# 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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# Sunday, April 27, 2008

From the What's New in Papyrology blog comes mention of a splendid sounding title, Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (amazon.com). The author is AnneMarie Luijendijk, the publisher is Harvard Divinity School. And the price for the 235 page book is $25. (Brill, Mohr-Siebeck, et. al., please take note of the price-per-page ratio).

It is apparently slated for release in August of 2008. I can't wait to read it once I scrape up the $25.

Here's the blurb from the publisher (text taken from Amazon's page):

This is the first book-length study on Christians in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, the site where some of the most important and oldest fragments of early Christian books were unearthed.

Bringing the people in dry papyrus letters and documents back to life, the book reveals how Christians lived in this city in different contexts and situations. In the first part, the image of the city's marketplace functions to address questions of Christian identity in the public sphere. The second part features a man called Sotas, bishop of Oxyrhynchus in the third century, as he is busy networking with other Christian communities, involved in teaching, book production, and fund-raising. The third part, focusing on evidence of the persecution of Christians, reveals the far-reaching power and pervasiveness of Roman bureaucracy. We learn that Christians negotiated their identity through small acts of resistance against the imperial decrees.

The papyrus letters and documents discussed in this book offer sometimes surprising insights into the everyday lives of Christians in the third and early fourth century and nuance our understanding of Christianity in this period. It is the mundane aspects of everyday life that make these papyrus documents so fascinating.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, April 27, 2008 6:18:52 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I hereby declare my "pick the photo caption" contest over. According to the results of the poll, the winner is:


Elect Ella: She'll work for you!

Congratulations to Chuck Grantham, and thanks to all who entered. Chuck, zap me an email (textgeek at gmail dot rhymes-with-mom) with your mailing address and your choice between these three books:

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:20:25 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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# Monday, April 21, 2008

My friend and colleague Steve Runge recently blogged about "Paying Attention to 'This' and 'That'" on the Logos Bible Software blog. He was showing how paying attention to ουτος and εκεινος can pay dividends in your study of the NT.

For a bonus on the difference between 'near' and 'far', check this Sesame Street clip from YouTube (thanks for the reference, Steve) where Grover makes sure we get the difference between the two.

Now that that's all cleared up, I ran into a stellar example of the difference between ουτος and εκιενος this weekend while reading Second Clement. Here's the text of 2Cl 6.3-5 from Holmes' second edition; pay particular attention to verse 4:

(3) ἔστιν δὲ οὗτος ὁ αἰὼν καὶ ὁ μέλλων δύο ἐχθροί.
(3) This age and the one that is coming are two enemies.

(4) οὗτος λέγει μοιχείαν καὶ φθορὰν καὶ φιλαργυρίαν καὶ ἀπάτην, ἐκεῖνος δὲ τούτοις ἀποτάσσεται.
(4) This one talks about adultery and corruption and greed and deceit, but that one renounces these things.

(5) οὐ δυνάμεθα οὖν τῶν δύο φίλοι εἶναι· δεῖ δὲ ἡμᾶς τούτῳ ἀποταξαμένους ἐκείνῳ χρᾶσθαι.
(5) We cannot, therefore, be friends of both; we must renounce this one in order to experience that one.

Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (110-111). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Also interesting is the use of δε in v. 4. This implies development of a point, whereas use of αλλα would likely heighten the contrast.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 21, 2008 1:35:46 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 18, 2008

You may remember this post, that had the below picture, and a pleas for a caption:


Captions have been submitted; so now please vote for your favorite by visiting this poll. Available captions are:

  • In the voice of Robert DeNiro: "Are you talkin' to me?"
  • Elect Ella: She'll work for you!
  • "Here's looking at you, kid"
  • It's YOUR copy of the Nestle-Aland 27 Reverse Interlinear I want, mister
  • "Who's my daddy!"
  • What was it that Isaac the bartender always used to say ... ?

Voting will close sometime on Monday (maybe Tuesday, who knows).

What book will the winner get? I think the winner will be able to choose from:

So vote!

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 18, 2008 3:00:48 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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