Re: Mark 16 (Oh, no, not again?)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 17 1995 - 16:28:00 EDT

At 2:55 PM 9/17/95, Bruce Terry wrote:
>I see the morphological activity involved, although I don't claim to understand
>it fully. It is clear to me that hRHGNUMI and hRHSSW are from the same root.
>But are they two forms of the same word, or two words derived from the same
>root? KRAZW seems to show this morphological activity in inflexional forms,
>but this is apparently not the case with hRHG, since both hRHGNUMI and hRHSSW
>have present tense forms. Thanks for any further help in seeing whether these
>are derivationally separate words, or merely inflexionally different forms of
>the same word.

I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about this, but it would certainly seem to
me that we have to see hRHG-NUMI as a characteristic (and as old as Homer)
present-tense using the most common of the regular -MI verb formative
elements (SKEDA(N)-NUMI, OLLUMI < OL-NUMI, DEIK-NUMI, etc., etc., whereas
hRHSSW is derived from one of the most basic -W verb formative elements,
-yO/E, so that hRHG-yW --> hRHSSW is precisely analogous to PRAG-yW -->
PRASSW. I don't believe that hRHSSW as a verb form appears earlier than
koine, perhaps than NT, although I haven't immediate access to tools to
check that. It would seem to me that these verb forms are analogous to the
concurrent verb forms AFIHMI and AFIW, the latter being a secondary -W
formation of the same root and stem as the much older and still essentially
unique form in classical Attic, AFIHMI. It is a matter of -W formations
competing with and eventually supplanting the older -MI formations.
Moreover, unless I am badly mistaken, the original root of hRHG- is hRAG-,
i.e., this was a long alpha which changed to eta in Attic-Ionic dialects.
The root is cognate, I believe, with old English "wrack" and Latin FRAG as
seen in "fragmentum" and "frango."

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

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