Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

David Lim
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Re: The time reference of οἱ πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν

Post by David Lim » July 30th, 2014, 3:17 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Another question: What do you make of the tense of λαμβάνειν? To me it suggests on-going, (which on turn suggests taking μέλλειν λαμβάνειν as the time reference of οι πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν. Which suggests a mixture of history and ritual in the Gospel composition, rather than just "objective" history.
I may be wrong but I don't see a clear distinction between the present and aorist infinitives when they are not used in indirect statements (including reported speech and various other constructions), because I recall seeing a few too many examples that don't quite fit the generalization stated in Smyth 1865.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The time reference of οἱ πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 30th, 2014, 4:00 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Another question: What do you make of the tense of λαμβάνειν? To me it suggests on-going, (which on turn suggests taking μέλλειν λαμβάνειν as the time reference of οι πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν. Which suggests a mixture of history and ritual in the Gospel composition, rather than just "objective" history.
My understanding is that μέλλειν always takes a present infinitive, rather than an aorist. Thus, the question is not really about something specific to this context.
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David Lim
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Re: The time reference of οἱ πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν

Post by David Lim » July 30th, 2014, 5:32 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Another question: What do you make of the tense of λαμβάνειν? To me it suggests on-going, (which on turn suggests taking μέλλειν λαμβάνειν as the time reference of οι πιστεύο(/σα)ντες εἰς αὐτόν. Which suggests a mixture of history and ritual in the Gospel composition, rather than just "objective" history.
My understanding is that μέλλειν always takes a present infinitive, rather than an aorist. Thus, the question is not really about something specific to this context.
Here are some counter-examples. :) I only searched for "μελλειν" immediately followed by an aorist infinitive, so there are probably others.
[Exo 4:12] και νυν πορευου και εγω ανοιξω το στομα σου και συμβιβασω σε ο μελλεις λαλησαι
[Isa 15:7] μη και ουτως μελλει σωθηναι επαξω γαρ επι την φαραγγα αραβας και λημψονται αυτην
[Rev 2:10 Byz] μηδεν φοβου α μελλεις παθειν ιδου δη μελλει βαλειν ο διαβολος εξ υμων εις φυλακην ινα πειρασθητε και εξετε θλιψιν ημερων δεκα γινου πιστος αχρι θανατου και δωσω σοι τον στεφανον της ζωης
[Rev 12:4] και η ουρα αυτου συρει το τριτον των αστερων του ουρανου και εβαλεν αυτους εις την γην και ο δρακων εστηκεν ενωπιον της γυναικος της μελλουσης τεκειν ινα οταν τεκη το τεκνον αυτης καταφαγη

Anyway I won't say that there is completely no influence of the general principle stated in Smyth on the tense of the infinitive in actual usage, but it might be too weak for it to have any real meaning unless we know for certain that the writer or speaker consciously and consistently makes the distinction.
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 30th, 2014, 6:04 am

Thanks for checking, and I should have checked before posting. Fanning, Verbal Aspect, p.398, counts 84 present infinitives and 7 aorist infinitives with μέλλειν in the New Testament. Fanning, unfortunately, has no real explanation for the "striking predominance of present infinitives with μέλλω," though he cites a number of opinions.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 30th, 2014, 7:14 am

μέλλειν with the future infinitive ἔσεσθαι
Stephen Carlson wrote:Thanks for checking, and I should have checked before posting. Fanning, Verbal Aspect, p.398, counts 84 present infinitives and 7 aorist infinitives with μέλλειν in the New Testament. Fanning, unfortunately, has no real explanation for the "striking predominance of present infinitives with μέλλω," though he cites a number of opinions.
Acts 11:28 wrote:Ἀναστὰς δὲ εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὀνόματι Ἄγαβος, ἐσήμανεν διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος λιμὸν μέγαν μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν οἰκουμένην· ὅστις καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ Κλαυδίου Καίσαρος.
This appears to be a future infinitive. So too in Acts 23:30 (RP Byz 2005), 24:15, 24:25 (RP Byz 2005), 27:10, but cf.
Revelations 1:9 wrote:Γράψον οὖν ἃ εἶδες, καὶ ἅ εἰσιν, καὶ ἃ μέλλει γίνεσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα·
Perhaps working in the assumption that the future has no aspect, those examples were not included in the count.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 30th, 2014, 8:00 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Perhaps working in the assumption that the future has no aspect, those examples were not included in the count.
He mentions future infinitives separately; I did not mention them in my post.
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David Lim
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by David Lim » July 31st, 2014, 12:36 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Thanks for checking, and I should have checked before posting. Fanning, Verbal Aspect, p.398, counts 84 present infinitives and 7 aorist infinitives with μέλλειν in the New Testament. Fanning, unfortunately, has no real explanation for the "striking predominance of present infinitives with μέλλω," though he cites a number of opinions.
I see. Stephen Hughes' post about "μελλειν" with "εσεσθαι", though not what we were talking about, reminded me of something that Carl said 3 years ago at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... f=11&t=472, which might be relevant. :)
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 7th, 2014, 9:16 am

I came across an article on μέλλω here: https://wiki.uef.fi/download/attachment ... 000&api=v2
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David Lim
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by David Lim » August 7th, 2014, 10:58 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I came across an article on μέλλω here: https://wiki.uef.fi/download/attachment ... 000&api=v2
Thanks for that. I notice that on page 12 he says "Markopoulos explains this phenomenon in a similar manner: the AOR.INF continued to denote perfective value, while the PRES.INF could be used for both perfective and imperfective.". As I said before, I too think that the present tense in Koine Greek does not specify imperfective aspect but merely present time, and not just in the infinitive. In the case of the infinitive, the time in focus is usually the time of the infinitive itself, which is usually past time, and hence this is one reason I said that it would be difficult to distinguish the present infinitive and the aorist infinitive when not in an indirect statement.

Off-topic, I'm more of a lumper so I would not separate the usages of "can/must/will" into deontic or epistemic as the author did on page 7. Consider his examples again:
(3) John may be in his office.
(4) John must be in his office.
(5) John will be in his office.

His analysis is not complete because these three could mean either what he implied:
(3) It is possible that John is in his office.
(4) It is certain that John is in his office.
(5) I suppose that John will be in his office.

Or it could mean something different:
(3) It is allowed for John to be in his office.
(4) It is necessary for John to be in his office.
(5) It is required for John to be in his office.

My view considers all these and more as a result of the interaction between the basic meaning of the modal verbs and the context:
(3) may: denotes possibility
(4) must: denotes necessity
(5) will: denotes eventuality
All three cases apply whether it is inferred or desired or permitted.

The context such as the verb or the use of "now" may restrict it to desire or permission as in (1) and (2), but it is a subtle interaction of meanings as the following show:
(1) John may come in now. (permission)
(1') John may come in any time now. (statement)
(2) John must come in now. (obligation)
(2') John must be coming in now. (inference)
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Re: Talking about the future in a past tense narrative text

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 8th, 2014, 1:36 am

David Lim wrote:Thanks for that. I notice that on page 12 he says "Markopoulos explains this phenomenon in a similar manner: the AOR.INF continued to denote perfective value, while the PRES.INF could be used for both perfective and imperfective.". As I said before, I too think that the present tense in Koine Greek does not specify imperfective aspect but merely present time, and not just in the infinitive. In the case of the infinitive, the time in focus is usually the time of the infinitive itself, which is usually past time, and hence this is one reason I said that it would be difficult to distinguish the present infinitive and the aorist infinitive when not in an indirect statement.
Thanks for your comments, David, and for reading the paper. I have to admit though that I'm thoroughly confused by your comments. We're talking about the future-referring μέλλω, so claiming that the present infinitive specifies "merely present time" and then that "the time of the infinitive itself" is "usually past time" makes absolutely no sense to me in context. If it's not aspectual but time-referring, then how can it be past, present, and future?!?

I'm also confused by the "too" in "I too think," since I can't find any support in Voitila (whose article I linked to). In fact, the whole point of Voitila is to propose modal meanings for μέλλω. So while you're going the tense route, Voitila's going mood. Thus, I don't see any basis for the "too": you seem to be arguing for a completely different approach.

I'm also frustrated by Voitila here in his representation of Ruijgh in context with Markopoulos. On the quote from page 201 (PDF page 12), he claims that Markopoulos is similar to Ruijgh, but he's not. In checking the references that Voitila cites, I find that Markopoulos does not cite Ruijgh at all nor does he test Ruijgh's theory of μέλλω. Yes, Markopoulos does state " when used as a complement of μέλλω, the Present Infinitive was aspectually neutralized, i.e. it did not have a specific aspectual value," but this is not really the view of Ruijgh, who refers the value of the present infinitive with μέλλω to an "inceptive" present, which has a well-understood aspectual interpretation as an imperfective, though Ruijgh did not lay it out explicitly.

Furthermore, Markopoulos and Voitila's interpretation of the aspectuality of the present infinitive leaves a lot to be desired since they confuse (at least to me) aspect and Aktionsart. For example, Voitila claims that 2 Macc 7:18 καὶ μέλλων ἀποθνῄσκειν ἔφη ("and when he was about to die he said") is "clearly perfective," but the action of dying is not complete since he was still able to speak. Voitila needs an analysis more persuasive than slapping the adverb "clearly" on a conclusion that begs the question.

I'm rather intrigued by Ruijgh's proposal for the meaning of μέλλω with the various kinds of infinitives (all are relative futures, but the present infinitive is imminent), but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I'll need to work through the examples to test it. I also need to test Voitila's modal hypothesis for μέλλω. At this point, my mind is not made up.
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