[B-Greek] 2COR. 1:8 AGNOEIN hUPER ...

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Mon May 25 17:29:34 EDT 2009


On May 25, 2009, at 2:57 PM, Elizabeth Kline wrote:

>
> On May 25, 2009, at 3:59 AM, Carl Conrad wrote:
>
>> On the other hand, this text is very similar to
>> 1Th. 4:13 	Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν,
>> ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῶν κοιμωμένων, ἵνα
>> μὴ λυπῆσθε καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ
>> μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα.
>> OU QELOMEN DE hUMAS AGNOEIN, ADELFOI, PERI TWN KOIMWMENWN, hINA MH
>> LUPHQHSQE KAQWS KAI hO;I LOIPOI hOI MH ECONTES ELPIDA.
>>
>> and BDAG, s.v. hUPER notes as sense A.3:
>>
>> 	3. marker of general content, whether of a discourse or mental
>> activity, about, concerning (about equivalent to περί
>> [τινος] {PERI TINOS}, w. which it is freq. interchanged in the
>> mss.; ...
>>
>> I wouldn't affirm Harris' judgment in this instance.
>
> Carl,
>
> I would agree that PERI TWN KOIMWMENWN functions like hUPER ... EN THi
> ASIAi. However, hINA in 1Th. 4:13 looks to me like it introduces a
> desired result (negated by MH), not the content of the ignorance.
> Whereas, in 2COR. 1:8 the hOTI clause appears to be
> "presentational" (M.Sim's term) describing the nature/content of the
> ignorance. This is one thing M.Harris objects to, having two
> descriptions of the content of AGNOEIN. He claims this never happens
> in the Pauline corpus.
>
> 2Cor. 1:8 Οὐ γὰρ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν,
> ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν  
> τῆς
> γενομένης ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθ᾿
> ὑπερβολὴν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἐβαρήθημεν
> ὥστε ἐξαπορηθῆναι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ
> ζῆν·
>
> 2COR. 1:8 OU GAR QELOMEN hUMAS AGNOEIN, ADELFOI, hUPER THS QLIYEWS
> hHMWN THS GENOMENHS EN THi ASIAi, hOTI KAQ᾿ hUPERBOLHN hUPER DUNAMIN
> EBARHQHMEN hWSTE EXAPORHQHNAI hHMAS KAI TOU ZHN·
>
> M.Harris assumes, as do others (P.E. Huges 1962), that the Corinthians
> allready knew about Paul's QLIYEWS. What they didn't know was the
> severity of it. If that was the case, then the hUPER clause could be
> viewed as contextualizer, something similar to a participle clause
> used in narative to link what follows to what preceeds. That brings up
> the question of constituent order. I was under the impression that
> contextualizers generally preceed the main verb.
>
> Another problem with Harris. He appears to assume that the NT Pauline
> corpus qualifies as a database for grammatical research. Any argument
> that starts out saying "Paul never does this or that ..."  implies
> that we can use a very small collection of texts to determine what is
> permissible, e.g. two clauses describing content with AGNOEIN.

It seems to me that there's more here in these AGNOEIN phrases; there  
are six of them in the Pauline corpus, all with OU QELW/OMEN hUMAS  
AGNOEIN (Rom 1:13, 11:25; 1 Cor 10:1, 12:1; 2 Cor 1:8; 1 Th 4:13). I  
think it's a mistake to focus on the object of AGNOEIN; the whole  
phrase is a "litotes" or rhetorical double negative phrase indicating  
how important it is to Paul for his addressees to "grasp" or  
"understand" something; it may be a fact (Paul's thwarted intentions,  
Rom 1:13, the exodus experience of the forefathers, 1 Cor 10:1), a  
specific focal area ("this mystery", Rom 11:25, spirituality, 1 Cor  
12:1, the status of those who sleep, 1 Th 4:13, Paul's perilous  
experience in Asia, 2 Cor 1:8). It's quite clear that this formulation  
is distainctly Pauline in the GNT; one might like to know whether it  
appears at all or frequently in exrra-biblical Hellenistic literature.  
It does seem somewhat perilous to generalize on the basis of so few  
instances.

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






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