πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Alan Bunning
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πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Alan Bunning » January 19th, 2020, 12:17 pm

I am finishing up parsing all variants in the CNTR collation (https://greekcntr.org) and am now left with a number of situations involving verbs with sound-a-like endings. For example, most critical texts in Phil. 1:27 have:

Μόνον ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τοῦ Χριστοῦ πολιτεύεσθε (imperative present m/p 2nd person plural)

but manuscripts 01, 02 and 04 have the sound-a-like ending πολιτεύεσθαι (present infinitive m/p) instead. The question then is what to do with πολιτεύεσθαι? If I consider it to be an infinitive based on the way it is spelled, then the phrase really wouldn’t have a subject. Would that be syntactically acceptable? Or should I consider it to be merely an alternative spelling of πολιτεύεσθε?
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 19th, 2020, 5:56 pm

Scribal dilemma in digital age. Interesting. I think you should keep πολιτεύεσθαι because
  • It's there on the manuscripts in plain sight
  • Lectio difficilior potior
  • I'm not sure if it's syntactically acceptable, but I feel it's in character with vv. 21, 22 & 24. There's an implied 1st person singular or plural subject (maybe purposely kept ambiguous). I actually prefer this reading instead of the common one.
Btw I want to thank you for this project. Helped me a lot.
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MAubrey
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by MAubrey » January 19th, 2020, 9:54 pm

Certainly keep πολιτεύεσθαι.

But I would probably still parse it as an imperative. Gignac says ε ~ αι is the second most common interchange of vowels in the papyri.

I'm guessing you don't have a mechanism in place for listing a second, alternative parsing?
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Alan Bunning
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Alan Bunning » January 19th, 2020, 11:57 pm

MAubrey wrote:
January 19th, 2020, 9:54 pm
But I would probably still parse it as an imperative. Gignac says ε ~ αι is the second most common interchange of vowels in the papyri.
Well, that is my dilemma. Did 3 different scribes all use what looks like the infinitive ending which would then cause a more awkward grammar, or were they simply spelling the imperative phonetically even though they clearly seemed to know the difference elsewhere?

My general rule in all of these cases so far has been to label them with the standard morphological endings as long as they can make sense, but if not, then consider the phonetical equivalence. But in this case, I am wondering if it makes sense to have an infinitive then without an explicit subject? There are hundreds of examples like this, so whatever I decided to do here will affect a lot of verses. Does anyone know of any other examples where the infinitive could be used in this way with an implied subject?
MAubrey wrote:
January 19th, 2020, 9:54 pm
I'm guessing you don't have a mechanism in place for listing a second, alternative parsing?
Not at this time, although I have been thinking about adding that sometime in the future.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 20th, 2020, 2:56 am

Alan Bunning wrote:
January 19th, 2020, 11:57 pm
My general rule in all of these cases so far has been to label them with the standard morphological endings as long as they can make sense, but if not, then consider the phonetical equivalence. But in this case, I am wondering if it makes sense to have an infinitive then without an explicit subject? There are hundreds of examples like this, so whatever I decided to do here will affect a lot of verses. Does anyone know of any other examples where the infinitive could be used in this way with an implied subject?
In my dissertation, I went with this rule ("as long as they can make sense") but I now think it is too strict and not necessarily reflective what the scribe is trying to convey. I now prefer a standard of "more probable than not", rather than "not strictly impossible". In other words, we would have to treat πολιτεύεσθαι as we would with other cases of ambiguity.

I think the way to think about what πολιτεύεσθαι means here is to think about how it would have sounded to Greek ears in the fourth and later centuries and how they would have understood it. In this case, I don't think that anyone hearing the sentence would think it's an infinitive rather than the imperative. Therefore, I would consider it to be an orthographic variant of πολιτεύεσθε in this context.
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 20th, 2020, 5:08 am

Doesn't this seem like a chiasm?

ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος
...
ἵνα τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν περισσεύῃ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ
διὰ τῆς ἐμῆς παρουσίας πάλιν πρὸς ὑμᾶς
μόνον ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελίου πολιτεύεσθαι (א)
ἵνα εἴτε ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ὑμᾶς εἴτε ἀπὼν ἀκούσω τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν
ὅτι στήκετε ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι μιᾷ ψυχῇ συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
...
ἥτις ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς ἔνδειξις ἀπωλείας, ὑμῶν δὲ σωτηρίας

So πολιτεύεσθαι may be there for structural reason. πολιτεύεσθε is less neat in this regard.
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Peng Huiguo » January 20th, 2020, 8:11 am

Btw Alan,
ε ~ αι is the second most common interchange of vowels in the papyri
do you have a tool to list all occurrences of say ε ⟷ αι in one/two/.../all manuscripts? This could allow tracing of manuscript lineage, and may help in this particular problem. One more reason not to smooth away that infinitive I guess.
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Alan Bunning
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Alan Bunning » January 20th, 2020, 11:19 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 2:56 am
In my dissertation, I went with this rule ("as long as they can make sense") but I now think it is too strict and not necessarily reflective what the scribe is trying to convey. I now prefer a standard of "more probable than not", rather than "not strictly impossible". In other words, we would have to treat πολιτεύεσθαι as we would with other cases of ambiguity.
Well, that is my problem. I am floating somewhere between “more probable than not” and “not strictly impossible”. That is why I asked the question about whether infinitives are ever used that way without an explicit subject, because I am trying to figure out what is more probable. I also plan on looking at it from a scribal tendency point of view, i.e. how consistent is a particular scribe in his use of the particular endings.

All of the other ending substitutions I have done so far such as ομεν/ωμεν have been relatively easy. Since they both sounded the same, either could be either, thus I went with the normal morphological form which never introduced a grammatical problem. In other words, since we couldn’t know for sure what the scribe was thinking, going with the normally accepted morphological form would at least show that both possibilities existed there. Here, there was also supposedly no distinction in sound, and yet, it seems that scribes were still indicating indicative vs. subjunctive by the letters they wrote. That is where the scribal tendencies come in. Otherwise, a scribe could have substituted either ο or ω anytime they want, but they didn’t seem to be doing that, especially regarding the verb endings.

I knew the ε/αι substitution would be the most troublesome, so I saved it for last as it will require the most judgement calls.

I am also contemplating doing what Mike Aubrey suggested, in that I could separate each one out as a distinct form, but still give it the same morphology. I just am nervous right now about creating a morphological search engine where -εσθαι is shown to be an imperative or an infinitive, and likewise -ομεν would be shown to be an indicative or a subjunctive. Would we ever want to teach those endings to students that way?
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Alan Bunning
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Alan Bunning » January 20th, 2020, 11:27 am

Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 5:08 am
Doesn't this seem like a chiasm?

ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος
...
ἵνα τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν περισσεύῃ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ
διὰ τῆς ἐμῆς παρουσίας πάλιν πρὸς ὑμᾶς
μόνον ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελίου πολιτεύεσθαι (א)
ἵνα εἴτε ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ὑμᾶς εἴτε ἀπὼν ἀκούσω τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν
ὅτι στήκετε ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι μιᾷ ψυχῇ συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
...
ἥτις ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς ἔνδειξις ἀπωλείας, ὑμῶν δὲ σωτηρίας

So πολιτεύεσθαι may be there for structural reason. πολιτεύεσθε is less neat in this regard.
I can kind of see that. Maybe that would be more probable then? Do others see it that way?
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Alan Bunning
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Re: πολιτεύεσθε and πολιτεύεσθαι

Post by Alan Bunning » January 20th, 2020, 11:28 am

Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 8:11 am
Btw Alan,
ε ~ αι is the second most common interchange of vowels in the papyri
do you have a tool to list all occurrences of say ε ⟷ αι in one/two/.../all manuscripts? This could allow tracing of manuscript lineage, and may help in this particular problem. One more reason not to smooth away that infinitive I guess.
Yes, it is trivial to find them all right now in the database, but I am getting ready to wreck that if I start separating the sound-a-like endings into different parsings. Fortunately, if I do wreck that, I can still find them all, I just have to dig out an old program I wrote to do that.
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