Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

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cwconrad
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Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by cwconrad » March 16th, 2015, 6:02 am

Interesting blog entry on two matters of recent and recurrent interest: articular infinitives and the futility of trying to convert what are perfectly standard Greek constructions into intractable English expressions:

http://oldschoolscript.com/2015/03/15/w ... late-well/
…when the article does occur with the inf., it should have its real force. Often this will make extremely awkward English, as in Lu. 2:27, ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον. But the Greek has no concern about the English or German. It is simply slovenliness not to try to see the thing from the Greek standpoint. But we are not to make a slavish rendering. Translation should be idiomatic.
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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)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » March 18th, 2015, 11:56 am

cwconrad wrote:Interesting blog entry on two matters of recent and recurrent interest: articular infinitives and the futility of trying to convert what are perfectly standard Greek constructions into intractable English expressions:

http://oldschoolscript.com/2015/03/15/w ... late-well/
Robertson wrote:…when the article does occur with the inf., it should have its real force. Often this will make extremely awkward English, as in Lu. 2:27, ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον. But the Greek has no concern about the English or German. It is simply slovenliness not to try to see the thing from the Greek standpoint. But we are not to make a slavish rendering. Translation should be idiomatic.
Such an expressive word, “slovenliness”, made even more effective by its appearance in the nominal form. It is like one of those ‘mother’ words planted in early childhood and still working in old age. One might be willing to be found guilty of many crimes, but “slovenliness” in unnaturally mangling a Greek infinitive to fit an English mindset – this one must do everything to avoid! Dr. Robertson, I expect, was a very effective teacher.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 18th, 2015, 4:51 pm

cwconrad wrote:Interesting blog entry on two matters of recent and recurrent interest: articular infinitives and the futility of trying to convert what are perfectly standard Greek constructions into intractable English expressions:

http://oldschoolscript.com/2015/03/15/w ... late-well/
…when the article does occur with the inf., it should have its real force. Often this will make extremely awkward English, as in Lu. 2:27, ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον. But the Greek has no concern about the English or German. It is simply slovenliness not to try to see the thing from the Greek standpoint. But we are not to make a slavish rendering. Translation should be idiomatic.
On this particular example, however, Robertson is wrong as to the force of the article. The article no more has its "real force" with articular infinitives than does the English preposition "to" keeps its force when used with its infinitives. In both cases, they are merely syntactic structuring devices.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 19th, 2015, 5:57 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:On this particular example, however, Robertson is wrong as to the force of the article. The article no more has its "real force" with articular infinitives than does the English preposition "to" keeps its force when used with its infinitives. In both cases, they are merely syntactic structuring devices.
Can you go into more depth on this, perhaps with some examples of how you think Robertson got it wrong?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by cwconrad » March 19th, 2015, 8:42 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:On this particular example, however, Robertson is wrong as to the force of the article. The article no more has its "real force" with articular infinitives than does the English preposition "to" keeps its force when used with its infinitives. In both cases, they are merely syntactic structuring devices.
Can you go into more depth on this, perhaps with some examples of how you think Robertson got it wrong?
Yes, I too am curious about Stephen's meaning here. In the articular infinitive in question here,
Lk. 2:27, ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον
I'd be inclined to say that the "real force" of the article is highlighting -- it is, in origin, a weak demonstrative. A woodenly-literal version in English might use a gerund in place of the infinitive: "in the bringing in of the child by his parents"
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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)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Robertson on understanding Greek grammar th

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 19th, 2015, 5:09 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Can you go into more depth on this, perhaps with some examples of how you think Robertson got it wrong?
Well, that's the thesis of Denny Burk's book on articular infinitives. I don't have the book at the moment, since I had to borrow it by ILL, so I don't know what examples he used. I don't see any "real force" of the article in Gal 2:12, for example. The article is not anaphoric to anything in the context. I suppose one could save Robertson by watering down "real force" to something vacuous, but what would be the point of that?
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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