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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Junia, the apostle: Part 11

Tonight I am going to present the single example in Wallace and Burer's article in which en + dative implies that the person in term A is not a member of the group in term B.

It is found in Euripides' Hippolytus, and refers to Aphrodite,

    σεμνή γε μέντοι κἀπίσημος ἐν βροτοῖς.

    Yet she's revered and famous among mortals.
Clearly Aphrodite is not a mortal, but she is 'famous among mortals'; she even states that she enjoys receiving honour from mortals. This is the one and only example of episemos with en + dative, in which the person is not a member of the group by definition.

There are a few things to note about this example. First, it is from 428 BCE. Second, it only serves to introduce ambiguity for the construction en + dative. It does not prove the case. Since Homer, we can find that en + dative was also typically used for 'among', as in belonging to the group.

    καὶ νόον ἐν πρώτοισι Μυκηναίων ἐτέτυκτο

    and in mind he was among the first of the men of Mycenae
So, I would argue that both meanings existed side by side for en + dative over the centuries in Greek. The lexicon does support this.

    en - in the number of, amongst; in the presence of, before LSJ
However, I would like to stress that of all the examples cited by Wallace and Burer, this is the only one that supports their hypothesis. In the case of Aphrodite we know that she cannot be considered a mortal, and we know that it is important to her to be honoured by mortals. She craves their attention. She says so.

This is not quite an exact parallel to Andronicus and Junia. First, these two could possibly be apostles. 'Apostles' is a small group to which they could belong. Second, it is not quite clear why being famous to the apostles is a commendation, but being an apostle is significant.

However, this one example does support Wallace and Burer. In the next post, I will try to present the rest of the examples.


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