OK, take all of this with a big grain of salt because I'm just an amateur.
mwh wrote:But I note the competing translations both (or all) appear to take the negative as applying only to the participle. Could it perhaps apply to both the participle and the main verb?
This seems quite correct to me given the full sweep of the passage. Unless somebody has some grammatical principle or Smyth number that tells us what the negation applies to.
John W. wrote:It is the bit in bold which is the real problem, and especially the force of οὐ γὰρ δὴ. Denniston (The Greek Particles, 2nd edn, p. 243) gives the general sense of οὐ γὰρ δὴ as ‘certainly not’ (or ‘certainly not, at any rate’), but for our present passage translates as ‘Surely you have not avoided these three errors only to fall into a fourth ...’
I don't understand why you write "but" here. The difference between "certainly" and "surely" doesn't seem to me to be in play.
What I don't like about Denniston and most of the translations that are bouncing around is the past tense "avoided". That is what strikes me as unjustified. Both the participle πεφευγότες and the finite verb κεχωρήκατε are perfects. The perfect is a primary tense. He is talking about two present states. The particple refers to the present state of having fled. The finite verb refers to the present state of having made room for. To keep our heads clear, I think that for the purposes of this debate it is helpful to translate these by present tense verbs. The best I have handy are "being free (of)" and "accomodate". Anybody who thinks that they have a satisfactory interpretation of this passage has to explain why exactly T uses perfects.
OK, next. What do we have? For, it is certainly not the case that being free of these (three things) you are accomodating that contempt which has harmed so many...
Notice, notice, that βλάψασαν is aorist. So here T is clearly marking past events. The contrast with the perfects is quite explicit!
Well, what of Marchant's emphatic italics? He wrote, "the previous sentence distinctly says, ‘you have not escaped all three of these ξυμφοραί.’" But is Marchant right? I don't think so.
καὶ οὐκ ἴσμεν ὅπως τάδε τριῶν τῶν μεγίστων ξυμφορῶν ἀπήλλακται, ἀξυνεσίας ἢ μαλακίας ἢ ἀμελείας.
Lo and behold! Another perfect! Conveniently for his interpretation, Marchant goes for an English past tense translation. But if we want to really focus on the tenses, we need to do ἀπήλλακται justice. I'm just going to mark the desiderative nature of this by the adverb "optimally". The active present would be "to optimally set free x from y". The passive would be "to optimally be set free from y". The perfect passive would be "to optimally be free from y". So what Thucydides actually says is more like:And we do not know how these things are optimally free from the three greatest disasters: stupidity, weakness and indifference.
I opt for the literal "these things", but John's "this policy" is just fine.
So we have no reason whatsoever to bring in the past tense for any of this.
Hobbes doesn't use the past tense in his translation. And rightly so, because he understands that the perfects in these sentences are marking the fact that the Corinthians are talking and have been talking about the outputs, inputs, and dynamics of present possible courses of action.
I think it is helpful to forget about the intracacies of a couple of sentences and reread the whole speech. Certainly, certainly, for a writer like T, the forest has to matter as much as the trees. The past tense business seems totally unjustified!
I am sorry if I am totally wrong. But I can only spend an hour a day on this stuff and that's how it looks under that time constraint!