Constituents in the "wrong places"?

Glenn Blank glennblank at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 17 23:30:06 EST 2002



FWIW, the Byzantine txt and TR have in Mr 4.30b . . .

. . . EN POIA PARPABOLH PARABALWMEN AUTHN,

with the noun phrase not interrupted.  I don't know which mss support that
reading. 

As Iver pointed out, having a noun phrase interrupted by other words or
phrases is fairly common.  But NA's Mr 4.30 be seems extreme, even for Greek
-- you have not only and noun separated from it's adjective, but it is
separated by a direct object which is in turn separated from its governing
verb.  And the noun phrase is within a prepositional phrase, so that the
direct object dives down into *two* levels of constituent hierarchy in its
distance from its governing verb.

There is something else odd about the notion that this "fronting" of AUTHN
is for prominence:  I always thought the use of a pronoun *lessened* the
referent's prominence.  So do we have the referent "kingdom of God" made
less prominent by the pronoun, and then in turn made more prominent by
"fronting" that pronoun?  ISTM that if "kingdom of God" being made prominent
was the intent, TOUTO rather than AUTHN, viz Iver's paraphrase of the nuance

>(a) "by what parable can we explain this kingdom"  vs
>(b) "by what parable can we explain it".

I agree with Iver that

>Because of the first half and especially the word hOMOIWSWMEN, the
>word PARABOLHi is almost predictable and carries little semantic weight.

But since it carries little semantic weight, using a noun [PARABOLHi] as its
reference rather than simply realizing the referent with a <null> seems to
give it more prominence . . .

>Therefore it tends to occur late in the clause.

But if prominence is proportional to proximity to the front of a clause, and
inversely proportional to proximity to the end of the clause, why is not
PARABOLHi last, and AUTHN first?

AUTHN EN TINI QWMEN PARABOLHi

Instead, since

EN TINI AUTHN PARABOLHi QWMEN,

would you say that there is a scale of prominence, with AUTHN having more
prominence than PARABOLHi, and EN TINI in turn having more prominence that
both of them?

>It is not a matter of  being impatient but of expressing small nuances by
>word order.

Yes, I agree, assuming that this is not simply a case of a textual variant
(a question for the TC list).  But assuming that, I am not convinced that
the referent of AUTHN is the one being given prominence and PARABOLHi being
downplayed.

I have not been disagreeing with Iver so much as thinking aloud.  Moon has
asked these types of questions about word order before, and I guess what I
am driving at in my questions is to what extent "fronting" is the indicator
of prominence versus to what extent disruption of constituent structure is
the indicator, with "fronting" a by-product of that disruption?  Or is it
the case instead that word order is so free in Greek that there is no
demonstrable constituent hierarchy and prominence is solely a function of
proximity to the front of the clause?

BTW, I have seen noun phrases split up in other places, but I don't remember
*this* kind of "turbulence" where the direct object is doing the splitting. 
How common is it?  How would I go about searching for other instances? 
Would Logos, BibleWorks, etal, be fruitful with this kind of search?

Thanks.

glenn blank
Pensacola FL  



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