Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

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WAnderson
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Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

Post by WAnderson » November 17th, 2013, 4:02 am

Working my way through the Greek in Revelation, and now I've gotten sidetracked looking at the use of the conjunction kai. The translation is pretty straightforward (of course), but how are you supposed to know the function or meaning of the conjunction when it's not necessarily obvious from the context? Ok, case in point, Rev. 12.2: καὶ ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα, καὶ κράζει ὠδίνουσα καὶ βασανιζομένη τεκεῖν = "and she is with child, and she cries out being in birth pains and being tormented to give birth."

That last "and" (bold) is the issue. Are there essentially two separate things going on here, or just one? In other words, does she cry out because she is both having birth pains and being tormented to give birth? OR does she cry out because she is having birth pains; and, in addition, she is also being tormented to give birth?

I can't identify the categories in Wallace Beyond Basics or BDAG that might help with understanding these kinds of uses of the conjunction.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 17th, 2013, 9:24 am

WAnderson wrote:Ok, case in point, Rev. 12.2: καὶ ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα, καὶ κράζει ὠδίνουσα καὶ βασανιζομένη τεκεῖν = "and she is with child, and she cries out being in birth pains and being tormented to give birth."

That last "and" (bold) is the issue. Are there essentially two separate things going on here, or just one? In other words, does she cry out because she is both having birth pains and being tormented to give birth? OR does she cry out because she is having birth pains; and, in addition, she is also being tormented to give birth?
In this case, I think it is more important to look at the verbs. There is one finite verb (κράζει) and two participles (ὠδίνουσα and βασανιζομένη) that elaborate the what the main, finite verb is saying. The conjunction καί is used because there are two elaborations. So it would be your first choice. For your second option to work, in which the torment is on the same level as the crying out, the second verb would have to be finite, as if βασανίζεται. There is no need to look at Wallace's different categories of καί; this conjunction has its ordinary sense of addition.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

cwconrad
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Re: Help with kai

Post by cwconrad » November 17th, 2013, 9:30 am

I'm not sure that my comment will really help you, but I'll offer it anyway. You should not expect the text of Revelation to conform to ordinary patterns of Greek discourse or syntax: in a given instance it may or may not conform. Depending on the critic's perspective, the style of Revelation has been judged to be perverse, barbarous, creative, etc., etc. It's commonly noted that the book contains more solecisms (instances of questionable usage) than any other NT document.

That said, I'll share a way of understanding Revelation that occurred to me several years ago: it's like a kaleidoscopic vision of the end-times; its successive dramatic scenes are not sequentially developing toward a climax but rather representing the same general sequence from a slightly different perspective ("another part of the forest";, an ever-so-slight turn of the kaleidoscope displays a new scene that may very well be what you've looked at before from a different perspective. More to the point of your question, I think that καὶ within scenes is not so much a link between phrases or words as it is a means of turning to a new picture -- as if you're reading a comic strip, the καὶ being the space indicating movement to a new frame on your right -- as if the sense of καὶ might be equivalent to "next ... "

My 2c.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

WAnderson
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Re: Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

Post by WAnderson » November 17th, 2013, 10:49 pm

Stephen and CW, thanks for the input, it really fills in some gaps that now make more sense. It's a blessing to have a forum like this.

I'm wondering if I can try and take this one level deeper, if that's ok. Still looking at that final kai in Rev. 12:2. It's clear that ὠδίνουσα (being in birth pains) is a result of her being ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα (with child). But what if anything might the conjunction (ὠδίνουσα καὶ βασανιζομένη τεκεῖν) say about the relationship between the two participles themselves, ὠδίνουσα and βασανιζομένη? In other words: 1) is her torment (βασανιζομένη) the result of her birth pains (i.e., she is being "tormented" because of her birth pains); or 2) is her torment the result of her being pregnant, and is thus a separate condition from her birth pains? I'm asking because I'm wondering how much can be read into or determined by the use of kai in certain constructions.
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Wes Wood
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Re: Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

Post by Wes Wood » November 18th, 2013, 8:28 am

The Greek used in Revelation, like Carl said, behaves a little differently than what one might expect. You might get a better answer for this question by looking at how kai is used within the book of Revelation than by looking at Koine Greek as a whole. I have sometimes found this to be insightful. Sorry to avoid your direct question, but I don't feel confident that I can give you a satisfactory answer to it.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Tony Pope
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Re: Help with kai (Rev 12:2)

Post by Tony Pope » November 18th, 2013, 6:04 pm

WAnderson wrote:I'm wondering if I can try and take this one level deeper, if that's ok. Still looking at that final kai in Rev. 12:2. It's clear that ὠδίνουσα (being in birth pains) is a result of her being ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα (with child). But what if anything might the conjunction (ὠδίνουσα καὶ βασανιζομένη τεκεῖν) say about the relationship between the two participles themselves, ὠδίνουσα and βασανιζομένη? In other words: 1) is her torment (βασανιζομένη) the result of her birth pains (i.e., she is being "tormented" because of her birth pains); or 2) is her torment the result of her being pregnant, and is thus a separate condition from her birth pains? I'm asking because I'm wondering how much can be read into or determined by the use of kai in certain constructions.
I would go with I T Beckwith* here: "The phrase βασανιζομένη τεκεῖν is synonymous with ὠδίνουσα, repeating it with καί epexegetical."
In other words, καί here is not adding a separate condition but another way of saying the same thing. The English "tormented" might lead us to think otherwise but most likely βασανιζομένη here means "being in severe pain" (as in Matt 8.6).

In Revelation particularly, but also elsewhere in the NT, καί quite often connects two items that are broadly synonymous. Context is (usually!) helpful in deciding when this applies. Καί can have other functions too, like summarizing at the end of a list, though some examples of this are disputed.

*See http://www.archive.org/stream/apocalyps ... 2/mode/2up
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