Preposition with verb infinitive

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
Forum rules
This is a beginner's forum - see the Koine Greek forum for more advanced discussion of Greek texts. Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up.

When answering questions in this forum, keep it simple, and aim your responses to the level of the person asking the question.
Post Reply
msmith1509
Posts: 8
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 8:10 pm

Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by msmith1509 » April 6th, 2017, 12:03 am

Would someone help me understand the best way to translate into English a Greek prepositional phrase using the infinitive form of a verb? This is a portion of Romans 15:13 "πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς". The best I could come up with is: "all joy and peace in 'to believe', into 'to abound' you (pl.)". I would have expected the pronouns to reference an noun rather than a verb infinitive. Thanks in advance.
0 x



Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3489
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 6th, 2017, 7:58 am

msmith1509 wrote:
April 6th, 2017, 12:03 am
Would someone help me understand the best way to translate into English a Greek prepositional phrase using the infinitive form of a verb? This is a portion of Romans 15:13 "πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς". The best I could come up with is: "all joy and peace in 'to believe', into 'to abound' you (pl.)". I would have expected the pronouns to reference an noun rather than a verb infinitive. Thanks in advance.
In English, we often use gerunds where Greek uses an infinitive as the object of a preposition. So the saying "to err is human, to forgive divine" could also be phrased "erring is human, forgiving is divine". I might translate ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν as "in believing". I might translate εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς as "for the abounding of you", which is lousy English, so you would want to paraphrase it to something like "so that you may abound".
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

msmith1509
Posts: 8
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 8:10 pm

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by msmith1509 » April 6th, 2017, 5:04 pm

Thanks Jonathan, very helpful. I had not remembered that we also used noun form of verbs (gerunds) as objects of preposition. Also, apology for my mistake of 'pronouns' above when I meant 'prepositions'.
0 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3489
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 7th, 2017, 8:44 am

msmith1509 wrote:
April 6th, 2017, 5:04 pm
Thanks Jonathan, very helpful. I had not remembered that we also used noun form of verbs (gerunds) as objects of preposition.
You asked a good question - I don't think this is all that obvious, and it can be confusing.
msmith1509 wrote:
April 6th, 2017, 5:04 pm
Also, apology for my mistake of 'pronouns' above when I meant 'prepositions'.
No apology needed - but the clarification is helpful. If we have to apologize for using the wrong word, I'm going to have to do an awful lot of apologizing. Eventually we clarify and get it right ;->
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Shirley Rollinson
Posts: 310
Joined: June 4th, 2011, 6:19 pm
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Shirley Rollinson » April 7th, 2017, 5:34 pm

msmith1509 wrote:
April 6th, 2017, 12:03 am
Would someone help me understand the best way to translate into English a Greek prepositional phrase using the infinitive form of a verb? This is a portion of Romans 15:13 "πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν, εἰς τὸ περισσεύειν ὑμᾶς". The best I could come up with is: "all joy and peace in 'to believe', into 'to abound' you (pl.)". I would have expected the pronouns to reference an noun rather than a verb infinitive. Thanks in advance.
There's a chapter of http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook02/contents.html the online textbook which introduces this use of the infinitive : http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook ... nitive.pdf
Shirley Rollinson
0 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3489
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 8th, 2017, 12:23 pm

Shirley Rollinson wrote:
April 7th, 2017, 5:34 pm
There's a chapter of http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook02/contents.html the online textbook which introduces this use of the infinitive : http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook ... nitive.pdf
The second link did not work for me, something about hotlinks not being supported on this server, but it points to chapter 19 of the text that the first link points to.
Chapter 19:The Present Infinitive wrote: Greek also uses the Infinitive with prepositions (where English might use a participle)
  1. with ἐν τῷ - time at which to do something
  2. with πρὸ τοῦ - before doing something
  3. with μετὰ τὸ - after doing something
  4. with διὰ τὸ - because (reason) to do something
  5. with εἰς τὸ or πρὸς τὸ - purpose (in order) to do something as a Genitive, with τοῦ - purpose (in order) to do something
These examples are particularly relevant (see her translations in the PDF):
Chapter 19:The Present Infinitive wrote: Practice - until you can read and translate easily
  1. καὶ ἐν τῷ κηρύσσειν αὐτοῦ
    ὁ Ἰωάννης κράζει καὶ λέγει, Mετανοιεῖτε!
  2. ὁ θεὸς ἀκούει ὑμᾶς
    πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτεῖν αὐτόν.
  3. ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς μετὰ τὸ λάλειν αὐτοῖς ἀναβαίνει εἰς τὴν Ἰερουσαλήμ.
  4. ἡμεῖς οὐ λαμβάνομεν
    διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖν ἡμᾶς.
  5. ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐ πιστεύει αὐτὸν αὐτοῖς
    διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν γινώσκειν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους.
  6. οὐκ ἔχετε διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖν ὑμᾶς.
  7. ὁ ὄχλος ἦλθεν εἰς τὸ ἀκούειν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.
  8. μὴ γὰρ οἰκίας οὐκ ἔχετε
    εἰς τὸ ἐσθίειν καὶ πίνειν ;
  9. ὁ Παῦλος γράφει τὰς ἐπιστoλὰς ταύτας πρὸς τὸ οἰκοδομεῖν τὰς ἐκκλησίας.
  10. ἠλθομεν τοῦ διδάσκειν τὰς μαθητάς.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

msmith1509
Posts: 8
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 8:10 pm

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by msmith1509 » April 13th, 2017, 5:52 pm

Thank you Shirley and Jonathan.
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1333
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 14th, 2017, 2:27 pm

msmith1509 wrote:
April 6th, 2017, 5:04 pm
Thanks Jonathan, very helpful. I had not remembered that we also used noun form of verbs (gerunds) as objects of preposition. Also, apology for my mistake of 'pronouns' above when I meant 'prepositions'.
Somebody once said that learning an ancient language means never having to say you're sorry... :)

What's really helpful to remember is that infinitives are a way of nominalizing a verb, i.e., making it into a noun. That goes a long way toward explaining their syntax and how they are used. That means they can be treated as both subjects and objects. As objects they tend to be articular, as subjects, anarthrous. ἐν + the articular infinitive tends to be circumstantial/instrumental (the kinds of thing the dative does), εἰς +the A.I. tends to show purpose. Best to learn the usages as you go along.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Arsenios (George) Blaisdell
Posts: 16
Joined: September 12th, 2011, 10:08 am

Re: Preposition with verb infinitive

Post by Arsenios (George) Blaisdell » April 15th, 2017, 12:53 am

While you did not ask for a cognitive expication, but rather a translational one, we might help the latter by means of the former. (Keyword=might) Greek is often packed tight, and a simple εν τω πιστευειν carries some density that English seldom affords... The infinitive is acting as a noun, carrying the gender of its nominative counterpart, pistis, but the Greeks are highly relational and movement oriented. I remember a long discussion some years back where we were discussing the story of the sick man on a cot who could not make it into the door where Christ was preaching for healing, so his friends carried him up on the roof, opened the roof, and lowered him into the house to receive healing, and the text, in transliterated English, read that there were so many people there that even "...the 'pros' (toward or before) the door..." was crammed... And we went around and around, and it was impossible to determine - Did it mean that people were so crammed into the house that they were backed up all the way to the door? Or something else? A lot of theories were offered, but nobody had a definitive answer... Then a South American Katharavouska speaking Greek came on, read the discussion, and said: "Oh - that is just the way that Greeks say "the porch"!!! "The in front of the door"... This Greek language does not hesitate to toss a noun marker in front of an infinitive verb and call it good... The Latins, some claim, prefer nouns (objects), while the Greeks prefer verbs (actions)... ymmv

So that if you translate εν τω πιστευειν into English long form, you end up with the stilted: "In that which is characterized by the action in which one is found to be believing..." So it kinda means "...in the ongoing life of the Faith..." The KJV, trying to be literal, simply rewrites it in two words: "...In believing..." I have no argument with that approach nor with the gloss... It translates the grammar, not so much the words, perhaps... The present tense is important, and the gerund bypasses the grammar of the infinitive following the definite article...

So I hope I have not muddied the waters overly moocho...

Arsenios
0 x

Post Reply