Fun Data Points in Greek

A presentational/thetic clause with an indefinite null subject:

καὶ ἐξῆλθον ἀπὸ τῶν ἱερέων ἐκ τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τοῦ λαοῦ ἀσπάσασθαι αὐτὸν εἰρηνικῶς καὶ δεῖξαι αὐτῷ τὴν ὁλοκαύτωσιν τὴν προσφερομένην ὑπὲρ τοῦ βασιλέως (1 Macc 7:33).

This could either be translated:

“There came out [some people] from the priests from the holy place and from the elders of the people to greet him peacefully and to show him the a burnt offering being offered on behalf of the king.”

Or:

“[Some people] from the priests from the holy place and from the elders of the people to greet him peacefully and to show him the a burnt offering being offered on behalf of the king came out.”

Both translations would be acceptable sentence focus constructions in English, but the former would be the more explicitly (i.e. marked) presentational construction (cf. Lakoff 1987–the appendix on presentationals in English is absolutely superb and worth reading by, well, anyone and everyone interested in linguistics).

3 thoughts on “Fun Data Points in Greek

    1. I have! I read it after you blogged about his defense back in 2010(?) at Better Bibles. And I had the pleasure of enjoying a summer with Nick at CanIL that following year. It’s quality piece of research.

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