[B-Greek] The gargoyle's GAR guy

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Apr 8 11:52:57 EDT 2010


On Apr 8, 2010, at 11:05 AM, Steve Runge wrote:
> Carl and Mark,
> 
> The pattern that I was interested in that I had intended to comment on, but ran out of room, was the use of GAR in interrogative contexts. There were instances with the interrogative pronoun TI and rhetorical questions introduced by MH. The Logos morph, for better or worse, classifies 11 instances as a particle rather than a as a conjunction. Every one of them was in an interrogative context, 9 in all. Here is the verse list: Mt 27:23; Mk 15:14; Lk 23:22; Jn 7:41; Ac 8:31; Ro 3:3; 4:3; 1 Co 11:22; Php 1:18. 

To be perfectly honest, this is one of the things I object to in the whole business of tagging: it's a matter of letting somebody else make judgment calls on matters that may call for an arbitrary judgment. Somebody else's parsing must suffice for someone who can't make the distinctions for him/herself. I really doubt that that sort of person is better able to understand what the Greek text is saying when informed of what the tagger has chosen to call it.

> It would be all well and good if every interrogative was classed as a particle, but there are 11 that are not, classed instead as conjunctions. My question was whether it was inconsistency in the morph analysis, or whether something fundamentally different was going on in the "conjunction" context. More than that, I wanted to determine if there was a single meaning of GAR that would account for the interrogative uses that did not English well. Here is the other list:
> Mt 9:5; 16:26; Mk 8:36, 37; Lk 9:25; Ro 3:3; 4:3; 1 Co 5:12; 7:16; 2 Co 12:13; Php 1:19; 1 Co 11:22
> 
> Note that the morph taggers punted by crosslisting some of the uses. At any rate, my question would be how does the use of GAR in interrogatives in the GNT compare to broader or earlier usage, especially in rhetorical questions? I think that the constraint of "strengthening or supporting" would still work in such contexts, telling the reader that the interrogative is not a new point, but intended to strengthen or support something in the preceding context. English does not prefer that kind of usage, but it appears to be acceptable Greek. Are there thoughts and opinions on this, examples to discuss? I'd love to hear the input. I have not given it as much thought as I would have liked.

Yes, I think that's the case. Archaic English uses "then" in such situations as German uses "denn": "Whom then shall I fear?" "Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus den Engelordnungen ...?"

I've sometimes thought that with GAR a little bit of etymology might be useful -- just a remote possibility. I am pretty sure that GAR is compounded of GE and ARA: GE tends to underscore what precedes it, ARA regularly is used with interrogatives; in fact, I think that ἆρα interrogative is compounded of ἢ ("or") and ἄρα.

I'll need to check out what Mark says about GAR and OUN in Rico's book; I really wonder, however, whether that's really "all you need to know about GAR." The BDAG article on GAR itself is useful only if one really studies carefully the whole entry and pays attention to the examples of different usages in their contexts. And that is what one acquires by immersion reading too.

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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Mark Lightman
> Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 7:40 AM
> To: B-Greek; Carl Conrad
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] The gargoyle's GAR guy
> 
> Hi, Carl,
>  
> <He's talking about the particle GAR -- which reminds me of an apocryphal story of a Greek professor in the University of Illinois (it may have been William A. Oldfather) who had a graduate assistant researching the usage of GAR in the vast corpus of ancient Greek literature; so devoted was the young lady to her quest that she acquired a moniker of her own on the Champaign campus as "Oldfather's Gargoyle.">
>  
> First things first.  Very well done.  I've had my morning chuckle, so I can now endure the continuance of this conversation..  Let me briefly return the favor.
>  
> People who discuss this topic do tend to be GARrulous.  :) 
>  
> Carl wrote;
>  
> < I would note further -- in defense of what one can learn from Linguists -- that one can ultimately develop a sense of the range of usage of GAR from reading immensely in Greek texts, but one can probably learn it more quickly from what Steve has to say.>
>  
> Maybe, maybe not.  But couldn't you also just look up GAR in BDAG or Thayer or Smyth or Robertson or Denniston or any other number of traditional books that are available either for free on line or very cheap in used copies?  If you went back a little further, you could read Basil Gildersleeve who will tell you all you need to know about GAR and will do so in a prose style which is concise, comprehensible and elegant.  Of course, with a name like "Basil Gildersleeve", he better be a good writer.  Iver and Elizabeth in recent posts noted that at the end of the day, all NT Greek Linguistics has to offer is nothing earth shattering or profound, but merely common sense.  Even Steve R. himself says that all NT Greek Linguistics will teach you is stuff you already know.  If this is the case, is it really worth it to learn a bunch a new English vocab and to endure the turgid prose?  Not to mention the $150.00.
>  
> But there is a fourth option.  If you want to understand what GAR means (or as you would say, how GAR works) you have four choices.
> You can (1) read a bunch of Greek (2) Make use of the Traditional Greek Grammatical Resources (3) Make use of the Latest Version of NT Greek Linguistics or (4) get Christophe Rico's new book Polis. ($80.00)  Rico tells you what GAR means in a few well written sentences (they are in French, but trust me, even if you don't know French they are still easier to understand than Linguisticspeak) but then instead of going on and on about how GAR works, he has you USE the word.
> He gives you a bunch of sentences in Greek and you have to fill in either GAR or OUN.  He has an answer key.  At this point all you have is a rough idea of what GAR means, but since Rico has also taught you how to hear, write, and think in Greek, you can now join us on Dialogos or Schole and you can write your own Greek Discourse where you will use GAR and OUN and KAI and even TE if you want.  When you do this, you find that that these conjunctions (wait, I mean "Discourse Markers") are fairly easy to understand.  Sometimes they are just forms of punctuation that vary for stylistic reasons.  Then  when you go back to reading real Greek, you just sort of FEEL what they mean.  You could talk about them in English if you want to,  You could invent your own terms and describe them more fully, if you want to.  On Dialogos or Schole,I could do Greek "Discourse Analysis" on my friends, but if I tried to tell them how GAR really works in the context of the deep structure of your discourse, they would tell me to go home and sleep it off.
> You can do this stuff to NT Greek authors because they are not around to defend themselves.
>  
> Carl wrote:
>  
> <...and the higher esteem for
> fluency than for analytic skills in Biblical Greek,>
>  
> This is probably the heart of the matter.  Rico and BDAG are probably meant for those of us, like myself and  Paul Narkinsky, who are interested in Greek fluency.  Steve is probably for guys who want to sharpen their analytical skills.  Different resources for different folks.
> That is a good thing.
> 
> Mark L
> 
> 
> FWSFOROS MARKOS
> 
> --- On Thu, 4/8/10, Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> From: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> Subject: [B-Greek] The gargoyle's GAR guy
> To: "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Thursday, April 8, 2010, 6:07 AM
> 
> 
> Steve Runge has a blog post on the Logos Bible Software Blog today; it's entitled "Making Morphology Work for You." You can find it at:
> 
> http://blog.logos.com/archives/2010/04/making_morphology_work_for_you.html
> 
> He's talking about the particle GAR -- which reminds me of an apocryphal story of a Greek professor in the University of Illinois (it may have been William A. Oldfather) who had a graduate assistant researching the usage of GAR in the vast corpus of ancient Greek literature; so devoted was the young lady to her quest that she acquired a moniker of her own on the Champaign campus as "Oldfather's Gargoyle."
> 
> Enough of that. GAR is certainly a tough nut to crack, and any student of Greek can readily recall feeling cheated when first discovering that more often than not the simple English gloss "for" won't work to convey the sense or help one understand the usage of GAR.
> 
> Which reminds me of a visit paid years ago to a family in St. Louis where a precocious youngster had recently learned the word, "unfortunately"
> and was trying to use it in all sorts of sentences where it didn't really fit -- "Unfortunately I woke up this morning feeling very frisky."
> 
> Steve's post discusses the problem of the range of usage of GAR, drawing on his Discourse Grammar and even showing, for those who use the Logos software, how to sort out the usages of an important connective word such as this.
> 
> One further note: drawing on yesterdays heads-up at Silva's introduction tot he revised Machen and the higher esteem for fluency than for analytic skills in Biblical Greek, I would note further -- in defense of what one can learn from Linguists -- that one can ultimately develop a sense of the range of usage of GAR from reading immensely in Greek texts, but one can probably learn it more quickly from what Steve has to say.
> 
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
> ---







More information about the B-Greek mailing list