[B-Greek] Hebrews 13.2... now it's deponent, not it's not

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sun Jun 14 13:19:06 EDT 2009

On Jun 14, 2009, at 10:15 AM, Mitch Larramore wrote:

> τῆς φιλοξενίας μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθε,  
> διὰ ταύτης γὰρ ἔλαθόν τινες  
> ξενίσαντες ἀγγέλους.
> 1. What accounts for EPILANQANESQE (from EPI + LANQANOMAI) being  
> deponent but ELAQON (from LANQANW) is not??

These are two different verbs: (1) EPILANQANOMAI, a middle verb (what  
the many call a "deponent") meaning, "forget" or "neglect" (basically  
"fail to be aware of"), and (2) LANQANW, meaning "elude, stay unseen  
(while doing something)." Both derive from the same root LAQ which has  
the basic sense "hiddenness" or "concealment." This root appears also  
notably in the adjective ALHQHS, formed with an alpha privative and  
meaning, originally, "un-concealed" or "un-disguised." I think it was  
the German existentialist philosopher who suggested that the noun  
ALHQEIA, which we usually English as "truth," means something like,  
"what we see when all the wrappers and disguises and masks have been  
stripped away."

> 2. What is the relationship between ELAQON and TINES XENISANTES?

LANQANW is a verb that ordinarily construes with a participle  
indicating precisely what the subject of LANQANW is doing while unseen  
or being unaware. It's frequently used of some stealthy or underhanded  
behavior that goes undetected by those who will be harmed or  
benefitted from the behavior in question, e.g. hOI DESMWTAI ELAQON  
TOUS FULAKAS FEUGONTES, "The prisoners escaped without the guards  
noticing them." ELAQON TINES XENISANTES AGGELOUS means "Some (unnamed)  
persons have played host to angels without being aware of it." There's  
a strange, fascinating Hellenistic Greek proverb, LAQE BIWSAS, that  
means something like "Live your life without being noticed."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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