Edgar M. Krentz (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 22:33:25 -0500

>but any help
>with the classical word SKUTOBRACION would be much appreciated.
>What I know (on this subject!):
> LSJ lists it as meaning "leathern arm" and notes that it was
> a nickname given to the grammarian Dionysius (references:
> Ath 12.515e [= Athenaeus Grammaticus, ii/iii AD], cf. Sueton.
> Gramm. 7 [= Suetonius, ii AD]. (I don't have access to those texts.)
>What I don't know:
> What is the point of Dionysius being nicknamed "leathern arm"?
>Some background (i.e., where I first ran into this word):
>I've been reading (no, that's too high a rating; maybe, "struggling to
>translate" would be more accurate!) Franz Wessengruber, "Zum Verbalaspekt
>im Griechischen des Neuen Testaments," _Studiem zum Neuen Testament and
>Seiner Umwelt_ 16 (1991): 169-77. [= "Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the
>NT," in _Studies in the NT and Its Surroundings_] In it he compares
>Porter's work on aspect to Dionysius' grammatical achievements as follows
>(my rough transl.):
>" may say, first of all from Porter's work, that with its abundance
>of passages and commentary, it may be described as nothing short of a
>storehouse[of information and a reference work, and that it likewise has
>great value for linguists and for exegetes.... (The ancients conferred the
>nickname "Leather Arm" on the learned grammarian Dionysius because of a
>comparably prodigious achievement, not without a certain undertone to be
>In other words, Dionysius was named "Leather Arm" because of his monumental
>achievement; Porter deserves the same title for a similarly prodigious work.
>For those of you who can read it, here is the original text:
>"..., lasst sich zunachest einmal von Porters Arbeit sagen dass sie mit
>ihrer Fulle von Text und Kommentierungen geradezu eine Fundgrube und ein
>Nachschlagewerk darstellt, das ebenso grossen Wert fur Linguisten wie fur
>Exegeten hat; ... (Die Alten haben wegen einer vergleichsweise so
>gewaltigen Leistung, nicht ohne einen gewissen Unterton freilich, dem
>gelehrten Grammatiker Dionysios den Beinamen eines "Skytobrachion"
I'm not going to replicate any of Carl Conrad's apposite comments, but
cannot resist pointing out how little this Greek term would be understood
from the etymology of its components parts--as little as the adjective
applied to the grammarian Didymus of Alexandria (first century of our era):
CALKENTEROS ("bronze gutted"). Both describe the ability to work hard and
long, either by writing much or, in the case of Didymus, of sitting long at
his scholarly work. Why not CALKIPYIOS? I don't know.

Usage, not etymology, is the surest guide to signification.


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