Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

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Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος
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Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος »

So I was reading Athanasius's On the Incarnation and found this curious sentence, right in the first section
Πρέπει δὲ ποιουμένους ἡμᾶς τὴν περὶ τούτου διήγησιν, πρῶτον περὶ τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως, καὶ τοῦ ταύτης δημιουργοῦ Θεοῦ εἰπεῖν, ἵνα οὕτως καὶ τὴν ταύτης ἀνακαίνισιν ὑπὸ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτὴν δημιουργήσαντος Λόγου γεγενῆσθαι ἀξίως ἂν τις θεωρήσειεν·
Does anyone know why ἵνα is followed by a potential optative ἵνα ἂν τις θεωρήσειεν, instead of a simple subjunctive ἵνα θεωρήσῃ τις? Isn't that what we would usually expect when the primary verb is a primary tense, πρέπει in this case?

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by bedwere »

LSJ has
after opt. and ἄν, when opt. with οὐκ ἄν is used with sense of imper., Il. 24.264, Od. 6.58; after βουλοίμην ἄν . ., Lys. 7.12.

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος »

Well my question was if ἵνα could be followed by an optative +ἄν, that usage in LSJ you cited seems to be just a usual case of ἵνα with the subjunctive where the the preceding clause has optative + ἄν,not ἵνα with the optative and ἄν, like the Lysias example cited just has ἵνα ἡγῆσθε
νῦν δὲ πάντας ἂν ὑμᾶς βουλοίμην περὶ ἐμοῦ ταύτην τὴν γνώμην ἔχειν, ἵνα ἡγῆσθέ με σκοπεῖν ἄν,
Using the ἵνα with just the optative too probably would make sense as LSJ attests to it
rarely after primary tenses, by a shifting of the point of view, Od.17.250, Ar.Ra.24, Pl.R.410c
But I don't really get how it can be followed by an optative + ἄν :cry:


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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος »

Ah I see, that certainly could've been the case,
χάριν πολλὴν σοι ἔχω τῷ ἀποκρινομένῳ πρὸς τὸ ἐρώτημα τοὐμὸν, ὦ τᾶν! :D
I was pretty confused regarding this

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by bedwere »

Οὐδέν ἐστιν. Ἀγαθῇ τύχῃ.

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by jeidsath »

I was first held up by περὶ τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως, but looking in the TLG, I see περὶ τῆς τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως, which solves that.

The TLG version of this section:

Πρέπει δὲ ποιουμένους ἡμᾶς τὴν περὶ τούτου διήγησιν, πρότερον περὶ τῆς τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως καὶ τοῦ ταύτης Δημιουργοῦ Θεοῦ εἰπεῖν, ἵνα οὕτως καὶ τὴν ταύτης ἀνακαίνισιν ὑπὸ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτὴν δημιουργήσαντος Λόγου γεγενῆσθαι ἀξίως ἄν τις θεωρήσειεν· οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐναντίον φανήσεται, εἰ δι’ οὗ ταύτην ἐδημιούργησεν ὁ Πατήρ, ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ταύτης σωτηρίαν εἰργάσατο.

This makes sense to me with ἄν going with γεγενῆσθαι, and the optative justified by the past εἰπεῖν somehow. Anyway, here is how it all makes sense to me:

It is appropriate for us making the discourse about this to first have spoken about the creation of everything and of the Demiurge of that creation, God, so that one could see in this way the recreation also of this creation might have worthily come to be by the Demiurge of the very beginning, Logos. For nothing shall appear to go against it, if through the one who demiurged this creation, the Father also worked in him its salvation.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by downcr »

In Pratt's Essentials of Greek Grammar she has a section on the Optative replacing the subjunctive in a dependent clause after a main verb in a past tense. (Section 159.b) The main verb here isn't in a past tense, but perhaps the complimentary infinitive (pres. act. + aor. infinitive) functions much the same? The example she gives in the book is: "οἰ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ἣλθον ἴνα τἠν πὀλιν λἀβοιντο" - The Spartans came that they might take the city.

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος »

jeidsath wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 3:04 am I was first held up by περὶ τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως, but looking in the TLG, I see περὶ τῆς τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως, which solves that.

The TLG version of this section:

Πρέπει δὲ ποιουμένους ἡμᾶς τὴν περὶ τούτου διήγησιν, πρότερον περὶ τῆς τῶν ὅλων κτίσεως καὶ τοῦ ταύτης Δημιουργοῦ Θεοῦ εἰπεῖν, ἵνα οὕτως καὶ τὴν ταύτης ἀνακαίνισιν ὑπὸ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτὴν δημιουργήσαντος Λόγου γεγενῆσθαι ἀξίως ἄν τις θεωρήσειεν· οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐναντίον φανήσεται, εἰ δι’ οὗ ταύτην ἐδημιούργησεν ὁ Πατήρ, ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ταύτης σωτηρίαν εἰργάσατο.

This makes sense to me with ἄν going with γεγενῆσθαι, and the optative justified by the past εἰπεῖν somehow. Anyway, here is how it all makes sense to me:

It is appropriate for us making the discourse about this to first have spoken about the creation of everything and of the Demiurge of that creation, God, so that one could see in this way the recreation also of this creation might have worthily come to be by the Demiurge of the very beginning, Logos. For nothing shall appear to go against it, if through the one who demiurged this creation, the Father also worked in him its salvation.
Ah thanks! I didn't think ἄν could go with a perfect infinitive but apparently it can :o
b. pf. opt., οὐκ ἂν ἡγοῦμαι αὐτοὺς δίκην ἀξίαν δεδωκέναι, εἰ . . καταψηφίσαισθε I do not believe they would (then) have suffered (δεδωκότες ἂν εἶεν) punishment enough, etc., Lys.27.9.

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

αν goes with θεωρησειεν, as does αξιως. The construction αν + optative doesn't quite follow the rules laid down in the grammar books for 5th/4th c. BCE Attic prose, but using the potential optative is just a somewhat less direct way -- maybe he thought it more elegant -- of filling out the purpose clause. It adds an extra element of modality, more tentative, perhaps, somewhat like the use of the potential optative in polite requests. At any rate, it reads smoothly, and there's no question as to what he means.

Loose translation:

"In discussing/explaining this, we first ought to speak of the foundation of the universe and its divine creator, so that one could/would adequately [αξιως] see that its renewal was also generated right at its beginning by the Word creating it. It won't seem contradictory if, during the time when he created it, the Father also wrought its salvation."

Using the subjunctive would be more like using "can" instead of "would/could/might" in modern English.

Perhaps we should also take into account the fact that Athanasius was writing at a time when the optative had more or less completely disappeared from everyday speech. He was attempting to write Attic prose, but perhaps he didn't quite get it right -- at least not according to today's grammar books, which are based on Attic writers hundreds of years earlier. Perhaps this is a hyper-Atticism by someone who wasn't in as total command of the optative as Plato or Demosthenes.

ειπειν is not "past": it's an aorist infinitive -- aspectual, not temporal. It doesn't motivate the optative here.
Last edited by Hylander on Tue Apr 05, 2022 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Enoch/Ἑνώχ ὁ δοῦλος »

Hylander wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 2:41 pm αν goes with θεωρησειεν, as does αξιως. The construction αν + optative doesn't quite follow the rules laid down in the grammar books for 5th/4th c. BCE Attic prose, but using the potential optative is just a somewhat less direct way -- maybe he thought it more elegant -- of filling out the purpose clause. It adds an extra element of modality, more tentative, perhaps, somewhat like the use of the potential optative in polite requests. At any rate, it reads smoothly, and there's no question as to what he means.

Loose translation:

"In discussing/explaining this, we first ought to speak of the foundation of the universe and its divine creator, so that one could/would adequately [αξιως] see that its renewal was also generated right at its beginning by the Word creating it. It won't seem contradictory if, during the time when he created it, the Father also wrought its salvation."

Using the subjunctive would be more like using "can" instead of "would/could/might" in modern English.

Perhaps we should also take into account the fact that Athanasius was writing at a time when the optative had more or less completely disappeared from everyday speech. He was attempting to write Attic prose, but perhaps he didn't quite get it right -- at least not according to today's grammar books, which are based on Attic writers hundreds of years earlier. Perhaps this is a hyper-Atticism by someone who wasn't in as total command of the optative as Plato or Demosthenes.

ειπειν is not "past": it's an aorist infinitive -- aspectual, not temporal. It doesn't motivate the optative here.
Makes sense, Thanks!!

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

Also, δι'ου . . . εν τουτωι is temporal, as the preceding sentence shows. His point is that the Word/Father fashioned the future salvation of the universe at the same time as he created it.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by jeidsath »

Hylander wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 2:41 pm ειπειν is not "past": it's an aorist infinitive -- aspectual, not temporal. It doesn't motivate the optative here.
I had written up a post about the aorist there only being aspectual, but didn't send because it seemed too complicated. It's the πρότερον that indicates it's (possibly) conceptually past. Horrocks gives an example of exactly this on pg. 85. An Atticizing author, Aelius Aristides, uses ὡς ἀνέλοι with aorist πιστεῦσαι, and he discusses this "'error' in the use of the optative" on pg. 86, saying that with these authors we see the optative in subordinate clauses commonly used "when what is said or believed occurred in the past, as here."

I also searched for examples with ἴνα and the potential optative in Horrocks and Lampe, but none came up, only the just-quoted discussion, which didn't quite seem enough motivation to assume this was regular, in itself. If there are other examples of it, then it's clearly the easiest solution.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by downcr »

jeidsath wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 8:18 pm
Hylander wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 2:41 pm ειπειν is not "past": it's an aorist infinitive -- aspectual, not temporal. It doesn't motivate the optative here.
I had written up a post about the aorist there only being aspectual, but didn't send because it seemed too complicated. It's the πρότερον that indicates it's (possibly) conceptually past. Horrocks gives an example of exactly this on pg. 85. An Atticizing author, Aelius Aristides, uses ὡς ἀνέλοι with aorist πιστεῦσαι, and he discusses this "'error' in the use of the optative" on pg. 86, saying that with these authors we see the optative in subordinate clauses commonly used "when what is said or believed occurred in the past, as here."

I also searched for examples with ἴνα and the potential optative in Horrocks and Lampe, but none came up, only the just-quoted discussion, which didn't quite seem enough motivation to assume this was regular, in itself. If there are other examples of it, then it's clearly the easiest solution.
Thanks, I'm weak on the finer distinctions of aspect/temporality and this discussion is helpful.

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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

One more point about the optative in purpose clause, ινα . . . τις αν θεωρησειεν.

When an optative verb is used in purpose clauses in “secondary sequence,” i.e. dependent on a past tense verb, it’s not accompanied by αν., at leadt according to the grammar books based on 5th-4th cc. BCE prose usage.

Here αν marks this optative as a potential optative, not a normal optative in secondary sequence. It’s a highly unusual construction in any case, though I can’t say I’m familiar with Atticizimg prose from this period. I suspect this is a pretentious hyper-Atticism.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by jeidsath »

Yes. The secondary sequence will only come up if you explain the αν as attached to something else (like the infinitive). Hence the discussion.

Also, while a temporal explanation for δι ου is logically possible, in this context it seems infinitely more likely to refer to the Logos, "δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα" and "ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα".
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

I take your point on δι ου . . . εν τουτωι.

αν can't be attached either to ειπειν or γεγενησθαι because neither of these is the apodosis of a condition or a potential optative in indirect speech. The position of αν after αξιως reinforces that αν belongs with θεωρησειεν because αξιως doesn't make sense as a modifier of γεγενησθαι, and makes eminent sense with θεωρησειεν. (It might make sense with ειπειν, but it's too far away..) With all due respect, your translation shows how little sense αξιως would make as a modifier of γεγενησθαι. But even if αν could be detached from θεωρησειεν, θεωρησειεν can't be an optative in secondary sequence because the ινα purpose clause embodies Athanasius' present purpose, not someone's purpose in the past.

The sentence reads perfectly smoothly and clearly (assuming you agree with his theology). The only problem is that he has used a potential optative in a purpose clause, which is what Enoch noticed to begin with. It's unusual and probably wrong, by classical Attic standards, but it doesn't make it difficult to understand what he's saying. We shouldn't be trying to shoehorn the sentence into syntactic structures in which it doesn't fit just to justify a slight anomaly -- we should read it, note the anomaly, and move on.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

Having read further, I see that you are right about δι'ου . . . εν τουτω -- agency, not temporal. And my translation needs to be modified: "its renewal came about through the Word that created it at the very beginning . . .".

But the syntax of the purpose clause is is clear: a potential optative substituted for the normal subjunctive, and not an optative in "secondary sequence"; ειπειν is not a "past" infinitive allowing "secondary sequence"; αξιως αν belongs with θεωρησειεν, not with γεγενησθαι (or ειπειν).
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

An update to this long dormant thread: Goodwin, Greek Moods and Tenses sec.330, notes that there is a handful of instances of ὅπως + optative + ἄν in "final" (purpose) clauses in Thucydides (1X), Xenophon (4X) and Aescylus (1X). No mention of ἵνα, though.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 99.04.0065

Of course, we don't have the entire corpus of 5th-4th cc. BCE Attic literature preserved; so, given how few examples of ὅπως with potential optative in the preserved corpus, it's conceivable that a few instances of ἵνα with potential optative in purpose clauses might have escaped preservation.
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Re: Can ἵνα be followed by a potential optative??

Post by Hylander »

One more update.

Horrocks mentions "use of the optative in its full range of classical functions, sometimes erroneously" as one of the hallmarks of Atticizing as a gratuitous mark of learning in the 2d c. CE and later. Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers (2d ed.) p. 138.
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