[B-Greek] Final Word Emphasis

Chet Creider creider at uwo.ca
Wed Apr 5 07:19:46 EDT 2006

The most recent discussion dealt mainly with the issue of initial versus 
immediate preverbal
positions, and although final position was mentioned, it was not 
central.  About final position, Stephen Levinsohn in _Discourse 
Featuresof New Testament Greek_ devotes quite a
bit of space to the question in the third chapter, "Constituent order in 
the comment".
However I don't find very many of his examples convincing.  One possible 
example is
Gal 2:20:

In general, however, good examples seem hard to find.

With reference to Carl's point that emphasis is clearly to be found in 
poetry, I would like
to suggest that there is indeed a great abundance of examples, but 
principally involving
enjambement -- the deliberate carrying forward of the end of a discourse 
(or major clausal or
phrasal) unit into the beginning of the next line -- where it is 
strikingly emphasized.
Many commentators on Homer have remarked at the skilled way in which 
Homer will start out
a speech with "end-stopped" lines and then, displaying the excitement of 
the speaker, spill
over into run-on lines.  Here are a couple of famous examples:

(1) Agamemnon's speech to Calchas in Iliad, Book 1, verses 106-20 with 
the enjambement taking
place in verseses 111-115.

(2) Achilles' speech in Iliad, Book 9, verses 334-43

And this compelling single example of Phoenix speaking to Achilles 

OIOS; ...
("How then, dear child, should I be left here away from you,
alone? ...")

But these are highly 'artful' examples involving a deliberate mismatch 
of verse and grammar
which moreover put the emphasis at the _beginning_ of a line.  I haven't 
noticed any
striking use of clause final position for emphasis in poetry other than 

Chet Creider

>On Apr 4, 2006, at 6:55 PM, Bert de Haan and Carl Conrad wrote:
>>/ I (think I) remember reading a discussion on B-Greek several years  
>/>/ ago that
>/>/ involved one of the participants advocating that in addition to  
>/>/ there being
>/>/ emphasis on words that are placed toward the left of the sentence,  
>/>/ placing a
>/>/ word last in the sentence can also be used to draw attention to it.
>/>/ I've tried to find it in the archives but failed.
>/>/ Do any of you remember this discussion?
>/>/ Even if you don't, maybe you don't mind giving your thoughts on it.
>/>/ Thank you.
>I think that the topic has arisen repeatedly over the past several  
>years. Iver Larsen has expounded a doctrine that emphasis in Koine  
>Greek clauses is achieved fundamentally by fronting the emphasized  
>element, but he has, I think, conceded that there are some  
>differences from one author to the other. For my part I have argued  
>that the final position before a major pause in discourse is also a  
>position of emphasis; that is certainly the case in Latin and I  
>believe it is clearly the case in Greek poetry as well and then in  
>prose that is formulated with deliberate rhetorical articulation.

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