another difficulty in Aetius

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James Ernest
Posts: 39
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:26 pm

another difficulty in Aetius

Post by James Ernest » October 16th, 2011, 10:10 pm

The twelfth proposition in the Syntagma of Aetius (in Epiphanius) runs as follows:

Εἰ μὴ τὸ ἀγέννητον τὴν ὑπόστασιν τοῦ θεοῦ παρίστησιν, ἀλλ' ἐπινοίας ἐστὶν ἀνθρωπίνης τὸ ἀσύγκριτον ὄνομα, χάριν τοῖς ἐπινοήσασι γινώσκει ὁ θεὸς διὰ τὴν <τοῦ> ἀγεννήτου ἐπίνοιαν, τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τοῦ ὀνόματος οὐ φέρων ἐν οὐσίᾳ.

Is "χάριν . . . γινώσκει" an idiom meaning "is grateful to" or "thanks"? I pulled out my OED magnifying glass and searched for such an expression in LSJ s.v. χαρις but did not find it. Wickham seems to take it that way: "If ingeneracy does not represent the substance of the Deity, but the incomparable name is of human imagining, the Deity is grateful to those who thought the name up, since through the concept of ingeneracy he has a transcendence of name which he does not bear in essence." Seems to me Wickham has misconstrued διὰ τὴν <τοῦ> ἀγεννήτου ἐπίνοιαν; I would think rather " . . . on account of the notion of ingeneracy, since he does not bear in essence the excellence of that name."

I ask whether "χάριν . . . γινώσκει" = "is grateful" because Hanson (Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 608) translates rather differently, apparently reading χάριν τοῖς ἐπινοήσασι as if the latter two words were genitive and construing τὴν ὑπεροχὴν as the object of γινώσκει: "If ingenerateness does not constitute God's existence, but the name 'incomparable' is only the result of a human perception (ἐπινοίας), then it is owing to our human perception that God knows that he is ingenerate [which is of course absurd]." --But it appears to me that Hanson's translation has several problems--i.e., is generally wrong at every point where it differs from Wickham (except that I don't like Wickham's use of "transcendence" to translate ὑπεροχὴ).
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James D. Ernest, PhD
Executive Editor
Baker Academic and Brazos Press
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Mark Lightman
Posts: 293
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: another difficulty in Aetius

Post by Mark Lightman » October 16th, 2011, 10:28 pm

Is "χάριν . . . γινώσκει" an idiom meaning "is grateful to" or "thanks"?
Yes, James. I remember seeing this in Chariton, along with δίδωμι χάριν, οἶδα χάριν, and εὐχαριστῶ. I remember thinking, man, with so many ways to "thank you," the Greeks must have been the most polite people in the world! :)

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 942
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: another difficulty in Aetius

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 16th, 2011, 10:57 pm

James Ernest wrote:The twelfth proposition in the Syntagma of Aetius (in Epiphanius) runs as follows:

Εἰ μὴ τὸ ἀγέννητον τὴν ὑπόστασιν τοῦ θεοῦ παρίστησιν, ἀλλ' ἐπινοίας ἐστὶν ἀνθρωπίνης τὸ ἀσύγκριτον ὄνομα, χάριν τοῖς ἐπινοήσασι γινώσκει ὁ θεὸς διὰ τὴν <τοῦ> ἀγεννήτου ἐπίνοιαν, τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τοῦ ὀνόματος οὐ φέρων ἐν οὐσίᾳ.

Is "χάριν . . . γινώσκει" an idiom meaning "is grateful to" or "thanks"? I pulled out my OED magnifying glass and searched for such an expression in LSJ s.v. χαρις but did not find it. Wickham seems to take it that way: "If ingeneracy does not represent the substance of the Deity, but the incomparable name is of human imagining, the Deity is grateful to those who thought the name up, since through the concept of ingeneracy he has a transcendence of name which he does not bear in essence." Seems to me Wickham has misconstrued διὰ τὴν <τοῦ> ἀγεννήτου ἐπίνοιαν; I would think rather " . . . on account of the notion of ingeneracy, since he does not bear in essence the excellence of that name."

I ask whether "χάριν . . . γινώσκει" = "is grateful" because Hanson (Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 608) translates rather differently, apparently reading χάριν τοῖς ἐπινοήσασι as if the latter two words were genitive and construing τὴν ὑπεροχὴν as the object of γινώσκει: "If ingenerateness does not constitute God's existence, but the name 'incomparable' is only the result of a human perception (ἐπινοίας), then it is owing to our human perception that God knows that he is ingenerate [which is of course absurd]." --But it appears to me that Hanson's translation has several problems--i.e., is generally wrong at every point where it differs from Wickham (except that I don't like Wickham's use of "transcendence" to translate ὑπεροχὴ).
LSJ does mention "χάριν εἰδέναι τινί to acknowledge a sense of favour, feel grateful," and since εἰδέναι would be a synonym for γιγνώσκειν, the expression would have the same meaning. As for Hanson, it appears to me that τὴν ὑπεροχὴν has to be the object of φέρων.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

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