Acts 19:18

New Testament • Re: Acts 19.18 ἤρχοντο
Louis L Sorenson wrote:
Stephen wrote

συμφέρω in the next verse suggests movement.


Yes, that is what I thought. Movement is surely involved because they all brought their magical books to the same pile to burn.
But I also think ‘ἦλθον ὀμολογούμενοι’ is odd. It’s missing something (εἰς, πρός, κτλ. The default usage is like Mk 1.45 ἐξῆλθον ἐκ τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτόν.). Perhaps the problem (where I’m led astray) is the English use where ‘began’ has to be a modal auxiliary verb.

Carl wrote:

And to underscore that, wouldn’t an imperfect for ἄρχομαι here be odd? “They kept on beginning”?

But cf. Thucydides 1.25.4

καὶ μᾶλλον ἐξηρτύοντο τὸ ναυτικὸν καὶ ἦσαν οὐκ ἀδύνατοι·
τριήρεις γὰρ εἴκοσι καὶ ἑκατὸν ὑπῆρχον αὐτοῖς ὅτε ἤρχοντο

— would not we read that as ‘when they began to fight’? or is it ‘when they came to the fight’?

But then again, Luke likes to be ambiguous where he can. There are no textual variants here – so I guess I would go with the traditional rendering. For those who are trying to recreate a spoken Koine, this may be an example to avoid or rule to follow. i.e. use the aorist of ἄρχομαι with the infinitive, not the imperfect.

(1) Thucydides’ account of the buildup to the Peloponnesian War is vivid in its description of the ongoing process, and the imperfects contribute to that: “And they kept outfitting the fleet all the more (and they were not wanting in military might: in fact, they had a hundred and twenty triremes at the time when they were just starting hostilities.”

(2) Luke’s description of this process is vivid too, although I don’t personally think it’s ambiguous. I’m reminded of vivid literary descriptions of Savonarola’s great conflagration of books in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria. Awesome and frightening, as is the course of events in Ukraine right now.

Statistics: Posted by cwconrad — March 2nd, 2014, 10:37 am