ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

The forum for those who still struggle with morphology, syntax, and idiom, or who wish to discuss basic questions about the meaning of Greek texts, syntax, or words.
Forum rules
This is not a place for students to ask for the answers to their homework assignments. Users who do that may be banned.
Jacob Rhoden
Posts: 151
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact:

ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Jacob Rhoden » April 23rd, 2015, 9:54 pm

Quick participle question. I'm just doing some accordance searches to check if I understand things correctly.
Luke 2:36 Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς....
Is it correct to say that you know that she is no longer living with the husband (i.e. he died, or left or something) by the form of ζήσασα? (What happens does become obvious in the next verse, I am interested in the grammar though, not the next verse:
Luke 2:36 Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς 37 καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων, ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν.
Accordance says the word is ζαω, How do you modify it to imply the husband is still alive and well and in the same house? ζαουσα? I found ζῶσα via an accordance search, maybe its that? I have no idea the rule that gets you from ζαω to that though :D

Thanks so much.
0 x



Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 401
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: ζήσασα "had lived"

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 23rd, 2015, 11:23 pm

Jacob Rhoden wrote:Is it correct to say that you know that she is no longer living with the husband (i.e. he died, or left or something) by the form of ζήσασα? (What happens does become obvious in the next verse, I am interested in the grammar though, not the next verse:
ζήσασα is an aorist participle from ζάω. Greek participles don’t really have “tenses” in the temporal sense. That is, by themselves they are not really past, present or future. Instead they have “aspect”.
The “aspect” of an aorist participle is that it normally describes an event which took place before the speaker’s current time. Also, it tells you nothing else about the event except that it happened. It might have taken place over a long period, or in an instant. You only know that it happened.

If Luke had used the present participle - ζῶσα – then one would expect the action of the verb to be continuous, a translation like “while living”, and some event described during that period (‘while living with her husband, …”). Of course with Greek participles context is rather important, and the preceding phrase “μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς” (‘with her husband seven years from her virginity’) in the context of “προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς” (‘advanced in years’) does not really predict a present participle in this sentence. Context strongly inclines you to expect an aorist (or maybe perfect) participle. This is called ‘redundancy’ in language – more than one characteristic of the sentence which points to the same meaning.

Look at Acts 9:41 to compare the aspect of the present participle for ζάω there - παρέστησεν αὐτὴν ζῶσαν (“he [Peter] presented her [Tabitha] alive”). That is, Tabitha was ‘being alive’ at the time when Peter presented her to the saints and widows: continuous aspect - present participle.
0 x
γράφω μαθεῖν

Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Wes Wood » April 24th, 2015, 12:31 am

I will take a stab at the morphology, but I am not 100% about this one. ζη+οντι̮α becomes ζη+ονσα because the consonantal iota will become "σ" after "τ." Then ζη+ονσα becomes ζη+οσα because the "σ" following the "v" causes the "v" to drop out. Finally, "η" and "o" contract to form "ω" giving you ζωσα. To summarize: ζη+οντι̮α: ζη+ονσα: ζη+οσα: ζωσα. I may not be completely correct, but I think I am at least close.
0 x
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Wes Wood
Posts: 692
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Wes Wood » April 24th, 2015, 8:53 am

I left this out the tau drops out because of the sigma. While desiring to be thorough, I skipped an important detail. Sorry.
0 x
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3613
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 24th, 2015, 7:19 pm

Rijksbaron says the time of circumstantial participles should be interpreted as follows: the present participle expresses a state of affairs that is simultaneous with the main verb, the aorist expresses a state of affairs that is before, the future participle expresses a state of affairs that is after, the perfect participle expresses a state of affairs that is simultaneous.

Let's apply that to that sentence. I think we should interpret this part together:
αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς, καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ⸀ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων
So if ζήσασα is before, what is it before? I think it is before προβεβηκυῖα. "She was well along in years, having lived with her husband for seven years from her virginity, and she was a widow until she was 84".

I suspect the point of ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς is that she had only a short marriage and was widowed young, followed by a long life as a widow.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 24th, 2015, 11:07 pm

ζήσασα seems to be providing off-stage information here, perhaps you could add the unstated narrative present to your interpretation of Rijksbaron.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 401
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 25th, 2015, 11:38 pm

Jacob Rhoden wrote:How do you modify it to imply the husband is still alive and well and in the same house?
It’s a fair question about the morphology – the form – of the particple which indicates a particular time reference with respect to that of the sentence. There are lots of different resources to track down the right form (like Accordance, for example), and to be sure it is important to get the form right.

The more important issue, though, is the structure of the whole sentence, and how a particular form fits that structure. Very often you cannot simply change the form of one word to change the meaning of a sentence. Instead, the whole sentence, and in fact the surrounding context, has a certain ‘harmony’ and the particular form (eg. an aorist participle) ‘fits’ into that harmony. Learning to watch for and recognize those ‘harmonies’ is key to learning the language.

Take for example Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer compared to Matthew’s:
Luke 11:3 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν.

Matthew 6:11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον
Luke’s prayer uses δίδου - imperative present active 2nd person singular from δίδωμι because here the disciples are praying for their “daily” bread (τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν). The present imperative has the idea of ongoing or continuous.

Matthew, on the other hand, has Jesus teaching the disciples to pray for this day’s (σήμερον) bread. Therefore he uses δὸς (imperative aorist active 2nd person singular) instead of δίδου, because it is a one-time event they are focussed on. (see Culy, Baylor handbook on Luke)

Learning to recognize the overall structures (and the ‘redundancies’) in the text, makes it much easier to understand the use of a specific form, and also will give you a growing understanding of the “harmony” of a passage - and of the language.
0 x
γράφω μαθεῖν

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3613
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 26th, 2015, 8:59 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:The more important issue, though, is the structure of the whole sentence, and how a particular form fits that structure. Very often you cannot simply change the form of one word to change the meaning of a sentence. Instead, the whole sentence, and in fact the surrounding context, has a certain ‘harmony’ and the particular form (eg. an aorist participle) ‘fits’ into that harmony. Learning to watch for and recognize those ‘harmonies’ is key to learning the language.
A lot of that has to do with the meaning of the words involved. I'm not sure I trust my judgement on this, consider this text from the original post:
αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς, καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ⸀ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων
I think this means "She was well along in years, having lived with her husband for seven years from her virginity, and she was a widow until she was 84".

Said this instead:
αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων
I haven't changed the verb form, but I suspect this now means "She was well along in years, having lived with her husband from her virginity until she was 84". Did I get that right? In both English and Greek, the two sentences use the same verb form.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 401
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 26th, 2015, 11:32 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων

I haven't changed the verb form, but I suspect this now means "She was well along in years, having lived with her husband from her virginity until she was 84". Did I get that right? In both English and Greek, the two sentences use the same verb form.
That’s how I would read it – or perhaps “lived with her husband 84 years since their marriage (‘her virginity’).” It does seem a bit odd to state either point with this language, though.

The big thing that you have done by removing ἔτη ἑπτὰ and καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα, as I read it, is to redefine the whole ‘setting’, and thereby redefine the information imparted by the participle. This, I think, demonstrates my point rather well. In this particular change the verb form fits the new context, but it says something quite different. The verb form AND its context together impart the meaning. You have changed the information imparted by this particular form of the verb by altering two important elements of the context – the seven years and the fact that she has been a widow. Learning to ‘see’ the context is a critical part of learning the language. I think this is, in part, what Funk is getting at, and also Frank Smith in “Understanding Reading”.

Knowing about aspect, observing the verb forms, AND noting the difference in τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν and σήμερον will tell you how to read Luke 11:3 and Matthew 6:11. Alternately, noting the difference in τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν and σήμερον will tell you which verb form best “fits” each setting to achieve a desired statement.
0 x
γράφω μαθεῖν

Thomas Dolhanty
Posts: 401
Joined: May 20th, 2014, 10:13 am
Location: west coast of Canada

Re: ζήσασα "had lived" Luke 2:36

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 26th, 2015, 4:01 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote: αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων

I haven't changed the verb form, but I suspect this now means "She was well along in years, having lived with her husband from her virginity until she was 84". Did I get that right? In both English and Greek, the two sentences use the same verb form.
I have a further question about your adjustment to the text: must the participle in this context be aorist? Your translation says "having lived with her husband ..." meaning that he is now off the scene. I agree with that translation because I think the aorist participle expects that.

My question is (like Jacob's question at the start), how would I change this sentence to indicate she and her husband have been living together (i.e. are still living together) since 'her virginity' and she is now 84 years old? Would a simple replacement of ζήσασα with the present tense participle accomplish that? (Of course this is a different sentence than Jacob's. His sentence is constrained by the 'seven years' and 'she was a widow'.)
0 x
γράφω μαθεῖν

Post Reply

Return to “Beginners Forum”