Chrysostom on Interpretation

Chrysostom on Interpretation

Postby Charlie Johnson » June 8th, 2011, 9:09 am

This bit comes from Chrysostom's commentary on Galatians. I thought it might interest some readers. Below I have a few questions and comments.

Τοῦτο τοίνυν ποιῶμεν. Οὐδὲ γὰρ δεῖ τὰ ῥήματα γυμνὰ ἐξετάζειν, ἐπεὶ πολλὰ
ἕψεται τὰ ἁμαρτήματα· οὐδὲ τὴν λέξιν καθ' ἑαυτὴν βασανίζειν, ἀλλὰ τῇ διανοίᾳ
προσέχειν τοῦ γράφοντος. Καὶ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ἡμετέραις διαλέξεσιν, ἂν μὴ τούτῳ ὦμεν
κεχρημένοι τῷ τρόπῳ, καὶ τὴν γνώμην ἐξετάζωμεν τοῦ λέγοντος, πολλὰς
ὑποστησόμεθα τὰς ἀπεχθείας, καὶ πάντα ἀνατραπήσεται. Καὶ τί δεῖ λέγειν ἐπὶ ῥημάτων,
ὅπου καὶ ἐπὶ πραγμάτων ἂν μή τις τὸν κανόνα τοῦτον φυλάττῃ, πάντα ἄνω καὶ κάτω
γενήσεται; Καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἰατροὶ καὶ τέμνουσι καὶ διακλῶσί τινα τῶν ὀστέων, καὶ λῃσταὶ
ταῦτα ποιοῦσι πολλάκις. Πόσης οὖν ἀθλιότητος ἂν εἴη, ὅταν λῃστὴν καὶ ἰατρὸν μὴ
δυνηθῶμεν διελεῖν; Πάλιν ἀνδροφόνοι καὶ μάρτυρες τὰς αὐτὰς ὑπομένουσιν ὀδύνας
βασανιζόμενοι· ἀλλὰ πολὺ τὸ μέσον ἑκατέρων. Κἂν μὴ τοῦτον διατηρῶμεν τὸν κανόνα,
οὐ δυνησόμεθα εἰδέναι ταῦτα, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν Ἠλίαν ἀνδροφόνον ἐροῦμεν, καὶ τὸν
Σαμουὴλ καὶ τὸν Φινεὲς, τὸν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ παιδοκτόνον, εἰ τὰ πράγματα μέλλοιμεν
ἐξετάζειν γυμνὰ, μὴ προστιθέντες αὐτοῖς τὴν τῶν ποιούντων γνώμην. Ἐξετάσωμεν
τοίνυν καὶ τοῦ Παύλου τὴν διάνοιαν, ἀφ' ἧς ταῦτα ἔγραφεν· ἴδωμεν αὐτοῦ τὸν σκοπὸν,
καὶ τίς ἦν διόλου περὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους, καὶ τότε εἰσόμεθα ταῦτα ἐκ ποίας ἐλέγετο
γνώμης
.

This is my first time encountering the idiom ἄνω καὶ κάτω. I was gratified to render it in my head "topsy-turvey" and then find those words in the LSJ entry.

I never did find the lexical root for παιδοκτόνον, but I understand it.

Why an optative form μέλλοιμεν ? In seminary I didn't learn much at all about the optative, but I'm used to seeing it in prayers and requests.

Also, I'm having a hard time sorting out the last phrase (καὶ τότε εἰσόμεθα ταῦτα ἐκ ποίας ἐλέγετο γνώμης) grammatically.
Charlie Johnson
 
Posts: 32
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 6:44 am

Re: Chrysostom on Interpretation

Postby cwconrad » June 8th, 2011, 10:12 am

Charlie Johnson wrote:This bit comes from Chrysostom's commentary on Galatians. I thought it might interest some readers. Below I have a few questions and comments.

Τοῦτο τοίνυν ποιῶμεν. Οὐδὲ γὰρ δεῖ τὰ ῥήματα γυμνὰ ἐξετάζειν, ἐπεὶ πολλὰ
ἕψεται τὰ ἁμαρτήματα· οὐδὲ τὴν λέξιν καθ' ἑαυτὴν βασανίζειν, ἀλλὰ τῇ διανοίᾳ
προσέχειν τοῦ γράφοντος. Καὶ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ἡμετέραις διαλέξεσιν, ἂν μὴ τούτῳ ὦμεν
κεχρημένοι τῷ τρόπῳ, καὶ τὴν γνώμην ἐξετάζωμεν τοῦ λέγοντος, πολλὰς
ὑποστησόμεθα τὰς ἀπεχθείας, καὶ πάντα ἀνατραπήσεται. Καὶ τί δεῖ λέγειν ἐπὶ ῥημάτων,
ὅπου καὶ ἐπὶ πραγμάτων ἂν μή τις τὸν κανόνα τοῦτον φυλάττῃ, πάντα ἄνω καὶ κάτω
γενήσεται; Καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἰατροὶ καὶ τέμνουσι καὶ διακλῶσί τινα τῶν ὀστέων, καὶ λῃσταὶ
ταῦτα ποιοῦσι πολλάκις. Πόσης οὖν ἀθλιότητος ἂν εἴη, ὅταν λῃστὴν καὶ ἰατρὸν μὴ
δυνηθῶμεν διελεῖν; Πάλιν ἀνδροφόνοι καὶ μάρτυρες τὰς αὐτὰς ὑπομένουσιν ὀδύνας
βασανιζόμενοι· ἀλλὰ πολὺ τὸ μέσον ἑκατέρων. Κἂν μὴ τοῦτον διατηρῶμεν τὸν κανόνα,
οὐ δυνησόμεθα εἰδέναι ταῦτα, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν Ἠλίαν ἀνδροφόνον ἐροῦμεν, καὶ τὸν
Σαμουὴλ καὶ τὸν Φινεὲς, τὸν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ παιδοκτόνον, εἰ τὰ πράγματα μέλλοιμεν
ἐξετάζειν γυμνὰ, μὴ προστιθέντες αὐτοῖς τὴν τῶν ποιούντων γνώμην. Ἐξετάσωμεν
τοίνυν καὶ τοῦ Παύλου τὴν διάνοιαν, ἀφ' ἧς ταῦτα ἔγραφεν· ἴδωμεν αὐτοῦ τὸν σκοπὸν,
καὶ τίς ἦν διόλου περὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους, καὶ τότε εἰσόμεθα ταῦτα ἐκ ποίας ἐλέγετο
γνώμης
.


This is my first time encountering the idiom ἄνω καὶ κάτω. I was gratified to render it in my head "topsy-turvey" and then find those words in the LSJ entry.


I never did find the lexical root for παιδοκτόνον, but I understand it.


I think this is the sort of comprehension of implicit sense from context that doesn't depend on having seen the phrase or word before: the context immediately makes clear what ἄνω καὶ κάτω means here, and one readily discerns the lexical roots ἀνδρο- and κτον- and what they must mean with reference to Abraham and Isaac.

Why an optative form μέλλοιμεν ? In seminary I didn't learn much at all about the optative, but I'm used to seeing it in prayers and requests.


I think it's the same usage as above at Πόσης οὖν ἀθλιότητος ἂν εἴη ... -- a potential optative in what I learned as a "Future lesss vivid" conditional construction, where the protasis ("If we were to do such and such a thing") is implicit rather than expressed. So Πόσης οὖν ἀθλιότητος ἂν εἴη ... "What a pity it would be, (IF ... )"

Also, I'm having a hard time sorting out the last phrase (καὶ τότε εἰσόμεθα ταῦτα ἐκ ποίας ἐλέγετο γνώμης) grammatically.


I think this is an instance of indirect question with the subject (ταῦτα) of ἐλέγετο out in front of the interrogative phrase ἐκ ποίας ... γνώμης: "and then we'll know the idea underlying the expression in the text" or more literally, "and then we'll know from what intention these things were being said."

This is an interesting passage. So nicely does it illustrate George Somsel's ad nauseam admonition ("Context, context, context") that it's a pity he's off sulking somewhere, peeved at the new setup of B-Greek, rather than ready to comment himself.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
cwconrad
 
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