Re: Untranslatable Texts

From: kdlitwak (
Date: Thu May 22 1997 - 20:50:22 EDT

Carl, I know you were talking about different passages than I was.
That's part of my point. If you can find ambiguous passages or passages
that seem to strain syntax, why is it unreasonable for me to claim that
this condition exists in classical Greek? Perhaps it does not appear to
exist for a trained classicist in the Polybius passage butyou've said it
does exist. As for Thucydides 1.22, the dictionary I just consulted
says that something which is ambiguous is "capable of more than one
meaning." If you can understand Th. syntax, but scholars can't agree on
the basic meaning of the statement, I'd call that ambiguous. Obviously
this is not limited to classical Greek, as any reader of Foucault
knows. Proper syntax does not equate to non-ambiguity. With that,I
won't pursue it any further. I'm just happy to have had Carl Conrad,
whose classical knowledge is much bette than mine, state that there are
passages in classical Greek which are ambiguous or strain syntax.

Ken Litwak

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