From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu May 23 1996 - 20:54:04 EDT

At 9:17 AM -0500 5/23/96, Carlton L. Winbery wrote:
>Carl Conrad wrote;
>>Looking at these two passages:
>>Well, I suppose it might be argued that TO TRITON AUTHS is object of an
>>active verb, but I think it would make more sense to see it as an adverbial
>>phrase and understand FANHi as an athematic aorist 3d sg. subj, active in
>>form, intransitive in sense--sooner, at any rate, than to assume an
>>otherwise unattested aorist active stem.

>The old Grimm-Wilke that I used often when at NO Seminary (from some notes
>I made give both of these as active. It does mention that the form is of
>Doric origin.
>One other example that I can think of now (at home without Aland, etc.) is
>Acts 21:3, ANAFANANTES. This is certainly third pp with the active ptc
>ending ANT + third declension endings. I know this form is Doric in
>origin, but there is no place in the NT that I am aware where we can
>demonstrate an aorist active of FAINW in the form EFHNA. That was my point
>in my original post. That a descriptive grammar of the Greek NT should use
>words and forms that the students most likely would see in the text.

You are absolutely right and I'm glad that you've brought up the form in
Acts 21:3. It can only be an aorist nominative participle. What I very
seriously question, however, is that this could be a Doric form in the
Koine. I note that some uncial manuscripts and the majority of late
cursives have ANAFANENTES here, which should mean that copyists wanted to
correct what they thought was an erroneous reading.

I think that those forms in Revelation might just possibly be aorist
actives (albeit in an intransitive sense) but that rather than Doric forms
we may have to do here with the emergence of new tense stems. This is
nothing but pure conjecture, but we do know that new modern Greek verbs
like PEQAINW ('die,' ) have at some point come into existence out of the
aorist stem (A)PEQAN-, PAW ('go') from aorist stem (E)PAG-, XERW ('know')
from aorist stem (E)XE(U)R-. I wonder whether a process of formation of new
present stems and then of new elements of the conjugation of a verb may
account for these FAN- aorist actives (or at least for the unquestionable
one in Acts 21:3--the two in Revelation may still be and I think probably
are intransitive athematic aorists. How on earth would a Doric form emerge
in ordinary Koine prose narrative? One expects Doric forms in Hellenistic
verse that is Doric by tradition, like Bucolic or Mime. And for that
matter, Meleager, a poet from Gadara, that town of the demoniac Legion
exorcised by Jesus, wrote elegiac verses in Doric dialect. Hmm. the plot
thickens! Let us engage in wild speculation? Might Luke, the supposed
author of Acts, have really been, as tradition asserts, a physician? Would
he have trained on the island of Cos, center of medicine, where Doric
dialect was spoken? Sounds pretty far-fetched, particularly in view of the
fact that Luke/Acts is written in what is probably the best narrative
Hellenistic prose--solid Koine--to be found in the New Testament.

>I am in agreement that for those who will go on to become Greek scholars,
>they should study classical Greek as well as LXX, Apostolic Fathers, etc. I
>have wished many times that I had studied Homer first. But for most of our
>students, one year will teach them to read the best commentaries (good ones
>like Burton) and gain some comprehension and feel for the text. I guess as
>I have fought the wars thru the years with declining enrollment in advanced
>Greek, my hopes have become more modest.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I find myself teaching small beginning classes
in Attic Greek and tutorials with one or two reading NT--but we do make
them take a year of Attic before we'll do NT with them. I waver in my
thinking between supposing, on the one hand, that NO Greek or Latin at all
is better than a single year's exposure which is altogether inadequate for
any practical purpose--unless encouraging sophomoric attitudes toward the
language and literature is practical--and thinking on the other hand that
SOMETHING, however little, is to be gained even from a single year's
exposure. I guess I come down ultimately on the side of thinking that one
year's better than none--but that really depends on the individual. My one
concession to relieve students of undue hardship is to wink at their
failure to learn and use correct accentuation.

I have to have modest expectations of my students too. The problem is that
I'd like, if I can,to teach those who will learn more than the barely have
to, what is both useful and valid in terms of morphology and syntax. Guess
I should have thought of that before I got this close to retirement! Now a
retired colleague and I are trying to think through a set of principles
clarifying Latin syntax for those translating into English, ditching in the
process a lot of gobbledygook and divisions and subdivisions of grammatical
categories that obfuscate real understanding of the Latin and yield, for
all but the exceptional student, such absurd English phrasings as, "To whom
was that for a help?" instead of the late-20th century idiomatic, "Who did
that help?"

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

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