[B-Greek] 2COR. 1:8 AGNOEIN hUPER ...

Eric Inman eric.inman at wescorpflex.com
Tue May 26 00:40:29 EDT 2009


I wouldn't view the hUPER clause as a contextualizer in the same sense as the PERI clause in I Cor. 8:1. It seems to me that a hUPER or PERI clause often identifies the topic or range of discussion and then one or more hOTI clauses identify specific points within that range. Maybe this could also be called a form of contextualizing, but it would not necessarily be the sort that links sections of a text. I would say that the PERI clause in I Cor. 8:1 serves both purposes but not the hUPER clause in 2 Cor. 1:8, hence a possible reason for why it can follow the main verb.

Would it be reasonable to consider Rom 1:8 to be a similar example of this usage of PERI and hOTI, in this case with the verb EUCARISTW: "EUCARISTW ... PERI PANTWN hUMWN hOTI hH PISTIS hUMWN ..." ?

It seems to me that this relationship between PERI or hUPER clauses and hOTI clauses can exist at a rhetorical level even when they are in separate sentences and connected to separate main verbs. For example, in I Th. 4.13 the range of discussion is identified by the PERI clause. Specific points within that range are identified by hOTI clauses in following sentences. Even though the hOTI clauses are subordinate to the verbs in the following sentences, they still seem to identify the specific points about which OU QELOMEN hUMAS AGNOEIN.

1 Th. 5:1f might be a similar example. Also 1 Cor. 12:1-3.

Eric Inman

-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Elizabeth Kline
Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 3:16 PM
To: greek B-Greek
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2COR. 1:8 AGNOEIN hUPER ...


On May 25, 2009, at 5:38 AM, Eric Inman wrote:

> In I Cor. 8:1: PERI DE TWN EIDWLOQUTWN, OIDAMEN hOTI ...
>
> Here PERI ... seems to identify the topic and hOTI ... seems to  
> provide information about the topic with the verb being OIDAMEN.  
> This seems to parallel what Harris is suggesting for hUPER, hOTI,  
> and AGNOEIN. If Harris is right, then I would wonder why hUPER is  
> used instead of PERI.

This is the constituent order one might expect PERI DE TWN EIDWLOQUTWN  
is fronted before OIDAMEN hOTI. I am not sure how important constuent  
order is, but it erodes my confidenience in Harris' argument that  
hUPER ... follows  QELOMEN hUMAS AGNOEIN.


On May 25, 2009, at 5:38 AM, Eric Inman wrote:

> I don't know if this is what you're referring to, but I feel that he  
> has a couple of poor and unnecessary arguments for supporting the  
> idea that the Corinthians lacked information about the severity of  
> the affliction. I think that that conclusion already had enough  
> support just based on his observations of the usage of AGNOEIN and  
> hUPER. As for his comments about the absence of detail in the  
> phrases THS QLIYEWS hHMWN and EN THi ASIAi, I'm not sure that they  
> are valid, and even if they are, I think they are more of a  
> distraction than a help for making his point.


Eric,

I am not sure what I am referring to either :-) Just a vague sense  
that Harris' argument wouldn't survive close scrutiny.

thank you,

Elizabeth Kline


On May 25, 2009, at 2:57 PM, Elizabeth Kline wrote:

>
> On May 25, 2009, at 3:59 AM, Carl Conrad wrote:
>
>> On the other hand, this text is very similar to
>> 1Th. 4:13 	Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν,
>> ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῶν κοιμωμένων, ἵνα
>> μὴ λυπῆσθε καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ
>> μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα.
>> OU QELOMEN DE hUMAS AGNOEIN, ADELFOI, PERI TWN KOIMWMENWN, hINA MH 
>> LUPHQHSQE KAQWS KAI hO;I LOIPOI hOI MH ECONTES ELPIDA.
>>
>> and BDAG, s.v. hUPER notes as sense A.3:
>>
>> 	3. marker of general content, whether of a discourse or mental 
>> activity, about, concerning (about equivalent to περί [τινος] {PERI 
>> TINOS}, w. which it is freq. interchanged in the mss.; ...
>>
>> I wouldn't affirm Harris' judgment in this instance.
>
> Carl,
>
> I would agree that PERI TWN KOIMWMENWN functions like hUPER ... EN THi 
> ASIAi. However, hINA in 1Th. 4:13 looks to me like it introduces a 
> desired result (negated by MH), not the content of the ignorance.
> Whereas, in 2COR. 1:8 the hOTI clause appears to be "presentational" 
> (M.Sim's term) describing the nature/content of the ignorance. This is 
> one thing M.Harris objects to, having two descriptions of the content 
> of AGNOEIN. He claims this never happens in the Pauline corpus.
>
> 2Cor. 1:8 Οὐ γὰρ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν 
> τῆς γενομένης ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἐβαρήθημεν 
> ὥστε ἐξαπορηθῆναι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ ζῆν·
>
> 2COR. 1:8 OU GAR QELOMEN hUMAS AGNOEIN, ADELFOI, hUPER THS QLIYEWS 
> hHMWN THS GENOMENHS EN THi ASIAi, hOTI KAQ᾿ hUPERBOLHN hUPER DUNAMIN 
> EBARHQHMEN hWSTE EXAPORHQHNAI hHMAS KAI TOU ZHN·
>
> M.Harris assumes, as do others (P.E. Huges 1962), that the Corinthians 
> allready knew about Paul's QLIYEWS. What they didn't know was the 
> severity of it. If that was the case, then the hUPER clause could be 
> viewed as contextualizer, something similar to a participle clause 
> used in narative to link what follows to what preceeds. That brings up 
> the question of constituent order. I was under the impression that 
> contextualizers generally preceed the main verb.
>
> Another problem with Harris. He appears to assume that the NT Pauline 
> corpus qualifies as a database for grammatical research. Any argument 
> that starts out saying "Paul never does this or that ..."  implies 
> that we can use a very small collection of texts to determine what is 
> permissible, e.g. two clauses describing content with AGNOEIN.

It seems to me that there's more here in these AGNOEIN phrases; there are six of them in the Pauline corpus, all with OU QELW/OMEN hUMAS AGNOEIN (Rom 1:13, 11:25; 1 Cor 10:1, 12:1; 2 Cor 1:8; 1 Th 4:13). I think it's a mistake to focus on the object of AGNOEIN; the whole phrase is a "litotes" or rhetorical double negative phrase indicating how important it is to Paul for his addressees to "grasp" or "understand" something; it may be a fact (Paul's thwarted intentions, Rom 1:13, the exodus experience of the forefathers, 1 Cor 10:1), a specific focal area ("this mystery", Rom 11:25, spirituality, 1 Cor 12:1, the status of those who sleep, 1 Th 4:13, Paul's perilous experience in Asia, 2 Cor 1:8). It's quite clear that this formulation is distainctly Pauline in the GNT; one might like to know whether it appears at all or frequently in exrra-biblical Hellenistic literature.  
It does seem somewhat perilous to generalize on the basis of so few instances.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)



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