Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

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Jax
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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Jax » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:04 am

Ok. Cleaned up the OP a bit. Hope that is better.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am

Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:36 am
I find myself wondering, hope this doesn't sound too retarded. As the last letter in something like XRN is there to denote (not sure denote is the best term just the best that I can come up with right now) how the name or title is used grammatically in a sentence is it fair to call it a contraction?
What I mean is X would be a suspension as would XR but XRN is simply the suspension XR with an N added to conform to the rules of Greek grammar.

Does that make any sense at all? Before you throw your hands up in despair just remember that I am still learning and have a long way yet to go. :cheers:
No problem.

In the end, we are merely discussing how to classify different abbreviations. I was asking you about your classification because I was unfamiliar with how you are doing it. The scholarship I am familiar with would not count a declensional final letter in an abbreviation as a slightly modified suspension; rather, it would regard the retention of the declensional ending as a good reason to adopt contraction as an abbreviating strategy. As long as you are clear about what you are doing, I do not care either way. It was unclear to me at first, and then you clarified, and now I see what your perspective is. :cheers:

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Jax » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:41 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:32 am
Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:36 am
I find myself wondering, hope this doesn't sound too retarded. As the last letter in something like XRN is there to denote (not sure denote is the best term just the best that I can come up with right now) how the name or title is used grammatically in a sentence is it fair to call it a contraction?
What I mean is X would be a suspension as would XR but XRN is simply the suspension XR with an N added to conform to the rules of Greek grammar.

Does that make any sense at all? Before you throw your hands up in despair just remember that I am still learning and have a long way yet to go. :cheers:
No problem.

In the end, we are merely discussing how to classify different abbreviations. I was asking you about your classification because I was unfamiliar with how you are doing it. The scholarship I am familiar with would not count a declensional final letter in an abbreviation as a slightly modified suspension; rather, it would regard the retention of the declensional ending as a good reason to adopt contraction as an abbreviating strategy. As long as you are clear about what you are doing, I do not care either way. It was unclear to me at first, and then you clarified, and now I see what your perspective is. :cheers:
I'm taking a break from that mind numbing page on Greek noun endings and am reading The Origin of the Nomina Sacra: A Proposal by Hurtado http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/nomin_s.pdf so maybe he has some thoughts on this. On page 8 he writes about non-Christian Greek texts using abbreviations by suspension with a line over the first letter or two with the line extending slightly past the suspension letters. Further, the abbreviations are usually at the end of a sentence. Also, the NS abbreviations have a line squarely over the abbreviation as if it were being treated as a number but it doesn't appear as if this is the intention.

It all makes me wonder, if one were trying to abbreviate a noun that did not end a sentence and you wanted to alert the reader that the sentence wasn't ending at that point, why not simply abbreviate it by suspension adding a case ending letter to make it work grammatically and draw a line over the abbreviation without extending it beyond the abbreviation so as not to make it seem that the sentence was ending. The fact that you were adding the case ending to the abbreviation would signal that the abbreviation was not a number as the case ending would be expected in the context that the abbreviated noun was being used.

Just a thought.

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:50 pm

Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:41 pm
It all makes me wonder, if one were trying to abbreviate a noun that did not end a sentence and you wanted to alert the reader that the sentence wasn't ending at that point, why not simply abbreviate it by suspension adding a case ending letter to make it work grammatically and draw a line over the abbreviation without extending it beyond the abbreviation so as not to make it seem that the sentence was ending. The fact that you were adding the case ending to the abbreviation would signal that the abbreviation was not a number as the case ending would be expected in the context that the abbreviated noun was being used.
Just to be clear, the case endings themselves are often being abbreviated, too. The masculine nominative case ending for the second declension is -ος, for example, not just -ς:

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Jax » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:58 pm

Another thought occurs to me as well. Say you have a mystery cult like the Christ cult and you want to keep hidden the meaning of cult secrets from the uninitiated. So you abbreviate the important words and make them look like random numbers.

Only the people initiated know the meaning of the mystery. To everyone else it is not knowable.

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Jax » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:00 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:50 pm
Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:41 pm
It all makes me wonder, if one were trying to abbreviate a noun that did not end a sentence and you wanted to alert the reader that the sentence wasn't ending at that point, why not simply abbreviate it by suspension adding a case ending letter to make it work grammatically and draw a line over the abbreviation without extending it beyond the abbreviation so as not to make it seem that the sentence was ending. The fact that you were adding the case ending to the abbreviation would signal that the abbreviation was not a number as the case ending would be expected in the context that the abbreviated noun was being used.
Just to be clear, the case endings themselves are often being abbreviated, too. The masculine nominative case ending for the second declension is -ος, for example, not just -ς:

Image
Yeah. Ok, cool. I understand.

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:31 pm

Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:58 pm
Another thought occurs to me as well. Say you have a mystery cult like the Christ cult and you want to keep hidden the meaning of cult secrets from the uninitiated. So you abbreviate the important words and make them look like random numbers.

Only the people initiated know the meaning of the mystery. To everyone else it is not knowable.
Why are the nomina sacra so easy to figure out, then?

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:36 pm

Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:41 pm
It all makes me wonder, if one were trying to abbreviate a noun that did not end a sentence and you wanted to alert the reader that the sentence wasn't ending at that point, why not simply abbreviate it by suspension adding a case ending letter to make it work grammatically and draw a line over the abbreviation without extending it beyond the abbreviation so as not to make it seem that the sentence was ending. The fact that you were adding the case ending to the abbreviation would signal that the abbreviation was not a number as the case ending would be expected in the context that the abbreviated noun was being used.
Wanted to point something else out here. If the nomina sacra are abbreviations, as it is obvious they are, then whether they work grammatically or not does not depend on the abbreviation. Rather, it depends on what the abbreviation represents. In context, both ΧΡ and ΧΣ work grammatically, since both represent Χριστός.

Compare those abbreviations in English which bear a plural form (like "lbs." for "pounds") versus those which do not (like "gal." for "gallon" and also for "gallons"). People write things like, "I put 13 gal. of gas in my car," all the time. The nonpluralized abbreviation "gal." works grammatically because it represents "gallons" in this context. No native English speaker would read that sentence as, "I put 13 gallon of gas in my car." English speakers would pluralize to "gallons," because that is what "gal." represents in this context.

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Jax » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:51 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:31 pm
Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:58 pm
Another thought occurs to me as well. Say you have a mystery cult like the Christ cult and you want to keep hidden the meaning of cult secrets from the uninitiated. So you abbreviate the important words and make them look like random numbers.

Only the people initiated know the meaning of the mystery. To everyone else it is not knowable.
Why are the nomina sacra so easy to figure out, then?
Without background, would it have been back then?

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Re: Some Observations on the Nomina Sacra of the First Three Centuries

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:04 pm

Jax wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:51 pm
Without background, would it have been back then?
Yes.

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