From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 03 1998 - 06:27:53 EST

At 4:09 AM -0600 1/31/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>Can S. Porter be reconciled with BDF on the use of ARA and ARA GE?
>When I ran into ARA GE in Acts 8:30 it was time for me to review the use of
>ARA with or without GE appears in two forms one with the acute and one with
>the circumflex accent. I took a look in Smyth 2800, 2650-51 and then in BDF
>439(1), 440(2) and finally in Porter (Idioms) page 206.
>Smyth and BDF both treat the circumflex and acute accented ARA separately. BDF
>440(2) states that ARA with the acute accent is inferential and with the
>circumflex is interrogative. Porter (Idioms p. 206) states that they are
>"different forms of the same thing."
>Is this discrepancy a fault of BDF? Does BDF tend to preserve classical
>distinctions that have gone out of existence in the Koine period? Or is Porter
>simply wrong?

I rather think that Porter is simply wrong (if one can be wrong simply). My
own impression is that A=)RA (with or without GE) is not as frequent in the
NT as in classical Attic, where it is more or less standard for introducing
a question. It is true that A)/RA is inferential. One of my favorite uses
is with what somebody, I don't remember who, called the "philosophical
imperfect" or "imperfect of the newly-discovered truth":

        OUK ARA MOUNON EHN ERIDWN GENOS ... (Hesiod's Works and Days)
        "So there was, after all, not only one brood of Strife ..."

In making the distinction between this and A)=RA to my students I've found
it useful to note that this latter is a contraction of H)\ ("or) and A)/RA
-- or perhaps it would be better to call this a crasis form with the sense:
"Or is it not so that ...?"

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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