use of η to refute an argument?

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use of η to refute an argument?

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » January 5th, 2016, 7:49 pm

Recently encountered a take on 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 I had not yet seen, citing a word meaning I've never heard of"
Paul REFUTES the Jewish quotation in I Corinthians 14:34-35 twice in the very next verse (v. 36) by using the Greek letter eta.

The Greek eta has two possible markings that cause it to be translated with either the English word "or," or with the English equivalent of what we mean when we make a sound with our mouths like "PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!" This means "That's ridiculous!" or "Are you kidding me?" or "Nonsense!" This latter meaning, in my opinion, is precisely what Paul is saying (twice) in I Corinthians 14:36. In response to the Jewish quotation he has just given in I Corinthians 14:35-36 Paul writes a Greek eta to elicit a sound from the reader "PFFFFFFFFT!" which is best translated "Nonsense!"
Is anyone familiar with this, or is this guy talking out of his hat?
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Louis L Sorenson
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Re: use of η to refute an argument?

Post by Louis L Sorenson » January 6th, 2016, 4:07 am

1 Corinthians 14:34-36 αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν· οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτρέπεται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλὰ ὑποτασσέσθωσαν, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει. 35 εἰ δέ τι μαθεῖν θέλουσιν, ἐν οἴκῳ τοὺς ἰδίους ἄνδρας ἐπερωτάτωσαν· αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστιν γυναικὶ λαλεῖν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ. 36 ἀφʼ ὑμῶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθεν, εἰς ὑμᾶς μόνους κατήντησεν;

Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed., 1 Co 14:34–36). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: use of η to refute an argument?

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 6th, 2016, 6:37 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:Paul writes a Greek eta to elicit a sound from the reader "PFFFFFFFFT!" which is best translated "Nonsense!"
Presumably he is referring to the first of the two etas.

There is an LSJ entry to that effect.

The Modern Greek for "Huh?!?!" is "εεε".
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: use of η to refute an argument?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 6th, 2016, 6:54 am

I think this makes better sense:

α. to introduce and to add rhetorical questions (Just., D 2, 4 al.; Ath. 8:3 al.) ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι; or do you suppose that? Mt 26:53. ἢ Ἰουδαίων ὁ θεὸς μόνον; or is God the God of the Judeans alone? Ro 3:29. ἢ ἀγνοεῖτε; or do you not know? 6:3; 7:1; also ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε; 11:2; 1 Cor 6:9, 16, 19; cp. 10:22; 2 Cor 11:7.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 432). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

I'm sure the author is getting it from the LSJ entry, but that makes no sense in this context, and I doubt whether it was the equivalent of a bunch of "f''s" strung together.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: use of η to refute an argument?

Post by cwconrad » January 6th, 2016, 8:43 am

I'm reminded of a colloquial German usage in the repertory of the posing of an alternative notion: while a more formal recourse is adding a "nicht wahr?" to a positive formulation, colloquial alternatives are common, among them "stimmt's?", "gilt's?", and "oder." The "oder" puzzled me when first I heard it, but then I realized it was, "Or don't you think so?" or the like. I remember one young Münchnerin who'd blurt out her thinking on a matter, and then add, "Stimmt's, oder hob i recht?"
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

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