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Euthyphro 3a

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Euthyphro 3a

Postby pster » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:55 pm

OK, finding the Euthyphro to be A LOT easier than the Apology. But I have a couple of questions about this sentence:

καὶ δὴ καὶ Μέλητος ἴσως πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει τοὺς τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας διαφθείροντας, ὥς φησιν: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο δῆλον ὅτι τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος τῇ πόλει γενήσεται, ὥς γε τὸ εἰκὸς συμβῆναι ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἀρξαμένῳ.

Now I'll insert my questions:

καὶ δὴ καὶ Μέλητος ἴσως πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει τοὺς [ τοὺς: us? or the plants?]

τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας[the plants of the young? huh?]

διαφθείροντας, ὥς φησιν: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο δῆλον ὅτι [what kind of ὅτι is this? indefinite pronoun or "that"? I assume it is "that" but then what kind of role is it playing here? There is no verb of seeing, saying, etc. in the vicinity.]

τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος[ how does αἴτιος function? I'm getting the feeling that there is a "to be" implicit. Or is this in the nominative because γενήσεται is like a copula?]

τῇ πόλει γενήσεται, ὥς γε τὸ εἰκὸς συμβῆναι [what is this last verb doing?]

ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἀρξαμένῳ [dative? what kind of dative is this? and why do we need the dative?].

So I guess I have six questions. And if you are bored, you can give me maximally literal clunky interlinear style gloss!

I get the main thrust of the sentence, but I too often feel with Greek as though I were going down a swift river on a raft that is made up of a roped flotsam and jetsam that may come apart and at least has different parts going up and down at the same time!
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby jswilkmd » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:51 pm

I'll take a stab at answering your questions. Note that I am unaware of this work, am working quickly and without context and don't have time to really delve into this. These are just my preliminary thoughts as I work through this before going to work this morning.
pster wrote:καὶ δὴ καὶ Μέλητος ἴσως πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει τοὺς [ τοὺς: us? or the plants?]

I concur this is confusing, because the sentence already has "us" as an object (ἡμᾶς) and an article for plants (τὰς). I suspect the author is using τοὺς as a relative pronoun, "who," and "ἡμᾶς ... τοὺς" means something like "us who."

pster wrote:τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας[the plants of the young? huh?

Several possibilities to mull over (I don't know what's correct in context):

1) τῶν νέων might not mean "the new" or "the young." It might be the genitive plural form of ναός, "temple" or

2) of ναῦς, "ship." http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon

3) it might be an example of what Wallace terms the "attributive genitive" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 86-87), in which case τῶν νέων would be functioning as an adjective and mean something like "young plants." Think of this line from the old Carpenters' song, "...in your hair of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue." In that song, "of gold" and "of blue" are functioning as adjectives--golden hair and blue eyes. HOWEVER, Wallace states that this usage of the genitive is common in the New Testament because of Semitic influence and examples in classical Greek are few and far between.

pster wrote:διαφθείροντας, ὥς φησιν: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο δῆλον ὅτι [what kind of ὅτι is this? indefinite pronoun or "that"? I assume it is "that" but then what kind of role is it playing here? There is no verb of seeing, saying, etc. in the vicinity.

ὅτι is often used merely to strengthen any superlatives that follow it. ὅτι τῶν πρεσβυτέρων might simply mean "the most elderly" or "the oldest men as possible." That MIGHT be what's going on here. But as to there being no verb of saying in the vicinity, what about ὥς φησιν?

pster wrote:τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος[ how does αἴτιος function? I'm getting the feeling that there is a "to be" implicit. Or is this in the nominative because γενήσεται is like a copula?

Probably. γενήσεται IS a copula.
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby pster » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:08 pm

Thanks so much. Plato definitely means "the young plants" as the context would have made clear.

When you say tous is a relative pronoun, that makes perfect sense, but how is one supposed to know that? And, approaching it from a different direction, can we just read it as an apposition to umas that a comma a la English would have made clear?

As for ὥς φησιν, I am pretty sure that is not in play because Socrates is ironically putting words in Meletus's mouth. The colon is a bit misleading and that is why translators use a semicolon.

As for the final dative, I'm wondering now if that is a dative of possession?
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby Imber Ranae » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:32 pm

pster wrote:OK, finding the Euthyphro to be A LOT easier than the Apology. But I have a couple of questions about this sentence:

καὶ δὴ καὶ Μέλητος ἴσως πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει τοὺς τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας διαφθείροντας, ὥς φησιν: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο δῆλον ὅτι τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος τῇ πόλει γενήσεται, ὥς γε τὸ εἰκὸς συμβῆναι ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἀρξαμένῳ.


A tricky passage, to be sure.

pster wrote:Now I'll insert my questions:

καὶ δὴ καὶ Μέλητος ἴσως πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει τοὺς [ τοὺς: us? or the plants?]


It modifies ἡμᾶς. The article is acting here much like a relative clause, but notice it does not go with a finite verb, as a normal relative clause would, but rather with the participle διαφθείροντας. This participle is technically an adjective modifying ἡμᾶς in the attributive position, as per usual after an article, which is probably a bit unexpected with personal pronouns but should be entirely familiar to you from how regular nouns work.

pster wrote:τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας[the plants of the young? huh?]


Literally "the sprouts/shoots of the young ones". He seems to be continuing the metaphorical language from the previous line, where he speaks of a husbandman taking care of τῶν νέων φυτῶν "the young plants", but τῶν νέων alone can also mean simply "young men". Here he definitely means human youth, but he's speaking figuratively with the metaphor from the previous sentence still in mind. Maybe translate as something like "the sprouts/shoots of the youth".

pster wrote:διαφθείροντας, ὥς φησιν: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο δῆλον ὅτι [what kind of ὅτι is this? indefinite pronoun or "that"? I assume it is "that" but then what kind of role is it playing here? There is no verb of seeing, saying, etc. in the vicinity.]


There's an implied ἐστί with δῆλον, which is an impersonal construction that means "it is clear". This is where the ὅτι comes in, introducing indirect discourse.

pster wrote:τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος[ how does αἴτιος function? I'm getting the feeling that there is a "to be" implicit. Or is this in the nominative because γενήσεται is like a copula?]


γενήσεται is a copulative verb, yes. It's predicate is αἴτιος which means "responsible [for]" with the gentives πλείστων...ἀγαθῶν. The other genitive τῶν πρεσβυτέρων is the object of the participle ἐπιμεληθεὶς from ἐπιμελέομαι "to take care of", which regularly takes a genitive object.

pster wrote:τῇ πόλει γενήσεται, ὥς γε τὸ εἰκὸς συμβῆναι [what is this last verb doing?]


This is tricky. There's another ἐστί implied with τὸ εἰκὸς, and I guess the infinitive συμβῆναι is its predicate, the whole clause functioning as a sort of impersonal construction: "as is likely [lit. the likelihood] to happen...".

pster wrote:ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἀρξαμένῳ [dative? what kind of dative is this? and why do we need the dative?].


It's a dative of reference with συμβῆναι: "...likely to happen to one having begun from such a beginning".

pster wrote:So I guess I have six questions. And if you are bored, you can give me maximally literal clunky interlinear style gloss!


OK.

    καὶ δὴ καὶ [and indeed also] Μέλητος ἴσως [Meletus perhaps] πρῶτον μὲν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαθαίρει [is first sweeping us away] τοὺς [the ones who] τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας διαφθείροντας [are destroying the sprouts of the young ones], ὥς φησιν [as he says]: ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο [then after this] δῆλον ὅτι [it is clear that] τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐπιμεληθεὶς [having taken care of the elderly ones] πλείστων καὶ μεγίστων ἀγαθῶν [for the most and greatest good things] αἴτιος τῇ πόλει γενήσεται [he will become responsible to the city], ὥς γε [as at any rate] τὸ εἰκὸς συμβῆναι [it is likely to occur] ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς ἀρξαμένῳ [for one who has begun from such a beginning].

And a cleaned up translation:

    And so Meletus is perhaps first sweeping away those of us who are corrupting the sprouts of the youth, as he says; after that, then, it is clear that by taking care of the elderly he will be the cause of very many great blessings to the city, as is at any rate likely to be the outcome for anyone who has made such a beginning.

pster wrote:I get the main thrust of the sentence, but I too often feel with Greek as though I were going down a swift river on a raft that is made up of a roped flotsam and jetsam that may come apart and at least has different parts going up and down at the same time!
[/quote]

I know how you feel. It takes a lot of practice to get used to it.
Last edited by Imber Ranae on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby Imber Ranae » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:52 pm

jswilkmd wrote:
3) it might be an example of what Wallace terms the "attributive genitive" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 86-87), in which case τῶν νέων would be functioning as an adjective and mean something like "young plants." Think of this line from the old Carpenters' song, "...in your hair of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue." In that song, "of gold" and "of blue" are functioning as adjectives--golden hair and blue eyes. HOWEVER, Wallace states that this usage of the genitive is common in the New Testament because of Semitic influence and examples in classical Greek are few and far between.


I don't think this is attributive genitive per se. As I said above, τῶν νέων may be understood either with an implied φυτῶν or just as "of the young ones/youth", but τὰς βλάστας literally means "the shoots/sprouts". So it's either "the sprouts of the young trees" or "sprouts of the youth". The rest of the sentence makes it clear that Socrates is referring to young men, so I can only conclude that this kind of figurative (and technically ambiguous) language is employed to more closely connect the previous husbandry metaphor with the topic of cultivating the youth of a city.

jswilkmd wrote:ὅτι is often used merely to strengthen any superlatives that follow it. ὅτι τῶν πρεσβυτέρων might simply mean "the most elderly" or "the oldest men as possible." That MIGHT be what's going on here. But as to there being no verb of saying in the vicinity, what about ὥς φησιν?


You must have got this from me on the other thread. :mrgreen:

The reason ὅτι doesn't work as an adverb here is because πρεσβυτέρων is actually a comparative form, not superlative, and this word functions almost entirely as a substantive anyway. Not a bad guess, though. The trouble is of course that the "missing" (i.e. implied) copula makes it hard to recognize δῆλον as a construction that introduces indirect discourse.
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby pster » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:01 am

Wow, thanks Imber Ranae. I looked at what you write very closely and it cleared up A LOT! I have just a couple of small questions:

"but notice it does not go with a finite verb, as a normal relative clause would" Relative clauses attach to and modify nouns rather than verbs. Is there something about Greek I'm missing?

"There's another ἐστί implied with τὸ εἰκὸς" I was pondering this and I was wondering whether we could take the ὥς...εἰκὸς as a causal circumstantial participle? In that case, there would be no need for an implied ἐστί.
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Re: Euthyphro 3a

Postby Imber Ranae » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:29 am

pster wrote:Wow, thanks Imber Ranae. I looked at what you write very closely and it cleared up A LOT! I have just a couple of small questions:

"but notice it does not go with a finite verb, as a normal relative clause would" Relative clauses attach to and modify nouns rather than verbs. Is there something about Greek I'm missing?


Sorry. By "goes with" I didn't mean "has as its antecedent". I mean that a real relative clause must always have a finite verb of some sort as part of the clause. As διαφθείροντας is only a participle, that means τοὺς τῶν νέων τὰς βλάστας διαφθείροντας cannot be a relative clause, though semantically it functions essentially just like one.

"There's another ἐστί implied with τὸ εἰκὸς" I was pondering this and I was wondering whether we could take the ὥς...εἰκὸς as a causal circumstantial participle? In that case, there would be no need for an implied ἐστί.


Perhaps. I'd have to look into it.
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