Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

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WStroupe
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Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 1st, 2015, 12:40 pm

My question relates to whether the time-related meaning of the perfect indicative (past action with effects ongoing to the present, from the writer’s perspective) would also apply to these verb participles, and if not, why not?

Rev. 14:3KJV "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."

hgorasmenoi
Egorasmenoi
vp Perf Pas Nom Pl m
ones-having-been-bought

The writer chose the perfect tense here - why? Was he emphasizing that the purchase of those from earth into heaven had just been completed (thus, a time-related emphasis), with the last ones recently receiving their heavenly reward? From the context, this might be supported, because in the previous two verses John seems to say that something special, worthy of note, has just been seen by him, in that the Lamb has positioned himself on Mount Zion, with the 144,000 with him, and this seems to be treated by John as a notable event worthy of celebration, as if this full number (whether literal or symbolic) is finally now present with him in heaven.

Or was he emphasizing the new state of matters, namely, that all those destined for heaven were now (from his perspective) present in heaven? Or was he perhaps emphasizing both aspects?

In this perfect participle, is time meaningful, as it would be if this were a perfect, indicative verb?


Rev. 18:24KJV "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."

esfagmenwn
esphagmenOn
vp Perf Pas Gen Pl m
ones-having-been-slain

Same questions here - why did John choose the perfect tense? Was he emphasizing that Babylon the Great had just been responsible for the recent slaying of many persons? Or was he emphasizing that a new state of matters presently (from his perspective) exists, in that the 'streets are flowing with blood' as it were, because of her?



Rev. 14:1KJV "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."

esthkos
hestEkos
vp Perf Act Nom Sg n
HAVING-STOOD

Again - same questions here. I would perhaps wish to translate this verse, in part, as such, if the time-related meaning is applicable:

"...I saw the Lamb just now stand himself on Mount Zion....." - or - "...I saw the Lamb just now take his position on Mount Zion..."

The "just now" would perhaps be justified by the surrounding context, which strongly indicates that what John sees is occurring as new happenings, from John's perspective, or that these newly-occurring events appear to involve matters that have just now (from John's perspective) been completed - and this makes them worthy of note.
Last edited by WStroupe on December 1st, 2015, 1:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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William J. Stroupe

"God's Word is alive and exerts power..." Hebrews 4:12

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 1st, 2015, 12:48 pm

Could you please quote these words in context, providing at least complete sentences?
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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: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 1st, 2015, 3:22 pm

WStroupe wrote:The "just now" would perhaps be justified by the surrounding context, which strongly indicates that what John sees is occurring as new happenings, from John's perspective, or that these newly-occurring events appear to involve matters that have just now (from John's perspective) been completed - and this makes them worthy of note.
Is this recently occurring definition of the perfect coming from a Greek grammar or an English one?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 1st, 2015, 3:27 pm

Let's start here: what are the sentences, in Greek, and what is the main verb for each participle? What is the tense of the main verb?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

WStroupe
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Joined: March 19th, 2012, 4:18 pm

Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 1st, 2015, 3:49 pm

Hi Stephen,

You asked,
Is this recently occurring definition of the perfect coming from a Greek grammar or an English one?
Great question.

As a beginner, I read about the perfect tense in NT Greek and somewhere - I don't remember exactly where - a statement was made that gave the impression that the perfect tense signifies a 'recently completed action with effects ongoing to the present'. I don't think that is a correct representation of what the perfect indicative means in Greek.

I do see plenty of cases in the NT where, in fact, the perfect tense is used of actions that were only recently completed, from the writer's chronological perspective. But I am not aware of anything in the Greek itself which dictates that meaning - please correct me if I am wrong. It was the context surrounding such texts that made it clear these actions were only recently completed, from the writer's perspective.

As an example, here's Rev. 18:9, 10, where the perfect tense is used to describe the kings of the earth "having-stood", or "standing" at a distance while they bewail Babylon the Great city while she is being burned with fire:
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
"Standing" is translated from the Greek hestEkotes which is a participle in the perfect active.

It is from the context, and from simple logic, that we learn that their action of "standing afar off" is only recently completed, for the simple reason that the burning of Babylon will have only just begun, and therefore their action of "standing afar off" from her while she burns must also be only recently completed. Obviously.

So I don't know of anything in the Greek which explicitly tells us this action is only recently completed. But the context definitely tells us that - of course, I'm saying recently completed here from the writer's perspective.

But the thing that's very interesting to me is why the writer chose the perfect tense - if it wasn't to draw attention to the idea of recently completed action, then what was the reason?
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William J. Stroupe

"God's Word is alive and exerts power..." Hebrews 4:12

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 1st, 2015, 4:00 pm

Hi William,

You don't have a well-formed question yet, I think you need to pull together more information before it makes any sense at all to try to answer it. First off, please cite the entire sentences, not just individual words, and please quote them in Greek. And don't bother quoting the King James, it isn't in Greek.

Second, the time-related meaning in a perfect participle is relative to the main verb. So for each sentence, what is that main verb, and what is the tense of the main verb?

What have you read about participles so far?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

WStroupe
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Joined: March 19th, 2012, 4:18 pm

Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 1st, 2015, 4:25 pm

Hi Jonathon,

I'm endeavoring to follow your guidance and fully do my part here, and to achieve a well-formed question - please, accept my thanks for your patience and your leading.

Please note - I don't have Greek fonts installed on my PC so this doesn't look quite as it should:

Rev. 14:1 from Westcot & Hort:

kai eidon kai idou to arnion estoV epi to oroV siwn kai met autou ekaton tesserakonta tessareV ciliadeV ecousai to onoma autou kai to onoma tou patroV autou gegrammenon epi twn metwpwn autwn

The main verb would be eidon , I perceived, which is aorist indicative active, if I am correct.

So estoV, having-stood, would relate to the main verb eidon . Does this mean that when John "looked", he saw that the Lamb had "stood" on Zion, and that the time-related meaning here is that the "standing" was completed only by virtue of the action of John "looking" first - all of this from John's perspective?

My reading so far into how the participle works is limited - so I definitely need to study this much more. I'm hoping I can be set on the right path here.
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William J. Stroupe

"God's Word is alive and exerts power..." Hebrews 4:12

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 1st, 2015, 5:03 pm

WStroupe wrote:I'm endeavoring to follow your guidance and fully do my part here, and to achieve a well-formed question - please, accept my thanks for your patience and your leading.
Sure.
WStroupe wrote:Please note - I don't have Greek fonts installed on my PC so this doesn't look quite as it should:

Rev. 14:1 from Westcot & Hort:

kai eidon kai idou to arnion estoV epi to oroV siwn kai met autou ekaton tesserakonta tessareV ciliadeV ecousai to onoma autou kai to onoma tou patroV autou gegrammenon epi twn metwpwn autwn
Please use biblegateway.com or some other web site that gives you the fonts, then. Here's the verse from SBLGNT:
Rev 14:1 wrote:Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών, καὶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες ἔχουσαι τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένον ἐπὶ τῶν μετώπων αὐτῶν.
All we need is this much:

Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών
WStroupe wrote:The main verb would be eidon, I perceived, which is aorist indicative active, if I am correct.
I would say the main verb is ἰδοὺ. This one is a little tricky, the phrase εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ is used a lot in apocalyptic literature to introduce visions: "I looked, and look! - τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών".

I think you know what τὸ ἀρνίον and ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών mean? Then all that remains is ἑστὸς, the participle depicts what was seen in the vision. It's perfect, but the tense interacts with the meaning of the verb, which is ἵστημι. The verb ἵστημι means to stand up or to make to stand up. The perfect tense says this has already happened, and the effect continues. "I looked, and look! - τὸ ἀρνίον "is standing" ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών.

Does that help?
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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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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 1st, 2015, 5:15 pm

WStroupe wrote:But the thing that's very interesting to me is why the writer chose the perfect tense - if it wasn't to draw attention to the idea of recently completed action, then what was the reason?
That is an interesting question.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Let's start here: what are the sentences, in Greek, and what is the main verb for each participle? What is the tense of the main verb?
You can find the Greek text at http://www.biblehub.com/. Enter the verses that you are looking at. Press the word "Greek", and you will get an analysis of the individual words. Copy and past them when you quote them, and copy and paste the sentences, from the verses down the bottom of the page.

Participle and the finer points of meaning of the perfect are questions that ordinarily arise in the stages of learning after the alphabet has been answered. Tackling things in the order that you are, is akin to buying windows and curtains just after buying the land upon which you will later build a house. Even if you do understand the workings of the window and the relationship between the window and the curtain, that information will not really be very useful to you till the rest of the house has been built. Jonathan is asking you to identify the main verbs, they are like the walls that hold the windows up in a structure. A wall (main verb) can have a window (participle) or not, but a window (participle) needs a wall (main verb) to fix and support it, except if the whole wall is a window (genitive absolute) - in which case that window (participle) is in the genitive.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

WStroupe
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Joined: March 19th, 2012, 4:18 pm

Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 1st, 2015, 5:45 pm

Jonathon said:
...the participle depicts what was seen in the vision. It's perfect, but the tense interacts with the meaning of the verb, which is ἵστημι. The verb ἵστημι means to stand up or to make to stand up. The perfect tense says this has already happened, and the effect continues. "I looked, and look! - τὸ ἀρνίον "is standing" ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών.

Does that help?
Yes that helps quite a lot!

What if I wanted to translate this portion of the verse into English, and say the following:

"I looked, and I saw the Lamb stand himself on the Mount Zion....."

- or -

"I looked, and I saw the Lamb stand up on the Mount Zion...."

In this rendering, I wish to convey the fact that the Lamb acted (the active voice). It would be implied that he is still standing, because he did stand himself, or stand up, on Mount Zion.

I prefer such a rendering only because the context strongly indicates that something very noteworthy is seen occurring - John sees something dramatic - the Lamb with all his brothers seem to present themselves all together for the first time, and in the next few verses we are treated to important information about them all, and it is as if we are seeing the successful conclusion of the grand purpose of gathering all the Lamb's brothers into heaven.

This is why I would prefer the rendering that puts emphasis on the idea that, because something noteworthy is occurring as seen by John, the Lamb has 'taken up a position' on Mount Zion - this reads as a debut, a presentation of him and all his brothers together in heaven for the first time.

On the other hand, rendering this as "standing" in English seems to de-emphasize the dramatic nature of what John sees - because for all we know, the Lamb could have been "standing" there for a long time. So this rendering hides the fact (I believe it is a fact according to the context) that something grand is just now (from John's perspective) taking place.

Does this make proper sense? I certainly don't want to add to what the Greek and the verified context would allow. But I also wouldn't want to inadvertently conceal the real flavor and sense of these either.
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William J. Stroupe

"God's Word is alive and exerts power..." Hebrews 4:12

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