ηκω

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David Lim
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ηκω

Post by David Lim » June 21st, 2011, 9:47 am

I am not sure whether this is the right place, but I was wondering what "ηκω" and its forms meant in the new testament. Perseus seems to indicate that its present tense forms sometimes were used as if they were (present) perfect, but it seems that it is never even used in the present tense in the new testament. Is that correct? How about its imperfect and perfect forms? Do they function as if they are aorist and pluperfect respectively?

Thanks a lot!
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cwconrad
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Re: ηκω

Post by cwconrad » June 21st, 2011, 11:02 am

David Lim wrote:I am not sure whether this is the right place, but I was wondering what "ηκω" and its forms meant in the new testament. Perseus seems to indicate that its present tense forms sometimes were used as if they were (present) perfect, but it seems that it is never even used in the present tense in the new testament. Is that correct? How about its imperfect and perfect forms? Do they function as if they are aorist and pluperfect respectively?

Thanks a lot!
If you're really interested in this verb, you would do well to check the full LSJ entry, which is much too long to cite here (it indicates that all forms outside of the present tense appear only in later Greek); even the BDAG entry is lengthy, but I'll cite the lines on the forms:
ἥκω (Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX, pseudepigr.; Jos., Ant. 16, 329; 341 al.; Just., A II, 2, 5; for ἔρχεσθαι Just., D. 49, 3 and 88, 7 [Mt 3:11f], D. 53, 3 [Zech 9:9]); for ἤχθη (A I, 51, 1 [Is 53:8]; D. 13, 6 [Is 53:8]) since it has the mng. of a perf., its conjugation somet. has perf. forms (as in pap [Mayser I 22 ’38, 148]; LXX [Helbing 104]; JosAs 3:7f; Joseph. [WSchmidt 470]) ἥκασι(ν) Mk 8:3 (v.l. ἥκουσιν); 1 Cl 12:2. Impf. ἧκον; fut. ἥξω; 1 aor. ἧξα (POxy 933, 13).

To put it as simply as possible, this verb had present-tense forms in Classical Attic but was regularly used with a perfective sense: ἥκω = "I am now here/I have arrived here." So strong is its perfective force that some forms, e.g. the 3 pl., are conjugated sometimes with the proper present endings ἥκουσι(ν), but not uncommonly with perfect-tense endings, e.g. ἥκασι(ν).

The imperfect does not appear in the GNT, but it is found in the OT Apocrypha 5x and only in 2 Maccabees. There are 27 instances of this verb parsed as perfect indicative in the Accordance database of the LXX. What seems pretty clear is that the perfective sense of the verb led to conjugation of it with perfect-tense endings.

Usage of this verb illustrates as well as any my ad nauseam assertion that the Greek of the GNT is a language in flux, displaying both older and more new-fangled forms that are readily enough intelligible.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: ηκω

Post by David Lim » June 21st, 2011, 10:15 pm

cwconrad wrote:If you're really interested in this verb, you would do well to check the full LSJ entry, which is much too long to cite here (it indicates that all forms outside of the present tense appear only in later Greek); even the BDAG entry is lengthy, but I'll cite the lines on the forms:
ἥκω (Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX, pseudepigr.; Jos., Ant. 16, 329; 341 al.; Just., A II, 2, 5; for ἔρχεσθαι Just., D. 49, 3 and 88, 7 [Mt 3:11f], D. 53, 3 [Zech 9:9]); for ἤχθη (A I, 51, 1 [Is 53:8]; D. 13, 6 [Is 53:8]) since it has the mng. of a perf., its conjugation somet. has perf. forms (as in pap [Mayser I 22 ’38, 148]; LXX [Helbing 104]; JosAs 3:7f; Joseph. [WSchmidt 470]) ἥκασι(ν) Mk 8:3 (v.l. ἥκουσιν); 1 Cl 12:2. Impf. ἧκον; fut. ἥξω; 1 aor. ἧξα (POxy 933, 13).

To put it as simply as possible, this verb had present-tense forms in Classical Attic but was regularly used with a perfective sense: ἥκω = "I am now here/I have arrived here." So strong is its perfective force that some forms, e.g. the 3 pl., are conjugated sometimes with the proper present endings ἥκουσι(ν), but not uncommonly with perfect-tense endings, e.g. ἥκασι(ν).
I noticed something like this between the Byz and WHNU/TR at Mark 8:3, but now I am wondering why it seems that "ηκασιν" was the original which the Byzantine scribes amended to "ηκουσιν". Would that not be backwards? And I also had the thought that perhaps "ηκασιν" meant "had come" (in which case it would not be Jesus who said that phrase), just as "are here" (present) seems to correspond to "have been here" (perfect) which implies "had come".
cwconrad wrote:The imperfect does not appear in the GNT, but it is found in the OT Apocrypha 5x and only in 2 Maccabees. There are 27 instances of this verb parsed as perfect indicative in the Accordance database of the LXX. What seems pretty clear is that the perfective sense of the verb led to conjugation of it with perfect-tense endings.
The imperfect occurs in the Byz at Acts 28:23, whereas the WHNU/TR has "ηλθον", which is my reason for guessing that "ηκον" had the meaning of "was being here" implying "came". I am inclined to think that "ηκον" was the original and was replaced by the more common "ηλθον". Is this likely?
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