question about the meaning of alpha privative

Other Greek writings of the New Testament era, including papyri and inscriptions
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cpeterson
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question about the meaning of alpha privative

Post by cpeterson » July 18th, 2016, 11:44 am

I have been translating Luke 11: 8 [ I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth],and have been wondering about the Greek word anaidon. It is translated literally as "Shameless", which does not make much sense in the context of the parable. But, "Persistence" does not seem to have a strong support (TDNT), either. "Impudence" seems to work, but says very little about how such impudence may be applied to prayer.
I was wondering if the alpha privitive has ever had any connotations of avoidance of the action or noun to which it may be attached.

Stephen Hughes
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Re: question about the meaning of alpha privative

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 20th, 2016, 2:20 pm

The idea of avoid, in the sense of not being part of an activity is in at least 2 contexts (3 verses), "avoid doing something". Just because it is used there, doesn't readily imply that that one can freely apply it to other uses of the alpha privative:
Acts 27:33 wrote:Ἄχρι δὲ οὗ ἤμελλεν ἡμέρα γίνεσθαι, παρεκάλει ὁ Παῦλος ἅπαντας μεταλαβεῖν τροφῆς, λέγων, Τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτην σήμερον ἡμέραν προσδοκῶντες ἄσιτοι διατελεῖτε, μηδὲν προσλαβόμενοι.
They didn't eat.
1Timothy 3:3 wrote:μὴ πάροινον, μὴ πλήκτην, μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ, ἀλλ’ ἐπιεικῆ, ἄμαχον, ἀφιλάργυρον·
Someone who doesn't get involved in fights. (Also Titus 3:2)
The preposition διά is where you will need to go for further understanding.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: question about the meaning of alpha privative

Post by cwconrad » July 20th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Etymology is not always helpful, but sometimes it is, and I think in this case it is worth knowing that Greek alpha privative is the same negating prefix as Latin's in- (or im- before a labial consonant) and English un-.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

cpeterson
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Joined: July 18th, 2016, 11:29 am

Re: question about the meaning of alpha privative

Post by cpeterson » July 25th, 2016, 2:10 pm

Thank you very much for your help. I know it was a long shot on a possible translation. The paucity of information that I had uncovered in my own sources (Blass-DeBrunner, Strong's, and Gingrich-Bauer, and only lightly touched upon in TDNT) left me suspicious that the topic was only cursorily treated. I needed some better minds than my own.

Thanks again.
CP

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