Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Are you learning Koine Greek, the Greek of the New Testament and most other post-classical Greek texts? Whatever your level, use this forum to discuss all things Koine, Biblical or otherwise, including grammar, textbook talk, difficult passages, and more.
Post Reply
bpk
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:18 pm

Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by bpk » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:39 pm

Does anyone know of any text from the Koine period or earlier in which literary categories are discussed and a clear term that would be roughly equivalent to the modern "genre" would be used?

I have heard that γένος would be the best approximation, but I am not sure how certain this is or if it goes back to a particular text.

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 2970
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by jeidsath » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:56 pm

I think that I've seen εἶδος used that way. See the LSJ entry, section II.
II. form, kind, or nature, τῶν ἀλλέων παιγνιέων τὰ εἴδεα Hdt.1.94; τὸ εἶ. τῆς νόσου Th.2.50, etc.; ἐν ἁρμονίας εἴδει εἶναι, γενέσθαι, to be or become like . . , Pl.Phd.91d, cf. Cra.394d; ὡς ἐν φαρμάκου εἴδει by way of medicine, Id.R.389b; νόμων ἔχει εἶδος is in the province of law, Arist.Pol.1286a3; situation, state of things, σκέψασθε ἐν οἵῳ εἴδει . . τοῦτο ἔπραξαν Th.3.62; plan of action, policy, ἐπὶ εἶδος τρέπεσθαι Id.6.77, 8.56; ἐπ’ ἄλλ’ εἶδος τρέπεσθαι take up another line, Ar.Pl.317; specific notion, meaning, idea, ἂν παρέχῃ τὸ ἓν εἶ. δύο ὀνόματα . . , περὶ ἑνὸς εἴδεος δύο ὀνόματα οὐ τὰ αὐτά Aen.Tact.24.1; department, Hp.VM12 (but also, elementary nature or quality, ib.15); type, sort, πυρετῶν Id.Epid.3.12; αὐγῆς Id.Off.3, etc.: Rhet., style of writing, τὰ εἴδη τῶν λόγων Isoc.13.17, cf. Arist.Rh.Al. 1441b9 (pl.); later, definite literary form, Men.Rh.init., Procl.Chrest. p.243 W., EM295.52; also, example of a style, ὅλοις εἴδεσι Isoc.15.74; later, single poem, applied to Pindar's odes by Sch.; also, written statement, ἀναγνωσθέντος εἴδους PAmh.2.65.11 (ii A.D.), cf. PTeb.287.12 (ii A.D.).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:39 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:56 pm
I think that I've seen εἶδος used that way.
Aristotle, Poetics 1447α] [8]

περὶ ποιητικῆς αὐτῆς τε καὶ τῶν εἰδῶν αὐτῆς, ἥν τινα δύναμιν ἕκαστον ἔχει, καὶ πῶς δεῖ συνίστασθαι τοὺς μύθους [10] εἰ μέλλει καλῶς ἕξειν ἡ ποίησις, ἔτι δὲ ἐκ πόσων καὶ ποίων ἐστὶ μορίων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὅσα τῆς αὐτῆς ἐστι μεθόδου, λέγωμεν ἀρξάμενοι κατὰ φύσιν πρῶτον ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων.

[1447a] [8]
Let1 us here deal with Poetry, its essence and its several species, with the characteristic function of each species and the way in which plots must be constructed if the poem is to be a success; and also with the number and character of the constituent parts of a poem, and similarly with all other matters proper to this same inquiry; and let us, as nature directs, begin first with first principles.
Aristotle divided poetry into three main categories: epic, tragic, and comedic. These three genres can then be further separated into several sub-genres. In Poetics, Aristotle describes epic poetry as being a narrative form of poetry that contains a central plot. It consists of multiple characters whose voices the poet can take on to further the narrative. Epic poetry also uses a one-verse form.

https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/el ... iew-376279

subscript:
I had an english translation of Aristotle's Poetics as a text book for a class on aesthetics summer of 1970. I probably didn't understand much of Aristotle's Poetics but it didn't matter. It was my final quarter as an undergraduate. The class was actually very enjoyable. Projects like seeing Satyricon by Federico Fellini, Blow Up by Michelangelo Antonioni which was already cult film by 1970, a Rodin exhibit, a concert by the Contemporary Group, a string quartet at the Univ of Washington. Had numerous run-ins with the violist Dorothy Shapiro (principle violist Seattle Symphony) decades later.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

bpk
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:18 pm

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by bpk » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:03 pm

Very helpful, thank you. Aristotle's example seems like a pretty strong case right there for ειδος.

Was what I heard about γένος unsubstantiated or can anyone provide a reference for γένος being an ancient word for genre as well?

User avatar
ἑκηβόλος
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 959
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:19 am
Location: Nanchang, PRC
Contact:

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:25 pm

bpk wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:03 pm
Was what I heard about γένος unsubstantiated or can anyone provide a reference for γένος being an ancient word for genre as well?
Hi bpk,
You've asked this question in the Koine and Biblical and Medieval sub-forum, so let me use a Biblical example to provide a background to the way of thinking that I will give in my reply to your qestion.

The writer of the New Testament work entitled "Hebrews" makes the amazing statement,
Hebrews 7:9,10 wrote:One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, was tithed through Abraham, for he was still in his father’s loins when Melchizedek met him.
At the time of Abraham's tithing, nobody had any natural inclination that his great-grandson Levi would belong to a priesthood, and subsequently that somebody twelve or fourteen hundred years later was going to read a meaning of the superiority of one priesthood over the other into that tithing event. One needs to think with a certain mindset, (a Christian typological interpretation of Scripture) to not simply say, "Nah! Far fetched!" and walk on by.

If one were to hold to the view that the later meanings of a word are somehow "in the loins" of the words that it is derived from, then γένος might have the meaning of the English word "genre". The meaning we have in English for "genre" is an English one, a specialist sense of an everyday French word, which in turn is derived untimately from Latin "genus". Latin "genus" is cognate with (not derived from) Greek γένος.

Back to the analogy, "genre" (Levi) was not in the loins of γένος (Haran), but rather "genus" (Abraham). Because it is before the tithing event, it is irrelevant to go back to their common ancestor the PIE "gen(e)" (Terah) in whose loins were both "genus" and "γένος".

Generally speaking, the idea of words containg subsequent meanings has been replaced by the idea of semantic shift.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

User avatar
ἑκηβόλος
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 959
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:19 am
Location: Nanchang, PRC
Contact:

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:30 pm

bpk wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:03 pm
Very helpful, thank you. Aristotle's example seems like a pretty strong case right there for ειδος.
Modern Greek uses ειδος.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 874
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:04 pm

Just looking over LSJ on this, looks like it ought to be a good fit, but never seems to be used of literature. Fish-sellers, yes, but not literature.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

bpk
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:18 pm

Re: Ancient Greek word for "genre" - γένος?

Post by bpk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:34 am

ἑκηβόλος wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:25 pm
bpk wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:03 pm
Was what I heard about γένος unsubstantiated or can anyone provide a reference for γένος being an ancient word for genre as well?
Hi bpk,
You've asked this question in the Koine and Biblical and Medieval sub-forum, so let me use a Biblical example to provide a background to the way of thinking that I will give in my reply to your qestion.

The writer of the New Testament work entitled "Hebrews" makes the amazing statement,
Hebrews 7:9,10 wrote:One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, was tithed through Abraham, for he was still in his father’s loins when Melchizedek met him.
At the time of Abraham's tithing, nobody had any natural inclination that his great-grandson Levi would belong to a priesthood, and subsequently that somebody twelve or fourteen hundred years later was going to read a meaning of the superiority of one priesthood over the other into that tithing event. One needs to think with a certain mindset, (a Christian typological interpretation of Scripture) to not simply say, "Nah! Far fetched!" and walk on by.

If one were to hold to the view that the later meanings of a word are somehow "in the loins" of the words that it is derived from, then γένος might have the meaning of the English word "genre". The meaning we have in English for "genre" is an English one, a specialist sense of an everyday French word, which in turn is derived untimately from Latin "genus". Latin "genus" is cognate with (not derived from) Greek γένος.

Back to the analogy, "genre" (Levi) was not in the loins of γένος (Haran), but rather "genus" (Abraham). Because it is before the tithing event, it is irrelevant to go back to their common ancestor the PIE "gen(e)" (Terah) in whose loins were both "genus" and "γένος".

Generally speaking, the idea of words containg subsequent meanings has been replaced by the idea of semantic shift.
Very nice :)

And thank you for everyone's help. Looks like I will use εἶδος!

Post Reply