[B-Greek] Rom 3: 3 punctuation and GAR

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 8 13:01:24 EDT 2010

Iver wrote:
<Rom 3:3 has a curious punctuation in the NA and UBS text:
τί γάρ; εἰ ἠπίστησάν τινες
This makes no sense and indicates that the editors were not clear about the 
meaning of GAR.>
Yes, but the 28th time is generally the charm. 

Mark L


--- On Thu, 4/8/10, Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org> wrote:

From: Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org>
Subject: [B-Greek] Rom 3: 3 punctuation and GAR
To: "Steve Runge" <srunge at logos.com>, "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Thursday, April 8, 2010, 10:35 AM

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Runge" <srunge at logos.com>
To: "Mark Lightman" <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>; "B-Greek" 
<b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
Sent: 8. april 2010 18:05
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] The gargoyle's GAR guy

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.
Rom 3:3 has a curious punctuation in the NA and UBS text:
τί γάρ; εἰ ἠπίστησάν τινες
This makes no sense and indicates that the editors were not clear about the 
meaning of GAR.

A better punctuation is found in the Byzantine text (and Tischendorf):
Τί γὰρ εἰ ἠπίστησάν τινες;

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 
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, English is particularly poor in discourse particles. When translating into 
Danish, I found that the two most common particles used to translate GAR were 
"jo" and "nemlig". Unfortunately, they have no equivalent in English, although 
"jo" is related to German "doch". The two Danish particles both indicate that 
the speaker is not necessarily saying something new, but wants to further 
clarify or explain something. We used the particle "jo" 372 times in the NT and 
"nemlig" was used 151 times. I have not studied how many times one of these 
particles translates GAR. There is no simple correspondance between languages 
when it comes to discourse particles, and these "pesky little particles" as they 
have been called for decades within SIL are notoriously difficult to describe. 
My Danish-English dictionary suggests the following possible translations of 
"jo": "you see, as you know, as you will remember, after all, of course, 
admittedly, well".  I am not saying "jo" is exactly equivalent to GAR, but there 
is a good deal of overlap. In a normal statement GAR seems to provide an 
explanation - not necesarily a reason - while in a question it seems to be 
searching for an explanation, although in a rhetorical question, the speaker is 
not really wanting to hear an explanation.

Iver Larsen 

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