[B-Greek] Pragmatic Conditionals (Was 2Cor 3:15-16 hHNIKA ...
bvabasciano at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 09:16:17 EST 2010
(This message seems to have bounced back. So I am resending [with slight
modification]. Apologies if it ends up being a duplicate on the list.)
I should have mentioned that there are what Wallace calls evidence-inference
conditionals in which the protasis serves as evidence of the apodosis, often
(though not always) because the apodosis is actually the cause in some way
of the protasis (there are equivalence conditionals too, but I don't think
those are relevant to the passage we have been discussing). I thought of one
using "whenever" in English:
Whenever the lightbulb is shining, there is electricity powering it.
But I don't think that this is the type of condtional we have in 1 Cor
3:15-16 (certainly not in 3:15). For one, the normal use of the conditional
IMO is a cause-effect type of relation. There is a reason why people
routinely assume cause-effect for conditionals, because it is the typical
meaning even if it can carry other meanings. Of course, context has to
decide the question. But again, every use of hHNIKA ... (E)ANplus
subjunctive elsewhere in the Bible always presents the "whenever" action as
in some way determinative for a subordinate contingent action. There is also
the Ex 34 background which most scholars thinks serves as the source for
Paul's language, which is of the contingent typ and other considerationse.
But there is no need to go over that ground again.
----- Original Message -----
From: Brian Abasciano
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Cc: yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net ; Blue Meeksbay
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2010 2:00 AM
Subject: Re: Pragmatic Conditionals (Was 2Cor 3:15-16 hHNIKA ... AN)
I think this analysis of pragmatic conditionals is incorrect, at least in
the specific case we are dealing with and in the example given. Let's look
at the example: "Whenever you are hungry, dinner will be on the table."
There is indeed a conditional element to this. It could take more than one
form, but let's go with the invitation form that Yancy cites. The invitation
communicates that it is up to the person invited to initiate getting
together. That is why it is stated with "whenever" (= "if at any time"). So
it is not a matter of the explicit conditional not being intended. It is a
situation of both/and, this type of use of the conditional indicates
contingency ("you can come over whenever you want to; you are welcome; our
desire for you to come over and enjoy hospitality stands and we leave it to
you initiate when you would like to come over") plus the notion of
invitation. (Alternatively, this sort of invitation could mean something
like, "whenever you are in need, we are ready to help you out", which again
involves some contingency, for the need [being hungry] would evoke the
meeting of the need (providning dinner].) One might be able to think up some
use of whenever x, (then) y that is not conditional, but it seems that it
would be an extremely unusual and rare usage as to be (if one could be
found) the exception that proves the rule. As I have stated a number of
times, every use of hHNIKA ... (E)ANplus subjunctive elsewhere in the Bible
always presents the associated action as in some way determinative for a
subordinate contingent action. This particular grammatical construction
really does seem to imply conditionality/contingency of some sort.
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 19:42:01 -0600
From: "yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
Subject: [B-Greek] Pragmatic Conditionals (Was 2Cor 3:15-16 hHNIKA ...
To: greek B-Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Message-ID: <49B5E698-20A6-455F-973B-11A1638D7D94 at sbcglobal.net>
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I apologize to the list if this is a duplicate. I think there were to may
quoted replies and it the exceeded message size limit.
A "pragmatic conditional," as I understand it, would be a conditional
sentence which signals some other message to the hearer/reader. There is
skewing between the grammatical form, the logical meaning and the intended
meaning. The reader/hearer understands that the logical/grammatical form of
the condition is not strictly intended. This happens often in natural
language and I assume that NT Greek is natural language. For example,
"Whenever you are hungry, dinner will be on the table."
The listener/reader of such an utterance ignores the explicit meaning of
the conditional sentence, because, strictly there is no possible cause and
effect between the two parts, contingency and result. So, some other meaning
is sought. Say, an invitation. So, a translator into a language that does
not use this type of pragmatic conditional in this way would have to opt for
a non-literal translation, say.
"You are welcome eat with us any time you wish." So, what is the
likelihood that v. 16 is such a conditional?
v. 16 ????? ?? ??? ????????? ???? ??????, ???????????? ?? ???????.
hHNIKA DE EAN EPISTRFH PROS KURION, PERIAIREITAI TO KALUMMA.
It is a quotation of Scripture, but is there a skewing between the type of
utterance it appears to be and how it functions pragmatically? Quoted
utterance is complex, because there is often a difference in application
between original and quotation, as in this case. The application might be
ironic, quotation + differing attitude. Is it intended to merely to give
information? Is it intended to express a wish/command?
My own opinion is that the Scripture is quoted as a sort of wish, like the
wishes Paul expresses in Rom. 9-11. Of course the difficulty is that the
grammar gives us no clue at all as to the meaning. Only context.
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