Thanks for your response, Stephen; I'm glad the references were of some use.
Tony Pope referred to Lünemann (who on p. 104 of his Critical and exegetical handbook to the Epistles to the Thessalonians
(1880) labels ἔχετε here as "meaningless" and reads the variant ἔχομεν instead; see http://archive.org/stream/criticalexegetic00ln#page/118/mode/2up
), and asked "Any thoughts on Lünemann's objections?"
Tony, I'm not sure if the question was directed to me particularly, but since your response followed straight after my post I'll assume so.
First, thanks for the references; I'm glad you joined the discussion, as the references you provided, and the widening circle that I chased up from them, were of much interest.
I had a look at Lünemann and, from the authors he acknowledges who take a contrary view, Buttmann; I also looked at Milligan. Lünemann deals particularly with that group of infinitives in the active voice "where one would expect the infinitive passive
." (His italics) He does so because it is on these lines that others have defended the reading or understanding which he finds inadmissible. So I think your question is an apt one.
Now, if Lünemann's argument is as accurate as his referencing Thucydides, the game is up for him. Where he refers to Themistocles and cites Thucydides i. 38, the reference should in fact be to i.138.
ἦν γὰρ ὁ Θεμιστοκλῆς βεβαιότατα δὴ φύσεως ἰσχὺν δηλώσας καὶ διαφερόντως τι ἐς αὐτὸ μᾶλλον ἑτέρου ἄξιος θαυμάσαι:
Indeed, Themistocles was a man who showed an unmistakable natural genius; and in this respect he was quite exceptional, and beyond all others deserves our admiration. (Finley)
The examples I provided in my previous post were not intended to illustrate that particular group of infinitives which might be rendered as passives, but rather were provided to suggest that the determination of the subject of an infinitive may be reliant upon sense and context, and so may be a matter of judgement rather than grammar alone. I suspect that part of the difficulty we have with such infinitives is simply that they fall squarely into that group of Greek constructions where there is no one-to-one correspondence with a literal Englishing of them (or, if you like, there is a "cross-linguistic mismatch"). And so with ἄξιος θαυμάσαι it is easier for us to render "worthy to be admired" or "deserves our admiration", because a literal translation would not yield idiomatic English. That Finley here gives "deserves our admiration" might suggest "we" as the subject of the infinitive, but that in itself, really, is misleading, reflecting our patterned thinking whereby the active infinitive in such instances requires a subject.
In my earlier post I mentioned Acts 16:22: καὶ συνεπέστη ὁ ὄχλος κατ᾿ αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ στρατηγοὶ περιρήξαντες αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐκέλευον ῥαβδίζειν, κτλ (Of Paul and Silas). NIV translates "the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten". The use of these passives in translation obscures the fact that the subject of ῥαβδίζειν is not made explicit. FFBruce says "This beating with rods was carried out by the lictors, the ῥαβδοῦχοι of ver. 35 (q.v.)."
This is another instance where the infinitive can be rendered by a passive, but again, I would argue, that's because it's awkward (impossible) for us in English to use an active infinitive without supplying a subject.
Lünemann wrote:the infinitive active expresses the verbal idea in a vague generality, entirely free from any personal reference (p118; the italics are his).
However, what he means by this is not that the expression
that includes the infinitive is gnomic or passionless or, with regard to its context, without personal reference. Consider another example:
Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis, line 318 wrote:Μενέλαος
οὑμὸς οὐχ ὁ τοῦδε μῦθος κυριώτερος λέγειν.
My tale, not his, has the better right to be spoken. (Coleridge)
Yes, this is not the same as "I should speak first," though in context there's little doubt that Menelaus has in mind that he should have priority in speaking. (And so, Walker: "Before this man is heard I have the right to speak.") Perhaps we could render, "Mine is the speech that should go first." The real force of this active infinitive without an expressed subject is that the subject is deprived of all air of prominence; more than that, it is not that the subject is hidden from view, it simply isn't part of what the author communicates. When Lünemann speaks of the verbal idea being "entirely free from any personal reference", that's all he means: that the form of the expression has suppressed the subject. Yes, we can translate with a passive, as Coleridge does, and so include this with that class of active infinitives which may be translated as a passive, but the key aspect is - as with those examples that I supplied and, I would argue, with 1 Thessalonians 4v9 - the subject of the infinitive isn't the point of the communication.
I think Carl's response was spot on.
The translations supplying "anyone" may be doing so simply to satisfy the requirements of intelligible English. It seems to me that the force of the Greek (in the critical text) is "You people don't need writing to -- not you!" The emphasis is not on who should write to the Thessalonian congregation but on the qualification of the Thessalonians themselves. If we feel the need to supply a subject for γράφειν, it might as well be "Tom, Dick, or Harry"; the emphasis is on who's being written to, certainly not on who's doing the writing.
What do you think, Tony?