Έρχομαι definition?

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Jacob Rhoden
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Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Jacob Rhoden » March 18th, 2015, 5:57 pm

Ever since I first came across this word it's been bothering me. From the book I am using to learn and other places. It seems to have a sense of "I come" and "I go". In English, and other languages I know these are always two distinct words and have two distinctly different meanings.

http://biblehub.com/greek/2064.htm

How does Greek distinguish between a person coming and a person going?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 18th, 2015, 6:21 pm

I take ἔρχεσθαι, ἐλθεῖν to mean to go to a contextually salient destination. Often, that contextually salient destination is a location near where the speaker is or will be, in which case the English gloss "come" is appropriate.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 18th, 2015, 9:00 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I take ἔρχεσθαι, ἐλθεῖν to mean to go to a contextually salient destination. Often, that contextually salient destination is a location near where the speaker is or will be, in which case the English gloss "come" is appropriate.
Often, but I think not always. Consider John 8:14:
John 8:14 wrote:ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ οἴδατε πόθεν ἔρχομαι ἢ ποῦ ὑπάγω.
Or Revelation 3:11, which seems to emphasize the time of coming and not any particular place to which he will come:
Rev 3:11 wrote:ἔρχομαι ταχύ
Or Revelation 16:15, which emphasizes the manner of his coming and not a destination:
Rev 16:15 wrote:Ἰδοὺ ἔρχομαι ὡς κλέπτης.
Also, isn't it equally true that "come" and "go" in English imply a contextually salient destination? Another possible explanation is that languages are different. Aloha means "hello" or "good-bye" in Hawaiian, which is confusing only to those for whom Hawaiian is not a native language. Flammable and Inflammable mean the same thing in English, which is confusing for pretty much everyone ...
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 18th, 2015, 9:46 pm

None of those cases are problems. John 8:14 asserts that the destination is unknown (and it nicely shows how ὑπάγειν is the antonym). As for Rev 3:11 and 16:15 what you identify as emphasized is merely some other added element. Both of them involve going/coming to the deictic center, rather than some wandering around with no destination in sight.
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Jacob Rhoden » March 18th, 2015, 10:52 pm

My greek is still a beginner level, so I am not sure I am yet able to follow enough greek to start to see how it is used in context of a sentence.

Would it be more helpful for me to think of both "come" and "go" being possible translations of the word, but not the meaning of the word itself. And to think of the meaning of the word more as expressing that an object is changing location, without a sense of moving either towards or away from object?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 19th, 2015, 3:35 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:My greek is still a beginner level, so I am not sure I am yet able to follow enough greek to start to see how it is used in context of a sentence.

Would it be more helpful for me to think of both "come" and "go" being possible translations of the word, but not the meaning of the word itself. And to think of the meaning of the word more as expressing that an object is changing location, without a sense of moving either towards or away from object?
My sense is that πορεύομαι would be better for that. Even κινέομαι (cf. Acts 17:28).
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 19th, 2015, 6:22 am

ἔρχομαι simply means "to move in space" the direction of which is determined by the point of view of the writer or speaker. That's another way, I suppose, of saying that the proper English translation is contextually determined... :roll:
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Chris Servanti
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Chris Servanti » September 10th, 2015, 5:09 pm

In some languages like there are words that are more specific than those available in other languages:

2 examples:

Esperar in spanish can mean to wait or to hope. Sometimes, the distinction is clear between these two ideas, but at other times it is difficult to discern (Try to define "to hope" and "wait" and you'll find out they are more similar than we usually think)

In chinese, the word 需 can mean either want or need. It's not necessarily that sometimes they mean want and sometimes they mean need, it's probably more like their essential view on wants and needs is different than ours.

Beyond this, if we really stop to consider, "what is the difference between coming and going?" we will find that there is only a nuance of speaker's location, so in the Koine Greek mindset, we don't think,"coming" or "going" we think more of "moving from place A to place B" - (note that Translating it into English still obviously requires one of these words) This is why learning and mastering Greek can become so helpful for understanding, we become not only capable of translating into english, but understanding the text without translation.
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Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Έρχομαι definition?

Post by Shirley Rollinson » September 13th, 2015, 2:17 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:My greek is still a beginner level, so I am not sure I am yet able to follow enough greek to start to see how it is used in context of a sentence.

Would it be more helpful for me to think of both "come" and "go" being possible translations of the word, but not the meaning of the word itself. And to think of the meaning of the word more as expressing that an object is changing location, without a sense of moving either towards or away from object?
Think of it as "I move myself" etc.
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