The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Jacob Rhoden
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The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 22nd, 2017, 8:49 am

I've been working through 2 John, its nice to have such a short book that I can get the whole thing in my head in the greek and really ponder its translation.
Ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι ⸀ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ °ὁ ἀντίχριστος.
When I first read this purely in the greek, my mind saw it as saying "Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who don't confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh—Such a person is a deciever and an antichrist." but note of course I have glossed out the definite article for deceiver and antichrist. Basically I read the second clause as a further categorisation of the type of person it has just described in the first clause.

When I checked my reading, I noted that only NLT, and the rather obscure FBV http://www.freebibleversion.org/2%20John2.0.pdf translate it in this way.

Some other translations handle it, i.e. NASB "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." This reading, to me, seems to allow a different understanding, i.e. the second clause could be understood to be a reference to a single individual (i.e. Satan) as being the protagonist in this story.

So was my reading (and hence NLT) technically incorrect, legitimate, or is it a little ambiguous? What am I missing? Thanks!

Wes Wood
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Wes Wood » January 22nd, 2017, 9:32 am

I'm not intending to take your thread a different direction, but there appears to be something else you *may* have missed in your initial translation. (I found your last few lines unintentionally vague, so if I misread them please forgive my intrusion.) What type of participle is ἐρχόμενον? What was it meant to convey, and why was the present used? If I had more time I would attempt to answer your main question, but it is probably just as well. There are others who are better able and better qualified to do so.
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Jacob Rhoden
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 22nd, 2017, 5:22 pm

Your right that there is a quite interesting question about ἐρχόμενον. I've not decided how I would translate that one yet. Strecker (Hermeneia), p233 suggests that a present tense reading is "improbable", and that a future tense reading is "grammatically permissible" which his how he translates it.

It seems to me that the plain present continual sense of this participle in this context does permit a past tense rendering if you consider the point of the author here is to indicate an everlasting state. i.e. "those who don't confess that Jesus 'has come and remains in' the flesh"

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 22nd, 2017, 6:21 pm

οὗτος doesn't really means "such a person"; it is more deictic than that. Your rendering is asking for τοιοῦτος instead.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 22nd, 2017, 9:36 pm

Fair point, certainly HCSB/CSB, NASB, KJV, NET and render quite literally as "This is", however, I noticed ESV, NLT, and NIV all seem to take it this way:
  • ESV: Such a one
  • NLT: Such a person
  • NIV: Any such person
And herein lies the point of my question, is this second clause simply describing the type of person being depicted in the first clause (ESV, NLT, NIV), or is this second clause identifying an underlying operator or protagonist which a more literal translation and usage of the definite article would seem to imply.

(To be clear, it is not my intent to focus on the English or English translations, but they are useful in that they seem to illustrate my question. Also, it is not my intent to have a theological debate, just to understand what the text actually says—which inadvertently suggests theology)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 23rd, 2017, 10:01 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:οὗτος doesn't really means "such a person"; it is more deictic than that. Your rendering is asking for τοιοῦτος instead.
I had exactly the same thought (you and I are thinking alike -- is that a good thing :) ?), but I wonder if the article is not simply the generic use, which normally would be represented with the indefinite article in English.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Stephen Carlson
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 23rd, 2017, 6:41 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:οὗτος doesn't really means "such a person"; it is more deictic than that. Your rendering is asking for τοιοῦτος instead.
I had exactly the same thought (you and I are thinking alike -- is that a good thing :) ?), but I wonder if the article is not simply the generic use, which normally would be represented with the indefinite article in English.
Sounds reasonable. The presbyter here is switching between two genericizing strategies, collective plurals and a singular exemplar, a switch which is rather harsh in contemporary idiomatic English. I can see why more dynamic translations want to smooth it out.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Arsenios (George) Blaisdell
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Arsenios (George) Blaisdell » April 8th, 2017, 8:09 pm

BYZ –
οτι πολλοι πλανοι εισηλθον εις τον κοσμον
οι μη ομολογουντες ιησουν χριστον ερχομενον εν σαρκι
ουτος
εστιν ο πλανος και ο αντιχριστος

Why cannot ουτος refer to the whole of the sentence leading up to it?
eg πολλοι πλανοι... οι...

Arsenios

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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 10th, 2017, 10:32 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
January 22nd, 2017, 6:21 pm
οὗτος doesn't really means "such a person"; it is more deictic than that.
Agreed, the thought here is not "such a person" but I think οὕτος is nothing more than anaphoric here, as it usually is in its nominative forms. The "he" in εστιν is not strong enough to carry of the comparison. An anaphoric pronoun is needed, but Greek could not use αὐτός to indicate a simple 3rd Person Personal Pronoun, such as the English "he" because αὐτός would lead a reader to think in terms of "he, himself" in contrast to some other named person, rather than a simple "he."
Smyth "The nominative of the pronoun of the third person is replaced by ἐκεῖνος (of absent persons), ὅδε, οὗτος (of present persons), ὁ μέν . . . ὁ δέ (at the beginning of a sentence), and by αὐτός in contrasts” (§ 1194). "
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Arsenios (George) Blaisdell
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Re: The role of οὗτός in 2 John 7

Post by Arsenios (George) Blaisdell » April 24th, 2017, 11:19 pm

Jacob wrote: Your right that there is a quite interesting question about ἐρχόμενον. I've not decided how I would translate that one yet. Strecker (Hermeneia), p233 suggests that a present tense reading is "improbable", and that a future tense reading is "grammatically permissible" which his how he translates it.

It seems to me that the plain present continual sense of this participle in this context does permit a past tense rendering if you consider the point of the author here is to indicate an everlasting state. i.e. "those who don't confess that Jesus 'has come and remains in' the flesh".
Well, it IS a present participle, which means ongoing in the present, and nothing suggests that this present in which it is ongoing is in the past or the future... The Ancient Church understood it as the "now" present participle, because they understood Baptism INTO Christ as the ongoing incarnation of Christ... And this because when one is baptized into Christ, one becomes a new member of his BODY, and soma and sarkos go together... Christ is always coming into the world with each baptism...

It is hard not to charge our translational efforts with our theological understandings...

The houtos is, I am persuaded, an abstract pronoun, and refers to anyone past, present or future who is denying Christ coming in the flesh into the world to be the antichrist... Hence this should be a separate sentence:
ουτος εστιν ο πλανος και ο αντιχριστος
And it means that the deceiver and the antichrist IS the
πολλοι πλανοι εξηλθαν εις τον κοσμον οι μη ομολογουντες ιησουν χριστον ερχομενον σαρκι
eg Not a single person, but the MANY who are denying, whenever and wherever they appear in history...

Arsenios

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