ἐς φῶς σὸν

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ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Mike Burke » March 15th, 2014, 8:02 pm

What does ἐς φῶς σὸν mean?

Context:

ἐς φῶς σὸν καταστῆσαι βίον

Euripides Trag., Alcestis.
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » March 16th, 2014, 1:25 am

into your light
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Barry Hofstetter » March 16th, 2014, 1:49 am

Mike Burke wrote:What does ἐς φῶς σὸν mean?

Context:

ἐς φῶς σὸν καταστῆσαι βίον

Euripides Trag., Alcestis.


That's not much context. Better:

εἰ δ᾽ Ὀρφέως μοι γλῶσσα καὶ μέλος παρῆν,
ὥστ᾽ ἢ κόρην Δήμητρος ἢ κείνης πόσιν
ὕμνοισι κηλήσαντά σ᾽ ἐξ Ἅιδου λαβεῖν,
360κατῆλθον ἄν, καί μ᾽ οὔθ᾽ ὁ Πλούτωνος κύων
οὔθ᾽ οὑπὶ κώπῃ ψυχοπομπὸς ἂν Χάρων
ἔσχον, πρὶν ἐς φῶς σὸν καταστῆσαι βίον.

Admetus is mourning the loss of Alcestis, and he is referencing Orpheus' journey to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice. stating that if he could he would go to the Underworld to bring her back (but then goes on to encourage her to wait for him). He says "Neither the dog of Pluto nor soul-escorting Charon at his oar would hold me back before I restored your life to the light."

So, σὀν modifies βίον, and ἐς φῶς is a prepositional phrase in which σὀν is not included.

Mike, you really ought to make an effort really to learn some Greek. That is one of the requirements for people participating on this list, that they really are making such an effort in good faith.
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Mike Burke » March 16th, 2014, 8:08 am

Admetus is mourning the loss of Alcestis, and he is referencing Orpheus' journey to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice. stating that if he could he would go to the Underworld to bring her back (but then goes on to encourage her to wait for him). He says "Neither the dog of Pluto nor soul-escorting Charon at his oar would hold me back before I restored your life to the light."

So, σὀν modifies βίον, and ἐς φῶς is a prepositional phrase in which σὀν is not included.

Mike, you really ought to make an effort really to learn some Greek. That is one of the requirements for people participating on this list, that they really are making such an effort in good faith.


Thank you.

I am trying.

What I don't understand here is how καταστῆσαι becomes "restored"?

I thought it meant something like "make," "appoint," or "ordain," and figured it's meaning here must be modified by some preceding word or phrase, but I still don't see how "make" becomes "restore"?
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Barry Hofstetter » March 16th, 2014, 8:55 am

Mike Burke wrote:
Thank you.

I am trying.

What I don't understand here is how καταστῆσαι becomes "restored"?

I thought it meant something like "make," "appoint," or "ordain," and figured it's meaning here must be modified by some preceding word or phrase, but I still don't see how "make" becomes "restore"?


Mike, some of us are very suspicious about your "trying." Looking back over your posts, for years you have asked the same sort of elementary questions, over and over, and show no progress at all. All of us who have studied the languages, and especially those of us who teach them, expect to see a certain measure of progress in those who study, even if it's on the slow side. You show no measurable progress at all.

As for the meaning of καταστῆσαι, that has already been addressed in another topic, where you raised that question specifically. What you don't seem to understand is that words in any language have a "semantic range" (range of meaning) which is determined by context. Only rarely (usually only with technical terms and borrowings) will a word in one language have an identical semantic range with a word in another language. In translation, it's often necessary to use different words in the receptor language to capture a particular slice of the semantic range in the source language. There is also something called "pragmatic extension," which simply means that words can be used in unusual senses when sufficiently so modified by context. If it happens frequently enough the extended usage can become a "fixed" part of the semantic range. Again, look through the lexicons and familiarize yourself with the semantic range of καθἰστημι. Look at the context in which it's used. Examine published translations by people who actually know what they are doing...
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Mike Burke » March 16th, 2014, 8:24 pm

There is also something called "pragmatic extension," which simply means that words can be used in unusual senses when sufficiently so modified by context.


And isn't the translation of καταστῆσαι as "restore" in Euripides Trag., Alcestis a good example of "pragmatic extension"?

That's the essence of my question here.

I want to know if the meaning of being restored to a previous state is inherent in the word καταστῆσαι, or if the meaning of the word has been modified by something in the context here.

I started this topic heading because I suspect it has been modified by context here, and I'd like to know which word does the modifying (as I don't see πάλι.)
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Barry Hofstetter » March 16th, 2014, 11:15 pm

Mike Burke wrote:
There is also something called "pragmatic extension," which simply means that words can be used in unusual senses when sufficiently so modified by context.


And isn't the translation of καταστῆσαι as "restore" in Euripides Trag., Alcestis a good example of "pragmatic extension"?

That's the essence of my question here.

I want to know if the meaning of being restored to a previous state is inherent in the word καταστῆσαι, or if the meaning of the word has been modified by something in the context here.

I started this topic heading because I suspect it has been modified by context here, and I'd like to know which word does the modifying (as I don't see πάλι.)


I assume you mean πἀλιν? From the LSJ:

bring down to a place, τούς μ' ἐκέλευσα Πύλονδε καταστῆσαι Od.13.274: generally, bring, κ. τινὰ ἐς Νάξον Hdt.1.64, cf. Th.4.78; esp. bring back, πάλιν αὐτὸν κ. ἐς τὸ τεῖχος σῶν καὶ ὑγιᾶ Id.3.34; κ. τοὺς Ἕλληνας εἰς Ἰωνίαν πάλιν X.An.1.4.13; without πάλιν, replace, restore, ἐς φῶς σὸν κ. βίον E.Alc.362; ἃς (sc. τὰς κόρας) οὐδ' ὁ Μελάμπους . . καταστήσειεν ἄν cure their squint, Alex.112.5; ἰκτεριῶντας κ. Dsc.4.1; τὸ σῶμα restore the general health, Hp.Mul. 2.133:—Med., κατεστήσαντο (v.l. for κατεκτήσαντο) εὐδαιμονίαν Isoc. 4.62:—Pass., οὐκ ἂν ἀντὶ πόνων Χάρις καθίσταιτο would be returned, Th. 4.86.

Please note that they list the specific passage you cited. BTW, there is no such thing as "inherent" meaning in a word -- only usage in context. Also, I translated it as "restore" without looking at the LSJ, so that what I apparently saw what they also saw.
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Mike Burke » March 18th, 2014, 9:33 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I assume you mean πἀλιν?


No, I meant πάλι, which is defined in my Greek dictionary as meaning "again."

I can see how "set" (which seems to be the basic meaning of καταστήσω) plus "again" (or any word with a similar meaning) could mean "restore," but I don't see how you arive at that meaning without some such word in the surrounding context.

Barry Hofstetter wrote:without πάλιν, replace, restore, ἐς φῶς σὸν κ. βίον E.Alc.362...Please note that they list the specific passage you cited


Actually, it was that citation that started me thinking about this (and I assumed πἀλιν meant something like "πάλι.")

Barry Hofstetter wrote:BTW, there is no such thing as "inherent" meaning in a word -- only usage in context.


That's not true.

In certain contexts the word "dog" can mean a morally reprehensible person, or a sexually active male, but if I were asked the meaning of the word by someone just learning English, I would say "a furry, four footed animal."

That's the basic, literal meaning inherent in the word (and there even when a human being is figuratively compared to such an animal either favorably or unfavorably.)

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Also, I translated it as "restore" without looking at the LSJ, so that what I apparently saw what they also saw.


I want to understand that citation better, and I'd like to know what you (and they) saw.

I'd like to know "why" you translated it "restore" in E.Alc.362, when (I assume) you wouldn't translate it that way in Matthew 25:21?

Are you saying that a return to some previous state or condition is part of the definition of καταστήσω?

I know some professing Christians who believe in the pre-existence of the soul, and I suspect they'd be delighted if ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω could legitimately be translated "you have been faithful over a few things, I will again set you over many."

Is that a legitamate translation?

If not, why not?

If you could answer theses questions for an admitted novice here, I would be truly grateful.

Thank you.
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » March 19th, 2014, 3:42 am

Mike Burke wrote:I know some professing Christians who believe in the pre-existence of the soul, and I suspect they'd be delighted if ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω could legitimately be translated "you have been faithful over a few things, I will again set you over many."

Is that a legitamate translation?

If not, why not?


Because of the context. The quotation is from a story. It's not referring to a theological, metaphysical, transcendent or any other reality, but the in-story reality. In that reality the servant was first faithful in few things and therefore the master will set him over lots of things. No theological secrets here. It's not about syntax or semantics but genre and discourse. I know some people have great difficulties understanding that the Scriptures is human communication and works in the same way than all other communication. But there are no hidden secrets in the language (words, syntax) there. If there are, you have to argue why the speaker or writer wanted it to be there and how it relates to his explicit message. "God wanted it to be there" isn't an explanation for semantics, syntax or grammar, even though many (including me) believe that God wanted the text to be that way. Modern systematic theology is (almost?) always the worst and wrong explanation.

Even though we discuss only about language here we must understand that language isn't independent from our world, our understanding of it, other kinds of communication etc. We need more than linguistic/philological skills to understand the message of any text. It would do good to study basic exegetical skills on top of basic linguistic skills. (But I know that some areas of linguistics, namely discourse studies and pragmatics, overlap considerably with traditional exegesis.) One very basic skill is understanding genre and how it works in human communication.
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Re: ἐς φῶς σὸν

Postby Mike Burke » March 19th, 2014, 4:13 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Because of the context


So the word καταστήσω doesn't imply repetition?

I mean there's nothing in the word itself that suggests restoration or repair, without something in the context that implies it, am I right?

I understand the basic meaning of καταστήσω to be "set," or "set down," so mustn't there be something in the context of E.Alc.362 that modifies the meaning of καταστήσω in some way?

I mean some word or words that imply "again," so that "set" becomes "set again" (or restore)?

(And isn't that an example of what Barry called "pragmatic extension"?)

I would like to know what word or phrase does that.
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