ἄφιξις

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Alexander2

Senior Member
Russian
Can someone explain how the word ἄφιξις has two diametrically opposed meanings: “departure” and “arrival”?

If the context where this word is used is not sufficient enough, is it impossible, based on the word’s etymology alone, to determine what it means in that context?
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    Last edited:

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    If we are talking about 3-4 points in the whole Ancient Greek literature where "arrival" means "departure", this is a drop in the ocean.
    Also, I am not sure that in Herodotus 9,17 this is the case.
    Having in mind phrases like "departure for Athens" and "arrival in Athens", where the meaning is different but the destination is the same, may I assume that sort of emphasis is put on the destination?
     
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    ioanell

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Can someone explain how the word ἄφιξις has two diametrically opposed meanings: “departure” and “arrival”?
    Despite the good point made by bearded, you didn’t specify whether you refer to the Ancient Greek or the Modern Greek Language. In Modern Greek the word exclusively means “arrival” and nothing else.

    If the context where this word is used is not sufficient enough, is it impossible, based on the word’s etymology alone, to determine what it means in that context?
    I presume if you cited the Ancient Greek (con)text where you found the word, perhaps one could offer a satisfactory answer to your question, although, as correctly Perseas referred to Liddell-Scott in #5 above, the only occasion where the word ἄφιξις means "departure” is in the "Acts of the Apostles" (20.29), written not in classical Greek, but in the Hellenistic (Greek) Koine. Unexplainable why Evangelist Luke, who wrote the “Acts”, used the word with the meaning of “departure”. [The other occasion mentioned by Liddell-Scott as meaning “departure” is disputable and rebuttable, as in that case the word is rather translated as μετακίνηση/μετακόμιση (=moving/removal)]. Anyway, based on its etymology alone, the word means nothing else but “arrival” [(ἀπό>) ἀφ + (ἱκ-νέ-ομαι>) ἱκνοῦμαι = ἀφικνοῦμαι (=φθάνω{arrive}) > ἄφ-ικ+σις>ἄφιξις].
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The word is from the ancient Greek texts rather than from the modern language. The BDAG lexicon may shed some light on why the word is used with the meaning “departure” at Ac 20:29 and perhaps some other texts:

    "ἄφιξις, εως, ἡ (s. ἀφικνέομαι, hence usu. of ‘arrival’: Hdt. et al.; so also Lysimachus [200 BC]: 382 fgm. 6 Jac.; Diod. S. 8, 19, 2; pap; 3 Macc 7:18; EpArist 173; Jos., Ant. 20, 51, Vi. 104; Tat.) in our lit. the point from which one moves is emphasized departure (cp. Demosth., Ep. 1, 2; 3, 39 ἄ. οἴκαδε; Ael. Aristid. 48, 7 K.=24 p. 467 D.; Jos., Ant. 2, 18; 4, 315; 7, 247; PMich 497, 12; other pass. in Gk. lit. may appear to be ambiguous to the modern reader, but not be, because the ancient writer views the departure in terms of movement toward a destination) Ac 20:29."
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Maybe some scribers or transcribers understood it as the opposite of ήκω (arrive) (compare "ήξεις αφήξεις ..."), and mispelled the H at the same time. Some versions of the Gospel I have, do not have the word "άφιξις" but "αναχώρησις".
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I was astonished to read that άφιξις could also mean 'arrival' in ancient Greek, and promptly looked up the NT quotation ( ἐγὼ γὰρ οἶδα τοῦτο, ὅτι εἰσελεύσονται μετὰ τὴν ἄφιξίν μου λύκοι βαρεῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς μὴ φειδόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου, Acts 20:29). I had read it before but had never stumbled on that word, unconsciously assuming that St. Paul meant "after my visit here, after my stay with you", i.e. "when I am gone".
    In any case, I, too, confirm that in modern Greek the word only means 'arrival'.
     

    dmtrs

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Maybe the whole thing is explained by a difference that seems to exist between ancient and modern Greeks in the way they understood/understand the act of moving, the differentiation between come and go. In ancient Greek both verbs είμι and έρχομαι meant either come or go -the meaning depended on the rest of the phrase. I've been puzzled by this fact ever since I realized it.
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In ancient Greek both verbs είμι and έρχομαι meant either come or go
    Did you mean the verb εμι or εμί? (These are viewed as two different verbs. Note the difference between the diacritic marks. The verb εμι is defined in the LSJ lexicon as "go," whereas the verb εμί as "be; exist.")

    If you meant the verb είμι rather than εἶμι, does the verb είμι have the meaning "come; go" besides "be; exist"? If this is the case, can the related noun ουσία mean "coming; going" besides "presence"?
     

    dmtrs

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I mean the verb εμι. Sorry for not using polytonic writing -I wrote in a hurry and I thought the stress mark would be sufficient.
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I was astonished to read that άφιξις could also mean 'departure’ in ancient Greek, and promptly looked up the NT quotation ( ἐγὼ γὰρ οἶδα τοῦτο, ὅτι εἰσελεύσονται μετὰ τὴν ἄφιξίν μου λύκοι βαρεῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς μὴ φειδόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου, Acts 20:29). I had read it before but had never stumbled on that word, unconsciously assuming that St. Paul meant "after my visit here, after my stay with you", i.e. "when I am gone". I am still inclined to think so.
    In any case, I, too, confirm that in modern Greek the word only means 'arrival’.
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I had read it before but had never stumbled on that word, unconsciously assuming that St. Paul meant "after my visit here, after my stay with you", i.e. "when I am gone". I am still inclined to think so.
    The author of the Latin Vulgate rendered the word Greek aphixis with the Latin word discessio (“withdrawal; departure”): “Ego scio quoniam intrabunt post discessionem meam lupi graves in vos non parcentes gregi.”

    Therefore, it seems that since ancient times, the word aphixis has been used with the meaning “departure” in some contexts, although in many other instances, it is used with the meaning “arrival.” Certain words have different meanings in different contexts.

    The BDAG lexicon states in its comment on the word aphixis: “The ancient writer views the departure in terms of movement toward a destination.”

    The modern Greek Bible translation by Sotiropoulos uses the word erkhomos (“coming; arrival”) at Acts 20:29.

    However, I have not found any English translation which renders the word aphixis at Acts 20:29 as “visit,” “stay,” or similar words.

    The following are the renderings of Ac 20:29 in various English Bible versions:
     

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