Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 1st, 2015, 6:02 pm

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
It is best practice to use Unicode Greek. Install a polytonic Greek keyboard on your computer. Use a search engine to find a keyboard layout that matches it. Then you can type Greek.

That capital "v" for the final sigma was what we used in SuperGreek 25 years ago.
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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, 7:21 pm

WStroupe wrote:Yes that helps quite a lot!
I'm glad it did.
WStroupe wrote: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...."
Two problems with that.

1. It's not English.
2. Even if it were English, it doesn't convey the sense of the perfect participle or of ἰδοὺ.

If you want a slightly less literal translation, I think HCSB did a good job on this:

Then I looked (Καὶ εἶδον), and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb (καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιών).
WStroupe wrote: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.
But that's not really the force of the verb here. The translators know what they are doing, don't try to correct them at least until you have mastered the language. Even then, listen to them carefully first.
WStroupe wrote: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.
The formula εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ is very dramatic here, and it's a vision, after all. Yes, it's dramatic. Some translations use "behold" to try to get that across, but we usually say "look!" in English.

At any rate, don't worry about how to translate it, that's obviously not something you'll be doing until you learn Greek. But pay careful attention to how the verbs work together to construct time in a sentence like this.
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WStroupe
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 1st, 2015, 7:52 pm

Jonathon advised:
But that's not really the force of the verb here. The translators know what they are doing, don't try to correct them at least until you have mastered the language. Even then, listen to them carefully first.
Good advice, of course. I do have a tendency to get way ahead of my 'expertise' (which in the Greek language is, at this point, no expertise at all).

He also advised:
But pay careful attention to how the verbs work together to construct time in a sentence like this.
I'm going to do just that, and work steadily at trying to master the language in coming months and years.

Thanks!
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William J. Stroupe

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

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 2nd, 2015, 8:50 am

What often happens with beginning students is that they learn a few correct facts about the language, but then tend to apply them incorrectly apart from the the broader context of the language. One often sees non-students of the language doing this sort of thing, especially when they have a theological point to prove.

William, are you a WTS alumnus? I remember someone there with a name very similar to yours, and that's significant, since you don't have a name like Smith or Jones... :)
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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WStroupe
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 2nd, 2015, 1:00 pm

Barry said:
What often happens with beginning students is that they learn a few correct facts about the language, but then tend to apply them incorrectly apart from the the broader context of the language. One often sees non-students of the language doing this sort of thing, especially when they have a theological point to prove.
Fair statement - but I don't think I have a theological point I'm trying to prove.

What I am interested in is correctly understanding the Greek verbs, their tenses, moods, voices etc, including the participle, with the aim of understanding clearly the precise flavor and meaning that the writer may have intended the reader to see.

Yes, I also look at the context with the aim of understanding the subject, obviously at a higher level than the Greek grammar, with the aim of trying to understand what the writer may have done at the grammar level to make his subject point more clear.

I'm not interested in making any invalid use of the Greek - only in making proper use of it. But to do that, I have to understand how the grammar works, and that's why I'm here, because I respect the knowledge and expertise found here.

I'd rather not delve into the subject of my personal religious beliefs, since that's not relevant to my aim - to properly understand the Greek language and grammar. I feel no impetus whatever to try to convince anyone here along the lines of doctrine - this isn't the forum for that.

After considering more carefully the posts here, last evening I wondered if it would be valid, from the standpoint of the Greek, to render Rev. 14:1, in part, as:
"I saw, and behold, a Lamb stood up, standing on the Mount Zion....."
Please understand - I'm not trying to re-translate the verse in an effort to do a better job of it than has already been done. What I'm trying to do is to understand fully the perfect tense, which has two aspects, the action was performed, and its effects continue to the present. It helps me to work such things out with a concrete example.

So in the example above, the English conveys both aspects - (1) the Lamb stood up, and (2) the fact that the effect continues, in that he is standing.

Would I be correct in this assessment? Would such a rendering violate anything in the Greek? When John used the perfect tense for "stand up", does that mean that he witnessed the Lamb stand up, or, did he only witness the Lamb "standing" - that is, after the action was completed? Is there any way to know this?

What I am driving at here is, what is the precise reason (if any?) that the writer chose to use the perfect tense? I really want to understand the reason(s) for that choice, if we can discover it.
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William J. Stroupe

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

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 2nd, 2015, 1:47 pm

The word esthkos and every other perfect form is used where the present of other verbs would have been used. It is perhaps different to the other 2 verbs.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 2nd, 2015, 1:50 pm

The word esthkos and every other perfect form is used where the present of other verbs would have been used. It is perhaps different to the other 2 verbs.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 2nd, 2015, 2:04 pm

WStroupe wrote:Barry said:
What often happens with beginning students is that they learn a few correct facts about the language, but then tend to apply them incorrectly apart from the the broader context of the language. One often sees non-students of the language doing this sort of thing, especially when they have a theological point to prove.
Fair statement - but I don't think I have a theological point I'm trying to prove.

What I am interested in is correctly understanding the Greek verbs, their tenses, moods, voices etc, including the participle, with the aim of understanding clearly the precise flavor and meaning that the writer may have intended the reader to see.

Yes, I also look at the context with the aim of understanding the subject, obviously at a higher level than the Greek grammar, with the aim of trying to understand what the writer may have done at the grammar level to make his subject point more clear.

I'm not interested in making any invalid use of the Greek - only in making proper use of it. But to do that, I have to understand how the grammar works, and that's why I'm here, because I respect the knowledge and expertise found here.

I'd rather not delve into the subject of my personal religious beliefs, since that's not relevant to my aim - to properly understand the Greek language and grammar. I feel no impetus whatever to try to convince anyone here along the lines of doctrine - this isn't the forum for that.

After considering more carefully the posts here, last evening I wondered if it would be valid, from the standpoint of the Greek, to render Rev. 14:1, in part, as:
"I saw, and behold, a Lamb stood up, standing on the Mount Zion....."
Please understand - I'm not trying to re-translate the verse in an effort to do a better job of it than has already been done. What I'm trying to do is to understand fully the perfect tense, which has two aspects, the action was performed, and its effects continue to the present. It helps me to work such things out with a concrete example.

So in the example above, the English conveys both aspects - (1) the Lamb stood up, and (2) the fact that the effect continues, in that he is standing.

Would I be correct in this assessment? Would such a rendering violate anything in the Greek? When John used the perfect tense for "stand up", does that mean that he witnessed the Lamb stand up, or, did he only witness the Lamb "standing" - that is, after the action was completed? Is there any way to know this?

What I am driving at here is, what is the precise reason (if any?) that the writer chose to use the perfect tense? I really want to understand the reason(s) for that choice, if we can discover it.
I wasn't suggesting you had an agenda to prove, merely drawing a general observation on the way Greek is often used and misused.

Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιὼν...

Here, I would say that there is no particular added significance or nuance of an exegetical nature. The use of the perfect participle here with a stative verb (quite literally, since ἷστημι and "stative" share a common descent from PIE) simply shows that the adjective is complete and current to the action of the main verb. It's fine to render it as present participle in English, "And I looked, and behold! The lamb standing on Mount Zion..."

Your rendering won't work for a couple of reasons. "A lamb..." is wrong simply because τὸ ἀρνίον has the definite article in it's anaphoric usage. "Stood up" doesn't work because you have a participle used adjectivally and not a main verb form.

Please understand that participles don't so much have tense (although we use tense words to describe them, referring mainly to the stem used) as they have aspect, which shows us with respect to the main verb when the action takes places. Perfect participles, particularly in Koine, are for the most part simply used as adjective or adverbs.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

WStroupe
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Re: Time-Related Meanings in Perfect Participles

Post by WStroupe » December 2nd, 2015, 2:35 pm

Thanks, Barry - your explanation makes very good sense to me now.

I understand the reasons why my proposed rendering of Rev. 14:1 doesn't work.

As someone who really is only just starting out, I struggle with a tendency to make more of certain things than is justified - at present I have very little ability to make proper judgments regarding what is significant in the Greek grammar, and what is not, from the standpoint of its bearing on the meaning.

This just gives me more impetus to study and to try to master the language.
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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 2nd, 2015, 4:27 pm

It occurs to me that we have the same issue in English. Consider the sentence "I saw him standing". Standing is a participle here, the word "stand" can mean "stand up", but when I say I am standing, the focus is not on the act of standing up at all. The tense says that at the time I saw him, he was standing. I can say, "10 years ago, I saw him standing behind the doughnut shop", which indicates that he was standing at the time I saw him.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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