Re: Infinitives as finite verbs

From: Sara R. Johnson (
Date: Wed Apr 09 1997 - 11:12:53 EDT

>This arises from non-biblical Greek, Eupolemos to be specfic, but has
>applications to NT Greek perhaps. I've learned to translate the
>infinitive in various ways, such as a pure infinitive "to see", or a
>gerund "seeing" or with various prepositions as na articular
>infinitive. THe text I'm working with, however, uses virtually no
>finite verbs but only the infinitive. While I know an accusative can be
>the subject of an infinitive, I can't think of any place in the NT where
>the infinitive is used exclusively, with no finite verbs at all around.
>Is this common in other non-biblical Greek? It also seems that the
>subject of the infinitive is in the nominative several times. That's
>not supposed tobe legal as far as I've been taught. Have I missed
>something? Thanks.

I haven't got a copy of Eupolemus right here, but I read the fragments of
his history for my dissertation, so I remember the problem you mention. I
believe the answer is quite simple. The fragments of Eupolemus' history
(this is not Second Maccabees BTW -- although some people think that
Eupolemus, the author, is identical with the Eupolemus who is mentioned at
one point in 2Macc) survive only in the form of extended quotations in the
work of a gentleman named Alexander Polyhistor. So the fragments of
Eupolemus are *entirely* in indirect discourse, with subject accusative,
preceded by the key words "Eupolemus says." =) I believe that some texts
of Eupolemus, like Holladay, don't include the connecting bits of Alexander
Polyhistor that provide those key words.

Hope this helps!

Sara R. Johnson
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Religion and Classics
University of Rochester

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