Stephen Hughes wrote:Well, that was a mawkish rendering. The word moves means either good or bad medicine (restorative or destructive) at different times in its history.
Stephen Hughes in the Post-Atticism - Ο Ερωτόκριτος του Βιντσέντζου Κορνάρου thread wrote:φαρμάκιν - the Classical form is φάρμακον "medicine", "potion", "poison", Koine is φαρμάκιον "potion", "poison", 17th century Crete it is this φαρμάκιν, and the Modern is φαρμάκι - "poison".
That is statement is complicated by the fact that many later fathers were Atticists (educated to write in Attic).
BDAG, which covers not only the NT but early Christian literature, says of φάρμακον 1 harmful drug, poison
, 2 a drug used as a controlling medium, magic potion, charm
, 3 a healing remedy medicine, remedy, drug
; under this heading BDAG gives also means of attaining something
+ gen., and for the phrase φάρμακον ἀθανασίας offers: the medicine of
(i.e. means of attaining
I'm also aware of LSJ II.2. c. gen. also, a means of producing something, φ. σωτηρίας Id.Ph.893; μνήμης καὶ σοφίας φ. Pl.Phdr.274e; ὑπομνήσεως ib.275a, cf. 230d; ἀθανασίας Antiph.86.6; ἡσυχίας Arist.Pol.1273b23; φ. μανίας, of the oil applied to wrestlers, D.L.1.104.
So it crossed my mind to construe the φαρμακα with των παντων κακων in the sense approaching "produces all kinds of evil"; but I'd expect the singular, and I don't know if this sense was used by any of the Greek fathers, in any case.
I do take the point that the time of writing influences our understanding of the words; indeed, this prompted my question.
But if we construe as I understand you're suggesting, that leaves βιβλια as unqualified, and that strikes me as unsatisfactory rather than odd.
All of which is why my reaction to the text was to be unconvinced and to suspect - and Stephen Carlson was thinking on similar lines, I gather - that he's quoting from memory, probably back-translating as best he can. That Stephen couldn't find anything in TLG is pretty damning, I think.