[B-Greek] 2 Thess 2:15

Ken Penner kpenner at stfx.ca
Thu Dec 30 18:40:44 EST 2010


George and Donald are both right, but George might have misunderstood Donald. Donald’s point was not that just ANY possessive makes the noun definite, but that the Hebrew possessive PRONOUN suffixed on a noun makes the noun definite.

The appeal to Hebrew to explain a usage in Greek would be appropriate if there is a reasonable chance of linguistic interference, for example, if the author’s native language was Hebrew. But Ephesians certainly does not give me that impression.

I think Donald’s point was that the rule regarding the definiteness of noun in Hebrew is a cross-linguistic phenomenon. Even in English, “our letter” is definite, and if we want to express indefiniteness, we need a circumlocution such as “a letter of ours.”


Ken M. Penner, Ph.D.
Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic vocabulary memorization software:
http://purl.org/net/kmpenner/flash/
kpenner at stfx.ca



From: George F Somsel [mailto:gfsomsel at yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010 6:47 PM
To: Donald Vance; Ken Penner
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Thess 2:15

In Hebrew the fact that there is a possessive does not necessarily indicate that the noun is to be considered definite.  I have lifted two examples from Futato, _Beginning Biblical Hebrew_


סוּס־הַמֶּלֶךְ *the* king's horse (the horse of the king)

סוּס־מֶלֶךְ *a* king's horse (a horse of the king or perhaps a royal horse)



Whether the noun is considered definite or indefinite is determined not by the construct relation (which is one way to indicate possession among other uses) but by whether the nomen rectum is definite and not simply by its presence following a noun in the construct.  As noted, there are other ways to express possession such as pronominal suffixes to nouns and the use of the prefixed preposition ל with the "owner."



I really don't think an appeal to Hebrew can be used to determine how Greek may have functioned.


george
gfsomsel

… search for truth, hear truth,
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
defend the truth till death.

- Jan Hus
_________


________________________________
From: Donald Vance <donaldrvance at mac.com>
To: Ken Penner <kpenner at stfx.ca>
Cc: "b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thu, December 30, 2010 1:52:18 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Thess 2:15

It seems to me that this is a question of "definiteness," which may be indicated by a definite article. Does not the possessive serve to mark the noun and thus make the article superfluous? If Paul had meant "any ole letter," this would require specific grammatical marking, would it not?

In Biblical Hebrew, a possessive pronoun makes the noun definite and if one wishes to indicate ownership of an indefinite entity, a prepositional phrase with lamed is required.
מכתבנו "the letter of ours" = "our (specific) letter"
מכתב לנו "any ole letter of ours"

Sent from my iPhone

Donald R. Vance
Professor of Biblical Languages and Literature
Oral Roberts University
donaldrvance at mac.com<mailto:donaldrvance at mac.com>

On Dec 30, 2010, at 2:06 PM, Ken Penner <kpenner at stfx.ca<mailto:kpenner at stfx.ca>> wrote:

> I have always taught that the article may be dropped in a prepositional phrase.
>
> Robertson's Grammar XVI.VIII(c) (page 791) has the following under "The Absence of the Article."
>
> "(c) PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES.  These were also often considered definite enough without the article. So ἐν οἴκῳ (1 Cor. 11:34. Cf. ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ, ‘in the house,’ Jo. 11:20)=‘at home.’ So we say “go to bed,” etc. Moulton pertinently cites English “down town,” “on ’change,” “in bed,” “from start to finish.” This idiom is not therefore peculiar to Greek. It is hardly necessary to mention all the N. T. examples, so common is the matter."
> "For διά note διά νυκτός (Ac. 5:19), διὰ μέσου (Lu. 4:30), διὰ μέσον (17:11)."
> "For classic examples see Gildersleeve, Syntax, p. 259 f. The papyri furnish abundant parallels (Völker, Syntax, pp. 15–17) as do the inscriptions (Radermacher, N. T. Gr., p. 92)."
>
> The next section continues:
>
> "(d) WITH BOTH PREPOSITION AND GENITIVE.  It is not surprising to find no article with phrases which use both preposition and genitive like εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ (Ro. 1:1), ἀπὸ ὀφθαλμῶν σου (Lu. 19:42), ἐκ δεξιῶν μου (Mt. 20:23), ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κόσμου (Mt. 24:21), παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας (Heb. 11:11), ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ (Lu. 8:13), ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου (Mt. 25:34), ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ (Lu. 1:51), etc."
>
> I hope this helps,
>
>
> Ken M. Penner, Ph.D.
> Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic vocabulary memorization software:
> http://purl.org/net/kmpenner/flash/
> kpenner at stfx.ca<mailto:kpenner at stfx.ca>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org>] On Behalf Of Ehrman, Bart D
> Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010 1:13 PM
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [B-Greek] 2 Thess 2:15
>
>    In his commentary on 2 Thessalonians, W. Marxsen claims that since 2:15 εἴτε δι' ἐπιστολὴς ἡμῶν lacks an article (as in εἴτε δι' τῆς ἐπιστολὴς ἡμῶν) it does not refer back to a specific letter (e.g., to 1 Thessalonians) but is meant in a general sense to refer to any ole letter that he may have written (or not).  If he had wanted to refer to 1 Thessalonians in particular, he would have used the article.  I’m interested in the grammatical question.  What do y’all think?
>
>
>
> n  Bart Ehrman
>
>
>
> Bart D. Ehrman
>
> James A. Gray Professor
>
> Department of Religious Studies
>
> University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
>
>
>
> http://www.bartdehrman.com
>
>
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