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Cebes Tablet passage

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Cebes Tablet passage

Postby Lina » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:35 pm

Hi all,

This is from Cebes Tablet XXIV (Athenaze workbook exercise 29α (no accents, lazy):

Τουτο δε πασχουσι δια το μη δυνασθαι την ενθαδε οδον ευρειν. Επελαθαντο γαρ το παρα του Δαιμονιου προσταγμα.

My question is about the term Δαιμονιου which Athenaze defines as “spirit, god, the power controlling one’s destiny, fate, lot”

Interestingly, when the workbook translates this passage in the answer key, they simply give “Daemon”, rather than using one of their English definitions. So, can anyone tell me what this word really means in this passage? Did it change in Koine to imply some sort of menacing intent?

Thanks,
Lina
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Re: Cebes Tablet passage

Postby annis » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:02 pm

How serendipitous! I recently blogged about Cebes. If he comes up often in Athenaze, you might find some of the reference I link to useful.

The problem with the word δαιμόνιον is etymological. Because it's the ultimate origin of the English word "demon" — which is pretty universally understood negatively — using a transliteration from the Greek, "daemon" is likely to give a misleading impression to someone unexperienced with Greek. If you're writing for an audience in the know, then using "daemon" is less likely to mislead.

So, I assume the author of the workbook is used to writing for people who will have in mind the non-English senses of "daemon."

One often runs into these problems with special vocabulary when dealing with ancient philosophy.

As a random note, in the world of the Unix operating system (including Linux, which more people are likely to have heard of), a daemon is a special sort of background program that does work for the operating system and the users. At work, I get to talk about killing daemons. :)
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re: Cebes Tablet passage

Postby Lina » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:23 pm

Hi annis,

Cebes Tablet is used for all the readings in the Athenaze II workbook, and seems to cover a good chunk of the text.

Actually, it was kind of an abrupt change to go from the Athenaze I workbook with the readings all produced by the authors, to the Cebes Tablet readings. But as you said in your blog, it is very straightforward for beginners, and I've grown to like it. Thanks for the links on your blog.

As for the word δαιμόνιον, I remember it coming up on Unix. I am also interested in the use of the word in Philip Pullman's "The Golden Compass", which has caused some controversy.

Lina
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Re: Cebes Tablet passage

Postby LSorenson » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:40 pm

Keith Seddon includes the Tablet of Cebes in his book Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living. He thinks the Tablet of Cebes is primarily Stoic in outlook. He does not say anything about this passage though. He has a couple of interesting charts (picture diagrams) of the tablet's locations, enclosures and personifications.
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