Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγεῖν

Robert Crowe
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Robert Crowe » February 19th, 2016, 6:39 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Sophocles , Oedipus tyrannus 1293

τὸ γὰρ νόσημα μεῖζον ἢ φέρειν.

It is the semantic domain of φέρειν with τὸ ... νόσημα μεῖζον which contributes the notion of "ability" not the fact that it is an infinitive. The infinitive in the abstract doesn't supply meaning of the sort you are looking for as Barry and Jonathan have already pointed out.
Hi Stirling! Nice to hear from you again.

Is the 'abstract' not where we put a screen around what's really going on and stick a label on it?

Anyhow, let me unpack the Sophocles line for you.

From what we see written, it appears that the comparison is between 'disease' and 'to bear', but Oedipus is making the comparison between what he feels. For us to see this real comparison we have to reduce 'disease' and 'to bear' to their lowest common denominator, like the way we compare fractions. This common denominator is 'ability'. What Oedipus is really comparing is 'the ability of the disease to cause distress' and 'the ability to bear it'.

Slan
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 19th, 2016, 6:12 pm

Robert,

Guy Cooper addresses this topic. He appears to consider the infinitive with adjectives in comparisons showing potential, ability and qualification as something like an accusative of respect. [1] He goes on to say that that all sorts of adjectives construe in a similar manner with infinitives, implying that there is nothing special about potential, ability and qualification.

Soph. OT 534
{ΟΙ.} Λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ' ἐγὼ κακὸς
σοῦ· δυσμενῆ γὰρ καὶ βαρύν σ' εὕρηκ' ἐμοί.


[1] “... infinitives used to complete the meaning of expressions showing potential, ability and qualification are accusatives of respect ...”

Guy Cooper, Attic Greek Prose Syntax, Vol. 1, p.779, 55.33.3.A

searching on: Λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ' ἐγὼ κακὸς I was able to pull up Cooper in Google books. I know this is location dependent so some folks will have different results.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 20th, 2016, 9:17 am

Robert Crowe wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:How is speaking with boldness an ability? Boldness is a disposition.
Surely boldness and ability need each other. I won't bore you with my life-story and its many bold pitfalls and lost opportunities. But many bold people have gone skiing only to break their several necks. I don't think the meaning here is just 'speaking boldly'; any fool can do that. I think it means to speak boldly to preach the gospel. I've never been a preacher, but going by the innumerable seminaries, we can assume it requires the acquisition of some skill.

The point is made clearer in Eph 6.19
καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μοῦ, ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον εὐαγγελίου.
(Pray) also for me, that utterance should be given me to boldly make known the mystery of the gospel.
I think that you are abstracting what is implied in an infinitive of purpose construction. "Give" (something) so that "an action is done". Implied in that is the wherewithal to get what is purposed done. I don't think that the ability to do it is what the authour or speaker is calling to his readers' attention - that would be that the thing gets done.

Perhaps if we were to analyse two consecutive frames in a film, and note the differences, and then logically reconstruct what must have happened to get from what we see in the first to what we see in the second, we would be doing something very similar to what we would need to do if we said that an infinitive of purpose means "ability".
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Robert Crowe
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Robert Crowe » February 20th, 2016, 2:54 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Soph. OT 534
{ΟΙ.} Λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ' ἐγὼ κακὸς
σοῦ· δυσμενῆ γὰρ καὶ βαρύν σ' εὕρηκ' ἐμοί.
Hope this is not a comment on my thesis, Stirling. :)
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Guy Cooper addresses this topic. He appears to consider the infinitive with adjectives in comparisons showing potential, ability and qualification as something like an accusative of respect.
Before analysing this construct, let me consolidate my take with the following proposition:
'The enablemement of an action does not generally need to be considered as part of the action per se, but it is the raison d'être for the action'

In the expression μανθάνειν δ‘ ἐγὼ κακὸς σοῦ Oedipus is assessing his ability to take instruction from Creon. This can be expressed in English as 'I'm bad at being able to take instruction from you' or, more colloquially, following the Greek idiom 'I'm bad at taking instruction from you' with the ability concept implicit.

Incidentally, Cooper's labelling for this infinitive is idiosyncratic. Personally I have no problem with this, but most grammarians would refer to it as 'prolative' or 'epexegetic'. I prefer the latter term as κακός is one of those lexemes that 'demand' further explanation.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:He goes on to say that that all sorts of adjectives construe in a similar manner with infinitives, implying that there is nothing special about potential, ability and qualification.
True, in many cases this construct only states an action per se.
e.g. 1 Cor 7:39 ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν ᾥ θέλει γαμηθῆναι The lady's ability to marry is not in question.

Just finish by saying your own take on this issue is most appreciated.

Slán go fóill.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 20th, 2016, 5:01 pm

Robert,

BTW, I agree about Cooper’s idiosyncrasies.

I am wondering just exactly what we are looking for here. The syntactical role of the infinitive in the sample text from Acts ...

Acts: 4:29 καὶ τὰ νῦν, κύριε, ἔπιδε ἐπὶ τὰς ἀπειλὰς αὐτῶν καὶ δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λαλεῖν τὸν λόγον σου, 30 ἐν τῷ τὴν χεῖρά [σου] ἐκτείνειν σε εἰς ἴασιν καὶ σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα γίνεσθαι διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ ἁγίου παιδός σου Ἰησοῦ.

... is different from the sample from Sophocles , Oedipus tyrannus 1293 ...

Soph. OT 1293
τὸ γὰρ νόσημα μεῖζον ἢ φέρειν.

... which in turn is different from the sample I provided from Oedipus tyrannus 534

Soph. OT 534
{ΟΙ.} Λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ' ἐγὼ κακὸς
σοῦ· δυσμενῆ γὰρ καὶ βαρύν σ' εὕρηκ' ἐμοί.

Is your thesis about infinitives independent of syntax? When we talk about the meaning of the infinitive it helps to know what we mean by meaning. The infinitive is used in final clauses. Some might venture to say that the infinitive so used “means” purpose (or whatever) even in the absence of a particle associated with final clauses. But that “meaning” is syntax dependent. The meaning you are suggesting appears to independent of syntax. But I am not certain.

I suspect the objections that have been raised so far in this thread probably are associated with some ambiguity concerning where "ability" fits into a general semantic framework. One way to test this is by identifying a point of comparison from the generally accepted notions about how infinitives are used with your thesis about “ability.” What would be a generally accepted semantic feature of infinitives that would be in the same class (paradigm) with “ability?”
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Robert Crowe
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Robert Crowe » February 20th, 2016, 5:40 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:I think that you are abstracting what is implied in an infinitive of purpose construction. "Give" (something) so that "an action is done". Implied in that is the wherewithal to get what is purposed done. I don't think that the ability to do it is what the authour or speaker is calling to his readers' attention - that would be that the thing gets done.
Evenin Jonathan! (Or is it mornin where you are?)

From my argument, you'll know that I'm positing 'ability' for the 'something' you mention. Anything else, I think, would have to be stated explicitly. I do share your view that the emphasis is on 'speaking the word boldly'; if it were on 'ability' it too would need an explicit lexeme.

Your mention of the cinema reminds me of a scene from a Woody Allen film. I think it was Annie Hall. Anyway, he's in a cinema queue having an argument with the gent behind him about the allusions in a work of fiction. To resolve the matter, using director's license, he just happens to have at hand the very author himself, who of course settles the matter on his behalf. 'If life were only that simple,' he quips. Well, I don't have at hand just now the Genius of the Greek language. Just where has he got to? I do, however, have at hand the NEV edition of the NT (a less well endowed stand-in I know) which gives for the line under discussion the following:
O Lord, mark their threats, and enable thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness.
[italics mine]

I wonder how long the committee took to make their minds up on this.

Slán!
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 21st, 2016, 7:58 am

Just showing that there are sentences where an infinitive implies ability doesn't demonstrate that. It may be part of the word meaning or implied by the context. In this case, the context is a prayer that asks God for something. What it asks is δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγεῖν. But I don't think the prayer tells us what God has to do to make that happen, I think we infer that from the context rather than the infinitive, and I don't think it is the focus.

I'm not sure exactly what your claim is. I'm pretty sure you would not claim that the infinitive always implies ability, so when do you claim that it does? Could you make a more specific claim, something that we can show to be true or false by looking at other sentences?
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Robert Crowe » February 21st, 2016, 4:37 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Is your thesis about infinitives independent of syntax? When we talk about the meaning of the infinitive it helps to know what we mean by meaning. The infinitive is used in final clauses. Some might venture to say that the infinitive so used “means” purpose (or whatever) even in the absence of a particle associated with final clauses. But that “meaning” is syntax dependent. The meaning you are suggesting appears to independent of syntax. But I am not certain.
Exactly Stirling! It's independent of syntax, all verbal forms, and even the verb itself. The latter is evident from the fact that an 'ability' lexeme needs further explanation to define a verbal concept.

ἱκανοὶ ἡμᾶς ὠφελεῖν X.A.3.3.18
(They may be) able to help us.

Now realising that it is not a semantic component of the verb, I retract the statement I made to Barry that it is. This may go a long way to resolving the matter.

Why then does it sometimes come into play implicitly? We must understand that it is fundamental to all verbal actions. No action can take place without the ability to do so. It can and does come into play in situations where it is in question.

Below, in a reply to Jonathan, I give examples where it does so apart from the infinitive.

Slán!
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Robert Crowe » February 21st, 2016, 5:27 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I'm not sure exactly what your claim is. I'm pretty sure you would not claim that the infinitive always implies ability, so when do you claim that it does? Could you make a more specific claim, something that we can show to be true or false by looking at other sentences?
Jonathan!
The following are examples of other verbal forms where the concept of 'ability' is relevant. All are culled from the Iliad Bk 6, which gives an index to their density here.

161b-162 ἀλλὰ τὸν ὄυ τι
πειθ‘ ἀγαθὰ φρονέοντα, δαΐφρονα Βελλεροφόντην
‘She (beautiful Anteia) was not able to persuade Bellerophontes.'

306b οὐδέ με πείσεις
'You (Helen) will not be able to persuade me.'

487 οὐ γάρ τίς μ‘ ὑπὲρ αἶσαν ἀνὴρ Ἄϊδι προϊαψει·
'No-one will be able to hurl me (Hector) to Hades.'

488 μοῖραν δ‘ οὔ τινά φημι πεφυγμένον ἔμμεναι ἀνδρῶν,
'I (Hector) say no-one has been able to escape fate.'

As I mentioned to Stirling, I concede that the idea of ability is not a semantic component of the verb. It is, however, fundamental to verbal action. It can and does come into play in situations where it is in question.

Slán!
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Acts 4:29 δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λεγ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 22nd, 2016, 10:41 pm

Robert Crowe wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I'm not sure exactly what your claim is. I'm pretty sure you would not claim that the infinitive always implies ability, so when do you claim that it does? Could you make a more specific claim, something that we can show to be true or false by looking at other sentences?
Jonathan!
The following are examples of other verbal forms where the concept of 'ability' is relevant. All are culled from the Iliad Bk 6, which gives an index to their density here.

161b-162 ἀλλὰ τὸν ὄυ τι
πειθ‘ ἀγαθὰ φρονέοντα, δαΐφρονα Βελλεροφόντην
‘She (beautiful Anteia) was not able to persuade Bellerophontes.'

306b οὐδέ με πείσεις
'You (Helen) will not be able to persuade me.'

487 οὐ γάρ τίς μ‘ ὑπὲρ αἶσαν ἀνὴρ Ἄϊδι προϊαψει·
'No-one will be able to hurl me (Hector) to Hades.'

488 μοῖραν δ‘ οὔ τινά φημι πεφυγμένον ἔμμεναι ἀνδρῶν,
'I (Hector) say no-one has been able to escape fate.'

As I mentioned to Stirling, I concede that the idea of ability is not a semantic component of the verb. It is, however, fundamental to verbal action. It can and does come into play in situations where it is in question.

Slán!
I'm glad that you said "other verbal forms" because only one of these is an infinitive, and so prove nothing about the infinitive. Again, this reflects more the translator's sense of how best to render the English than it does about anything inherent in the verbal form itself. Each of them could reasonably be rendered without the quality of "ability" added. If that implication is there, it's solely due to the context, and not the verbal form so used.
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