Friday, January 2, 2015

In Pontic Greek Likely Dating Back to the Period Before Marcion, Μαρκίων = 'those who belong to Mark'

I was away for a few weeks and actually ran into a regular reader of this blog (or perhaps better yet, someone who regularly read this blog when I was actively posting content).  He told me, he loved the observations but reminded me that he had difficulty sometimes understanding 'the bottom line.'  What was I saying?  Why did I care so much about this or that seemingly esoteric 'point' that I was spending many paragraphs proving?

So let me break down the previous line of investigation of the survival of ancient Greek in the Pontic Greek which survives among 'Christian' residents of the Pontus (near the Black Sea) and which still survives among the so-called Romeyka (i.e. Greek residents who converted to Islam and remained in the Pontic region).  Since many of the Greek linguistic features among the residents from this region are generally recognized to go back to archaic Greek (i.e. preserving an older form of Greek than used in the New Testament) it has already been argued that the use of the genitive plural suffix -ίων (as opposed to -ων) is one such vestige from 'archaic Greek.'  What do I mean by 'archaic Greek'?

Let's begin by noting that in Homeric Greek the genitive plural usually ends in -αων or -εων. For example, νυμφάων, rather than νυμφῶν. From Perseus:
Gen. plur.—(a) -ά_ων, the original form, occurs in Hom. (μουσά_ων,ἀγορά_ων). In Aeolic and Doric -ά_ων contracts to (b) -ᾶν (ἀγορᾶν). The Doric -ᾶν is found also in the choral songs of the drama (πετρᾶν rocks). (c) -έων, the Ionic form, appears in Homer, who usually makes it a single syllable by synizesis (60) as in βουλέωνν, from βουλή plan. -έων is from -ήων, Ionic for -ά_ων. (d) -ῶνin Hom. generally after vowels (κλισιῶν, from κλισίη hut).
This form eventually shifted to what is called 'New Ionian' demonstrated by the writings of Herodotus: Here the genitive plural of masculines and feminines ends in -έων; e.g. χωρέων, δεσποτέων.

In Karatsareas's study δεσποτιού is one of the earliest examples he makes reference to: Such forms occur widely in all the AMGr dialects but also in the Northern Greek (NGr) dialects of Lesbos/Kydonies and Samos that are spoken on or just off the west coast of the Asia Minor peninsula. Some examples of heteroclitic forms from the AMGr dialects are shown in boldface in (1)-(6) below:
  1. ζ’ μυλιούτο τ̔ εκνέ ‘in the mill’s trough’ (Axó Cappadocian, MAVROCHALYVIDIS and KESISOGLOU 1960, p. 200; cf. Standard Modern Greek [SMGr] μύλου) 
  2. δεσποτιού το στράτα ‘the bishop’s way’ (Phloïtá Cappadocian, COSTAKIS 1962, p. 174; cf. SMGr δεσπότη) 
  3. ένα χτηνιού αγέλ ‘a herd of cows’ (Potámia Cappadocian, DAWKINS 1916, p. 456; cf. expected χτηνών) 
  4. τ’ αφεντίου του λόγος ‘his master’s word’ (Áno Amisós Pontic, LIANIDIS 2007 [1962], p. 26; cf. SMGr αφέντη) 
  5. σου παχτσ̑αδίου το σπίτι ‘in the garden house’ (Oenóe Pontic, LIANIDIS 2007 [1962], p. 214; cf. SMGr μπαχτσέ) 
  6. παπαριώ ρούχα ‘priests’ robes’ (Silliot, COSTAKIS 1968, p. 60; cf. SMGr παπάδων)
Karatsareas notes that heteroclitic forms of this type bear major historical significance. Their development constitutes one of the shared innovations in the light of which the modern AMGr dialects are shown to be related by descent from a common ancestor, a dialectal variety of Greek that was spoken in the greater area of inner Asia Minor before the predecessors of the modern dialects started developing idiosyncratically (KARATSAREAS 2011). Their occurrence in adjacent NGr dialects further suggests that neuter heteroclitic forms possibly emerged at a time before the split of the two dialect groups –AMGr and NGr.

My idea (which Karatsareas according to a conversation with one of the professors working with him studying the language of the Romeyka, agrees with) is that Pontic Greek 'mutated' the -έων genitive suffix into -ίων.  Indeed the dialectic anomaly δεσποτιού or presumably δεσποτίων from the New Ionian genitive plural δεσποτέων.  Again I am told that Karatsareas agrees with me (the work published under his name about 'Pontic Greek' apparently pre-dates the discovery of Romeyka Greek.

In other words, even in the second century when Papias is said to have received letters from the community of Christians in the Pontus about Μαρκίων, we should already assume that those writing the letters were speaking of a community of followers of 'Mark' rather than an individual named 'Marcion.'

This becomes even more obvious if we imagine that the letters took the form of a document entitled κατὰ Μαρκίων - that is, 'Against Marcion' according to latter Church Fathers but 'against the followers of Mark' acknowledging the existence of the Pontic dialect even at that period.   Is that clear enough for people?

No perhaps not.  They want to know also 'why should anyone care?'  Well the implication of this new understanding developed from Romeyka is that the so-called 'Marcionites' likely were the original tradition associated with the evangelist Mark.  In other words, we should ignore Irenaeus's claims about a corruption of 'according to Luke' in the community (Luke was likely a deliberate corruption of the Marcionite gospel).  The original so-called 'Marcionites' were 'those of Mark,' the first evangelist.

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