[B-Greek] PRIN before the birth of Abraham/the Muses.

Steven Cox stevencox_backonbgreek at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Oct 14 04:15:53 EDT 2009

Hello folks, 
please don't jump all over me, this is probably a very basic question, but wasn't one I could see addressed in the Bgreek archive.

I started with John 8:58 PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI (aor. inf. mid.)

and TWN PRIN MOUSAS GEGONENAI (perf. inf. act.)

before the birth of the muses, Plato, Phaidros. Socrates 259b

And had the question, why not PRIN ABRAAM GEGONENAI?

Then I've been looking through the "before [the soul] is born" constructions in Plato's Phaedo 75-77, where PRIN GENESQAI and PRIN GEGONENAI occur in contrast (?)

75c prin genesthai ara

75c kai prin genesthai kai euthus

75e labontes prin genesthai

76e prin gegonenai 

77a prin genesthai

77b hoti prin genesthai

77c hoti prin genesthai hêmas ên hêmôn hê psuchê
77c prin genesthai ei mellei

It makes reasonable sense to me why 76e is PRIN + perf.inf.act. 

 [76e] huparchousan proteron aneuriskontes hêmeteran ousan, kai tauta ekeinêi apeikazomen, anankaion, houtôs hôsper kai tauta estin, houtôs kai tên hêmeteran psuchên einai kai prin gegonenai hêmas: ei de mê esti tauta, allôs an ho logos houtos eirêmenos eiê; ar' houtôs echei, kai isê anankê tauta te einai kai tas hêmeteras psuchas prin kai hêmas gegonenai, kai ei mê tauta, oude tade;
[76e] which we find existed previously and are now ours, and
compare our sensations with these, is it not a necessary inference that
just as these abstractions exist, so our souls existed before we were
born; and if these abstractions do not exist, our argument is of no
force? Is this the case, and is it equally certain that provided these
things exist our souls also existed before we were born, and that if
these do not exist, neither did our souls?”

but that still doesn't really help me grasp why not PRIN ABRAAM GEGONENAI. Can anyone provide any helpful comments. Is it related to the following being EGW EIMI not EGW HN?

Many thanks.

PS - there was a secondary question of why not PRIN ABRAAM GENNASQAI, but I think I'm okay on that one. Just noting in case anyone has comments on that too.
nb. gennaw, prin .... gennasthai. - not found. except in Suda.

hôs egeneto ho Kuros, Herodotus 1.108.3
when Cyrus was born 

hôste egegonei men Cheirôn proteros toutôn, 
Cheiron was born before these (Xenophon on Hunting).

before (prin) this event happened (genesthai)  (Lysias 19:55)
before (prin) before the war against the Lydians happened (genesthai) (Aristotle, Politics 4.1290b.20)

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