Mike Burke wrote:
No, I meant πάλι, which is defined in my Greek dictionary as meaning "again."
Then you are citing a word which does not exist in ancient Greek. It's modern Greek, and derived from πάλιν, but not necessarily the same thing.
Mike Burke wrote: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.
Because context is more than just certain key words which affect meaning (although the presence of key words can be a big part of the context). It's not simply enough to understand the lexical definition of an item that is used in a text, one must understand the text and the flow discourse, the structure, the overall message the author is attempting to communicate through the text. Then you can see how the usage under discussion fits the context perfectly. That is one reason I suggested you check published translations by classicists, experts on that particular play of Euripides, who know what they are about.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:BTW, there is no such thing as "inherent" meaning in a word -- only usage in context.
Mike Burke wrote: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.)
No, this is not the case. Words do not have "inherent meaning." They are, after all, simply a sequence of sounds to which "'meaning" is assigned conventionally by speakers of the language. What you have is more or less frequent usages of the word in particular contexts. For your example, you simply cite the most frequent usage of the word. Other usages may derive from that one, but once they do so, they obtain, as it were, a life of their own, and those usages must be understood contextually apart from other usages.
The captain can run the ship with a run in her stocking while her crewmembers run a race on the run on deck 10.
What does run mean?
I suggest you pick up a good book on lexical semantics, such as Moises Silva's Biblical Words and their Meaning. http://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Words-Th ... 0310479819
Mike Burke wrote: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?
I have largely answered the question in the general sense above. It's context, more broadly understood. In the context of Alc. 362, Admetus is comparing what he would like to do with Alcestis with Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus attempted to bring back his wife from the underworld and very nearly succeeded, but failing at the last, and Admetus is saying that if he had the same chance, he would succeed in bringing her back. Do you see how the idea of "restore, bring back" fits the context (and a usage clearly established by the lexicographers)? Now let's look at Matt 5:21:
ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ· Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου.
First, check the overall context and structure of the narrative (the story) in which the statement takes place. What's being said? Secondly, there is a big syntactic clue here as to the use in context, and that is the prepositional phrase ἐπὶ πολλῶν with καταστήσω. This, particularly in the story we have here, limits the possible semantic choices to something like "set" or "appoint," "I will set/appoint you over many things," i.e., the servant will be in some sense in charge of them.
Mike Burke wrote:Are you saying that a return to some previous state or condition is part of the definition of καταστήσω?
No, I'm saying that this is one possible usage of the word if the context so allows.
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."
We do not discuss theological issues on B-Greek. I will suggest that this particular story has little to contribute to such a discussion.
Mike Burke wrote: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.
Before attempting to validate a translation, you must understand what the Greek is actually saying...