τινος...ἢ οὐδενός. These are objective genitives to be construed with the second ἔρως: “Is Love love for some object or for none?” For the use of the indef. in such phrases, cp. Phileb. 35 B ὅ γ᾽ ἐπιθυμῶν τινὸς ἐπιθυμεῖ. οὐκ εἰ μητρός τινος κτλ. These words have been variously interpreted: (1) Lehrs and Prantl construe the genitives as subjective (“love felt by a mother”); (2) Ast as objective (“love for a mother”): (3) Rückert, followed by Hommel and Hug, takes them to be genn. of origin; so too Zeller renders “ich meine damit aber nicht, ob er eine Mutter oder einen Vater hat.” Of these, (1) seems the least probable in point of sense, and with subjective genitives τινος would be superfluous. It is a serious objection (as Hug admits) to (3) that it compels us to regard the “absurdity” (γελοῖον) of the question as lying in its form rather than its substance. That the “absurdity” lies in the substance of the statement is shown, e.g., by Lysis 221 A ἢ γελοῖον τὸ ἐρώτημα, ὅ τί ποτ̓ ἔσται τότε ἢ μὴ ἔσται; τίς γὰρ οἶδεν; (cp. Phaedrus 274 C). But if so, recourse must be had to textual alteration: we must strike out either the second ἔρως, with Sommer, or the whole block of words εἰ Ἔρως... πατρός, as Hug (followed by Jowett) suggests. This, however, is a hazardous alternative. On the whole, then, the explanation (2) put forward by Ast seems the most probable. Construing, “I do not ask whether Eros has for its object a father or a mother, since to ask whether Eros is eros for a parent were an absurd question,” the point will be taken to lie in the fact that ἔρως, as properly denoting sexual passion, cannot naturally have for its object a parent. The same interpretation might be kept if we struck out—as perhaps we ought—the words μητρὸς ἢ πατρός, and construed “the question would be absurd if (or granting that) Eros is (really) ἔρως (i.e. sex-love).” αὐτὸ τοῦτο πατέρα ἠρώτων. Rettig approves Stallbaum's explanation, “h. e. πατέρα, αὐτὸ τοῦτο ὅπερ ἔστιν ut mox loquitur. Vult autem cogitari de patris notione, qualem mente informatum habemus.” But the use of the neuter in apposition to the masc. is sufficient to indicate that “cogitari de patris notione”; and it is most natural to regard αὐτὸ τοῦτο as implying a reference to the previous use of “this very word, πατήρ.” εἶπες ἂν. “You would at once reply.” (See Goodwin G. M. T. § 414, Thompson on Meno 72 B.) ἡ μήτηρ ὡσαύτως. Sc. ἐστὶν υἱέος γε ἢ θυγατρὸς μήτηρ.
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