Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Other Greek writings of the New Testament era, including papyri and inscriptions
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gshogren
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Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by gshogren » October 21st, 2015, 1:15 pm

I am doing research on the use of περιεργος word group in the sense of "meddling in magic". A search turned up this "Papyrus letter from 198 CE, containing a Roman edict in Egypt that which outlaws magic. From P. Coll. Youtie 1.30".
Ἐντυχὼν πολλοῖς οἰηθεῖσιν μαντείας τρόποις ἐξαπατᾶσθαι
εὐθέως ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνον
τῇ ἀνοίᾳ αὐτῶν ἐπακολουθηση σαφῶς πᾶσιν ἐνταῦθα
διαγορεῦσαι εἴργεσθαι τῆς ἐπισφαλοῦς ταύτης περιεργίας.
I think the general idea is clear, but the specific language definitely escapes me. So far I think I have:

Having encountered in many places those who are deemed (εντυχω takes dative object οἰηθεῖσιν?) to be deceived by prophecies
[or "those who seek prophecies in order to be deceived"]
straightaway I ordered prison without trial
for the one who manifestly followed their folly in everything, hence
declares (διαγορευω) to be kept away from (passive εργαζομαι + gen) this misleading (ἐπισφαλοῦς is genitive) magic.

Any thoughts?
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 22nd, 2015, 2:19 am

It's been a while since I worked seriously with papyrus, but let me ofer a few suggestions. BTW, the extra brackets and dots in a papyrus text look a little distracting, but they can be useful sometimes.
gshogren wrote:
PCollYoutie1,30 wrote:μαντείας τρόποις ἐξαπατᾶσθ̣[αι]
In this phrase, what have you done with the τρόποις? It is not a very strong word, but could still be given its own meaning.
gshogren wrote:ἀναγκαῖον ... prison
As a single word, that would be a distinct possibility, as you found in LSJ. Here, however, it is part of a phrase ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην + aorist infinitive "I deemed it necessary to ...". There are two cases where the identical construction is used in the New Testament:
2 Corinthians 9:5 wrote:ἀναγκαῖον οὖν ἡγησάμην παρακαλέσαι
Philippians 2:25 wrote:Ἀναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην Ἐπαφρόδιτον ... πέμψαι
In the case of PCollYoutie1,30 the infinitive is διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι "state explicitly", "command". The person referred to in ἐντυχὼν, ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην and διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι are all one and the same Q. Aemilius Saturninus, Prefect of Egypt.
gshogren wrote:εντυ[γ]χ[άν]ω takes dative object οἰηθεῖσιν?
[πολλοῖ]ς doesn't look the same as οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν, but actually they agree - they are both dative masculine plural. οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν (as reconstructed) could mean "seeming to be". οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν itself can take an infinitive (in theis case a present one (denoting contemporaneous action).
gshogren wrote: to be deceived by prophecies
[or "those who seek prophecies in order to be deceived"]
There is a little bit of a dilemma in saying that the victims of being deceived should be arrested. I can see how your understanding of the surrounding text let you feel that you were playing on a sticky wicket. ἐξαπατᾶσθαι is middle or passive. The middle-passive voice actually has a range of meanings, "be deceived", "deceive themselves", "get themselves deceived", and any other shades of purple in between.
gshogren wrote:
PCollYoutie1,30 wrote:περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν ἐπακολουθηση
Do you realise this is all one and the same phrase? The article τοῦ goes with the infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι, so everything in between them goes with ἐπακολουθῆσαι.
gshogren wrote:
PCollYoutie1,30 wrote:τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν
this refers to "ignorance" as an excusing factor, not to "folly" as a contributing factor.
gshogren wrote:
PCollYoutie1,30 wrote:μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
"without trial" is the right idea, but in the other way that it could be. Ignorant peasants were a vital labour force within the empire (grain + social harmony) and summary arrests of vast numbers of them would be an economic burden and might incite rebellion. Popular belief in magic was wide spread and both Gnostic and Christian-like magic survived for many centuries, which you could read about in the Coptic magical papyri. Popular magical practices are not so well documented in earlier time as the rituals of formalised religion are, but it is a recognised substratum in religious practice in the earlier periods too. By educating rather than arresting, they could hope for more positive long-term outcomes.

Attributions:
The papyrus quote used here were licensed for re-use by the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri under a CC BY-NC 3.0 license.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 22nd, 2015, 9:03 am

A lot of good commentary from Stephen. Just quickly, note that εἴργεσθαι derives from ἔργω and not ἐργάζομαι -- they are two distinct and unrelated roots. Also, did you get the idea of "trial" for κίνδυνος from the LSJ entry? If so, then they mean "trial" in the sense of "an attempt or effort to do something" (since they associate it with "venture"). It does not mean a judicial trial, in other words, although contextually it refers to prosecution or the results of prosecution. This little piece is fascinating -- it reminds me of Pliny's letter to Trajan on how to go about punishing those pesky Christians.BTW, don't feel bad about having some trouble with this. Even people who are very good at other styles of Greek can fall into dismay in the papyri, since solecisms and colloquial use of terminology abound. A lot of fun, though.

So just to clarify, these lines are about not prosecuting those who simply do this in ignorance, but instead somehow keeping them from the practice. I don't know if it was clearly stated, but μηδένα κίνδυνον is the subject of ἐπακολουθηση, "concerning there being no consequent risk due to their ignorance..."

So, if you want to take all this added information and restructure your reading of the text, and then run it by us, feel free... :)
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gshogren
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by gshogren » October 24th, 2015, 5:52 pm

Guys, thanks so much, let me work through your suggestions and see what turns up!
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gshogren
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by gshogren » November 4th, 2015, 4:40 pm

Hi guys, again, thanks so much. And yes, "ellipses" is the correct word for these things!

If I may impose on you again, this is what I have so far. It makes much more sense, but I don't have any idea for μηδενα κινδυνον.

1. [ἐντυχὼν πολλοῖ]ς οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν μαντείας τρόποις ἐξαπατᾶσθ̣[αι]
2. [ε]ὐ̣θ̣[έως ἀναγκ]α̣ῖ̣[ον ἡγη]σάμην περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
3. τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν ἐπακολουθηση(* [actually infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι) σαφῶς πᾶσιν ἐνταῦθα̣
4. διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι εἴ̣ρ̣[γεσ]θ̣[α]ι̣ τῆς ἐπισφαλοῦς ταύτης περιεργίας.

Having encountered many places which are (εντυχω takes dative object) seemingly deceived by prophecies,
immediately I deemed it necessary to plainly attend in all ways to that which concerns [?? μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]]
in their ignorance, hence
to command to be locked up/confined (ἔργνυμι) this misleading meddling-in-magic.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 5th, 2015, 2:33 am

Let's start with the first line.
τρόποις
places
Are your eyes skipping the ρ in this word?

τρόπος "way", "means" (skill and means to get things done),"guise" and τόπος "place", "space" (in which human activity can take place) are different words.

οἴομαι clearly and distinctively starts a new phrase. A person writing Koine Greek had (has) no fear that words of the same number case and gender before and after it will be taken together. The verb ἐντυγχάνειν takes a dative, so if that were to be used in the nominative present, it would be [πολλοῖ]ς οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν -> πολλοὶ οἰόμενοι + infinitive (and accusative).

ἐξαπατᾶσθ̣[αι] is passive. The agent of a passive verb can be expressed by the dative case (if I remember correctly) as well as by ὑπό plus the genitive (with which, dare I say, you are more familiar). While there are no examples in the New Testament, the word τρόπος is used with both the singular and plural genitive to say what the way is of. In this case μαντείας is in the singular.
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 5th, 2015, 4:54 am

In the next phrase, I think that the [ε]ὐ̣θ̣[έως has a feel of the consequential, more than it does of the immediacy.

To put
περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
3. τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν ἐπακολουθηση(* [actually infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι)
into English word order the infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι would be translated second, in Greek, the article of the articular infinitive must have been read in some sort of exagerated way to mark that it was going to lead to something much further on down in the sentence - perhaps the intervening phrase had an overal raised or lowered tone or a change of speed.

The sub-phrase on which the μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν] ... ἐπακολουθῆσαι is balanced is the τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν which would presumably be read in a different voice again - setting it apart from the surounding phrases μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν] ... ἐπακολουθῆσαι, which go together, presumably at the same pitch of voice or the same speed of reading or a combination of the two (I'm thinking that they used a similar method to the way we include parenthetical statements in our speech).
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Also, did you get the idea of "trial" for κίνδυνος from the LSJ entry? If so, then they mean "trial" in the sense of "an attempt or effort to do something" (since they associate it with "venture"). It does not mean a judicial trial, in other words, although contextually it refers to prosecution or the results of prosecution.
gshogren wrote:I don't have any idea for μηδενα κινδυνον.
I remember from reading Lysias and/or Isocrates that κίνδυνος is a way of referring to a legal trial. I've understood it as "legal hassels (troubles)", a danger of loosing a case if it went to trial (and you would have to pay damages), but that is not readily explicate in the LSJ.

I think that the role of περὶ might be the key to understanding μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]. It introduces the topic about which one has deemed an action necessary. I think in English, we might reverse the order of the information.

ἀναγκ]α̣ῖ̣[ον ἡγη]σάμην "I was lead to the conclusion that it was necessary" διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι "to state" περὶ "about the matter of" ...

I think that πᾶσιν ἐνταῦθα̣ to refer to "all the people there"
gshogren wrote:εἴ̣ρ̣[γεσ]θ̣[α]ι̣
Perhaps just simply, "to keep themselves away from" (+gen.). From ἔργω. Look at section II.2. Incarcerating people is expensive and socially destablising. Some directions for looking after the people to help them do what is good for themselves.
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 5th, 2015, 12:47 pm

gshogren wrote:Hi guys, again, thanks so much. And yes, "ellipses" is the correct word for these things!

If I may impose on you again, this is what I have so far. It makes much more sense, but I don't have any idea for μηδενα κινδυνον.

1. [ἐντυχὼν πολλοῖ]ς οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν μαντείας τρόποις ἐξαπατᾶσθ̣[αι]
2. [ε]ὐ̣θ̣[έως ἀναγκ]α̣ῖ̣[ον ἡγη]σάμην περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
3. τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν ἐπακολουθηση(* [actually infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι) σαφῶς πᾶσιν ἐνταῦθα̣
4. διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι εἴ̣ρ̣[γεσ]θ̣[α]ι̣ τῆς ἐπισφαλοῦς ταύτης περιεργίας.

Having encountered many places which are (εντυχω takes dative object) seemingly deceived by prophecies,
immediately I deemed it necessary to plainly attend in all ways to that which concerns [?? μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]]
in their ignorance, hence
to command to be locked up/confined (ἔργνυμι) this misleading meddling-in-magic.
First, a moderator note: make sure that you have your full name included as a signature at the end of your posts (that's a forum policy). Now...

Again, this is appears to be about not punishing those involved in the practice on account of their ignorance. Stephen has valiantly stuck to list protocol and kept it entirely about discussion of the Greek, but let me offer you my translation so that you can possibly see the overall structure a bit better:
Having come upon many suspected to be deceived by various types of divination I deemed it immediately necessary, concerning the fact that, due to their ignorance, no risk follow clearly upon all there, to declare that they be kept/keep themselves from this dangerous pursuit...
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by cwconrad » November 7th, 2015, 7:01 am

1. [ἐντυχὼν πολλοῖ]ς οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν μαντείας τρόποις ἐξαπατᾶσθ̣[αι]
2. [ε]ὐ̣θ̣[έως ἀναγκ]α̣ῖ̣[ον ἡγη]σάμην περὶ τοῦ μηδένα κίνδυνο̣[ν]
3. τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν ἐπακολουθηση(* [actually infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι) σαφῶς πᾶσιν ἐνταῦθα̣
4. διαγ[ορ]ε̣ῦσαι εἴ̣ρ̣[γεσ]θ̣[α]ι̣ τῆς ἐπισφαλοῦς ταύτης περιεργίας.
Barry Hofstetter wrote: Having come upon many suspected to be deceived by various types of divination I deemed it immediately necessary, concerning the fact that, due to their ignorance, no risk follow clearly upon all there, to declare that they be kept/keep themselves from this dangerous pursuit...
A slight rephrasing of Barry's version, after pondering some of the phrasing):
Having found that several persons have suspected they are being cheated by various kinds of divination, I decided forthwith, so that no peril should arise because of their folly, to proclaim to all henceforth to refrain from this predatory sort of public nuisance.
--οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν, I think, is not passive but middle here, the Koine aorist of οἴεσθαι
--τῇ ἀ[νο]ί̣ᾳ α̣ὐ[τ]ῶν: presumably the reference is to the foolishness of those who are taken in by the τρόποι μαντείας
--ἐπακολουθηση(* [actually infinitive ἐπακολουθῆσαι): come about as a consequence
--ἐπισφαλοῦς: of an activity that "trips up (unsuspecting people)"
--περιεργία: being a busybody, bothering people for no good reason
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Trouble with Papyrus that bans divination

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 7th, 2015, 11:44 am

--οἰ̣[ηθ]ε̣ῖσιν, I think, is not passive but middle here, the Koine aorist of οἴεσθαι
I think this is a true deponent. There is no question of voice. There is no evidence in LSJ that it can be passive "be suspected". Without the presumption of innocence accused covers the range of meaning of "suspected".
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