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Help me understand multiple Nulls (Mt 22.32, Mk 2.9 for eg)


A. Smith
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This is not so much a question of interpretation or translation but of understanding the logic of the syntax module. I've attached a screenshot of the syntax module for the last part of Mt 22.32post-29320-0-43326600-1423239373_thumb.png. The best way I can think of null constituents is to fill them out. In this case the first null constituent labeled 1 is the pred nom/Complement (if written out, it would be θεος) and ο θεος is the Subject. So far so good. After the conjunction, the implied Predicate is εστιν, the implied Complement (labeled 1) is θεος and the implied Subject is ο θεος. My question, if I've understood this correctly, is since both the Subject and Complement in the first clause are both labeled (θεος 1 and 1, respectively--since they are the same word), why aren't the Subject and Complement in the second clause labeled similarly? Why is only the Complement given the tag 1, corresponding to θεος?  

 

Now to Mark 2.9. post-29320-0-79071400-1423239330_thumb.png The null Complement is ευκοπωτερον (as seen from the corresponding 1). Shouldn't the null Predicate be [corrected typo] ειπειν? If so, why isn't it given corresponding numbers? The null subject, obviously, is the personal pronoun in both cases labeled, 2. I appreciate any help in understanding the tagging or correction of my interpretation of the language or the system. Thanks. 

Edited by A. Smith
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Can anyone offer some help here? Is poor Marco the only one who understands the details of this module? I understand he's a bit busy at the moment (he hasn't been on the Forum since November, according to his profile!). Any info is helpful. I know it's not Hebrew, but perhaps Robert can help? If the question is unclear, let me know and I'll rephrase it.

Edited by A. Smith
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Sorry. I looked at this when you first posted and don't quite follow the text. Either my Greek is way worse than I thought (very likely) and/or the NT module uses cross-referencing and nulls differently than my OT module (also likely).

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Hmm. Is there anyone other than Marco, who seems to be on a hiatus, who can decipher the greek syntax module?

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Ok Anthony I'll take a stab at this but .... like all that is free ....

I did look when you first sent this out but came to no good conclusion.

 

The text from NA28 Greek NT :           οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς       ______   νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων

Formatting and providing substitutions:

 

οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς  ______ νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ _____  _______  ______ ζώντων

A    P     F  S (1)  C(1)    A      N    P     C(1)       S      P

 

I would agree C(1) in both cases is θεὸς. Solving for the missing elements I would expect we need an εστιν and an article (for the following participle) or a noun subject. If the former is correct (and the syntax chart wrong) the sentence then looks like this :

 

οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ἔστιν θεὸς τῶν ζώντων

 

While this might make sense it leads me to wonder if the syntax has a bug in it. In the first clause the F - S is [ὁ] θεὸς and one might expect that in the second but I don't credit τῶν ζώντων with being the subject which is how it's tagged. And the S would appear to have to be an F. None of that makes sense really. Guided by symmetry then one returns to this :

 

ἔστιν θεὸς θεὸς ζώντων

 

assuming that the syntax has taken the position that the doubtful article in the first clause is not present in the second.

The bug implied by this second reading is smaller than the first, so I tend to favour this explanation, viz that the only thing missing is a 1 on the S leg of the syntax diagram. It's possible that that entire leg of the syntax should be reworked to conform to the first clause structure but then I would expect 4 missing elements in the second clause not three. But that's a very considerable change.

 

Part of the problem in rendering what is missing is that there is in fact nothing missing, from a certain standpoint. One could phrase the second clause in a number of ways and the syntax chart represents one way, the text another.

 

One way to try to resolve this would be send a correction report on the issue to corrections at accordancebible dot com.

That would get into the queue for investigation, I presume by Marco.

 

I don't know if this helps in the slightest and it could be very substantially or in fact totally wet but .....

 

Thx

D

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Regarding your second question perhaps I am not quite following. I would not expect a verb (εστιν) to be labelled with a number. The number identifies an antecedent and a verb doesn't really have one, so long as you exclude participles I suppose.

 

Looking at that the first section though I am uncertain why the syntax needs to suppose such a structure here. In English (which is probably the wrong way to do this) the syntax appears to suggest this reading :

 

what is easier, is it easier [for] someone to say to a paralytic .....

 

Of course English doesn't really require this and one could do :

 

what is easier to say to a paralytic .....

 

even the Greek it seems to me can be read in that manner and probably often is.

 

I have wanted on occasion to have a grammar of the syntax module so that I could see where all these things come from. I don't know of such a thing. In particular it would help with cases like this where considerable elision is assumed.

 

Same provisos as above.

 

Thx

D

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Ok Anthony I'll take a stab at this but .... like all that is free ....

I did look when you first sent this out but came to no good conclusion.

 

The text from NA28 Greek NT :           οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς       ______   νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων

Formatting and providing substitutions:

 

οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς  ______ νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ _____  _______  ______ ζώντων

A    P     F  S (1)  C(1)    A      N    P     C(1)       S      P

 

I would agree C(1) in both cases is θεὸς. Solving for the missing elements I would expect we need an εστιν and an article (for the following participle) or a noun subject. If the former is correct (and the syntax chart wrong) the sentence then looks like this :

 

οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ἔστιν θεὸς τῶν ζώντων

 

While this might make sense it leads me to wonder if the syntax has a bug in it. In the first clause the F - S is [ὁ] θεὸς and one might expect that in the second but I don't credit τῶν ζώντων with being the subject which is how it's tagged. And the S would appear to have to be an F. None of that makes sense really. Guided by symmetry then one returns to this :

 

ἔστιν θεὸς θεὸς ζώντων

 

assuming that the syntax has taken the position that the doubtful article in the first clause is not present in the second.

The bug implied by this second reading is smaller than the first, so I tend to favour this explanation, viz that the only thing missing is a 1 on the S leg of the syntax diagram. It's possible that that entire leg of the syntax should be reworked to conform to the first clause structure but then I would expect 4 missing elements in the second clause not three. But that's a very considerable change.

 

Part of the problem in rendering what is missing is that there is in fact nothing missing, from a certain standpoint. One could phrase the second clause in a number of ways and the syntax chart represents one way, the text another.

 

One way to try to resolve this would be send a correction report on the issue to corrections at accordancebible dot com.

That would get into the queue for investigation, I presume by Marco.

 

I don't know if this helps in the slightest and it could be very substantially or in fact totally wet but .....

 

Thx

D

Thank you for this. I agree with you the whole way on this. The first option, with the article (specifier, F) is more elegant, but I constructed my sequence assuming the syntax labels were correct. It may be, in fact, that the whole clause should be reworked. But, yes, either way, it seems that something is off. Unless there is something we're both missing here. Thanks again. 

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Regarding your second question perhaps I am not quite following. I would not expect a verb (εστιν) to be labelled with a number. The number identifies an antecedent and a verb doesn't really have one, so long as you exclude participles I suppose.

 

Looking at that the first section though I am uncertain why the syntax needs to suppose such a structure here. In English (which is probably the wrong way to do this) the syntax appears to suggest this reading :

 

what is easier, is it easier [for] someone to say to a paralytic .....

 

Of course English doesn't really require this and one could do :

 

what is easier to say to a paralytic .....

 

even the Greek it seems to me can be read in that manner and probably often is.

 

I have wanted on occasion to have a grammar of the syntax module so that I could see where all these things come from. I don't know of such a thing. In particular it would help with cases like this where considerable elision is assumed.

 

Same provisos as above.

 

Thx

D

Yes, typo there. Estin should say eipein

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The number identifies an antecedent and a verb doesn't really have one, so long as you exclude participles I suppose.

 

Thx

D

I don't think so. The number simply stands for a null constituent so far as I'm aware. This could be an antecedent, verb, whatever. Am I wrong on this?

Alright. It's too late for me to be thinking about these things. I'll try to get back in the AM. Monday for sure. Thanks!

Edited by A. Smith
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Oh hmmmm.... so to be very clear because otherwise I'll get confused. Your question "Shouldn't the null Predicate be εστιν?" was intended to say "Shouldn't the null Predicate be ειπειν ?" ? If so I would have thought not. εστιν seems a better fit to me.

 

Regarding :

 

Daniel Semler, on 12 Feb 2015 - 8:51 PM, said:http://www.accordancebible.com/forums/public/style_images/master/snapback.png

The number identifies an antecedent and a verb doesn't really have one, so long as you exclude participles I suppose.

 

Thx

D

I don't think so. The number simply stands for a null constituent so far as I'm aware. This could be an antecedent, verb, whatever. Am I wrong on this?

 

Ah ... there we differ. The number is specifically an antecedent reference. This description from the Getting Started With Syntax doc :

 

2.     Nulls — To preserve the regular syntax structure of a text, null identifiers may be added to show where an understood subject, predicate, or complement would be placed within the clause.

3.     Antecedents — To assist in showing syntactical relationships, antecedent identifier labels are sometimes added to show relationships between a word and its antecedent. A null identifier may also be combined with an antecedent identifier.

 

  and then later :

 

1-9Antecedent identifier

01-09 Null antecedent identifier
 

  What's odd here is that I only see Antecedent ids here, that is there is no leading 0 on any of them. What is weird is that I could not find the 2 antecedent. But perhaps I did not look far enough back. In any case I would not expect a verb to be an antecedent - the classic example is a pronoun which refers to a previous noun, null and thus assumed, or actually present. Can a verb refer back to another word in that way ? I didn't/don't think so, but could be wrong ....

 

Thx

D

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  • 9 months later...

Sorry for my delay. I will try to answer the question on the first verse, so we can see if it works for you.

 

Mt 22.32 is our verse.

 

The number 1 is used three times: θεὸς 1, then -1, then -1. The three numbers refer to the same word, that is θεός.

The symbol - stands for a null item. Where you have -1, you should supply θεός in the appropriate case.

 

Where you have P -1, it stands for a null Predicate. The null Predicate is a Predicate that is understood and needs to be supplied. In most cases, it is a form of the verb εἰμί. It is in this case, too.

 

Where you have S -1, it stands for a null Subject. The null Subject is a Subject that is understood and needs to be supplied. Why do we need a Subject? Because we have a participial dependent Clause, whose Subject is not the same as the Subject of the independent Clause. In such cases, I have always supplied a null Subject. Here the Subject are "people", or something similar, in the Clause "living people".

 

If we wanted to write the full Greek text, it would be οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ] θεὸς θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ἔστιν θεὸς [τινων] ζώντων.

 

I have used the indefinite pronoun τινων just as a dummy word, as is done in BDAG. I am not interested in the actual lexical form, but rather in its inflection (gender number and case).

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Thank you for this Marco.

 

I think I see my error here; I didn't pay enough attention to the distinction between the adjectival substantive νεκρῶν and the subjectless participle ζώντων being in a subordinate clause. The common English translation tends to obscure this distinction, or at least did for me.

 

Incidentally, regarding substantival adjectives I notice that the syntax does not insert a null noun here. I am wondering why this is ? One could argue that νεκρῶν might require a noun (perhaps ανθρωπων or the pronoun ?) or an article to firmly indicate the substantive function.

 

Thanx again

D

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Daniel,

 

thank you for your interest and appreciation, and for your helpful interactions.

 

I would say that here we have something which is unusual in Greek: we would expect both genitives to have an article, but they don't. First of all, we would need an article to make a substantive out of the adjective νεκρῶν. Then, as ζώντων is parallel to νεκρῶν, we can safely assume that it needs to be undestood in the same way. The lack of an article before ζώντων marks this participle as a very unusual adjectival participle. Usually adjectival participles require an article. They can do without it only if the noun (or pronoun, etc.) that they modify also come without an article.

 

Why isn't there an article preceding νεκρῶν? This is a really interesting exegetical question, that I need to think about. I may suggest that, if there were an article, we would have two groups of people, the Dead and the Living.  It looks like Jesus words are intentionally blurring the boundaries between the two groups. Instead of two defined groups, we have people that can be in one of two conditions: dead people, or living people. That condition depends on their relationship with God. So it happens that some that were thought of as dead, that is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are actually living.

 

Anyway, I will mark this as a spot that needs further thought, when I have finished checking the rest of the books of the NT.

 

For the moment, I think it is good that the syntax module allows us to notice this unusual phenomenon, and think about it.

Edited by Marco V. Fabbri
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