[B-Greek] Frames (was Question on I Timothy 2:1 (also I Timothy 2:9) )

Louis Sorenson llsorenson at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 8 00:29:23 EDT 2010

Hello all,

It is amazing how context and one's emotional and mind-frame can influence
the thinking of a person. I just attended a Blaine Ray TPRS (Teaching 
(language) Proficiency through Storytelling seminar.  When I read 
Richard Rhodes blog, I interpreted it totally in TPRS terminology.
Actually, his whole post seemed to be setting me up for telling a 
TPRS story (TPRS = Teaching (language) Proficiency through Storytelling).

What do I need to sell? What do I need to buy? His short TPRS story was as 

A man walks into a restaurant, is shown to a table, is handed a menu, 
orders a meal. The meal is brought to his table, he eats it. He is 
offered some coffee and/or desert, and if he orders some it is brought 
to him. He consumes it. He is given a bill. He pays and leaves.
This story sounds exactly like a TPRS story: Situation...Problem...Solution.

ἦν ἄνθρωπος ὃς εἰπορευεται εἰς καπειλόν τινα. αὐτὸς εἰς τράπεζαν ἤχθη
καὶ ἐδοθην καταλογον του βρωσεως. τὸ βρωμα εἰς τράπεζαν αὐτου 
ἤχθος ην. καὶ αυτο εφαγεν. ... (some errors may be in the Greek)...

Even though economic structures in the NT are not in the main view of many,
the economic culture of the day is interwoven into the fabric of the NT 
narrative. This is not something which to which many pay attention. I would
posit that if I ask anyone to say "Buy it!", "Sell it!" "Too expensive!"
etc. that they would have a hard time reproducing the phrases. But we are
very aware of Frames (contexts) such as "believe", "serve", "die", "live".

The point of Rhodes blog, is (I think) that context is king. Certain words
are associated with other words, and when they are, you can expect a more
specific meaning associated with a word. In other words, context colors 
meaning. Or in his words, the Frame of a dialogue impacts the meaning of the
individual words in the narrative. e.g. τιμης does not just mean "of a price" 
but "of a very high price."

Simple meaning: Context rules. And if you don't pay attention to context,
you will miss out on the "implied semantics" = specification of the meaning
of a word by the context. 

So how what does a student of Greek learn by reading Rhodes post? 
It teaches you that you cannot go by simple glosses when translating 
a word or phrase. Schmekt does not mean just tastes, but "tastes good".
The use of simple English glosses such as "tastes" actually dumbs-down
the word German word "Schmekt".  So what Greek words do you know
(or think you know) that are dumbed-down? And how do you become aware
that the meaning of the words you think you know are the actual implied 
meaning (in context of course)? When are you reading your biases into 
Greek and how do you know when you do it?

I don't think there is a simple answer to this. Rhodes says that this 
happens, but does not really propose a solution other than suggesting
that you need to be aware of "the Frame". But the first step of dealing
with alcoholism is to acknowledge that you have a problem. The first 
step of a "Monoglossian" is that you realize words have more than one
meaning, even in the same sentence. You can read a Greek sentence 
hundreds of times, then you read a comment in a commentary or such 
and you realize there was more than "one definition or implied meaning
for that Greek word."  

What did you miss? You missed the "frame". Sounds like something that 
happens when you went to the bathroom while watching a movie or bowling.
But it is the same point. If you walk away and don't pay attention or
are distracted (or generalize and accept the gloss of the first mouse-over),
you may well miss out on that little detail that changes the meaning
of the whole passage. 

Louis Sorenson
Carl Conrad wrote....
B-Greekers may recall that we had a bit of discussion not too long ago
about "scenarios" in the work of Richard Hoyle, _Scenarios, Discourse, 
and Translation_ (http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2010-April/053166.html).
Richard Rhodes has a very nice, rather lengthy discussion this morning on the
Better Bibles Blog (http://betterbibles.com/2010/08/06/money-money-money/)
of what he refers to as the "commercial transaction frame in Koine."
And here's a linguist who apologizes in advance for  jargon but promises that
it will be worth our while to hear/read what he has to say on the matter: 
"Sorry for the jargon laden announcement, but it’s worth talking about 
what a frame is and why it’s important for translation. And, because the
 language of money and commerce is all over in the Scripture, with both
 literal and figurative uses, it makes sense to use the frame(s) evoked by 
money as a place to learn about frames."
I think this is a VERY helpful, useful discussion.

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


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