cwconrad wrote:This is not a scientific judgment, but my inclination is to think that πολὺ or πολλῷ does intensify the comparative force of the comparative adjective: "far more precious" or "more precious by far";
That is the view of LSJ too.
LSJ πολύς III.2.a wrote:2. πολύ is freq. joined with Adjs. and Advbs.,
a. with a Comp. to increase its comp. force, πολὺ μεῖζον, πολλὸν παυρότεροι, Il.1.167, Od.14.17; πολὺ μᾶλλον much more, Il.9.700; πολύ τι μᾶλλον f.l. in D.H. Comp.4 (p.22 U.-R.): with words, esp. Preps., between πολύ and its Adj., π. ἐν πλέονι, π. ἐπὶ δεινοτέρῳ, Th.1.35, Pl.R.589e; “πολὺ ἔτι ἐκ λαμπροτέρων” Id.Phd.110c; “π. σὺν φρονήματι μείζονι” X.An.3.1.22, cf.3.2.30, Smp.1.4 (but the Prep. freq. comes first, “ἐκ π. ἐλάττονος” And.1.109, etc.); so πολλῷ is freq. used with the Comp., by far, A.Pr.337, Hdt. 1.134, etc.; “π. μᾶλλον” S.OT1159, Pl.Phd.80e; οὐ πολλῷ τεῳ ἀσθενέστερον not a great deal weaker, Hdt.1.181, cf. 2.48,67, etc.: πολύ with all words implying comparison, πολὺ πρίν much sooner, Il.9.250; “π. πρό” 4.373: with the comp. Verb “φθάνω, ἦ κε πολὺ φθαίη” 13.815; so πολὺ προβέβηκας ἁπάντων, πολὺ προμάχεσθαι ἁπάντων, 6.125, 11.217; “προὔλαβε πολλῷ” Th.7.80: with βούλομαι, = prefer, “ἡμῖν πολὺ βούλεται ἢ Δαναοῖσι νίκην” Il.17.331, cf. Od.17.404; πολύ γε in answers, after a Comp. or Sup., ἀργὸς . . γενήσεται μᾶλλον; Answ. “πολύ γε” Pl.R.421d, cf. 387e, etc.
Seemingly much more rarely with the positive, as I discussed a bit in listing alternatives in the head post.
LSJ πολύς III.2.c wrote:c. with a Positive, to add force to the Adj., “ὦ πολλὰ μὲν τάλαινα, πολλὰ δ᾽ αὖ σοφή” A.Ag.1295; also “ἐς πόλλ᾽ ἀθλία πέφυκ᾽ ἐγώ” E.Ph.619 (troch.); “πολὺ ἀφόρητος” Luc.DMeretr. 9.3; cf. πλεῖστος.
I don't know how much can be made about the extent of the usage of πολὺ from a lexical entry written to describe it succinctly, but it seems that πολὺ is more likely used with the grammatical part of the comparative, rather than the meaning part.
[In fact the question behind the question behind the question is my wondering how syntacttically similar the Greek word πολὺ is to English word "very", but that is a much broader discussion than just this aspect of it.]
cwconrad wrote:on the other hand, I think that πολυ- in πολυτιμότερον doesn't really add much: if πολυτίμος means "very costly" or"expensive", πολυτιμότερος means "more expensive". I think this is an instance of adjectives or prefixes of value losing their intensive force from overuse; that's something that happens in English, and I have seen instances elsewhere in Greek where the same process seems in play. If "much better" doesn't seem strong enough, we'll try "much more better"; Shakespeare himself speaks of "the most unkindest cut" and Dickens of the "far far better thing I do than I have ever done before."
On that, and without adding a comment of my own, we could compare the textual variants here:
1 Timothy 1:17 (Byz) wrote:ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ, σπουδαιότερον ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν —
1 Timothy 1:17 (NAUBS) wrote:ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ, σπουδαίως ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν —
Stephen Hughes wrote:
This is a question about a grammatical feature that occurs in both these two passages.
It arose after looking into the point that came up while preparing Xen. Oec. 4.
when Socrates talking about the effects of working in an indoor job is portrayed as saying;
τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ πολὺ ἀρρωστότεραι γίγνονται.
Even the souls (of those artisans who work indoors) are becoming much weaker than the(ir) bodies which are becoming womanly (soft).For an explanation by way of syntax, I prefer to take the genitive in the first part of the phrase as following the comparative -ότερος. That seems more cohesive than taking it as a genitive absolute which is fairly un-attached to what follows it.
cwconrad wrote:For my part, I'm more inclined to seeing τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων as a genitive absolute and understanding the whole as "As bodies weaken, souls too get much flimsier."
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'll reconsider that then. My thinking is that in English we are accustomed to the periphrasis ἀρρωστότεραι γίγνονται, become weaker, but Greek has the ability to say ἀρρωστεῖν, become more sickly, in just a word. So, by using the periphrasis with the comparative, the genitive phrase was meant as the thing compared to, rather than time itself - the shadow of their former selves, being the implied comparison, or perhaps compared to the bodies of free citizens who did not engage in such domestic / womanly pursuits.
A matter of judgment perhaps; I'm not sure how weighty this is, but the placement of τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων
seems to me to make it awkward as a genitive of comparison.
I agree that the placement of the genitive in front seems like a genitive absolute, but then there is the issue of connectedness. It is about as connected as Acts 5:15 ἵνα ἐρχομένου Πέτρου κ
ἂν ἡ σκιὰ ἐπισκιάσῃ τινὶ αὐτῶν., which 6-of-one,-and-half-a-dozen-of-the-other grammatically the ἂν ἡ σκιὰ (Πέτρου ἐρχομένου) ἐπισκιάσῃ τινὶ αὐτῶν, and the difference is the addition of the καί in the same place in the syntax there. τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων καὶ
αἱ ψυχαὶ πολὺ ἀρρωστότεραι γίγνονται.
On the other hand, there is the phrase καὶ ὑψηλότερος
τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος
in Hebrews 7:26 Τοιοῦτος γὰρ ἡμῖν ἔπρεπεν ἀρχιερεύς, ὅσιος, ἄκακος, ἀμίαντος, κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν, καὶ ὑψηλότερος
τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος
·, which adjective doesn't have a corresponding verb in either LSJ
On the other
other hand, the English idiom does seem to prefer the construction comparative + become, while the Greek prefers to use the verb that expresses the idea, cf.
John 3:30 wrote:Ἐκεῖνον δεῖ αὐξάνειν, ἐμὲ δὲ ἐλαττοῦσθαι.
He must become greater, and I must become less.
Either way, I don't think it's something worth dwelling on as one reads, and there will be no use raising so much fuss and bother about it as there is here in this discussion when I post the section in the Xenophon extensive reading thread.