ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Discussion of Greek texts that do not fall into the other categories, including texts in other dialects or texts from other periods.
Forum rules
This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Post Reply
Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Wes Wood » October 11th, 2014, 2:10 pm

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 5
Stephen Hughes wrote:I think you have jumped tracks at high speed here, and confused "stewardship" with "estate".
You are absolutely correct. I didn't even notice before.
Stephen Hughes wrote:Why is τῷ κεκτημένῳ dative?
Dative participle of the possessor with εἶναι. I am now of the opinion I should have translated this "the things he has acquired." I am more confident.
0 x


Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 11th, 2014, 2:58 pm

Wes Wood wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:The word "reward" in English, goes outside that strict proportionality. In some cases that is clearly the case, but the question then is whether that is a feature of the broader Greek language, or Christian adaptation of the language to express God's grace?
So, am I correct in concluding that the Greek "μισθον" is usually a proportional relationship and that "reward" in English generally lies outside of that scope?
I don't have an answer to this. I've only noticed an incongruity. It's not something I can put my finger on. I'm not sure whether there is justification for using "reward" when Christ is the one giving the μισθον.. There are probably reason for the interpretation.
1 Corinthians 3:8 wrote:ἕκαστος δὲ τὸν ἴδιον μισθὸν λήψεται κατὰ τὸν ἴδιον κόπον.
I do think that someone who knew Greek, and took it at face value would understand this as wages (μισθὸν) for some work (κόπον) done. Most English versions have reward while a few have wages. I don't think anyone would out up with a boss, who came of a Friday and said that they were going to give a reward for the work that his employees had done that week. Did the Greek connotate a boss as a sort of benefactor, and employees without workers rights or contracts, who couldn't be sure of regular payment but had to trust the good character - generosity and reliability - of the boss? Did it have that idea in a Greek-speaking Christian context? A lot more than the Greek is needed to answer whether a contemporary Greek speaker without a knowledge of God would think of the usual cultural relationship between an employer and boss in contemporary times or at any times since. The nature of work is an issue that would affect a translation / interpretation here too.

I think that in this context of Corinthians and in the Xenophon we are reading, μισθὸν itself means "wage", payment proportional to services rendered. The social relationship within which that happened may have been equitable or exploitative. "Reward" goes some way towards bringing out the negative aspects of employer / employee relationships.
Wes Wood wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Why is τῷ κεκτημένῳ dative?
Dative participle of the possessor with εἶναι. I am now of the opinion I should have translated this "the things he has acquired." I am more confident.
καὶ εἰ μη ... εἴη τῷ κεκτημένῳ, πάντα τοῦ οἴκου εἶναι ὅσα τις κέκτηται. There are two forms of the same verb here. You can take πάντα ... ὅσα "everything, which". The πάντα ... ὅσα κέκτηται is to be understood something like "the things he has acquired", but τῷ κεκτημένῳ serves a different function.

Basically put, you need to understand another "(οἶκος)" to make sense of this, (οἶκος) [subject] δοκεῖ [not the impersonal] ἐμοὶ [dative] πάντα τοῦ οἴκου εἶναι ὅσα τις κέκτηται [accusative phrase]. In a typical English order, the "even if ... " statement could follow on from this. Different languages have different "normal" orders for presenting information, and the crucial thing in recognising meaning seems to be when (in the sequence) and which kinds of verbs (tenses etc.) are introduced. But, anyway this bastardised (reordered) form of the language might serve as a crutch for a moment.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 12th, 2014, 8:38 am

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 8 - Text and hints

Some examples of how what some would consider wealth and is in fact not:
Xenophon, Economics 1.8 wrote: κἂν ἄρα γέ τις ἵππον πριάμενος μὴ ἐπίστηται αὐτῷ χρῆσθαι, ἀλλὰ καταπίπτων ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ κακὰ λαμβάνῃ, οὐ χρήματα αὐτῷ ἐστιν ὁ ἵππος; οὔκ, εἴπερ τὰ χρήματά γ᾽ ἐστὶν ἀγαθόν. οὐδ᾽ ἄρα γε ἡ γῆ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐστὶ χρήματα, ὅστις οὕτως ἐργάζεται αὐτὴν ὥστε ζημιοῦσθαι ἐργαζόμενος. οὐδὲ ἡ γῆ μέντοι χρήματά ἐστιν, εἴπερ ἀντὶ τοῦ τρέφειν πεινῆν παρασκευάζει. .
Hints (Look at these if you need to)
  • κἂν - and if, even if, although
  • ἄρα - note that this is paraoxytone, not properispomenon. You could have a look at the LSJ entry for it here.
  • πριάμενος - buy
  • ἐπίστηται - all he has ever known from years of experience in the world tells him that
  • χρῆσθαι - be useful
  • καταπίπτων - is take this aspect distinction as significant - cf. καταπεσων
  • χρήματα - in this case wealth, not money.
  • οὔκ - note the accent.
  • εἴπερ - if
  • οὕτως ... ὥστε - does all this but in the end. More specificly, ὥστε expresses the aim of what is done - it is sardonic / sarcastical (?? I have too limited an education to understand the difference). Like, "Who spends all his working life paying of a house, to have it reposessed at the age of 62?" What gives something like this its power is the sad fact that everyone knows of a friend of an acquantaince of a colleague to whom that could have quite plausibly happened in a tabloid once upon a time in living memory. It is like the urban myth, whose fingernails tap and scrath lightly on the door in our unguarded or anxious moments. (Of course urban myths are the logical outcome of and very human reaction to the internalisation of various social tensions and inequalities that happen in different cultural environments, which then gain expression in the form of fears and in stories that find a common resonance among a majority of the potential memories in a populace).
  • ζημιοῦσθαι - cause loss (to the one working for an outcome).
  • ἀντὶ - in place of (+gen.)
  • οὐδὲ ἡ γῆ μέντοι χρήματά ἐστιν - οὐδὲ ἡ γῆ μέντοι (αὐτῷ I not sure of the sentence order here) χρήματά ἐστιν
  • εἴπερ ἀντὶ τοῦ τρέφειν πεινῆν παρασκευάζει - I suspect that the epic infinitival form πεινῆν (elsewhere διψῆν) was an idiomatic preference.. τρέφειν eating (a meal which we all could eat) / πεινῆν hungering (the lack of food that we all can feel). Adding the sense of αὐτῷ to the first half of the sentence suggests that παρασκευάζει refers to the ground not the man.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 12th, 2014, 10:04 pm

οὔκ - possession (the act of possessing).
Sorry, that should have been:
οὔκ - note the accent.
Mod note: Fixed above for posterity.
Last edited by Stephen Carlson on October 13th, 2014, 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added moderator's note.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Wes Wood » October 13th, 2014, 7:26 pm

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 6

“Some of them [the estate owners] have also acquired enemies, haven’t they?”

“By Jupiter, some, indeed, have acquired many.”

“Or should we think that their possessions are also enemies?” [I don’t understand this]

“It would indeed be ridiculous,” Kritoboulus was saying, “if the one creating enemies also earned a wage from the estate owner besides.”
0 x
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 14th, 2014, 12:10 pm

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 6 - Feedback for Wes Wood
Wes Wood wrote:“Or should we think that their possessions are also enemies?”
Sorry to be a bit tardy with this. Mondays and Tuesdays are my madhouse days - 13 hour days spread between four different schools in different parts of the city.

I think that this is best explained kinestheticly. The thought process here is the same as when two children start to use a see-saw.

Imaagine two children wanting to get onto a see-saw (teeter-totter). Who gets on first?

There are a number of different scenarios; big kid/little kid, more agile/less, stronger/weaker, but in each case one of the pair is more able to stand by himself. Have a think about two kids getting onto the see-saw while it remains horizontal for a moment then, once you have started that kind of thought processes up, we can apply them to this type of sentences.
Hebrews 1:10 wrote:καὶ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σού εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί·
Which one here could most easily be conceptualised by itself. The see-saw is balanced at rest in equilibrium. Which one can be on the see-saw by itself and keep it balanced - like the kid most able to balance astride the pivot? In this case would it be or "ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου" or "οἱ οὐρανοί"? Which one could most people imagine and think about and easily relate to? It is "οἱ οὐρανοί", I think. That kid gets onto the see-saw first, then the other one, "ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου" can go and balance with it later. As the weight / understanding of meaning of the second element slowly rests down on the see-saw, the οἱ οὐρανοί come to be no longer self-referential but now understood in equilibrium with ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου. Greek marks that one that is conceptually best able to self-exist with the definite article. For the relative importance of each element and it's position nearest the fulcrum (the start of the sentence) - like the kid who needs to sit closer to the middle, look for the one nearest the front. i.e. there are two things to find.

That is different from English, where the first element is the one that will be mounting the see-saw, and the second element is the one balancing it. i.e. in English does not mark (help us know) which is the most important one in the authour's thinking in the same way that Greek does. The one conceptually able to self-exist is put at the front i English, while the most important is left to the readers commonsense.
Jophn 1:9 wrote:Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο,
ὁ λόγος is more important in the writers mind than the σὰρξ, and the ὁ λόγος is also the one that could stand on the see-saw and balance himself as the comes to be thought of as balanced with / against it (Him).
Luke 20:41 wrote:Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Πῶς λέγουσιν τὸν χριστὸν υἱὸν Δαυὶδ εἶναι
Here the full concept of "the Christ" is thought of as stronger than the partial revelation / prophesy as "the son of David", so it is first. It is marked with the article like in the others to show that it can most readily stand on its own and that "the son of David" is brought to be balanced against it.
Luke 20:43 wrote:ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου.
Let me add this too to hint at the scope of this. It could be said that the article with τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου is to balance the σου, but here it seems to be marking the freestanding element in the construction, to which ὑποπόδιον is brought into an "equilibrium-like relationship" with. Having τοὺς ἐχθρούς at the beginning marks the relative importance that the authour gives to it.

[Some books will tell you that the point is which is marked with the article is what matters, but I think it is also useful to look at why it is so marked. Rather than apply an analytical model to get a translation so that you can think about it in English, but let's rather get some feel for this construction and how it can be more than just translated into the more limited English idiom.]

We could go on and on with that, but let's come back to the passage that is giving you grief.
Xenophon, Economics 1.6 wrote:ἦ καὶ κτήματα αὐτῶν φήσομεν εἶναι τοὺς ἐχθρούς;
Wes Wood wrote:Or should we think that their possessions are also enemies?
κτήματα αὐτῶν are thought of as the most important thing in the writer's imagination, but τοὺς ἐχθρούς are thought of as the most able to stand alone on the see-saw. In English word order, "Could we speak of enemies as his friends?" The "the" is not needed in English, because the Greek "τοὺς" performs a different syntactic function, not as a definite article.

After reading this, you should be able to identify two pieces of information from the Greek - rahter than just the one that you can get from the English translation that me might have been told how to make using a tip about the article.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Wes Wood » October 14th, 2014, 9:07 pm

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 7

“surely a man’s household seems to us to be whatever he possesses.”

“Certainly,” Kritoboulus was saying, “whatever a man has that is good: but definitely not if it is bad. This is what I call property.” [1]

“But you, as it seems fitting, call the things that are useful to each person possessions.”

“Indeed, it is altogether certain,” he was saying, "that I, for my part, consider the things that are harmful to be liabilities [2] rather than possessions.

[1] There are several oaths here. I believe I understand them, but I didn’t include them because they appear much stronger in translation than I believe they were in the narrative. (The way this one is worded makes me think of the commercials for Spartacus.)

[2] liabilities; is this acceptable enough?

There were several less familiar constructions here for me, but I gained a great deal of satisfaction from the journey to this translation. I say this especially because I don't think I could have made it even this far six months ago. Thank you.
0 x
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 15th, 2014, 12:27 am

Wes Wood wrote:There were several less familiar constructions here for me, but I gained a great deal of satisfaction from the journey to this translation. I say this especially because I don't think I could have made it even this far six months ago. Thank you.
Thanks to God for breath and you for your diligence.

Like I said to Carl, when we were discussion moving from the short unseens to the first longer text, "It's no skin off my nose to read a text with a bloke."

I'm already on the way, looking for the syntactic parallels, so that I can see some of the more obscure points in the New Testament in their broader linguistic context - semantic and syntactic.

Sharing the journey doesn't make it any shorter or longer. You've been a good συνέμπορος (or even συνοδοίπορος considering the number of hits these threads have got, cf. συνοδία - Luke 2:44, and συνοδεύω - Acts 9:7) to shoot the breeze with along the way - you walking with determined steps in the freshness of seeing things for the first time and wanting to understand them all at once, and me ambling in the memories of the many other roads (both the frequented and those ventured down just the once) that I have wandered along in the the twenty-odd years that separate our gaits.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 15th, 2014, 11:24 am

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 9 - Text and hints

Final examples followed by a sense of contentment:
Xenophon, Economics 1.9 wrote:οὐκοῦν καὶ τὰ πρόβατα ὡσαύτως, εἴ τις διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐπίστασθαι προβάτοις χρῆσθαι ζημιοῖτο, οὐδὲ τὰ πρόβατα χρήματα τούτῳ εἴη ἄν; οὔκουν ἔμοιγε δοκεῖ. σὺ ἄρα, ὡς ἔοικε, τὰ μὲν ὠφελοῦντα χρήματα ἡγῇ, τὰ δὲ βλάπτοντα οὐ χρήματα. οὕτως.
Hints (Look at these if you need to)
  • οὐκοῦν - See the note about οὐκοῦν in section 6.
  • προβάτοις - On a personal note, this is a little surprising. It's my first time to come across this form. In my imagination (the Greek rattling around in my brain) I had expected πρόβατον to decline like σάββατον in the dative plural. Probably something to do with the betas.
  • ὡς ἔοικε - See the note in section 7.
  • οὕτως - That about sums it up There you go. You've hit that nail on the noggin.
  • ἡγῇ - regard LSJ III
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ὁ Οἰκονομικὸς τοῦ Ξενοφῶντος (ἀναγιγνώσκωμεν)

Post by Wes Wood » October 16th, 2014, 8:23 pm

Xenophon, Oeconomicus Chapter 1, section 8 - Text and hints

“And when a person buys a horse, is he not eager to ride him, but, when he falls from it and receives an injury, is the horse still his possession?”

“It truly is not if all possessions are good.”

“Nor indeed is the land a man’s possession if his work produces a loss. And surely the land is not his possession if instead of yielding crops it produces hunger.

First, let me say that I have not looked at your hints yet. I am telling you this to let you know that I have not ignored them; I just won't have the time to go through them tonight, and if I don't walk away now, while I have a sense of completion, I will not get in bed at a reasonable hour. ;)
So...this is a polished version of my rough draft. The parts in bold were particularly challenging. I feel least confident about the initial sequence.
0 x
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Post Reply

Return to “Other Greek Texts”