Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue May 19 23:42:21 EDT 2009

Hi, Steven,

You have made some very good points. Just one further comment below:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Cox" <stevencox_backonbgreek at yahoo.co.uk>
To: "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
Cc: <scarlson at mindspring.com>; "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 20. maj 2009 04:14
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Euripides : AFRODITH... EPISHMOS EN BROTOIS

> Following Stephen's comments I looked through Belleville and Wallace's pdfs and came to much the 
> same conclusion (without obviously your or Stephen's level of expertise to do so) that the basic 
> EPISHMOS EN+ dat. structure is inherently capable of ambiguity, even with existence of the less 
> ambiguous EPISHMOS EK+gen. alternative had Paul wanted it.
> Which leaves me with 3 take aways:
> 1. The reason that Euripides : AFRODITH... EPISHMOS EN BROTOIS is obvious is because it is 
> obvious: we already know that Aphrodite is not a mortal. Wheras KORNHLIA...EPISHMOS EN SAMIOIS 
> (invented example) isn't obvious unless you know whether Cornelia comes from Samos.

When we read any text, we always interpret it based on two sources: (a) the text itself and (b) what 
we already know that might be relevant for understanding the text. (This is developed further in 
Relevance Theory).
So, texts like the above and Rom 16:7 may well be ambiguous in isolation and grammatically, but such 
ambiguity was not intended by the writer, because he assumed that the intended audience would bring 
to the text enough background knowledge to be able to understand the meaning without problems or 
ambiguity. Stephen made a similar point below, but I thought it was worth highlighting.
So, the controversy is not primarily about the text itself, but the background knowledge and 
assumptions that are brought to the text - and what people want to use the text in support of. 
Unfortunately, some people will use a text and confidently claim that this is what the text means, 
and they will fail to clarify that this meaning is based on their background understanding, not 
really on the text itself.

Iver Larsen

>  Thus, I see no way to resolve the ambiguity,
> without appealing to some background assumptions or knowledge
> outside of the text.
> Stephen

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