CAIREIN in 2 John 10

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed May 22 08:40:30 EDT 2002


At 6:54 PM -0400 5/21/02, Manolis Nikolaou wrote:
>> At 9:05 AM -0500 5/21/02, boyd at huxcomm.net wrote:
>> >Dear B-Greekers,
>> >
>> >I was wondering if CAIREIN in 2 John 10 could be understood as
>> >direct discourse, rather than indirect.  Or am I misunderstanding
>> >something here?  If it were indirect discourse, what would the direct
>> >discourse have been?
>> >
>> >2 John 10
>> >EI TIS ERCETAI PROS hUMAS KAI TAUTHN THN DIDACHN OU
>> >FEREI, MH LAMBANETE AUTON EIS OIKIAN KAI CAIREIN
>> >AUTWi MH LEGETE.
>>
>> Here, as not infrequently, LEGETE is equivalent to KELEUETE (as when in
>> English we use "tell" in the sense of "command"). Since CAIRE/CAIRETE is an
>> imperative in the sense "be happy", the sense of the last compound clause
>> in the verse is, I think, "... don't welcome him into (your) house and
>> don't tell him to 'be happy', i.e. don't greet him." I think then that
>> CAIREIN here is simply a complementary infinitive with MH LEGETE AUTWi.
>> --
>
>While CAIRE / CAIRETE has been a typical Greek greeting until nowadays, in
>classical and Hellenistic Greek the infinitive CAIREIN  was also a very
>common way to greet someone, especially in letters: Acts 15:23, Acts
>23:26, James 1:1.
>
>Although a verb like KELEUW or LEGW could be considered implied in such
>cases, CAIREIN seem to have become semantically "autonomous", the way the
>infinitives of some other verbs (DOKEIN, EIPEIN, DEIN etc) have also
>become. So I wonder whether CAIREIN in 2 John 10 could also be understood
>as a semantically autonomous infinitive:
>
>"CAIREIN" MH LEGETE AUTWi = Don't say "CAIREIN" to him.
>
>It seems possible to me. . . Any thoughts?

Interesting question. I'm not sure it can be proved or disproved, but I
continue to think it's unlikely.

Epistolary usage of CAIREIN in the infinitive in the GNT is found in Acts
15:23, Acts 23:26, and James 1:1, each with a nominative of the sender,a
dative of the recipient and CAIREIN in the infinitive as the word of
greeting. I believe that there's an implicit KELEUEI or LEGEI to be
understood with that infinitive in each case, as in the comparable Latin
epistolary opening with nominative sender, dative recipient and "salutem
dicit" or "salutem plurimam dicit" with the sense, "says SALVE/SALVETE" =
"says 'your health!'"

Our text in 2 John 10-11 shows two instances of LEGW with CAIREIN:
(10) EI TIS ERCETAI PROS hUMAS KAI TAUTHN THN DIDACHN OU FEREI, MH
LAMBANETE AUTON EIS OIKIAN KAI CAIREIN AUTWi MH LEGETE; (11) hO LEGWN GAR
AUTWi CAIREIN KOINWNEI TOIS ERGOIS AUTOI TOIS PONHROIS.

Should we understand the phrase LEGW CAIREIN here as "I say 'CAIREIN'" or
"I bid you rejoice/be greeted"? I think it's the latter, although I guess I
can't prove it. I really think that if the CAIREIN were intended to be the
actual words spoken, we'd have a hOTI or the like following the form of
LEGW and preceding the infinitive.
-- 

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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