[B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios and Galatians 6:18

Dr. Don Wilkins drdwilkins at verizon.net
Sat Apr 24 21:19:39 EDT 2010

Thank you for the additional comments, Elizabeth. I think you've done  
very well explaining, but I took your advice and read Hoyle. A good  
deal of food for thought. Certainly the different scenarios of author  
and audience are critical for exegesis and translation. It's easy to  
talk about linguistic methodology in the task of translating from a  
modern language for a modern target audience. I'm reminded of the  
fact that the Wycliffe organization's standard SOP used to be (and  
probably still is) the use of "informants", i.e. native speakers from  
the target audience who were bilingual and were invaluable for the  
process of learning the target audience's cultural and linguistic  
background, i.e. the scenarios and overall cultural context. As Hoyle  
notes, the basic problem for biblical studies is that we have no such  
informants, and have to figure out the source scenarios and frames by  
other means.

I used to tell students that they would probably be disappointed in  
the unabridged LSJ Greek lexicon because of the relatively brief  
explanations, when in fact the lexicon supplies the most critical  
information, viz. citations and short excerpts. Other unabridged  
lexicons sometimes go into more detail about the context, with less  
in the way of citations, but it seems to me that they all are giving  
us information about different scenarios and how these scenarios tend  
to specify a particular meaning within the universe of concepts for a  
given word. My point is, the standard lexicons have always given the  
user a rough distinction in scenarios, or vectors (citations) to  
studying them. Of course the user is dependent on the lexicographer's  
opinions, unless the user chooses to follow the vectors and do his/ 
her own research. You mentioned Louw & Nida's lexicon previously, and  
I'm sure something better is in the works. L&N was cumbersome to use  
and IMO essentially did the work of a thesaurus because it lacked the  
kind of information found in the standard lexicons. So perhaps a new  
lexicon could be formally organized in ways you have suggested, while  
including the vital information (and more) found in the standard  
lexicons. Now, too, there is the fact of the TLG and the ability to  
process it that must be employed in doing a thorough word study.

Looking at this discussion from the standpoint of a translator, I  
hope I can ask you a question, and that Steve (Runge) and Yancy will  
also respond. Hoyle's perspective is mainly that of a translator  
trying to communicate the source meaning to a modern target audience  
in the hope that mistakes in meaning will be minimized. The end  
product would not be a "Study Bible," but (to use an old term) a  
thought-for-thought translation whose accuracy depends entirely on  
the understanding of the translator. In reading Steve's Grammar in  
particular, I get the impression that a very mechanical or wooden  
"word-for-word" translation is essential for study by a person  
without Greek knowledge who wants to make use of linguistic analysis.  
It is not so much that the translation of any given word is the best  
possible, but rather that it provides a connection to the original  
Greek, which can possibly be clarified further by artificial means  
like Strong's numbers etc. I'm asking this partly because I've just  
started teaching a class on hermeneutics. Another reason is that when  
I worked on the '95 update of the NASB, one of the changes we made  
was to eliminate some initial KAI's at the beginning of sentences for  
smoother English, a practice that was commonplace for some other  
translations but a significant change for the NAS. But it seems the  
practice would be problematic for linguistic exgesis by someone who  
does not read Greek. What led to this, of course, was the original  
imposition of English punctuation where Greek has none. For exegesis,  
English punctuation can be detrimental. In any case, if you and the  
gentlemen (if they read this) could tell me what you would prefer as  
a study Bible if you could not read the original languages, I would  
be very interested. This is probably off-topic for b-greek, so it may  
call for off-list replies. Thanks very much.

Don Wilkins

On Apr 24, 2010, at 9:17 AM, Elizabeth Kline wrote:

> On Apr 23, 2010, at 3:49 PM, Dr. Don Wilkins wrote:
>>  every element of
>> language or communication has its place in a frame, and the
>> shortcoming of Smyth et al. is the failure to associate grammatical
>> constructions with a given frame or frames. The frames are in turn
>> associated with a given scenario or scenarios. Yancy's example of the
>> spirit, I take it, presumes that without the prayer scenario, the
>> reader might be justified in thinking that "your spirit" is "your own
>> piece of the Holy Spirit." So once a particular word or phrase
>> activates a known scenario, the reader is tipped off as to what to
>> expect, signaling a new frame with its own set of vocabulary, syntax,
>> and (possibly) sub-frames. Furthermore, exceptions to expected terms
>> and constructions naturally stand out, drawing attention to
>> themselves. They can be conscious or even subconscious attempts by
>> the writer to engage the reader's attention in some way. Hope I'm
>> doing ok so far.
> Once again, we are not beating up on Smyth, his book is extremely  
> valuable and we wouldn't expect him to be doing this sort of  
> linguistics which hadn't been invented yet.
> I have been trying to figure out to what extent Yancy and I are  
> speaking the same language. I think we are close but there is a  
> perspective difference. Yancy is preoccupied with social cultural  
> religious context. I am preoccupied with semantic analysis of the  
> sort that goes into computer based lexicons.
> Scenario and Frame can be used interchangeably but in my thinking  
> there is a difference in focus between them. Scenario focuses on  
> social cultural religious context. It doesn't necessarily imply  
> anything about formal semantic structural representation. On the  
> other hand, Frame is a semantic structural notion, a formal method  
> for encoding information about Scenarios.
> Picture a linguist sitting in front of her laptop at a table in  
> Starbucks in Istanbul. She is refining an entry for QEOS in a frame  
> based semantic network. She is using wifi web access to gather  
> information which will help her deal with the issue of  
> distinguishing NT/LXX QEOS from Allah in a Turkic language. She  
> already has a well defined entry for QEOS in her network of frames,  
> however she is trying to figure out what cultural (target language)  
> associations are attached to an Allah frame which make it  
> unsuitable as gloss for QEOS in the NT Gospels. In other words, her  
> primary task is to build a small subset of a target language  
> culture frame network where Allah is one frame title so it can be  
> compared to QEOS in the NT lexicon.
> I suspect this will lead to further questions. Once again, Hoyle is  
> much better at explaining this than I am. Study the first chapter  
> on his methodology.
> Elizabeth Kline

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