Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

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Tim Evans
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Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Tim Evans » September 24th, 2015, 1:24 am

Revelation 2:5 contains the following clause:
εἰ δὲ μή, ἔρχομαί σοι καὶ κινήσω τὴν λυχνίανσου ἐκ τοῦ τόπου αὐτῆς, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσῃς.
According to BDAG, repent has the following forms:
μετανοέω fut. μετανοήσω; 1 aor. μετενόησα (ἐμετενόησαν w. double augment ApcEsdr 2:24)
I know that ἐὰν is to be used with the subjunctive, meaning "unsubjunctivised", the would be μετανοησεις, (2nd person singular). But it seems to me that this is the future tense form of the word. Accordance NA28 has this word tagged as being the Aorist tense.

Where am I going wrong? Thanks!
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » September 24th, 2015, 1:51 am

μετανοήσῃς is aorist subjunctive.
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Tim Evans
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Tim Evans » September 24th, 2015, 8:26 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:μετανοήσῃς is aorist subjunctive.
Yep, it apparently is, but I have no idea why. :D
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 24th, 2015, 11:44 am

I think you are asking why it the aorist is μετανοήσῃς instead of μετενοήσῃς?

The augment is the reason the 1 aor is μετενόησα instead of μετανόησα. But the augment exists only in the indicative mood, so it is not found in the subjunctive. So μετανοήσῃς is built on the 1 Aor stem, but without the augment, lengthened to form the subjunctive, and the accent moves because of the lengthening.

You are also noticing that this makes the aorist subjunctive look an awful lot like the future. That's often the case. The future stem is μετανοήσω, with the 2d person singular primary ending, the future is μετανοήσεις.

The meaning can be very similar, too. This can be confusing. But in this case, the lengthened ending gives it away.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Tim Evans
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Tim Evans » September 24th, 2015, 5:29 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I think you are asking why it the aorist is μετανοήσῃς instead of μετενοήσῃς?

The augment is the reason the 1 aor is μετενόησα instead of μετανόησα. But the augment exists only in the indicative mood, so it is not found in the subjunctive. So μετανοήσῃς is built on the 1 Aor stem, but without the augment, lengthened to form the subjunctive, and the accent moves because of the lengthening.

You are also noticing that this makes the aorist subjunctive look an awful lot like the future. That's often the case. The future stem is μετανοήσω, with the 2d person singular primary ending, the future is μετανοήσεις.

The meaning can be very similar, too. This can be confusing. But in this case, the lengthened ending gives it away.
Thanks Jonathan, those were the exact two issues, that clarifies it a lot. I appreciate the feedback!
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 25th, 2015, 9:26 am

Tim Evans wrote:Thanks Jonathan, those were the exact two issues, that clarifies it a lot. I appreciate the feedback!
If those are your two issues, you are very much headed in the right direction. Your attention to detail will serve you well.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 25th, 2015, 2:51 pm

Tim Evans wrote:
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:μετανοήσῃς is aorist subjunctive.
Yep, it apparently is, but I have no idea why. :D
Why?

Because deliberation takes a moment, people take a moment to take up their mind when asked to do something willingly, or when they are considering a possibility. The subjunctive is often a lengthening of the verb. Think of the adverb "well", when you are trying to make up your mind. It is long and there is a warbling tone. Or of you want to say "yes", but you are not very sure about if it is really the right thing to say. You will say a long "yeeees", with a warbling tone as well. The tone is not in the Greek morphology, but the lengthening of the vowel is. Some languages add words to express the extra time needed to think about such things, but Greek gives extra time within the verb.

The subjunctive is that sort of thing too, within the morphology of the verb. In the reconstructed Attic pronunciation, the omicron,, for example, is lengthened to an omega in the subjunctive. It is a lengthening of deliberation ("well"), of giving others a chance to consider things ("c'mooooooooon"), or similar expressions.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Shirley Rollinson » September 25th, 2015, 3:35 pm

Tim Evans wrote:
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:μετανοήσῃς is aorist subjunctive.
Yep, it apparently is, but I have no idea why. :D
Because there is an element of doubt - they may, or may not, think again (repent) about what they are doing.
Shirley Rollinson
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Parsing μετανοήσῃς in Revelation 2:5

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 26th, 2015, 10:28 am

To round out and balance that last comment, let me say that whereas "Uhmm" is used in English in large manner according to the individual speech-preferences and habits of various speakers, the corresponding sound in Greek ἄν has acquired a much more formalised pattern of usage, and is considered as a word, rather than just a sound. Dictionaries might render ἄν as some thing pompous like "frequently untranslatable particle expressing uncertainty", but if you thought of it as "uhmm (with eyes rolling from left to right to give yourself time to think or consider)", it might do you just as well in a range of situations.

With the loss of the distinction in vowel length between omicron and omega, and the subsequent loss of definition between indicative and subjunctive, words like ἴσως became more necessary to mark the meaning that had been carried by the subjunctive - it was readily suited to do that. That is an example of uncertainty being expressed by word around the verb, rather than by part of the morphology of the verb.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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