Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

RandallButh
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by RandallButh » February 16th, 2019, 5:15 am

> But I am looking at this form, which Siebenthal considers good standard ancient Greek:
ἐγένετο + Adverbial + καί (optional) + infinitive clause

Still, Luke may well be using the more standard ancient Greek form to echo the LXX.
two points:
1. Where are the examples of standard Greek?

2. I hear the "mimic LXX" (explanation/excuse) echoed everywhere.
Again, what is the evidence for this? And if the evidence is weak or non-existence, is there motivation for creating "evidence"?
(caveat: several respected authors have listed faux evidence. ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω.)
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MAubrey
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by MAubrey » February 17th, 2019, 6:28 pm

RandallButh wrote:
February 16th, 2019, 5:15 am
> But I am looking at this form, which Siebenthal considers good standard ancient Greek:
ἐγένετο + Adverbial + καί (optional) + infinitive clause

Still, Luke may well be using the more standard ancient Greek form to echo the LXX.
two points:
1. Where are the examples of standard Greek?

2. I hear the "mimic LXX" (explanation/excuse) echoed everywhere.
Again, what is the evidence for this? And if the evidence is weak or non-existence, is there motivation for creating "evidence"?
(caveat: several respected authors have listed faux evidence. ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω.)
Here's von Siebenthal's specific claim (pg. 367-8):
Der Infinitiv/AcI (GcI oder DcI; vgl. §216d) steht als Subjekt, einem Nominativ gleichkommend (§255b), nach unpersönlichen Verben und gleichwertigen Ausdrücken (im NT ist statt des Infinitivs/AcI auch ein Nebensatz mit ἵνα dass o.ä. möglich, außer wenn eine Tatsache als geschehen auszudrücken ist; §272a):
...
[[e]] 4. γίνεται, vor allem klassisch auch συμβαίνει es ereignet sich, es geschieht
He then cites NT texts for ἐγένετο and Herodotus for συνέβη.
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RandallButh
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by RandallButh » February 18th, 2019, 1:21 am

He then cites NT texts for ἐγένετο and Herodotus for συνέβη.
Good quote showing a hilarious/classic example of circular reasoning:
"If "A" is a standard structure in Greek outside the NT, we would prove this by quoting NT examples."
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 18th, 2019, 6:26 am

RandallButh wrote:
February 18th, 2019, 1:21 am
He then cites NT texts for ἐγένετο and Herodotus for συνέβη.
Good quote showing a hilarious/classic example of circular reasoning:
"If "A" is a standard structure in Greek outside the NT, we would prove this by quoting NT examples."
Can anyone easily search the classical corpus - especially the Hellenistic corpus - for examples of this using ἐγένετο + infinitive subject?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 18th, 2019, 8:42 pm

I can't easily search the corpus (at least not as easily as I would like) but I never remember seeing ἐγένετο + inf. anywhere except in the LXX and the NT. One instead tends to see genitive absolutes, other types of participial constructions, or relative circumstantial clauses. I'm not saying that it's not attested somewhere, but if so it's still quite rare, at least in the authors with whom I'm familiar.
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Daniel Semler
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Daniel Semler » February 18th, 2019, 11:28 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Interesting question. I had not considered εγένετο in this structure to be a discourse marker. So I ran a few queries which may or may not be of interest.

It's a little difficult to run the same queries against different dbs and get the same results as the db models vary. I was able to more or less verify your results for the NT against the Accordance dbs. That is to say that constructions of this type appear primarily, though not exclusively, in Luke, Acts.

Regarding the Septuagint. Using the MT-LXX data from CATSS there is a strong correspondence between ויהי and και εγενετο/εγενετο δε. Does that make this a semiticism in the NT ? I guess you'd want to demonstrate a lack of use of the construction in early Greek sources, that had no contact with Hebrew. But it certainly doesn't contradict it.

As to finding constructions in Hellenistic Greek. This one is tough. I suspect there just aren't enough texts with well developed treebanks to make accurate queries possible. I ran some queries based on proximity on the Greek of Basil, Athanasius, Philo, Josephus and so on. The characteristic εγενετο δε kind of construction is very rare. Well, I found one in Josephus War, but the construction really isn't the same - just a complimentary infinitive with a δε hanging around. You find plenty of this kind of thing because you don't have a treebank structure to constrain the verb and inf to actually being related in the right way.

I tried to play with Perseus but honestly it's tough to get the queries there to do the work I wanted. Same problem as above on a larger scale.

Finally, I looked over your examples and it seems that another discourse marker is commonly present, namely δε.

Thx
D
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MAubrey
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by MAubrey » February 20th, 2019, 11:06 pm

RandallButh wrote:
February 18th, 2019, 1:21 am
He then cites NT texts for ἐγένετο and Herodotus for συνέβη.
Good quote showing a hilarious/classic example of circular reasoning:
"If "A" is a standard structure in Greek outside the NT, we would prove this by quoting NT examples."
To clarify: he at no point claims that ἐγένετο is classical, just that both it and συνέβη function as "unpersönlichen Verben." There is no circular reasoning.
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RandallButh
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by RandallButh » February 21st, 2019, 2:01 am

Thank you for the clarification.

It appears that application of his data in this forum has been extrapolated beyond the source(s).
which Siebenthal considers good standard ancient Greek:
ἐγένετο . . .

That turned the thread into a direction not claimed by Siebenthal.

However, the bigger question for NT studies has been overlooked while people have been searching corpora for ἐγένετο.
Maybe we need a re-do:
two points:
1. Where are the examples of standard Greek?

2. I hear the "mimic LXX" (explanation/excuse) echoed everywhere. [regarding Luke's use of impersonal ἐγένετο -- RB]
Again, what is the evidence for this? And if the evidence is weak or non-existence, is there motivation for creating "evidence"?
(caveat: several respected authors have listed faux evidence. ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω.)
Let's skip point 1 since it was intended to point out the lack of existence and has a ready answer: it was not normally used in cllassical dialects.

Instead a more fruitful line, even eye-opening, may develop if people try to answer point two. The assumption questioned in point two gets much too much of an easy pass in NT and Luke-Acts studies.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 21st, 2019, 9:13 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
February 18th, 2019, 8:42 pm
I can't easily search the corpus (at least not as easily as I would like) but I never remember seeing ἐγένετο + inf. anywhere except in the LXX and the NT. One instead tends to see genitive absolutes, other types of participial constructions, or relative circumstantial clauses. I'm not saying that it's not attested somewhere, but if so it's still quite rare, at least in the authors with whom I'm familiar.
Thanks.

I have not read much outside the NT and LXX, so I don't have a good feel for this. I know I should read more widely, but I haven't, so I know less than those who have. That's why I ask here.

Some day I would love to have a syntactically tagged Hellenistic corpus that will make it easier to find these things. But when I do, I will still need to ask this kind of question here, where I can get opinions from people who have read more widely than I have.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 21st, 2019, 9:14 am

MAubrey wrote:
February 20th, 2019, 11:06 pm
To clarify: he at no point claims that ἐγένετο is classical, just that both it and συνέβη function as "unpersönlichen Verben." There is no circular reasoning.
Right. He just doesn't say, one way or another, whether ἐγένετο is classical, and he does say that Luke's usage with an infinitive subject is perfectly good classical Greek, using a common form for impersonal verbs.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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