Interpreting φημι

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bcrowell
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Interpreting φημι

Post by bcrowell »

Justin Martyr, describing the process of creation of the gospels, says:

Ἐν γὰρ τοῖς Ἀπομνημονεύμασιν, ἅ φημι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκείνοις παρακολουθησάτων συντετάχθαι, γέγραπται...

Does φημι imply here that he's expressing uncertainty? My translation would be:

For in the Memoirs, which I think were arranged by his apostles and those who followed, it is written...

Depending on context, could it mean something else, like "I assert [even if other people may disagree]"...? Or "Trust me, I'm telling you..."

As a side issue: -- By this time (ca. 160 CE), had the usage of "apostle" been clearly defined (by Paul?) so that it really means something like "chosen follower with authority," as opposed to just "messenger?"
Ben Crowell, Fullerton, California
an innovative, free, and open-source presentation of Homer: https://bcrowell.github.io/ransom/

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jeidsath
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Re: Interpreting φημι

Post by jeidsath »

ἐν γὰρ τοῖς ἀπομνημονεύμασιν, ἅ φημι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκείνοις παρακολουθησάντων συντετάχθαι, γέγραπται ὅτι...

My understanding: For in the remembrances, which I tell you are compiled by his apostles and those who followed them, it is written that...

Now, he doesn't say ἔγωγε, to put the emphasis on it being a personal opinion, nor does the context seem to imply that there is disagreement, some people saying one thing, others another. Nor does he emphasize the thing said, to contrast with others saying something else. In context it looks like simple assertion to me, just having read through a few paragraphs, and looking at a few of his other φημί statements in it, and how the dialogue is flowing. But it's probably worth reading through the whole thing and getting a feel for it.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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bcrowell
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Re: Interpreting φημι

Post by bcrowell »

Thanks, Joel!

I guess what bothered me was that if it's just "I say," then it seems to serve no purpose. Studying the context some more, as you suggested, I think I see what you mean. In a lot of Trypho you have actual dialog, with φημι used as a speech tag to distinguish Justin's speech from Trypho's. But the sentence I quoted above occurs in a passage where Justin has a very long uninterrupted monologue. So I think its function is just that it's a reminder that this is still Justin's own speech that he's quoting.
Ben Crowell, Fullerton, California
an innovative, free, and open-source presentation of Homer: https://bcrowell.github.io/ransom/

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