κατα in Gal. 1:13

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
Forum rules
This is a beginner's forum - see the Koine Greek forum for more advanced discussion of Greek texts. Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up.

When answering questions in this forum, keep it simple, and aim your responses to the level of the person asking the question.
Post Reply
Charlie Johnson
Posts: 32
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 6:44 am

κατα in Gal. 1:13

Post by Charlie Johnson » June 22nd, 2011, 1:47 pm

Galatians 1:13 Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ, ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,

The meaning is pretty clear, but I'm interested to know how to explain how κατα is functioning in this construction. I looked up BAGD, and Gal 1:13 isn't listed (or I missed it). BAGD does say, "Sometimes the κατα-phrase can best be understood as an adj., or acts as the perphrasis of a possessive pron. or of a gen." It gives, among other examples, οἱ κατα φυσιν κλαδοι (the natural branches) from Rom. 11:21.

Could this be a κατα-phrase functioning not as an adj., but as an adverb? That's not listed in the lexicon, but it makes sense to me.
0 x



Jason Hare
Posts: 645
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 5:28 pm
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Contact:

Re: κατα in Gal. 1:13

Post by Jason Hare » June 22nd, 2011, 8:10 pm

Charlie Johnson wrote:Galatians 1:13 Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ, ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,

The meaning is pretty clear, but I'm interested to know how to explain how κατα is functioning in this construction. I looked up BAGD, and Gal 1:13 isn't listed (or I missed it). BAGD does say, "Sometimes the κατα-phrase can best be understood as an adj., or acts as the perphrasis of a possessive pron. or of a gen." It gives, among other examples, οἱ κατα φυσιν κλαδοι (the natural branches) from Rom. 11:21.

Could this be a κατα-phrase functioning not as an adj., but as an adverb? That's not listed in the lexicon, but it makes sense to me.
Yes, καθ᾿ ὑβερβολήν is functioning as an adverbial phrase. It's modifying the verb ἐδίωκον.

Rather than looking up κατά, why don't you look up ὑπερβολή, where it will be listed as a phrase with the preposition? At least, it is in LSJ. I'm not sure about BAGD.

Good luck!
0 x
Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

SusanJeffers
Posts: 69
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 8:49 am
Contact:

Re: κατα in Gal. 1:13

Post by SusanJeffers » June 28th, 2011, 7:48 am

Carl Conrad wrote in another thread:
every conceivable approach must be made to bringing the student in one way or another, willy-nilly, to thinking in ancient Greek, to get beyond simply "decoding" ancient Greek texts
So, following what Jonathan Robie wrote here in the "What does this text mean?" topic description:
How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand this particular text?
Let me just suggest trying simple glosses to get you in the ballpark, if the meaning isn't immediately evident:

Galatians 1:13 you have heard ... ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
that, according to / during excess I was persecuting the church of God...

In other words, "I was going way overboard persecuting..."

If you can get somewhere in the neighborhood of meaning and keep going, you'll build your reading comprehension a lot faster than stopping to look up idioms in reference books - although obviously there's a place for that as well --

This is not a criticism of the question, or looking up answers in books -- just a suggestion for beginners reading along.
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1628
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: κατα in Gal. 1:13

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 29th, 2011, 12:25 pm

SusanJeffers wrote:
Let me just suggest trying simple glosses to get you in the ballpark, if the meaning isn't immediately evident:

Galatians 1:13 you have heard ... ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
that, according to / during excess I was persecuting the church of God...

In other words, "I was going way overboard persecuting..."

If you can get somewhere in the neighborhood of meaning and keep going, you'll build your reading comprehension a lot faster than stopping to look up idioms in reference books - although obviously there's a place for that as well --

This is not a criticism of the question, or looking up answers in books -- just a suggestion for beginners reading along.
I think Susan is on to something here... :D

We certainly don't stop and look up everything when we are reading in our own native language (unless the word is critical and the sentence or phrase cannot be understood without a precise definition). Most of the time we infer from context, and move right along. We need to do that as much as possible in reading Greek. When it comes time for a more precise definition, the references await.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: κατα in Gal. 1:13

Post by cwconrad » June 29th, 2011, 1:39 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
SusanJeffers wrote:
Let me just suggest trying simple glosses to get you in the ballpark, if the meaning isn't immediately evident:

Galatians 1:13 you have heard ... ὅτι καθ᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
that, according to / during excess I was persecuting the church of God...

In other words, "I was going way overboard persecuting..."

If you can get somewhere in the neighborhood of meaning and keep going, you'll build your reading comprehension a lot faster than stopping to look up idioms in reference books - although obviously there's a place for that as well --

This is not a criticism of the question, or looking up answers in books -- just a suggestion for beginners reading along.
I think Susan is on to something here... :D

This is right to the point. There's one hell of a lot that can be guessed at intelligently from context. I can recall times that I've read a considerable stretch of text without checking up on meanings of individual words, then going back over that text and checking lexical entries on the words I'd guessed. I found that my guesses had been right far more often than they'd been wrong, and what I learned in addition about these words stuck better in my recollection because of having learned them thus in a meaningful contextual framework.

We certainly don't stop and look up everything when we are reading in our own native language (unless the word is critical and the sentence or phrase cannot be understood without a precise definition). Most of the time we infer from context, and move right along. We need to do that as much as possible in reading Greek. When it comes time for a more precise definition, the references await.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Post Reply

Return to “What does this text mean?”