Mike Burke wrote:I recall a passage where St. Peter (a Jew) says that in the last days there will be scoffers, who will say "where is the promise of His coming, for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning."
I don't recall whether Peter (in the original Greek) used the definite article, but would it have made a difference if he did?
As a Jew, if he used the definite article, would he be talking about "the" Jewish fathers (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and if he omitted the definite article, would he have been talking about any ancestors (of whatever ethnic origin these "scoffers" happen to belong)?
Is that the way the Greek definite article functions?
When I use the English definite article, and I say "the house," I mean a specific house.
Does the Greek definite article function the same way?
First, I echo and affirm everything Carl has said to you in his response. If you haven't actually learned Greek, at least through the beginning level, now's the time to start. Contact me in email or in a private message if you want further suggestions. You may also look through the posts to the forum -- this subject comes up regularly. There are many more resources available than there were even a few years ago.
Secondly, the list protocol is that when asking a questions about a specific passage, one quotes the actual Greek:
καὶ λέγοντες· Ποῦ ἐστιν ἡ ἐπαγγελία τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ; ἀφʼ ἧς γὰρ οἱ πατέρες ἐκοιμήθησαν, πάντα οὕτως διαμένει ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως.
Yes, the article is here, and seems to indicate that the author has a specific group of Fathers in mind. This fact, however, does not help us understand specifically which group he has in mind -- that's something that must be determined on contextual grounds beyond the scope of the Greek per se.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy