τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

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nathaniel j. erickson
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τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » May 20th, 2016, 9:05 am

I was reading "the omissions of Jeremiah" (as the text stands here http://ocp.stfx.ca/) and came across a usage I found strikingly odd. 1.3 reads: νῦν οὖν ἀναστάντες ἐξέλθατε πρὸ τοῦ ἡ δύναμις τῶν Χαλδαίων κυκλώσει αὐτή. Its meaning is patently obvious--before the army of the Babylonians surrounds the city. I don't recall previously ever seeing προ του used like it is here, as basically a stock temporal adverb. I would have expected something like προ του...κυκλῶν/κυκλῶσαι here, with an infinitive not an indicative. Does anyone know if this usage of προ του is a "normal" usage? Would a usage like this be motivated by conceptual ease? ignorance? Or is it "good Greek"?

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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by cwconrad » May 20th, 2016, 11:50 am

nathaniel j. erickson wrote:I was reading "the omissions of Jeremiah" (as the text stands here http://ocp.stfx.ca/) and came across a usage I found strikingly odd. 1.3 reads: νῦν οὖν ἀναστάντες ἐξέλθατε πρὸ τοῦ ἡ δύναμις τῶν Χαλδαίων κυκλώσει αὐτή. Its meaning is patently obvious--before the army of the Babylonians surrounds the city. I don't recall previously ever seeing προ του used like it is here, as basically a stock temporal adverb. I would have expected something like προ του...κυκλῶν/κυκλῶσαι here, with an infinitive not an indicative. Does anyone know if this usage of προ του is a "normal" usage? Would a usage like this be motivated by conceptual ease? ignorance? Or is it "good Greek"?
As you rightly say, the meaning is perfectly clear. I ought to wait for our resident LXXist, Ken Penner, but I'm going to suggest a response. The very common construction would be πρὸ τοῦ κυκλὼσαι or πρὶν κυκλῶσαι or πρὶν ἃν κυκλωσῇ or the like. I do not think what we have here, πρὸ τοῦ with an indicative future clause, is standard Greek of any period in antiquity, but if that's not the case, I'll await correction.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Ken M. Penner
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Ken M. Penner » May 20th, 2016, 12:52 pm

I wouldn't call it standard Greek, either. In fact, part of the manuscript tradition (the short form) has nominatives instead of accusatives and an infinitive instead of the future indicative, and manuscript A (which follows the long form) has the subjunctive. See the apparatus at https://books.google.ca/books?id=GbR4Rk ... &q&f=false
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 20th, 2016, 5:37 pm

While the infinitive is found everywhere, the indicative appears to be possible but the examples I found were aorist not future:
The Histories of Polybius

book VI

11.3. ‘Ιστοροῦσι δὲ οἱ περὶ Ἀριστόδημον τὸν Ἠλεῖον ὡς ἀπὸ εἰκοστῆς καὶ ἑβδόμης ὀλυμπιάδος ἤρξαντο οἱ ἀθληταὶ ἀναγράφεσθαι, ὅσοι δηλαδὴ νικηφόροι· πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἀνεγράφη, ἀμελησάντων τῶν πρότερον·

11.3. Aristodemus of Elis reports that the names of the victorious athletes began to be recorded with Olympiad twenty-seven. Before that, none was recorded as the earlier people did not care.

LCL 2010 Harvard UP

Translated by W. R. Paton
Revised by F. W. Walbank
Christian Habicht
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by cwconrad » May 21st, 2016, 6:07 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:While the infinitive is found everywhere, the indicative appears to be possible but the examples I found were aorist not future:
The Histories of Polybius

book VI

11.3. ‘Ιστοροῦσι δὲ οἱ περὶ Ἀριστόδημον τὸν Ἠλεῖον ὡς ἀπὸ εἰκοστῆς καὶ ἑβδόμης ὀλυμπιάδος ἤρξαντο οἱ ἀθληταὶ ἀναγράφεσθαι, ὅσοι δηλαδὴ νικηφόροι· πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἀνεγράφη, ἀμελησάντων τῶν πρότερον·

11.3. Aristodemus of Elis reports that the names of the victorious athletes began to be recorded with Olympiad twenty-seven. Before that, none was recorded as the earlier people did not care.

LCL 2010 Harvard UP

Translated by W. R. Paton
Revised by F. W. Walbank
Christian Habicht
I think this is different: here the τοῦ in πρὸ τοῦ is a demonstrative: "before that" or "prior to that". Now it may just be that the composer/translator of τὰ παραλειπόμενα ᾿Ιερεμίου was emulating that construction (I guess there's no way we can rule it out), but it doesn't seem likely.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 21st, 2016, 6:55 am

cwconrad wrote: I think this is different: here the τοῦ in πρὸ τοῦ is a demonstrative: "before that" or "prior to that". Now it may just be that the composer/translator of τὰ παραλειπόμενα ᾿Ιερεμίου was emulating that construction (I guess there's no way we can rule it out), but it doesn't seem likely.
I think that Carl's explanation is the most likely here. It struck me that this could be a variant on πρὸ οὗ, understading χρόνου or καίροῦ...
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 22nd, 2016, 7:08 pm

You know, at times I find the the classical scholars’ (plural!!) reasoning hard to follow. It would appear that translation is dictating syntax analysis. Since some choose to translate προ του w/finite verb as if it were πρὸ τούτο, (a pattern found 2000+ TLG-E), we reverse the process in syntax analysis and don't even consider προ του w/finite verb as possibly a free standing adverbial constituent. I have no idea what to make of this. What are the criteria governing our search for patterns that are relevant to this discussion? An exact match of what we find in τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3 is too narrow a grid. Finding an example where προ του divides "do this before that happens" was a beyond difficult.

The criteria I used:
προ του without a following genitive constituent.
προ του signaling time relative to a finite verb.

Plato Phaedrus 252.a.1-5

ὅθεν δὴ ἑκοῦσα εἶναι οὐκ ἀπολείπεται, οὐδέ τινα τοῦ καλοῦ περὶ πλείονος ποιεῖται, ἀλλὰ μητέρων τε καὶ ἀδελφῶν καὶ ἑταίρων πάντων λέλησται, καὶ οὐσίας δι᾿ ἀμέλειαν ἀπολλυμένης παρ᾿ οὐδὲν τίθεται, νομίμων δὲ καὶ εὐσχημόνων, οἷς πρὸ τοῦ ἐκαλλωπίζετο, ...

Therefore the soul will not, if it can help it, be left alone by the beautiful one, but esteems him above all others, forgets for him mother and brothers and all friends, neglects property and cares not for its loss, and despising all the customs and proprieties in which it formerly took pride ...

LCL Harvard UP 1914
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stephen Carlson
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 23rd, 2016, 12:21 am

Another possibility is that πρὸ τοῦ is really προτοῦ, a non-classical subordinator that means "before." Its lexical word status is indicated by the placement of δέ and γάρ, after the article instead of the preposition.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 23rd, 2016, 1:07 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Another possibility is that πρὸ τοῦ is really προτοῦ, a non-classical subordinator that means "before." Its lexical word status is indicated by the placement of δέ and γάρ, after the article instead of the preposition.
That hypothesis is supported by usage in Modern Greek. The meaning given is πριν.

http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/ ... E%BF%CF%85

If κυκλώσει is read within the context of Modern Greek morphology, it is an infinitive, and likewise αὐτή is an accusative. Seeing an infinitive like that in the second century seems too early.
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Re: τα παραλειπομενα ιερεμιου 1.3: προ του

Post by cwconrad » May 23rd, 2016, 5:28 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:You know, at times I find the the classical scholars’ (plural!!) reasoning hard to follow. It would appear that translation is dictating syntax analysis. Since some choose to translate προ του w/finite verb as if it were πρὸ τούτο, (a pattern found 2000+ TLG-E), we reverse the process in syntax analysis and don't even consider προ του w/finite verb as possibly a free standing adverbial constituent.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Another possibility is that πρὸ τοῦ is really προτοῦ, a non-classical subordinator that means "before." Its lexical word status is indicated by the placement of δέ and γάρ, after the article instead of the preposition.
Non-classical? One of the oddities observable over the centuries in ancient Greek is the survival of the demonstrative function of what has become the definite article.
LSJ s.v. πρό wrote:II of Time, before, ... π. τοῦ (sts. written προτοῦ) A. Ag. 1204, Hdt. 1.122, 5.83, Ar. Th. 418, Pl. Smp. 173a
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

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