II Corinthians 6:11 -- ANEWiGEN

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Oct 28 08:03:14 EST 2001

At 9:26 AM +0000 10/28/01, David Thiele wrote:
>I have what I'm sure is a very simple question but I
>really would appreciate it if someone could clarify it
>for me.  I was reading II Corinthians the other day
>and came across the word ANEWiGEN, which all my
>grammatical helps tells me is a Perfect of ANOIGW. 
>The word had me confused initially.  I initially took
>it to be an imperfect.  Apart from the lengthening of
>the diphthong, it is exactly what I would have
>expected the imperfect to look like. 
>Given that ANEWiGEN is a perfect, can someone tell me
>what the imperfect form of ANOIGW looks like? 
>I've searched (as best I can) and cannot find this
>form.  Does the imperfect form of ANOIGW occur in the
>New Testament? 

Interesting question. This verb has, the forms of which are profoundly
shaped by the phonological laws of "vanishing consonants," in fact, no
imperfects in the GNT. But you are right, according to LSJ (latest edition
with Glare's supp.): the imperfect 3d sg. of this verb would indeed be
ANEWiGE(N) and that's found in Homer and Herodotus.

What creates all the difficulties in the paradigms of this verb is that its
root originally contained (and continued to contain well into the verb's
historical usage) an initial Digamma--the "w" sound spelled out in early
Greek inscriptions as a character looking somewhat like an italic
upper-case F. When I've had occasion in the past on B-Greek to
transliterate the Digamma I've used a lower-case "f" (in order to be
consistent to transliterate Phi with upper-case "F"), and I shall do so now.

The root of this verb is *fOIG; the verb's standard classical form is
fOIGNUMI. but LSJ say that the compound form ANOIGNUMI with the collateral
-W verb form ANOIGW is far more common (i.e. one more commonly "opens up"
than simply "opens") than the simple OIGNUMI or OIGW.

When this verb was augmented, while the Digamma was still in use, the form
was AN-E-fOIG-ON (1st sg.) in the imperfect, AN-E-fOIXA in the aorist. When
reduplicated in the perfect (so-called "second perfect"), while the Digamma
was still in use, the form was ANA-fEfOIGA. All fine and good, right?

Now, when the Digamma ceased to be pronounced, another phonetic factor
enters in, the lengthening of the second vocalic element in a sequence of
contiguous vowels or vowels + diphthongs. Under influence of this
AN-E-fOIG-ON became AN-E-WiG-ON and the "second perfect" ANA-fEfOIGA became
AN-EWiGA (the -A of the prefix now eliding before the E- of the new form of
the root, EWiG. For details and the range of variant forms found in
different dialects, see Smyth's Appendix, p. 687 s.v. ANOIGNUMI and ANOIGW
(Unfortunately, the on-line version of Smyth's Grammar at the Perseus
web-site does not include the appendix and its invaluable detailed list of
variant forms of the entire historical array of irregular verb forms in the
various dialects from Homer to late antiquity. Those with German might want
to look at the relevant discussion in the on-line Kuehner-Blass
Ausfuehrliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache at the article on
vowel-metathesis, §40.  Metathesis oder Verschiebung der Vokale at

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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