1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

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Matthew Longhorn
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1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Matthew Longhorn » December 31st, 2019, 7:02 am

Sorry all, another query on 1 Clement.

ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα τοῖς αὐτοῖς συνέχεται προστάγμασιν.

The way that I read this is that ἀβύσσων τε καὶ νερτέρων is to be taken as a unit modified by ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα with an elipsis of the article. In this reading it would be rendered as "[the] incomprehensible and unspeakable judgements of [both?] the abyss and the underworld are constrained by the same ordinances".
Is this a valid reading?
I am getting thrown by the agreement of both adjectives with the noun κρίματα which makes me want to have them both modify that. There isn't an explicit article rendering ἀνεξιχνίαστα as a substantival adjective which would then allow ἀβύσσων to be in apposition. That said, I recognise that I have to supply the article in my translation anyway.
It seems to be slightly odd syntax (but not implausible?) if my rendering is correct as the adjectives aren't together. I am wondering whether this is an example of hyperbaton though? If so, would this be adding some focus on judgments?
Also, my proposed reading would require a differentiation between ἀβύσσων and νερτέρων as I can't see this as a hendiadis due to the τε and καὶ


Against my rendering is quite a list of people:

Holmes has it as "Moreover, the incomprehensible depths of the abysses and the indescribable judgments of the underworld are constrained by the same ordinances."

BDAG similarly to Holmes has "νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα the indescribable verdicts of the underworld "

Roberts Donaldson and Coxe have "The unsearchable places of abysses, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws". Here "places" has to be provided

Lightfoot has: "Moreover, the inscrutable depths of the abysses and the unutterable statutes of the nether regions are constrained by the same ordinances."

Given the sources I cited above that disagree with me, I am not sure how I can be right. I just don't want to move on before actually understanding this a bit better - I am not going to improve my comprehension by just reading other translations and shrugging my shoulders and moving on. If I am definitely wrong then that is good, I can learn from that.

Quite enjoying the increase of vocab that I am acquiring in this book so far (see attachment) !
1 clement vocab.png
1 clement vocab.png (1.64 MiB) Viewed 366 times
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 1st, 2020, 4:30 am

I'm almost with Holmes et al, "The incomprehensiveness of the abysses and the indescribability of the underword — judgements of both are constrained by the same ordinances" (getting impatient with grammatical analysis; imma leave it to hardcore grammarians here). The preceding verses are similarly elliptical and play off a clearly demarcated duality in the first part of the sentence with a unity in the second part. The way you bundled up the substantives would break this rhythm.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 1st, 2020, 12:16 pm

Before I read the rest of your post I read the sentence in the same way as Holmes and Lightfoot. It just seemed natural to take the first neuter plural as a substantive with ἀβύσσων. Then I had to ask myself "why?" My answer was because of τε...καί, both...and. The arrangement forces ἀβύσσων ἀνεξικνίαστα together and also makes νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα its own unit. If I were to rewrite the sentence to mean what you want, I think I would place κρίματα differently, something like ἀβύσσών τε κρίματα ἀνεξικνίαστα και νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα, which seems to me to make it more likely to read κρίματα with both phrases.

As for reluctance to move on if you don't understand something, away with that! Make a note of it and move on. Everyone is going to make mistakes, and none of them are going to damage the reader irreparably. These things tend to be self correcting over time if you persevere. I do suggest vetting your understanding before waxing eloquent in a public context. It's easy even for the most advanced scholars to make mistakes, and often it's simply a matter of perspective, missing something in the text or seeing it in a way that's seems plausible at the moment but later on "what was I thinking?" The best students and scholars are also the best proofreaders, checking their work multiple times before public consumption (it's also why we need editors who can just say "no").
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Matthew Longhorn » January 1st, 2020, 1:21 pm

Thanks both for the feedback
Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 4:30 am
The preceding verses are similarly elliptical and play off a clearly demarcated duality in the first part of the sentence with a unity in the second part. The way you bundled up the substantives would break this rhythm.
I didn't think about that. I was getting too caught up in the verse at hand that it took me out of the flow of the text.

Barry - thanks as ever for your feedback. That is starting to make some sense to me
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 12:16 pm
As for reluctance to move on if you don't understand something, away with that! Make a note of it and move on. Everyone is going to make mistakes, and none of them are going to damage the reader irreparably. These things tend to be self correcting over time if you persevere.
Good advice. I might get worried that if I just gloss over things that I will not be learning. As you say though, just continuing to expose myself to the Greek is probably for the best. I am not an academic so it isn't like I need to write papers on it or defend a position in public
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 1st, 2020, 1:55 pm

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 1:21 pm

Good advice. I might get worried that if I just gloss over things that I will not be learning. As you say though, just continuing to expose myself to the Greek is probably for the best. I am not an academic so it isn't like I need to write papers on it or defend a position in public
I must admit, I'm something of a hypocrite here, since I often will camp out on a stuck spot until I get it resolved in my own mind. The point is that there is good benefit in "rapid reading" and spending too much time on a particular point can negate that benefit. It takes discipline either way.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Matthew Longhorn » January 1st, 2020, 2:05 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 1:55 pm
since I often will camp out on a stuck spot until I get it resolved in my own mind.
Well it’s encouraging that even seasoned Greek readers like you still occasionally hit something you find awkward!
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 3rd, 2020, 2:21 pm

Matthew, you may like to know William Wake translated it (freely, no doubt thinking of Genesis 1:2) structurally almost as you did:
So also the unfathomable and unsearchable floods of the deep, are kept in by his command.
He did it from Codex Alexandrinus:
a.jpg
a.jpg (27.78 KiB) Viewed 241 times
(I can imagine Barry groaning "What was he thinking?!")

I capped Codex Hierosolymitanus (the only other greek manuscript of this) as well:
b.jpg
b.jpg (38.13 KiB) Viewed 241 times
Pretty penmanship, isn't it?

That κρίματα just doesn't sit right for some reason, I don't know. Some texts had it emended to κλίματα.

Barry,
If I were to rewrite the sentence to mean what you want, I think I would place κρίματα differently, something like ἀβύσσών τε κρίματα ἀνεξικνίαστα και νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα, which seems to me to make it more likely to read κρίματα with both phrases.
Try as I might, I just can't read κρίματα with both phrases in there. Care to explain it to me?

Incidentally τε καί is really quite fascinating. Grammar books mostly skim over it, saying it means some sort of and...also, but it often also acts like a discourse marker to interrupt the sentence flow.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 3rd, 2020, 4:04 pm

Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 3rd, 2020, 2:21 pm

Barry,
If I were to rewrite the sentence to mean what you want, I think I would place κρίματα differently, something like ἀβύσσών τε κρίματα ἀνεξικνίαστα και νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα, which seems to me to make it more likely to read κρίματα with both phrases.
Try as I might, I just can't read κρίματα with both phrases in there. Care to explain it to me?

Incidentally τε καί is really quite fascinating. Grammar books mostly skim over it, saying it means some sort of and...also, but it often also acts like a discourse marker to interrupt the sentence flow.
The way it's written originally the separation, as you say, marks of the first phrase as substantive. In my rewrite, it groups the adjective with the noun and then makes it more likely that we would understand the noun as repeated from context with the next adjective/genitive phrase. That's my sense of the Greek here, not sure if I can explain it further.

τε...καί usually thought as correlative, both...and, but your comment is intriguing, and I'll have to think about it.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Peng Huiguo
Posts: 66
Joined: April 28th, 2019, 2:02 am

Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 5th, 2020, 6:19 am

Btw Barry (sorry Matthew I tend to hijack threads), you're not a hypocrite, you just love the greek language too damn much, as all of us in here do I guess.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: 1 Clement 20:5 - ἀβύσσων τε ἀνεξιχνίαστα καὶ νερτέρων ἀνεκδιήγητα κρίματα

Post by Matthew Longhorn » January 5th, 2020, 10:32 am

Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 6:19 am
Btw Barry (sorry Matthew I tend to hijack threads)
Not at all, thanks for your input.
I am definitely not going to try to start reading text like Hierosolymitanus without a transcription!
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