« Main Search

Partial Response to Hartley, By Stafford: 5/25/99

Greg Stafford says in response to Hartley's article:
I have included a complete response to Hartley's thesis on the Colwell rule in my second edition, and I will certainly provide an online response to the errors in his latest rejoinder.

He cites me again, "It is illogical and absurd, however, to insist that whenever Q as a semantic category is invoked, indefiniteness must be by necessity a part of the semantic package."

Thank you for telling us that. Now, I have two requests:

Where do I make such a claim, and
please provide, for purposes of discussion and illustration, what you consider clear examples of purely qualitative count nouns, in an anarthrous precopulative position.

Need I refer back to his "semantic signaling" in demonstrating his antagonism to this idea?

I am sure all of you who are following this realize that my question #1 above was asked in reference to Hartley's comments about my BOOK, and that my comment on the mass noun being a semantic signal for a count noun in John 1:14 was written AFTER Hartley's assertion: "It is illogical and absurd, however, to insist that whenever Q as a semantic category is invoked, indefiniteness must be by necessity a part of the semantic package."

So, why, then is Hartley quoting a statement made after the fact (which he misunderstands anyway--see below)? Is Hartley admitting that he misspoke in reference to my book? Again, "Where do I make such a claim?"

It should be remembered that Stafford does not affirm the semantic category that my study proves exists.

Hartley's study proves absolutely nothing in relation to count nouns being purely qualitative. THAT is why I asked the various questions I did in my last online reply, which I will further explain in my forthcoming online reply. But, I ask: To what examples can you refer, in Scripture, where indefiniteness is not part of the "semantic package?" Why do I get the feeling that you will not be providing any such examples? After all, you further stated:

As for clear examples, the chart at the end of the article listed them. Isn't his request just begging for a repeat here?

There is not one example of count nouns in your chart that could not be taken in an indefinite sense, and so your "proof" is no proof at all, but merely your contention based on a rejection of the context, which is indeed, as will be illustrated in Appendix D to my second edition, and in my Chapter Two, necessary for the proper tagging of such nouns in the precopulative and other positions. In your study you are forced to exclude those factors that undermine your preferred view, and this is where your contention comes full circle, not proving anything in relation to the count nouns having a purely Q semantic tag. You simply deny this, and are left with your contentions.

Now just a quick point on what makes up a clearly qualitative count noun. As I illustrated above it is perfectly viable to understand a count noun as purely qualitative, i.e., to exhibit the same semantic nuance of a mass noun. For example, one can say, "God is a Spirit" (I, I-Q [Q-I]) or "God is Spirit" (Q) among several other options where the nominal "Spirit" is a singular count noun (John 4:24). I would consider this text a clear instance of the Q nuance.

Yes, of course YOU would consider it as such, but there is nothing restricting it to a purely Q nuance, and no one can rightly deny the indefinite nuance. So this, again, is no PROOF at all. What is more, you have to use an example that does not even fall into the category of your study, namely, where the noun is used with EIMI verbs. Finally, you again use contextual factors in your tagging of "spirit" in this verse, though you say that such is not necessary for the proper tagging! Note:

God is not simply a Spirit relegated to spatial confines or a member of a class of other spirits. God is Spirit in the sense of omnipresence, an attribute essential to the statement and exclusively bound to His essence. No other being shares this feature therefore no other beings can be inferred to which class He would be a member.

Not only do you import your view of God as "omnipresent" but you apparently fail to notice that the context identifies this God as the "Father." (verses 21, 23) So, will you substitute "the Father" in place of "God" and the pronouns "His" and "He" in your above comments?

Hartley also stated:

"Having denied the category he later turns around and limits its existence to the mass noun lexis-an admission that is detrimental to his view."

You mean just like the inclusion of an indefinite nuance to count nouns is detrimental to your view? Of course, this is precisely why you are attempting to create a tag for count nouns that cannot be illustrated by concrete examples. For example, you will note that Hartley refers to 1 John 4:8, "God is love" to illustrate a purely Q tagging for an abstract mass noun, and I certainly do not dispute this. Who would? But why can Hartley not produce a similar, indisputable example for his claim regarding purely Q count nouns?

I will explain this and other problems with Hartley's thesis in my online reply, and I have already done so in my book.

Greg Stafford


1.  "Revisiting the Colwell Construction in Light of Mass/Count Nouns" by Donald E. Hartley Th.M, Ph.D (student), Dallas Theological Seminary.
2.  Don Hartley's Misunderstanding of My View of Qualitative Nouns and P. B. Harners JBL Article By Greg Stafford
3.  Hartley responds with "Hartley's Second Response To Stafford" on May 25, 1999.
4.  Partial Response to Hartley, By Stafford: 5/25/99
5.  Another Response to Stafford - 5/25/99 (third)
6.  Greg Stafford on 5/26/99 says: "Hartley's theory, regardless of what he tells you, is hopelessly without substantiation, as I will explain shortly."
7.  Greg Stafford to Hartley on 5/26/99: "Please cite an example of a singular count noun in the precopulative position, that CANNOT be indefinitized." in Clarity, Please...
8.  Specifically...I would like Hartley to list the 19 Q-class nouns to which he refers on page 65 of his thesis (par. 2, line 5), for our consideration.
9.  Greg Stafford on 6/3/99: Surrejoinder to Don Hartley: Q-Class Count Nouns , John 1:1c, and Other Related Matters

    Previous Top
1999 - 2007 Jehovah's Witnesses United. All rights reserved. Terms of Service
home-icon.gif (1K) Home:
General News
Human Rights
Study Tools
Site Search
Web Search
genexe-icon.gif (1K) EXEGESIS:
Study Links
genexe-icon.gif (1K) GENERAL:
resources-icon.gif (1K) Resources: