26 March 2005

The Difference a Word Makes--Phaedo 82a10

Those who don't care about words can skip this.

I do care about them, so I'm going to comment on a word in the Greek but missing in the two translations I looked at, Grube's and Jowett's. And...

...uh, that's the word, 'and' (or 'even'). In Greek, it's kai. A fairly common word, but its presence can make a big difference.

In Greek (see the previous post for the whole passage) the line is:

- ou)kou=n eu)daimone/statoi, e)/fh, kai\ tou/twn ei)si\ kai\ ei)j be/ltiston to/pon i)o/ntej

Jowett leaves out the word (I'll put a gap where it's missing): "Then", said he, "the happiest ___ of those, and who go to the best place..."

Grube leaves out the word (again, I'll gapify): "The happiest ___ of these, who will also have the best destination..."

Bobonich (nicely) includes it: "Are not the happiest even of these [i.e. non-philosophers], and the ones going to the best place..." (19).

Bobonich's gloss, if correct, would certainly support his interpretation. But I'm not sure it's required, or even likely. ---But what else might that one little word mean? (Hint: look at the broader context.)


Anonymous said...

Those of us who spent $20 of precious Grad School money on Denniston, only to watch that volume begin to carbonize on the shelf [ P Herc Den], are always delighted when an argument threatens to break out involving Greek particles. So it is with the deepest regret that I must confess myself just puzzled here--especially by Bobonich's translation.
Jowett & Grube & Fowler (Loeb ) all take KAI to be an emphatic signaling the interrogative sentence and reasonably omit it. But what is Bobovich trying to do with it? Read it as some sort of restrictive or "disdainful" emphatic applying to touton? Is this usage established in Plato? Sure "ge" would be the clearer restrictive ( or several other constructions we could mention ).
But I don't understand Bobonich's translation for another reason. The proper referent of touton, as I read it, is the BROAD class ( "all the others") of those who who have not chosen vicious lives, ie., not just non-philos but also those professing philosophy.
( And I also [ kai de kai] agree with MP: I see nothing in the following lines to suggest that re-incarnation as a social animal or worthwhile person is something Socrates regards as bleak or hopeless. )
So help me out, MP. What does support Bobonich's translation? What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

Phaedo 82a10