Re: Jonah 1:3 TOU FUGEIN

Carl W. Conrad (
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 15:27:12 -0600

At 11:59 AM -0600 1/10/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Can somebody please help me understand TOU FUGEIN in the following:
>In context, I suspect it means "in order to flee", but I need help with the
>grammar here.

You've gotten very good answers already on this (and a good lesson on uses
of the articular infinitive!); I would only add one little detail:

Some might wonder why the GENITIVE case of the articular infinitive is used
to express purpose. Originally there was a preposition hENEKA (sometimes
written hENEKEN; in classical Greek one might also find DIKHN used as a
"postposition"in the same way--like Latin CAUSA or GRATIA with a genitive)
used as a "posposition"--like a preposition but following the word or
phrase governed by it. This came to be so common that the hENEKA was
omitted. It's curious how these things develop. I recall last year on
b-greek there was discussion of the word hINATI, sometimes spelled as two
words (hINA TI) that became a Hellenistic interrogative adverb for "why?"

It's worth noting that this infinitive is used to complement a verb of
motion. In Homer, that's very common in itself; in fact, there's a weird
formula, BH D' IMEN "s/he strode to go" (the original sense of BAINW is
"put one leg apart from the other"). Latin uses a "supine," a peculiar
accusative form of a verbal noun, with verbs of motion just in this same
expression. It's another of those parallels between Latin and Hellenistic
Greek that I find fascinating.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR