Re: Theodoret

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Nov 19 1999 - 15:26:08 EST

At 1:45 PM -0600 11/19/99, Thomas Bond wrote:
>This questions do not relate directly to a NT text, so I hope they are
>appropriate. I am translating from Theodoret's commentary on Philemon and
>am stuck on a word -- QARHREIN. Obviously an infinitive, this surely must
>be some kind of compound word. It has a smooth breathing mark over the
>first rho and a rough breathing mark over the second; it appears more than
>once in the commentary.

This is just the present active infinitive of QARREW. What you have seen,
probably in a printed version of Theodoret's commentary that is of an older
vintage, what was once a customary practice: inasmuch as every Rho in Greek
is aspirated, the practice in later Byzantine MSS and in earlier printed
Greek texts was to print a double Rho as you have described it, with a
smooth breathing over the first, a rough breathing over the second. Later
printed versions dispense with the rough breathing for a Rho EXCEPT for an
initial Rho.

>As well, how would you translate the opening lines from the commentary:

I'd make this: "Philemon, as chance would have it, was a believer, and he
had Colossae as his city (of residence)." More literally: "Philemon
happened to be one of the believers, and he had Colossae as his polis."
What is grammatically of considerable interest here is the use of the
partitive genitive as a predicate expression. The partitive can in fact be
a subject or object or perform any function of a substantive; although it
often has an appended TIS or TINES (the indefinite pronoun, not the
interrogative), it doesn't really need any nominative substantive or
pronoun to hang on in order to mean by itself "one/some of the xxx's."

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

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