Verb help

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

Verb help

Postby WAnderson » April 28th, 2012, 8:40 pm

I can't seem to identify a certain usage of estin / eisin, can't find it in Wallace, etc. A couple quick examples I've found would be Matt. 13:37 "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man"; and Rev. 1:20 "the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." Is there a special category for this kind of usage?
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Re: Verb help

Postby Scott Lawson » April 28th, 2012, 9:43 pm

WAnderson wrote:I can't seem to identify a certain usage of estin / eisin, can't find it in Wallace, etc. A couple quick examples I've found would be Matt. 13:37 "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man"; and Rev. 1:20 "the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." Is there a special category for this kind of usage?


It is just the normal use of the be verb. Can you be more specific about what puzzles you?
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Re: Verb help

Postby Scott Lawson » April 28th, 2012, 9:59 pm

Hmm...You'll probably find it in Wallace under Convertible Propositions.
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Re: Verb help

Postby WAnderson » April 28th, 2012, 10:09 pm

Sorry for the confustion, I'm having difficulty framing the question properly. Although the examples I gave are in the present indicative, they aren't time-specific. I've noticed this in several places in the NT. Here's another example that hopefully might better illustrate, Rev. 17:18 "The woman . . . is the great city." The verb doesn't seem to denote that "the woman is (present tense, as I speak) the great city," but rather, "The woman is (symbolically equates to) the great city."
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Re: Verb help

Postby WAnderson » April 28th, 2012, 10:23 pm

OK, whaddya know, I did a search on the Matthew 13:37 reference and got a hit:

http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hil ... tTense.htm

On page 72, it looks like he calls what I'm talking about the "Interpretive Present." Is anyone familiar with this distinction? Haven't seen it called that elsewhere.
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Re: Verb help

Postby Scott Lawson » April 28th, 2012, 10:28 pm

Your first example at Revelation 1:20 is a subset proposition. Wallace speaks to this use of both subset and convertible propositions under Nominatives. It is the equative use of the be verb.
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Re: Verb help

Postby WAnderson » April 28th, 2012, 10:37 pm

Hmm...You'll probably find it in Wallace under Convertible Propositions.


Thank you. Yes, it appears Wallace addresses similar constructions starting on p. 41, which he calls "convertible propositions." But it does seem that the label "Interpretive Present" better categorizes what I was specifically wondering about.
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Re: Verb help

Postby David Lim » April 28th, 2012, 10:40 pm

WAnderson wrote:Sorry for the confustion, I'm having difficulty framing the question properly. Although the examples I gave are in the present indicative, they aren't time-specific. I've noticed this in several places in the NT. Here's another example that hopefully might better illustrate, Rev. 17:18 "The woman . . . is the great city." The verb doesn't seem to denote that "the woman is (present tense, as I speak) the great city," but rather, "The woman is (symbolically equates to) the great city."


I don't see why the verb cannot be understood to refer to present time. In Matt 13:37, Jesus states a present fact, which is that "the son of man is the one who sows good seed". It is not a fact of the past, therefore "ην" is not used. In Revelation, which is supposed to be a revelation of many things across history, including the future, there will likewise be many statements in the present tense because it is a present fact to the one who sees it happening. Of course, it is clear that it is metaphoric and not literal, but that is in my opinion independent of the tense. Similarly in John 1:4,9 you see that "ην" is used for such symbolic statements, because those were facts of the past at the time of writing, though of course it does not mean that the statements are no longer true in the present.
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Re: Verb help

Postby WAnderson » April 28th, 2012, 10:54 pm

I don't see why the verb cannot be understood to refer to present time. In Matt 13:37, Jesus states a present fact, which is that "the son of man is the one who sows good seed". It is not a fact of the past, therefore "ην" is not used. In Revelation, which is supposed to be a revelation of many things across history, including the future, there will likewise be many statements in the present tense because it is a present fact to the one who sees it happening. Of course, it is clear that it is metaphoric and not literal, but that is in my opinion independent of the tense. Similarly in John 1:4,9 you see that "ην" is used for such symbolic statements, because those were facts of the past at the time of writing, though of course it does not mean that the statements are no longer true in the present.


Yes, it seems the operative idea here is, as you said, "symbolic" (or "metaphorical"). That's what the vss I cited have in common.

Your first example at Revelation 1:20 is a subset proposition. Wallace speaks to this use of both subset and convertible propositions under Nominatives. It is the equative use of the be verb.


Thank you, I will look at that.

Thanks all for the input, I don't want to bog things down here with newbie questions, I was simply curious about that kind of use of the "to be" verb.
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Re: Verb help

Postby Jonathan Robie » April 29th, 2012, 7:11 am

Sounds like you understood how the verb is being used, you just had a hard time relating that to the set of categories in the grammar. This is often a problem with sets of categories like this.

The categories are there to help you understand the usage. In this case, you understand the usage.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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