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Patristic Greek

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Patristic Greek

Postby steventyra » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:30 am

Hello,

I'm reading through St. Athanasius's "Contra Gentes" and came across a particular use of the infinitive that I'm having trouble classifying. I was hoping somebody could help.

The sentence is a question.

τις χρεια της μορφης, και μη . . . δια πασης απλως υλης επιφαινεσθαι τον Θεον;

I apologize for the lack of accents; I'm still getting the hang of Greek input on the keyboard.

Athanasius (in a polemic against the worship of images) is asking "what need [is there] of form?" (i.e. the form of an image), and goes on to ask why "God doesn't appear through all matter simply?" He's responding to the notion that images can serve as intermediaries of the divine (why not any old block of wood then? he asks).

But how would you class the infinitive μη . . . επιφαινεσθαι ? I understand the basic point, but is it being governing by chreia, the interrogative tis, or something else?

Thanks in advance for the help!
steventyra
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Re: Patristic Greek

Postby mwh » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:56 am

Without more context I can't be quite sure, but it looks as if the infin will depend on τίς χρεία. "What need is there of form and for God not to ...?" As one might say τί χρὴ τὸν θεὸν μὴ ...;
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Re: Patristic Greek

Postby steventyra » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:09 am

Ah, thank you! Thinking of chreia in terms of chre is helpful - I couldn't find that exact usage in Liddell-Scott or Smyth, but then again Patristic Greek often has usages not found in classical.
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