[B-Greek] Galatians 1:11: Accusative or nominative?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Jul 12 19:53:14 EDT 2007

On Jul 12, 2007, at 6:27 PM, Ulrik Petersen wrote:

> Dear all,
> I was analyzing Galatians chapter 1 today using my Linguistic Tree
> Constructor:
> http://ltc.sourceforge.net
> and I came across this text in Galatians 1:11:
> I was trying to grasp the syntactic function of
> whether it is the subject of the copula "ESTIN", or whether it is
> something else.
> I would translate this something like the following:
> For I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel which was  
> preached by
> me is not from man.
> That is, I would not translate:
> For I make the gospel which was preached by me known to you, brothers,
> that it is not from man.
> In the second translation, "the gospel which was preached by me" is  
> seen
> as the object of the verb GNWRIZW.  In the first, it is the subject of
> the copula verb ESTIN.  The handful of translations that I checked all
> agreed with the first reading.
> My question is, if the first reading is valid (namely subject of  
> why do many morphological databases[1] all agree that TO  
> EUAGGELISQEN hUP EMOU is *accusative* rather than nominative?
> My tentative analysis can be seen here:
> http://ulrikp.org/GA-1.11.png
> If you look at the picture, you will see that I have tentatively
> analyzed GNWRIZW GAR hUMIN, ADELFOI, as a clause in itself, with TO
> EUAGGELION TO EUAGGELISQEN hUP EMOU as the subject of the copula  
> with KATA ANQRWPWN as the "predicate complement."
> One argument against this analysis would be that hOTI normally
> introduces a clause (at least in the meaning in which it appears  
> here),
> and that it normally does not stand in the middle of a clause, but  
> only
> near the beginning.  But some linguistic theories (e.g., van Valin's
> Role and Reference Grammar) would allow for the noun phrase [TO
> EUAGGELION TO EUAGGELISQEN hUP EMOU] to be outside the clause, in a
> "left detached position", where it would function as a kind of
> introduction to the clause, or else in the "Pre Core Slot".
> "Left detached position" occurs in English in examples such as "As for
> me, I would never deign to analyze a left detached position as such."
> In this example, "As for me" is, according to Role and Reference
> Grammar, in the "left detached position"; it is outside the main  
> clause,
> and acts as an introduction.
> "Pre Core Slot" might be a more plausible analysis within the  
> framework
> of Role and Reference Grammar, provided it could be demonstrated that
> hOTI could stand at the beginning of the Core of the clause rather  
> than
> at the beginning of the clause itself.
> I may be way off base here, so please help me out.  Comments would be
> greatly appreciated.  I am not looking so much for answers within the
> paradigm of Role and Reference Grammar, as I am looking for  
> perspectives
> from either morphology or "traditional syntax".
> Please CC my email address if you reply, as I only receive the B-Greek
> digest.
> Thanks!
> Ulrik Petersen
> [1] (including Friberg and Friberg's AGNT, Robinson's Westcott-Hort,
> Robinson's parsed Byzantine text, and my collaborator, James Tauber's
> MorphGNT)

Regardless how the syntax of Gal 1:11 is understood, the only  
appropriate English translation would have to be " ... that the  
gospel preached by me is not from man." That would be true if one  
understands TO EUAGGELION TO EUAGGELISQEN hUP EMOU as a "proleptic"   
accusative object of GNWRIZW (a not uncommon arrangement such as is  
also seen in Mark 1;24 οἶδά σε τίς εἶ [OIDA SE TIS EI]  
-- cf. Smyth §2182, BDF §476} or as the nominative subject of ESTIN  
within the hOTI clause. In Gal 1:11 the fact that TO EUAGGELION TO  
EUAGGELISQEN hUP EMOU is neuter sg. makes determination of its case  
-- whether nominative or accusative -- questionable, but it does fall  
intothe pattern of the common "proleptic" construction of logical  
subjects of substantive clause construed as objects of introductory  
main verbs of knowing or asking. That, at any rate, is the reason  
that standard parsing works mark it as accusative.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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