .. αλλα και ..").

I'm not one to say that an author always has to use the same turn of phrase in the same way. But the disparity between First and Second Clement in this sort of phrasing seems suspicious.

Update (2008-03-19): Note that μη μονον is used elsewhere in the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers: IgnMag 4.1; IgnRom 3.2 (2x); MPoly 1.2 (2x); EpDiog 2.1.

Post Author: rico
Monday, March 17, 2008 8:50:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, March 14, 2008

[NB: This post is a bit of a rant, and doesn't really come to an end or conclusion. It's just me thinking by writing, which is one of the most profitable ways I know to work my thoughts out. So, read on. But don't think I'm making conclusions or judgements; my thoughts could completely change. In other words, this is fluid, not static. RWB]

Here are some things about αλλα that I've noticed as I've worked through the 638 NT instances (a few times).

When considering an instance of αλλα, know that most of the time (approx. 85% of the time in the NT), a relationship with a negator of some sort is involved.

Instead of just making the oh-to-common mental note associating αλλα with the English gloss "but" and moving on, look around for the negative to determine what two things are in relationship with each other via αλλα.

Here's what I'm presently calling the "αλλα Funnel":

1: Look for a negator. This will be some form of ου or μη, most likely; or some other word like ουδεις, μηδεις, ουκετι, μηκετι, etc.) Again, around 85% of NT instances of αλλα involve a negator. You need to find it. Note the very small proportion of items that have negators on both sides of the αλλα (3 instances; e.g. 1Co 4.4).

2: First, look up (to the left). Over 75% of αλλα in NT have the negator preceding.

3: Still looking? Okay, look down (to the right). About 10% of αλλα in the NT have a negator following. In this case, the negator is usually ου or ουκ, and it usually follows the αλλα directly.

4: Still looking? Well, there are 15% or so instances of αλλα in the NT that do not seem to involve a negator. This is the minority case, so look again (up and down) to be sure.

5: Still looking? Then stop looking and assume there is no negator. At this point, you need to isolate the two items in relationship with each other through the αλλα. This is usually brain-dead easy; sometimes, though, it is a pain (Gal 4.8-9? 1Co 15.35?). Note that there are some instances where αλλα doesn't seem to be responding to an explicit statement. My working hypothesis at present is that αλλα must be a response (contrast, correction, clarification, expansion, what-have-you) to something; and when nothing is explicit the response must be to something implicit in the context. Examine the context and try to figure it out if the connection isn't readily apparent.

Now you're at the bottom of the funnel. The easy part is done, the hard work begins.

αλλα is typically described as a "strong adversative" and, to define "strong", most grammars say it is "stronger than δε". That isn't too helpful. That's like saying "bold" is stronger than "confident". So read the whole context of the statement (or statements) in question that uses αλλα as a hinge to compare. Read the larger context. What is happening with the two phrases/clauses that αλλα stands between? What is the point of the comparison of those two items? Is it replacement/correction? Is it enhancement or expansion? Don't cop out and just say it means "but"; get your mind out of the word-level jumble and think about the relationship between the phrases/clauses and what the point of the author could be in placing these items in juxtaposition with each other, using αλλα as a guide to that author's intent. He's left clues with αλλα, use (or non-use) of negators, and the items he's comparing.

On Lexicons and αλλα

This could actually be a whole additional post, but it won't be. In short, I've read most lexicon definitions of αλλα, and they are all uniformly unhelpful. They seem to jump from lexicography to syntax quickly, sorting "senses" by differing syntactic contexts that αλλα appears in. Cataloguing of instances by syntactic context does not make a helpful lexicon article.

I'm largely convinced that one of the reasons that αλλα is typically classed as an "adversative" is simply because in most of its instances it stands between two clauses/phrases, one negative and one non-negative. In this case, it is the clauses/phrases that are adversary, not αλλα. Then, if no negator is present, αλλα is said to be, perhaps, correlative or contrastive or continuative something like that.

[[This brings up a side rant: Morphologies of the Greek New Testament that provide senses/classifications to conjunctions (e.g. GRAMCORD, "conjunction, coordinating, adversative") are also relatively unhelpful if you're really interested in what the conjunction is up to. Why do I say this? Get yourself a few different morphologies that do this, and you'll see that everyone has different ideas in this area. Compare GRAMCORD to Friberg's morphology. You'll see that many do seem to be the same on first glance, but that's because most morphologies classify most instances of αλλα the same exact way. GRAMCORD has 97.6% of αλλα classified as "conjunction, coordinating, adversative"; Friberg has more variation with 86.5% as "conjunction, superordinating (hyperordinating)". (Full disclosure: The Logos Morphology has even more variation, but it also has more categories) Am I saying they should all be consistent? No; I don't subscribe to a 'concordant' method of morphological classification. I'm just saying there is a lot of variation so it brings into question the classification schemes themselves.]]

So what does αλλα do? What does it indicate? I'm still working on that.

My hope is to have some flash of insight and arrive at a grand unification theory. But I think a large part of the problem is that traditional methodology seems bound to try to answer the question, "how do I translate it?" (hence all sorts of categories and memorization of short glosses) when, in order to actually understand what the author is communicating, we really should be asking the question, "what does it mean?" or, perhaps, "how does it all go together?".

In the context of examining a discourse to better understand "what does it mean?", we need to examine how different parts of the discourse relate to each other. One way that discourse parts relate to each other is though use of conjunctions. So when the author/writer uses αλλα with two items in juxtaposition to each other, what is that author communicating? Are there semantic or grammatical connections between the two juxtaposed items and the rest of the discourse?

My guess is that that, chances are, αλλα means the same thing no matter what context it appears in. Instead, it's how the juxtaposed items relate to each other through αλλα that variation in understanding arises.

Update (2008-03-16): Responding to a few of the comments, I can only emphasize the word 'rant' in regards to αλλα and morphologies and lexicography/lexicons (not to mention grammars). If you compare the labelling of senses/types of αλλα across morphologies, you'll soon find that opinions differ, particularly as you get outside of the easy-to-understand instances (usually in some sort of negative context) and into the 'long tail' of instances. And that's fine; my rant is more my response to the difficulty of the problem than complete dissatisfaction with existing lexicons/morphologies. I guess my issue with the αλλα article in BDAG (and elsewhere) is that by their structure and breakdown they seem more geared toward telling me what to think about specific instances of αλλα than in sewing all that discussion up at the end and giving some thoughts on αλλα in general. It's more of a catalogue of instances than a discussion of the word.

To respond specifically to Mike about BDAG: I suppose one thing I'd like to see in BDAG is after the separation of discussion of αλλα in particular contexts, some discussion of how even in these differing contexts αλλα is functioning similarly. I realize the first sentence of the definition speaks of this somewhat, but something tying the whole thing in general would be nice.

To respond to Ken about adversative as a label: I don't have such a list, and I don't really have a problem with 'adversative' as a word to describe how αλλα functions. I do think that αλλα can be 'adversative' when no negator is present in either clause/phrase of the structure in question. What gives me pause would be to say of any instance of αλλα that it is an 'adversative αλλα'. No, it's αλλα. The context may be adversative, and αλλα is likely the hinge joining two adversarial or contradictory things; but that doesn't mean that αλλα is adversative. Anyway, that's my own issue with labelling things that I need to get over; not necessarily an issue with morphological classifications.

Post Author: rico
Friday, March 14, 2008 7:00:50 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Did you know that αλλα occurs 557 times in the whole of the LXX (nearly four times the size of the NT); compared to 638 times in the NT? That number includes the alternate MSS text in Joshua, Daniel, etc.

And the LXX books with the most frequent instances of αλλα (instances per 1000 words in book) are books likely composed in Greek, stuff like Wisdom of Solomon (3 αλλα/1000 words) and 4 Maccabees (6.3/1000)? Tobit and Judith are also high (both 2/1000), but so are Malachi (~2/1000) and, believe it or not, Job (~3/1000)!

Comparatively, Holmes' second edition Apostolic Fathers Greek text has 352 instances. That's over half of the number of NT instances, but the corpus size is just over 1/3 of the NT.

That'll make a guy think.

Update (2008-03-12): On the idea of whether αλλα can be an indicator of Aramaic in the gospels, or translation Greek; let's not forget that it could just be a diachronic thing. LXX => early, NT => later, AF => even later. Maybe αλλα usage increased over time, particularly since it is a development from αλλος. (It may therefore be useful to compare use of αλλος/αλλα between LXX/NT/AF to get a better picture; I'll leave this for someone else to dig into).

On the Aramaic question, perhaps the place to start would be with Raymond A. Martin's Syntactical Evidence of Semitic Sources in Greek Documents (amazon.com). He thinks that minimal use of certain prepositions may be evidence of a translated text; also και/δε in some contexts, but doesn't say anything about αλλα (from my quick re-skim). Martin presents a lot of evidence, but I don't know that I buy it (call it my "correlation does not prove causation" skepticism).

Anyway, here's the chart of αλλα usage in the NT. I generated this with Logos Bible Software's Graph Bible Search Results feature, which is an option on the right-hand side of all Bible search results menus (Bible Speed Search, which I used for this; Bible Search; and Syntax Search). The numbers on the right of the bars are # of αλλα per 1000 words in a book. So Matthew has 2.0162 αλλα per 1000 words; Mark has 3.9788 per 1000; etc. This sort of distribution leads me to think that use of αλλα is perhaps more stylistic than translational; though the LXX numbers reported (that graph is below the NT graph) are much less frequent. This may say more about the translators and the time they translated in than the translation itself.

And here's the LXX graph:

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 12:13:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, March 10, 2008

At least, that was the working title of the abstract I've submitted for the 2008 ETS meeting in Rhode Island this November. But I couldn't bring myself to actually make that the title of the paper. So here's what I've submitted:

Title: The Discourse Function of αλλα in Non-Negative Contexts

Abstract: In a paper presented to the ETS in November 2007, Dr. Steven Runge discussed the use of the conjunction αλλα in negative Counterpoint-Point Sets ("Teaching Them What NOT To Do: The Nuances of Negation in the Greek New Testament"). The basic pattern is that of an exceptive ου or μη clause followed by a clause introduced by αλλα; the effect in English translation is "not ... but ..." [an example is in Mark 16.5-7, which I blogged about earlier — RB].

While most of the instances of αλλα in the Greek New Testament occur in negative Counterpoint-Point sets, this does not account for all instances of αλλα. What is happening with αλλα in these other contexts? Is the discourse function of αλλα in these contexts similar, or is there something different going on?

Instances of αλλα in the Greek New Testament in non-negative contexts will be examined with the hope of further describing the function of αλλα within the discourse. Additionally, standard Greek grammars will be mined for further insight into the function of αλλα, as will the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The goal is not to isolate additional "senses" or "classes" of αλλα, but, building upon Runge's previous work, the goal is to examine further instances of αλλα in differing contexts to contribute toward a more precise overall understanding of the general function of αλλα within the discourse.

We'll see if the abstract is accepted. Either way, I've already started culling through the 638 instances of αλλα in the New Testament (500+ of which appear in a negative pairing, it seems), working through the section on αλλα in Denniston's Greek Particles (amazon.com), reading Heckert on αλλα (amazon.com); I'll probably be braving the lexicon articles (BDAG, LSJ, LouwNida) sometime over the next week; and hitting the grammars (BDF, Moulton-Howard-Turner, Robertson, Porter's Idioms, Moule's Idioms, Wallace; perhaps Young's Intermediate Grammar) as well.

Sounds like fun, huh?

Update (2008-03-11): Responding to some comments: Yes, I do plan on posting the paper, but likely in conjunction with or just after the conference in November. But I'll probably blog some thoughts along the way that may or may not make it into the paper. On other resource (e.g. Thrall); perhaps. There is no shortage of items to look at for background. But the paper isn't a review of how people have described αλλα in the past, so there has to be a limit to the background section of the paper. I just don't know what that is yet (beyond standard lexica and grammars, Denniston, and Heckert)


Post Author: rico
Monday, March 10, 2008 7:20:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, February 04, 2008

One of the advantages of working at Logos and sitting next to very smart, very cool people like my friend Steve is that I get to soak up his knowledge as he works on cool projects.

One thing Steve has imparted to me is the importance of conjunctions and particles at the discourse level.

With this in mind, there I was in church on Sunday. We've been going through the gospel of Mark for maybe two years now, getting close to the end. Sunday's lesson was on Mark 16.1-8. Mark 16.5-7 jumped out at me:

5 Καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν.

6 ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς·
     μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε·
               τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν
               τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον·
               οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε·
               ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν.
     7 ἀλλὰ ὑπάγετε
          εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ
               ὅτι προάγει ὑμᾶς
                    εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν·
               ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε,
                    καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν.

A few things to notice.

First, the bold text shows some lexical cohesion between the two units. Mark is the only NT author that uses this particular word (cf. Mk 9.15; Mk 14.33). This connects the surprise the ladies had upon entering the tomb with the instructions from the angel to the women.

Second, note vv 6-7 as the quotative frame with the angel speaking. Note the use of μη .. αλλα (in red). One thing Steve has impressed upon me in the past few months is that when one sees an αλλα, one should always look up the context to see if there is a μη. And it happens here. Consider an English translation:

And he said to them:
     Don't be overwhelmed;
          the one you seek—
               the Nazarene,
               the crucified one—
          he is risen
               he is not here—
               look at the place where they laid him!
     Instead, go
          tell his disciples and Peter
               that he is going before you
                    into Galilee
               just as he told you.

Do you see the contrast? Instead of being overwhelmed/freaked out; the women are instructed to calm down, to go find the disciples (including Peter!) and remind them of what Jesus had already instructed them.

Third, note how Jesus is specified in the text. There is no question as to whom the angel is referring to. Jesus is further qualified as "the Nazarene", and then further qualified as "the crucified one". Then the women are pointed to where they expected him to be, and noting that he is not there. Jesus, who was crucified and dead, whom they expected to be in the tomb, was not where he was supposed to be.

I think the text is focusing on Jesus not being in the tomb, and then further on directing the women to get the message (he is risen!) to the disciples so they can get to Galilee, back to Jesus.

Post Author: rico
Monday, February 04, 2008 3:05:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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