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Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

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Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:34 am

εἰ δή τις ὑμῶν οὕτως ἔχει—οὐκ ἀξιῶ μὲν γὰρ ἔγωγε, εἰ δ’ οὖν—ἐπιεικῆ ἄν μοι δοκῶ πρὸς τοῦτον
λέγειν λέγων
ὅτι ...
I am wondering whether my parsing of the part in bold is correct. I take
ἐπιεικῆ to be neuter plural with adverbial force, qualifying λέγειν;
ἄν with λέγειν to be the apodosis of the future less vivid condition;
λέγων to be the protasis of the future less vivid condition.
So, a translation might be: "I think (it seems to me) that I would be speaking reasonably to (against) him, if I should say: ..."
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:01 am

I would have thought that that ἐπιεικῆ is accusative plural object of λέγειν.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:12 am

Am not sure... I would expect it, in such a case, to go with the article.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:23 am

I was wrong. It's not plural. It's singular masculine. sc. λόγον
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:34 am

Perhaps you're right. Do you believe the adverbial neuter here is implausible?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:06 am

See Smyth on the Cognate Accusative beginning at 1563.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby mwh » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:28 am

επιεικη is neut.pl., as you first thought, Tugodum. You can think of it as adverbial if you must, but that’s just a concession to English syntactical usage. Better to think of it as the adjective that it is. Cf. ἀληθῆ λέγεις.

As to the presumed condition: ἄν … λέγειν is only potentially an apodosis, and λέγων is only potentially a protasis. I don’t think you help yourself by using the “future less vivid” label. The only actual condition here is εἰ δή τις ὑμῶν οὕτως ἔχει (the protasis), and the verb of the main clause (the apodosis) is δοκῶ indic. You can imagine an embedded επιεικη αν λεγοιμι ει λεγοιμι if you must, but that would hardly be Greek.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:55 am

Thanks, mwh! The analogy with ἀληθῆ λέγεις, which I take to mean "you are right" (or, more literally, "you are speaking rightly") is actually what I had in mind; hence my thinking of this usage as adverbial. [quote]I don’t think you help yourself by using the “future less vivid” label.[quote]I was just trying to answer a question in my mind, namely: what exactly is ἄν doing here. Can you suggest a better straightforward answer to it?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:41 am

επιεικη is neut.pl., as you first thought, Tugodum. You can think of it as adverbial if you must, but that’s just a concession to English syntactical usage.


Most of the time the cognate accusative is neuter plural, but not always. A search on TLG brought up way too many instances of "λόγον τινὰ ἐπιεικῆ λέγειν" and equivalents for me to think that it's not exerting any pressure on this phrase. See this example from Galen talking about what it is reasonable to say can cure fever:

...τάχα δόξει λόγον τινὰ ἐπιεικῆ λέγειν· ἐπιεικῆ δὲ εἶπον,...

This isn't always the case, but I could find very few examples of the neuter plural usage (such as ἔλεγες ἐπιεικῆ καὶ ἀληθῆ from Protagoras).
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby mwh » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:42 am

Tugodum, I’m not sure you quite followed the thrust of my post. αληθη in αληθη λεγεις is not adverbial, and nor is επιεικη in επιεικη λεγειν. Learning to read Greek without reference to English usage will help you see this.

As to αν, you were right to construe it with λεγειν, but nothing in the Greek makes it “the apodosis of the future less vivid condition.” αν is serving its usual function as a modal particle, that's all; and the infinitive could represent ἔλεγον just as well as λέγοιμι. As to λεγων, we're free to invest it with conditional force if we like, but we don’t have to; as far as the Greek goes it’s simply a participle.

Joel, Don’t you see that you’re wrong?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:35 am

mwh, I really wish to understand this. When I said its force is "adverbial", I only meant that it qualifies a verb. Is this meaning itself incorrect, or just calling it "adverbial" is?
I understand that αν is as a modal particle but my question was (and is) about its semantic force in this particular sentence.
mwh wrote:the infinitive could represent ἔλεγον just as well as λέγοιμι

I thought that, with (assumed) ἔλεγον, the force of αν would be to make λεγειν counterfactual, which the context does not allow, as it seems. Am I wrong in this?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:21 pm

Joel, Don’t you see that you’re wrong?


I post here so that I can be corrected. What I understand is that it's clearly a cognate accusative. And therefore normally plural, as per Smyth 1573. And that was my first assumption as well. However, after looking more carefully at the Smyth 1573 exceptions ("common phrases in prose"), I decided to be careful and double-check the TLG to see that ἐπιεικῆ λέγειν λόγον wasn't a set phrase. But it appears to be. So I corrected myself in the "sc. λόγον" post.

I can be wrong about all of this, and probably am. But you'll have to tell me whether it's my understanding of cognate/internal accusative that is wrong, or of this phrase, or what.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:00 pm

Smyth 1573 is not clear to me.
"Usually an adjective, pronoun, or pronominal adjective is treated as a neuter substantive. Cp. ““μεγάλ᾽ ἁμαρτάνειν” to commit grave errors” D. 5.5... The singular adjective is used in certain common phrases in prose, but is mainly poetical; the plural is ordinarily used in prose." If Smyth is right in translating it as an object, rather than a qualifier, of the verb, how can it possibly by "ordinarily plural"? Is it such a rare case that one commits just one "grave error"? I was taught to translate such a construction as "to error greatly".
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:01 pm

Tugodum wrote:Smyth 1573 is not clear to me.
"Usually an adjective, pronoun, or pronominal adjective is treated as a neuter substantive. Cp. ““μεγάλ᾽ ἁμαρτάνειν” to commit grave errors” D. 5.5... The singular adjective is used in certain common phrases in prose, but is mainly poetical; the plural is ordinarily used in prose." If Smyth is right in translating it as an object, rather than a qualifier, of the verb, how can it possibly be "ordinarily plural"? Is it such a rare case that one commits just one "grave error"? I was taught to translate such a construction as "to error greatly".
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:07 pm

Tugodum wrote:If Smyth is right in translating it as an object, rather than a qualifier, of the verb, how can it possibly by "ordinarily plural"?


Well, to get away from my distraction, look at this from Charmides (I ran across it by chance this morning in reading):

Καὶ ἐπιεικῶς, ἦν δ᾿ ἐγώ, ἀληθῆ ἀπήγγελται.

If ἀληθῆ were a simple adverb here, I think that it would would have a conjunction after ἐπιεικῶς. You would probably translate it as an adverb in English, but that doesn't actually tell you what's going on in the Greek.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:14 pm

Am not sure why a conjunction would be necessary if ἐπιεικῶς means "probably." (I do not insist on this reading as I haven't checked the context.)
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:18 pm

jeidsath wrote: You would probably translate it as an adverb in English, but that doesn't actually tell you what's going on in the Greek.
I do not understand this statement. Does not the way I translate it tell exactly what, in my view, is going on in the Greek semantically? Of course I know that grammatically ἀληθῆ is not an adverb, no doubt about that.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:54 pm

Here it does not mean "probably." Instead, Socrates is confirming that the reports of the battle at Potidaea were mostly accurate.

As far as "err greatly" and "commit grave errors," there is massive overlap in their semantic domains. In D. 5.5 there is clearly no difference. I don't see how the question of which Smyth should have preferred there for his gloss is particularly enlightening.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:59 pm

jeidsath wrote:"err greatly" and "commit grave errors," there is massive overlap in their semantic domains
Yes, there is overlap but, also, a difference. One can "error greatly" by committing just one error. In this case, it would be plainly wrong to read the plural adjective as a substantive object of the verb.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:25 pm

"this case" -- Socrates or Demosthenes?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:30 pm

I did not look into either context. I referred to a hypothetical case in which one intends to say that someone "erred greatly" by committing just one error.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:38 pm

I don't know what a Greek would have said if he were referring to a single error specifically. Something like μεγάλην ἁμαρτίαν τινα ἁμαρτάνειν?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:40 pm

I believe they might well say “μεγάλ᾽ ἁμαρτάνειν” even in this case.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:58 pm

Probably, in prose. Although Sophocles has "τὴν ἁμαρτίαν αἰσχρὰν ἁμαρτὼν ἀναλαβεῖν πειράσομαι." I don't see how that makes Smyth's gloss wrong in the Demosthenes context though. Or did you mean something else?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:03 pm

Smyth says it is "substantive", period. This statement, in its unqualified form, is wrong, as you seem to have agreed. μεγαλα in “μεγάλ᾽ ἁμαρτάνειν”, when referring to a single "error", is not a substantive.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:48 pm

It's formally a substantive at the very least. And Smyth does qualify his statement with a "usually." And I'm still not convinced that your hypothetical would occur in real Greek speech, where the speaker actually meant to emphasize the singleness of the object.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:55 pm

It's formally a substantive at the very least.
Formally, it is an adjective. I distinguished from the very start grammatical form and semantics (which alone interests me).
jeidsath wrote:where the speaker actually meant to emphasize the singleness of the object
No, I did not mean a case when there is a need to emphasize the singleness; I meant a case where singleness is presupposed as known.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:21 pm

Formally, it’s a substantive, appearing next to a transitive verb, etc. A formal adjective would appear next to a substantive it was qualifying.

But if semantics is all that interests you, where is there any semantic question that you’re asking?
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:30 pm

I thought by "substantive" you mean a noun. If you mean any part of speech used in place of a noun, then you are not speaking of a pure grammatical form.
where is there any semantic question that you’re asking
There are more than one of them, and you can easily find them all by searching for the lemma "semantic" in this thread.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:38 pm

Formally = mechanically = symbolically. Not “in the form of”. To prove something formally is to deliver a mechanical/symbolic proof, for example.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:41 pm

As I said earlier, I distinguish between grammatical form (not just any old form) and semantics.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:49 pm

How is what you distinguish relevant to the question of what Smyth meant and whether he is correct or not? I don’t understand why you’re bringing it up.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:15 pm

I think I said more than once why Smyth's statement appears as self-contradictory to me. If you articulate what exactly in what I said specifically about his statement is unclear or seems wrong to you, I would be happy to respond.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby mwh » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:39 pm

OK, let me try to clear some of this up, largely but not wholly ignoring the last 20 or so rat-a-tat posts. (The number seems to be increasing as I write.)

1. On the αν, a couple of points. First, as I think you realize, Tugodum, αν has no semantic force of its own, but affects the semantics of the verb. The meaning resides in the verb+αν combo. Second, “its semantic force in this particular sentence”: since λεγειν is infinitive, the Greek itself doesn’t reveal exactly what form it would take if it were finite. λεγ- tells us it has to be either present or imperfect, and αν tells us it has to be indicative or optative. The syntax (δοκῶ with bare infin.) tells us that it should be understood as 1st person singular. All that, combined with the context, indicates that either ελεγον or λεγοιμι would be appropriate, i.e. the meaning could be (roughly) “I think I’d be saying …” (ελεγον αν) or “I think I’d say …” (λέγοιμ’ αν).
I don't address the following λέγων, on which I already commented.

Here’s an earlier post of mine on conditionals, intended to dispel the fog that tends to surround them:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64823&p=181115.
You or others may possibly find it useful.

2. On επιεικη λεγειν. You can call επιεικη adverbial in that larger sense (as qualifying a verb) if you want, but it does not function as an adverb, and it doesn’t mean quite what επιεικως λεγειν would (“to speak in a reasonable manner”). επιεικη, just like αληθη in αληθη λεγειν, is an inner aka internal accusative (and likewise neut.pl.). I wouldn’t call it a cognate accusative (unlike e.g. λογον λεγειν) but it has the same construction.
What Smyth 1573 says may confuse (a lot of what Smyth says may confuse!), but cutting out his comparison of μεγαλ’ αμαρτανειν with μεγιστα αμαρτηματα αμαρτανουσι only makes confusion worse. His saying that the adjective in e.g. μεγαλ’ αμαρτανειν is “treated as” a substantive doesn’t mean that it is one, any more than his translating the phrase as “to commit grave errors” does. As to his saying it’s “ordinarily plural” in prose, well, it is: witness αληθη λεγειν, επιεικη λεγειν, μεγαλ’αμαρτανειν, etc. etc., while plain αληθες or επιεικες λεγειν or μεγ’αμαρτανειν would be out of the ordinary. Of course an internal accusative can be singular: λεγειν τι “to say something (something substantial),” αληθες τι λεγειν “to utter a truth,” επιεικες τι λεγειν “to say something reasonable,” αμαρτανειν τι “to commit an error,” ἓν αμαρτανειν “to commit a single error,” while “to commit just one grave error” would likely be μεγαλων αμαρτηματων (μονον) ἓν ἁμαρτανειν.
Tugodum, you say you were taught to translate a construction like μεγαλ’ αμαρτανειν as “to err greatly.” Leaving aside that “err” is not in current use (except in translations from Greek or Latin!), translation can conceal as much as it reveals. In this and comparable cases, it conceals the fact that μεγαλα is not an adverb (as you are well aware) but an inner accusative (as perhaps you are also aware). Smyth’s “to commit grave errors” is better, or “to make serious mistakes." The construction is the same as e.g. πολλὰ αμαρτανειν, to make lots of mistakes, as distinct from πολλαχως αμαρτανειν, to be wrong in all sorts of ways.
Sometimes we have to move beyond what we were taught.

Joel, you say you post here so that you can be corrected. That’s an excellent strategy for your own learning if you are then corrected, but otherwise it risks merely spreading misinformation, something I think we should try hard to avoid. Often I do correct you, as I did in this case, but I can’t correct you all the time. :) Anyway, I hope what I’ve written above will help you understand. You don’t need to look for a “set phrase,” merely look at the construction (bare adj. w/ verb). In the extract you quoted, ..τάχα δόξει λόγον τινὰ ἐπιεικῆ λέγειν· ἐπιεικῆ δὲ εἶπον,..., the first επιεικη of course agrees with λογον, a cognate accusative, while επιεικη λεγειν without λογον τινα would be neut.pl. (Cf. Smyth 1573 part-quoted by Tugodum above.) The follow-up επιεικη I presume simply puts the first in quotes, as it were: “I said ‘reasonable’ …”. But I don’t know the context.

If anyone has any serious questions about any of this, feel free to ask, and I may reply tomorrow or later. But I'd hope that this is adequate elucidation, and might be useful for more than just the two of you.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:59 am

Thanks, mwh! Very informative as usual. But please let me double check. I took it that:
1.a (this is strictly regarding English) "I’d be saying …" is counterfactual, meaning: "I would be saying ..., but am not, in fact, saying ...";
1.b you allow for the possibility of such a counterfactual meaning in 34 d1-3;
2.a “to commit grave errors” renders the meaning of μεγαλ’ αμαρτανειν more accurately than "“to err gravely”;
2.b by analogy, "to say reasonable things" (as was jeidsath's initial suggestion) renders επιεκη λεγειν more accurately than "to speak reasonably", and "to say right things" renders αληθη λεγειν more accurately than "to speak rightly".
Did I get you right? Besides I have two other questions:
3 deStrycker & Slings in their commentary on 24 a7 say "ὅτι ἀληθῆ λέγω, 'that I am right', different from ὅτι τἀληθῆ λέγω, 'that I speak the truth'", and on 33 b8--"ὅτι ἀληθῆ λέγει: 'is not right' (see note on 24 a7)." Am I understanding correctly that they disagree with you, as they insist on adverbial rendering of ἀληθῆ without article?
4 You seem to be saying that accusatives in μεγαλ’ αμαρτανειν, επιεκη λεγειν, αληθη λεγειν are all "internal." I have to admit, I do not understand why. I am used to thinking that an accusative is internal (in relation to the verb it complements) if it constitutes a pleonasm (as is clearly the case with cognate accusatives); but I see nothing pleonastic in the indicated examples, so would be grateful if you could clarify to me this broader meaning of "internal accusative" for which I've been looking in vain in Smyth.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby mwh » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:00 am

Tugodum, In response to my post, I think the longest I’ve ever written, you focus on “rendering”?!

On your 1a: When someone remarks “In this weather I’d kill for an ice cream” I don’t think of the remark as meaning “I’d kill for an ice cream but am not, in fact, killing for one.” If it somehow helps you to think of it so, go ahead, I’ll not contradict you. But I thought you were interested in semantics. I advise learning something of pragmatics.

On your 3, No.
On your 4, your only substantial question, you need to revise your thinking. Smyth does not do a good job of defining or explaining what he calls an internal object (more often referred to as an inner accusative), but he offers as an example ὁ ανηρ τυπτει πολλας πληγας (1554a, cf. 1555, 1563-77). We can think of that as quasi-cognate (πλησσει πολλας πληγας would be cognate in the strictest sense). All cognate accusatives are internal ones, but not all internal accusatives are cognate ones.
τυπτει με πολλα: με external accusative (what is normally called a direct object), πολλα internal. Similarly ποιεῖ με κακά, etc. etc. No external acc. is needed. τυπτει πολλα he strikes many blows, μεγαλα αμαρτειν to make many mistakes, τουτο αμαρτειν to make this mistake—the accusative is internal to the verb, and there’s no pleonasm involved.

I think that’s enough from me, unless someone else wants to come in.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:32 am

As regards 1.a, I was just asking (as I explicitly specified) for help with my English (which is not my native language). In particular, it is hard for me to grasp the difference in meaning in English between “I think I’d be saying …” (ελεγον αν) and “I think I’d say …” (λέγοιμ’ αν).
Thanks for your examples as regards 4. Unfortunately, examples by themselves are not sufficient for me to get the concept (and thus to "revise my thinking"). I would be grateful if someone should give--or refer me to--an explicit and clear definition of internal accusative.
I honestly do not understand why you took offense at my #2; at any rate, my apologies for the unintended annoyance.
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby Tugodum » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:01 am

Also, I do not understand your "No" to my 3. If deStrycker & Slings had taken ἀληθῆ in "ἀληθῆ λέγω" as an internal accusative/object they would not have had grounds to refuse (as they explicitly did) to translate it as a noun ("truth").
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Re: Plato, Apology 34 d1-3

Postby mwh » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:30 am

This is getting us nowhere, and could go on for ever. I’m sorry, Tugodum, my efforts at elucidation are at an end. I hope what I've written may be of help to someone, if not to you.
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