Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.

Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 15th, 2012, 9:49 am

What is the telicity of ἐλθεῖν? In other words, does the (prototypical) notion of this verb have a natural endpoint?

There are two detailed, scholarly studies of this question available on the web (both in PDF) that come to different conclusions.

The first is a master's thesis by Rachel Maureen Shain, "The Preverb Eis- and Koine Greek Aktionsart" (M.A. diss., Ohio State University, 2009), which argues that ἐλθεῖν / ἔρχομαι is atelic but εἰσελθεῖν / εἰσέρχομαι is telic.

The other is a bachelor's thesis by A. J. Espinosa, "Coming and Going in Koine Greek: Deixis and Aspect of Ἐρχομαι" (B.A. diss, Yale University, 2010), which argues, contra Shain, that ἐλθεῖν / ἔρχομαι is telic and that it connotes motion to the deictic center.

Who's got the better of the argument?
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Matt 15:29 and the Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 17th, 2012, 12:48 pm

Let's give the question some focus. This question is not merely theoretical but affects the interpretation of some verses. For example:

Matt 15:29 wrote:Καὶ μεταβὰς ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν παρὰ τὴν θάλλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ ἀναβὰς εἰς τὸ ὄρος ἐκάθητο ἐκεῖ.


On the one hand, if ἦλθεν is telic, then the bolded phrase would mean "he came to [the shore] by the sea of Galilee" (so NJB, KJV, BDAG παρά C1bβ p.757 col. 2). On the other hand, if ἦλθεν is not telic, then it would mean "he went along the sea of Galilee" (so NRSV, NASB, NIV, NAB, NET, ESV, RSV).

Which interpretation is to be preferred?
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Scott Lawson » June 17th, 2012, 6:44 pm

Stephen,
As for me I'm working my way through the works you referenced, but I recently read a paper written by Tony Pope in 1984 dealing with verbs of motion in Mark, which was eye opening for me. http://www.sil.org/acpub/repository/START12.pdf Your discussion has brought to mind the translation of the substantive παρουσία as "arrival." This obviously has telic implications.
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby TimNelson » November 3rd, 2014, 2:20 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Stephen,
As for me I'm working my way through the works you referenced, but I recently read a paper written by Tony Pope in 1984 dealing with verbs of motion in Mark, which was eye opening for me. http://www.sil.org/acpub/repository/START12.pdf Your discussion has brought to mind the translation of the substantive παρουσία as "arrival." This obviously has telic implications.


That link has died. Are you able to provide another link for it?
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 3rd, 2014, 4:26 am

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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Tony Pope » November 3rd, 2014, 2:09 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Matt 15:29 wrote:Καὶ μεταβὰς ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν παρὰ τὴν θάλλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ ἀναβὰς εἰς τὸ ὄρος ἐκάθητο ἐκεῖ.


On the one hand, if ἦλθεν is telic, then the bolded phrase would mean "he came to [the shore] by the sea of Galilee" (so NJB, KJV, BDAG παρά C1bβ p.757 col. 2). On the other hand, if ἦλθεν is not telic, then it would mean "he went along the sea of Galilee" (so NRSV, NASB, NIV, NAB, NET, ESV, RSV).

Which interpretation is to be preferred?


Espinsosa sounds more convincing to me, namely that ἦλθεν is telic. He discusses Matt 15.29 on pp. 59-60 of his diss.

I found this example in Chrysostom's De beato Abraham:
[00228] Εἶτα ὡς μετὰ τὰς πληγὰς ταύτας οὐκ εἶξεν ὁ Φαραὼ, λοιπὸν ὁ Θεὸς θάνατον τῶν πρωτοτόκων ἐπάγει·
[00229] εἶτα, ἵνα ἐπιτέμω
[00230] τὸν λόγον χρὴ γὰρ ἐπιτεμεῖν, ἵνα μὴ περὶ τὰ αὐτὰ εἱλούμενοι μὴ πληρώσωμεν τὴν ὑπόσχεσιν, ἐξῆλθον ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου, καὶ ἦλθον παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν.
[00231] Ἐστρατοπέδευσε Φαραὼ ὀπίσω αὐτῶν μετὰ πλήθους ἁρμάτων καὶ ἵππων·
[00232] ὡς δὲ εἶδεν Ἰσραὴλ τὴν παράταξιν, ἐφοβήθη.
[00233] Ἦλθον δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ χείλους τῆς θαλάσσης·
[00234] καί φησιν ὁ Θεὸς τῷ Μωϋσεῖ, Τί βοᾷς πρός με;
[00235] καὶ μὴν οὐδὲν ἔλεγε Μωϋσῆς.
I presume Chrysostom didn't mean to say the Israelites went along the Red Sea.

Probably someone with access to the full TLG could discover other examples.
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 3rd, 2014, 6:07 pm

The Greek that is being discussed in those theses is coming up in some places in English letters! I'm finding that difficult to read and distracting.

Does my computer need something else to be done to it to display the Greek words properly in the Greek alphabet?


Also...

For the first thesis, a current address without searching within their site is; Rachel Maureen Shain, "The Preverb Eis- and Koine Greek Aktionsart" (M.A. diss., Ohio State University, 2009)

A current hyper-link for for the second one is; A. J. Espinosa, "Coming and Going in Koine Greek: Deixis and Aspect of Ἐρχομαι (B.A. diss, Yale University, 2010)
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 3rd, 2014, 6:47 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:The Greek that is being discussed in those theses is coming up in some places in English letters! I'm finding that difficult to read and distracting.

That's what happens when writers don't use Unicode fonts.
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 3rd, 2014, 7:07 pm

Tony Pope wrote:Espinsosa sounds more convincing to me, namely that ἦλθεν is telic.

Same here.
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Re: Telicity of ἐλθεῖν (ἕρχομαι)?

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 3rd, 2014, 7:55 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:The Greek that is being discussed in those theses is coming up in some places in English letters! I'm finding that difficult to read and distracting.

That's what happens when writers don't use Unicode fonts.
Stephen Hughes wrote:Does my computer need something else to be done to it to display the Greek words properly in the Greek alphabet?


Well, actually, looking at it again more closely, it seems to be intentional...
Example of transliterated Greek from RMS wrote:phulassō ... diaphulassō
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