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

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 27 10:42:02 EDT 2010


Iver wrote

<By extension, if you learn Greek or Hebrew with Buth, there is less need for
linguistic analysis to understand the text. But it required a linguist to come
up with this kind of courses in the first place.>

Hi, Iver,

Carl has made this same point about both Buth and Rico, and it would
be silly for me to deny this, since Buth speaks Linguisticspeak and Rico
has a degree in Linguistics.  If these guys could not have written their books
without such training, I say, Linguistics has established its value.

On the other hand, there was this guy John Stewart Blackie who in the
19th century basically did what Buth/Rico do, presumably without 
training in Linguistics.  One of my Ad Nauseums is that Rico's Polis
Method is so good not because it is so new, but because it is so old.
It's the Method that Paul's mother used to teach him Greek.

But again, as to your general point, I agree.  If it could be established that
Phrenology would help Rico finish volume 2, I say, let's start measuring skulls!

<If you were to make an alphabet for a language or describe its grammar, or work
on translation, you cannot do that properly without linguistic training.>

Well, again, you could say that the Phoenicians came up with a pretty serviceable 
alphabet without such training, and Smyth did okay for himself without any
Chomsky.  But again, I agree.  I realize that Hoyle goes into his micro-detail not
for the ordinary person who wants to understand the Greek NT, but for the 
translation specialist who has special needs.  I do wonder if "properly" is too
strong a word, since Chapman's Homer seems pretty proper to me.  But yes,
most modern Bible translators study some linguistics, and  they are doing a
wonderful job with the newer translations.  By their fruits ye shall know them.
(I'm not being sarcastic here.  I really do believe that Bible Translation is one
field which keeps getting better and better. I love ALL translations and this
includes the most recent ones.)

<>That was the point of my egg salad post, another bad analogy to
> be sure, but it's Monday for me too.>

<Does this mean that you were speaking with tongue in cheek? Or maybe just
without thinking clearly?>

A little bit of both.  The only person who drives me more crazy than my
mother is the Comic Muse.

<I have found my training in mathematics to be very valuable,
believe it or not.>

I don't doubt this for a moment.  Nor do I doubt, all kidding aside, that
your linguistic training has made you a great biblical exegete.  I am on record
as saying that your take on the Greek NT is almost always accurate and always
helpful and interesting.  You give us the insights that your Linguistic training has
built up without showing us the scaffolding.  If all Greek NT Linguists were more like
you, we would not be having this conversation. I mean that.

>Nor do I understand the rules of American football
nor of golf, but if I was sufficently interested, I could study and learn.>

You don't understand the rules of American football by studying and learning
them.  You understand them by ignoring your family every Sunday and watching
tons of football on T.V. or in a stadium.  They have those books "Basics of
American Football," "The Fundamental Structure of the Pass Defense," but no one
reads them.  You learn Football the same way you learn Greek, by ABSORBING it.

You know, I like your analogy better than my nonsense about the egg salad.
You have the same problem of eisegesis in American Football that you do in
Biblical Greek.  I claim to understand the American
Football rule about pass interference, but every time this is called against the
Broncos, I develop a new understanding of it.  I agree with the exegesis of every
Referee who agrees with me, and anytime a Ref goes against my team, I 
suddenly accuse him of lacking Analytic Fluency in American Football.

In other words, the John Elway whose stats can be analyzed is not the real John Elway.
You had to see him play. 


Mark L
Φωσφορος

FWSFOROS MARKOS
 



________________________________
From: Iver Larsen <iver_larsen at sil.org>
To: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>; BG <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Mon, April 26, 2010 10:37:27 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios andGalatians 6:18

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Lightman" <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
To: "Steve Runge" <srunge at logos.com>; "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>; "Dr.
Don Wilkins" <drdwilkins at verizon.net>; "Steve Runge" <academic_67 at yahoo.com>
Cc: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Randall Buth"
<randallbuth at gmail.com>
Sent: 27. april 2010 01:25
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios andGalatians
6:18


...
> The meaning of the Greek NT and a translation, or a set of translations,
> overlap about
> 97%.  We obsess over the other 3%, which is one issue.

Whether it is 97%, 95% or 92% I don't know, but it is probably true that
translations have a success rate between 90% and 97% in terms of communicating
the intended meaning. And we tend to discuss the small percentage where the text
itself is not clear or not clearly understood by us, since we are so far from
the original language and culture.

>
> But a deeper issue is your contention that there is some deeper meaning in a
> text, any text, that only a linguist can unpack.  If it were true
> that we who have not read that many books in linguistics "lack the necessary
> background to really understand complex clause structural issues on
> their own"
> then we would not be able to understand the Greek NT, the English NT,
> Shakespeare or the Denver Post.  But we do, don't we?

I would not understand Shakespeare or the KJV and I struggle with your Pope, and
I don't read the Denver Post. Nor do I understand the rules of American football
nor of golf, but if I was sufficently interested, I could study and learn.

>
> You need a guide to explore and understand Roman ruins.  You do not need a
> linguist to explore and understand language.  You never have and you
> never will. People understood language just fine before Linguistics was
> invented, and they will understand it just fine if Linguistics goes the way of
> Phrenology.  That was the point of my egg salad post, another bad analogy to
> be sure, but it's Monday for me too.
--------------------

Does this mean that you were speaking with tongue in cheek? Or maybe just
without thinking clearly?

A person who grew up in a particular language environment and learnt that
language as a child do not need linguistics to use and understand the language.
She will need to develop vocabulary along the way, though. If we all grew up
learning Hellenistic Greek and lived in the 1st century, this list would have no
or very little function.

By extension, if you learn Greek or Hebrew with Buth, there is less need for
linguistic analysis to understand the text. But it required a linguist to come
up with this kind of courses in the first place.

If you were to make an alphabet for a language or describe its grammar, or work
on translation, you cannot do that properly without linguistic training. In
terms of exegesis, I have found my training in mathematics to be very valuable,
believe it or not.

If you were taught Greek in the traditional way that Carl has outlined, then
modern linguistics can help you gain a better understanding of the language,
especially in terms of discourse features.

Since I am practical linguist more than a theoretical one, and a Bible
translator, I thorougly disagree with Elizabeth's last post, but I won't comment
further on that.

Iver Larsen


      


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