The Omission of Key Concepts in Discourse Grammar and Analysis
In the introduction the authors are clear that the ins-and-outs of discourse analysis will not be discussed, but that one of the discipline’s major concerns — that of "[a]ttempting to discern the logical relationships between propositions” (6) — will be a focus-point for the Interpretive Lexicon. With that said, I was surprised to find that several key concepts related to discourse analysis and grammar were not brought into the conversation, especially since they are so helpful in explaining the way connectives can help to stitch together a discourse. Some of the concepts I have in mind include: theme line (main line) and supportive (offline) material, development, segmentation, and discourse markers.
The tendency to commit the polysemy fallacy is often mitigated by an awareness of these parameters of discourse that extend beyond the semantic properties (that may or may not be present) with a connective. They provide answers for how a connective is operating in the discourse without imputing the semantics of the immediate context into the cohesive tie as though it brought these semantics to the related propositions (instead of the other way around). For example, with δέ there is little reason to see it as doing anything else but segmenting what follows as a distinct (or new) unit of information in the discourse, which entails that any other perceived logical relation or semantic constraint is really attributable to context—but not something that δέ denotes as the Interpretive Lexicon (and those they cite) claim.
Additionally, I wonder what the entry for γάρ might look like if the parameters of main line and offline were accounted for (perhaps the part of speech label “Conjunction” would rightfully be removed, as this connective operates at another level besides the grammar of the related propositions). I also wonder how the concepts of main line and offline coupled with development might have helped a user differentiate between the different functions of some of the (inferential) cohesive ties on pp. 34–37 (e.g., διά vs. διά τούτο vs. διό).
A related notion to these that are not accounted for is the fact that propositions are connected to others at varying levels in a discourse. That is, a number of the cohesive ties covered in the Interpretive Lexicon operate at levels beyond the sentence (and some below, like δέ) — though this is the only level I can see that they address. This static evaluation necessarily entails that those connectives which have the capacity to operate as discourse markers are not acknowledged in this respect (e.g., δέ or οὖν). As a result of this limited viewpoint of propositions (or a discourse), the analyst is forced to think only in terms of how the connectives operate at a sentential level. This restriction perhaps encourages the polysemy fallacy by limiting the higher (cognitive and discourse-pragmatic) role a cohesive tie may play.
The Neglect of More Recent Contributions from Greek Discourse Scholars
An obvious corollary of the lexicon’s appropriation of strictly conventional resources (i.e., BDAG, Wallace, and Harris) is that more recent evaluations are not tapped into. I am thinking primarily of the work of Stephen Levinsohn and Steve Runge as they have both produced resources that deal with a handful of cohesive ties in a more or less systematic and consistent fashion.
If the work of such scholars were included, it would no doubt prove to be problematic: Levinsohn and Runge often land at odds with how BDAG, Wallace, and Harris interpret certain “popular” Greek connectives. How are such dissonant voices then to be reflected in an interpretive lexicon for students whose primary concern is exegesis?
The difficulty of answering such a question does not constitute grounds for applying only models that are in harmony, or that have been well-received over time. While the latter may certainly earn a resource its place in such a lexicon as secondary reference material, good-standing over time does not invalidate new voices that challenge the status-quo. And while, to be clear, the authors of the Interpretive Lexicon should not be held responsible as though they assume such a thing, the lexicon could certainly be strengthened (and likewise be a tool that advances scholarship) by assimilating these more recent insights into their evaluation of Greek cohesive ties.
As it stands, however, conventional theory is brought into play while more recent advances are left to ride the bench. I’m aware this is the most serious of my critiques, but I believe this decision is an unfortunate disservice to the users of the lexicon as well as the broader field. After all, resources that push for practical application (which this lexicon both embraces and embodies) is the surest way for new insights to challenge and sharpen traditional understandings.
In the most mild form of response to this area of improvement it would seem fitting to give at least a head-nod in footnote format to those instances where the content of an entry is at odds with recent insights made in Greek discourse grammar. For instance, regarding the conjunctive και, a footnote explaining that it connects two items of equal syntactic status without specifying a semantic value for how the two units are related would be a more linguistically sensitive account than what is currently found in the footnote: