2 Cor. 8:22 / 1Pt. 1:7 - πολὺ σπουδαιότερον / τιμιώτερον

Stephen Hughes
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Re: 2 Cor. 8:22 / 1Pt. 1:7 - πολὺ σπουδαιότερον / τιμιώτερον

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 11th, 2015, 7:34 pm

cwconrad wrote:my original questions had more to do with your English version and how that reflected the Greek original text.
Sorry, I thought the "I'm afraid that I don't understand this, and I'm not sure that I could explain it even to a twelve-year-old grandson" was referring to the ἀρρωστότεραι γίγνονται (comparative (+ genitive) + the verb to become). It is obviously an echo of my current signature,
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.
and my mind was caught on the omission of the "myself" in the parallel. But, now, in the hindsight of sensibility, it is nonsensical that a Greek professor would make a statement like that to a just-over-the-pass-mark Greek major graduate with twenty years of memory fogging, unless it was to stimulate his (my) thoughts to reconsideration and self-correction. I'm sorry for the audacity of the teaching game proposal.
Stephen Hughes wrote:τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ πολὺ ἀρρωστότεραι γίγνονται. - as their bodies grow soft, and even more so, their souls grow weak.
τῶν δὲ σωμάτων θηλυνομένων καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ πολὺ ἀρρωστότεραι {τῶν σωμάτων} γίγνονται. and (the need for an conjunction between the genitive absolute and the next phrase) even (καὶ) more (-ότερ-) so (= than the bodies {τῶν σωμάτων}). The need for an understood genitive of what is compared to by the comparative was what I meant by
Adding the comparative -ότεραι (which syntactically takes a genitive of what it is compared to) wouldn't affect the fact that the softening of the bodies does occur.
Needs to be supplied to our understanding / Is implied by the syntax.

It seems to me that the problems of understanding / interpreting two rather difficult passages in Acts and Hebrews where ease of thinking in English come together in this passage by Xenophon. That is to say that this is difficult raised to the power two.
Acts 5:15 wrote:ἵνα ἐρχομένου Πέτρου κἂν ἡ σκιὰ ἐπισκιάσῃ τινὶ αὐτῶν.
In which what is expressed by the genitive of the genitive absolute is needed implicitly in the independent clause, i.e. ἵνα ἐρχομένου Πέτρου κἂν ἡ σκιὰ {αὐτοῦ} ἐπισκιάσῃ τινὶ αὐτῶν.
Hebrews 7:26 wrote:καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος
γενόμενος has two ways of understanding it. Either at a long phrase level along with all the other adjectives (Τοιοῦτος γὰρ ἡμῖν ἔπρεπεν ἀρχιερεύς, ὅσιος, ἄκακος, ἀμίαντος, κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν, καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος) or at a short phrase level with only ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Besides in that one verse ("Hebrews 7:26), the comparative doesn't seem to occur with the New Testament.

I don't have the training or experience to know how to appreciate Septuagint Greek, but in the LXX we find:
Genesis 26:16 wrote:εἶπεν δὲ Αβιμελεχ πρὸς Ισαακ ἄπελθε ἀφ’ ἡμῶν ὅτι δυνατώτερος ἡμῶν ἐγένου (you have become) σφόδρα
Without the ἡμῶν, it would be enough to say, δυνατός ἐγένου "You have become powerful" (more than you were before when I had the advantage / the free range was freer).
Proverbs 6:6 wrote:ἴθι πρὸς τὸν μύρμηκα (ant) ὦ ὀκνηρέ (idler) καὶ ζήλωσον ἰδὼν τὰς ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ καὶ γενοῦ (become!) ἐκείνου σοφώτερος
Without using the ant as a benchmark, it would be enough to write γενοῦ σοφός "Become wise", "wise up".

It seems that in some cases, my general understanding does not hold water:

In the first case it seems that ἐγενόμην has been used loosely for ἤμην.
Psalm 36:25 wrote:νεώτερος ἐγενόμην καὶ γὰρ ἐγήρασα καὶ οὐκ εἶδον δίκαιον ἐγκαταλελειμμένον οὐδὲ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ζητοῦν ἄρτους
And there are some references to corporeal punishment in which it is not clear if the one punished or another becomes more clever:
Proverbs 19:25 wrote:λοιμοῦ μαστιγουμένου ἄφρων πανουργότερος γίνεται ἐὰν δὲ ἐλέγχῃς ἄνδρα φρόνιμον νοήσει αἴσθησιν
Proverbs 21:11 wrote:ζημιουμένου ἀκολάστου πανουργότερος γίνεται ὁ ἄκακος συνίων δὲ σοφὸς δέξεται γνῶσιν
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: 2 Cor. 8:22 / 1Pt. 1:7 - πολὺ σπουδαιότερον / τιμιώτερον

Post by cwconrad » January 11th, 2015, 7:53 pm

Suffice it to say that there's been some failure of communication here; I'm guilty of a large part of it. For me there were two fundamental issues: one is whether the genitive noun + ptc. should be understood as a genitive absolute or rather as a nominal phrase in the genitive case to be construed with a comparative; there can be disagreement on that one. The other issue, that's become the more interesting to me as a result of the instances you've cited is the usage of γίνεσθαι/γενέσθαι with a whole variety of predicate expressions. It's very much a worthwhile exercise to review and ponder the lexical information from BDAG and LSJ on usages of γίνεσθαι. Among other things, it seems to function often enough in a manner similar to the English auxiliary verb "get."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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