Kai

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Kai

Postby Mike Burke Deactivated » July 9th, 2011, 9:34 am

Does "kai" ever mean "even," or "indeed"?

What are the grammatical rules for determining when it means "and," and when it means "even"?

Take Luke 1:35, for instance.

Could it be translated "The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, even the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee"?
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Re: Kai

Postby Jason Hare » July 9th, 2011, 3:51 pm

Yes, καί means "even" at times, when we can take the two things joined as the same thing, the second being a restatement of the first.

I wouldn't necessarily translate Luke 1:35 that way. Not saying that it couldn't be done, but I wouldn't read it that way. I think that the two things are different expressions, referring to the same event of course, but not intended to be taken in the way that you've expressed it.

Have you read much Greek in the past? Things like this come from experience.
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Re: Kai

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2011, 4:55 pm

You should always quote the text in Greek when asking a question on this forum. Here, the text is:
Luke 1:35 ... πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ δύναμις ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι · ...


The general rule is that καί is adverbial (i.e., meaning "also," "too," or "even") when it cannot be used as a conjunction (i.e., "and"). In this case, its position as first in the second clause clearly marks it as a conjunction.

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Re: Kai

Postby Mike Burke Deactivated » July 10th, 2011, 9:41 pm

I thought the rule was that it could mean "even" whenever both nouns are anarthrous?
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Re: Kai

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 10th, 2011, 10:55 pm

Mike Burke wrote:I thought the rule was that it could mean "even" whenever both nouns are anarthrous?


But καί here is conjoining two clauses, not nouns.

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Re: Kai

Postby Mike Burke Deactivated » July 11th, 2011, 12:19 am

I'm less interested in Luke 1:35 than I am in the general rules.

How do we know when "kai" means "and" and when it means "even."

Is there any reliable rule of thumb?
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Re: Kai

Postby Jonathan Robie » July 11th, 2011, 7:43 am

Mike Burke wrote:I'm less interested in Luke 1:35 than I am in the general rules.

How do we know when "kai" means "and" and when it means "even."

Is there any reliable rule of thumb?


Didn't Stephen already give you a rule of thumb?

sccarlson wrote:The general rule is that καί is adverbial (i.e., meaning "also," "too," or "even") when it cannot be used as a conjunction (i.e., "and"). In this case, its position as first in the second clause clearly marks it as a conjunction.


I'm curious about this one:

Mike Burke wrote:I thought the rule was that it could mean "even" whenever both nouns are anarthrous?


I don't know if this is true or not. Can anyone help?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Kai

Postby cwconrad » July 11th, 2011, 7:53 am

Mike Burke wrote:I'm less interested in Luke 1:35 than I am in the general rules.

How do we know when "kai" means "and" and when it means "even."

Is there any reliable rule of thumb?


No, to put it very bluntly, there aren't. You have to know Greek well enough from lots of reading (or conversation) to have developed a good sense of how the contextual elements in any particular construction point to one usage rather than another.

You could endeavor to read carefully through the very, very lengthy entry on καί in BDAG, carefully study all of the examples there, and so acquire a fully-nuanced grasp of the considerable range of this little adverb/conjunction. You could try to do the same in one of those little vade mecum pocket lexica like that of Barclay Newman, but I really don't think you'll find anything there (or elsewhere) that could be called a "rule of thumb" for καί. It is something that one learns through repeated exposure to variant usages and then discerns, as Hume put it, by "custom and habit of confident expectation."

Euclid said that there really is no "royal road" to Geometry -- the same is true about ancient Greek.
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Re: Kai

Postby Jonathan Robie » July 11th, 2011, 8:30 am

I wonder if the section on καί in Steve Runge's "Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament" wouldn't be a good starting point, and a lot easier than starting with BDAG.

Mike Burke wrote:How do we know when "kai" means "and" and when it means "even."


I think part of the problem is that καί doesn't mean anything in English, it means something in Greek.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Kai

Postby David Lim » July 11th, 2011, 11:51 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:I think part of the problem is that καί doesn't mean anything in English, it means something in Greek.


I sort of take "και" in this way: first, "and" if it joins clauses of the same type and fits the context.. second, "also" if it begins a clause and fits the context.. third, "both X and Y" if it is used "και X και Y" as one clause and fits the context.. then check the lexicon if it's none of them. And I generally think it is rather rare for it to have the English meaning of "even", or it could be my dialect. ;)
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