Sunday, March 04, 2018



Acts 8.30 (Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch; KJV):
Understandest thou what thou readest?

ἆρά γε γινώσκεις ἃ ἀναγινώσκεις;
To tell the truth, no — I don't really understand the nuances of the particles ἆρά γε, and it appears I am not alone. C.K. Barrett in his commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994) ad loc., pp. 427-428:
Philip's question is introduced by ἆρά γε, the precise force of which is not easy to grasp, or at least to express. In itself, ἆρα implies neither a positive nor a negative answer (cf. however Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.5.4, where a definitely positive answer is expected). According to Moule, IB 158, γε 'perhaps adds a sense of doubt'; according to LS 340 it adds emphasis; according to BDR § 439.1 it is no more than an 'unbedeutenden Anhängsel'. Page (134) takes the particles to mean Dost thou really? implying that he does not. Begs. 4.96f. translates, Do you after all know what you are reading? We should perhaps emphasise the word Do in the question: Do you understand what you are reading?' 'γε ajoute de la vivacité à la question' (Delebecque 43).
J.D. Denniston, Greek Particles, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p. 50:

Barrett continues:
The question contains a neat example of paronomasia, γινώσκεις ἃ ἀναγινώσκεις; the contrast between reading and understanding is familiar in Judaism; see Daube (NTRJ 434) ...
The word play is reproduced in the Vulgate: intellegis quae legis?

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