Words for divisions of time

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Words for divisions of time

Postby Wes Wood » November 8th, 2013, 10:31 pm

I am trying to determine the different ways in which New Testament authors kept and referred to the passing of time. I am particularly interested in the ways they divided time into days and hours. In order to do this, I am searching how the following terms are used throughout the New Testament: ωρα, νυχθημερον, οψε, μεσονυκτιον, πρωι, αλεκτοροφωνια, εσπερας, and φυλακη. I am certain there are others (probably many obvious ones) that I have missed and would appreciate any other words that you may think of that would help me understand this topic better. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 8th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Wes Wood wrote:I ... would appreciate any other words that ... would help me understand this topic better

The ones I can think of that might be most interesting to you are; ἀνατολὴ / δυσμὴ ἡλίου (first / twelfth hour), ἡμέρα (12 hours), νύξ (four watches), τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς (just before dawn), Less interesting might be (short) ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ (1 Cor.15:52), στιγμή (instant), ἐξαίφνης (suddenly), and (long) μήν, τετράμηνος, ἔτος / ἐνιαυτός, αἰών.

I'm sure you could find more in Louw and Nida.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Wes Wood » November 8th, 2013, 11:31 pm

Thank you, and that link is wonderful!
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Words are good, but also look at whole phrases in the text

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 9th, 2013, 12:44 am

Wes Wood wrote:that link [to Louw and Nida] is wonderful

It is a good starting point, but you will be well served by getting into the text and seeing things for yourself.

L&N is not going to give you τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς, it will give you φυλακή as a "watch" of the night, but not explain the system of watches.

For ἀνατολή it will give you east as a direction and rising as a non-linear movement, but it will not be refer to ἀνατολὴ τοῦ ἡλίου as a time-marker or even to ἥλιος (the outdoor labourer or farmers' clock) as one. You will have to get those sort of understandings from reading and "intuiting". Read empathetically imagining yourself in the situation you are reading about.

Mark 1:32 wrote:ὅτε ἔδυ ὁ ἥλιος
"when the sun had set" This doesn't just mark a time but also a quality or a character of the time of day marked by this:
    What was walking like? I think shorter steps and more careful.
    How was the temperature? I think more comfortable.
    What were people doing at that time? I think they were staying closer to home.

Mattew 13:6 wrote: ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη [ἡ φυτεία]
"Now after the sun had risen [the growing plants] withered" This is not only talkng about the time, but also the things that we can expect to happen it is a more full picture. We can ask ourselves relevant questions;
    What angle of the sun do you think this would happen at? I guess about the 3rd hour (9am - solar time not our current equally averaged hours) and I get that from my experience of gardening. For a farmer or gardener this is a time-marker like what you are looking for.
    Would we be perspiring if we were working at that time? Yes, probably.

Of course you would think about these things naturally in your own languages, but in a foreign language it is useful to actively ask the questions according to your 5 senses and according to purpose and result. The thinking will be one after the other at the beginning, but later you will think about these things in parallel with the text more like you do in your own language.
Stephen Hughes
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(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Wes Wood » November 9th, 2013, 10:05 am

I appreciate your help and advice. I have wanted a physical copy of that book for a while and still do, but I did not have access to it before that link. I am hoping in the near future to start composing in koine greek and thought that book would allow me to learn related vocabulary by substituting unfamiliar words for well learned ones. As far as reading goes, for the words I had listed I had already found all of their occurances in englishman's concordance and read and copied the texts involved from my GNT into a word document with enough extra text to allow for comparison of their contexts. I believe that you once said that you are an intuitive learner. I seem to be as well. Reading the text allows me to remember more about grammar and word usage that poring over tables. For example, in one of the texts I read, in Acts I believe but I don't have the data in front of me, the text mentions four groups of four soldiers who are to keep watch. Given the other verses using φυλακή, this verse seems to imply that they were divided into four groups to cover four different watches. Perhaps there were four soldiers to cover the main directions of approach as well. I say all this to indicate that I have a tendency to work backwards. For these words the last resource I will check is BDAG.
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 9th, 2013, 12:56 pm

Wes Wood wrote:composing in koine greek and thought that book would allow me to learn related vocabulary by substituting unfamiliar words for well learned ones

When you are approaching composition and want to use less familliar words those words fall into two general categories.

[list]1)Those that can be substituted the one for the other fairly easily because they more or less mean the same thing - good to break monotony like in our own languages, but in Greek sometimes repeating a word is good style (not like your grade 2 or 3 teacher told you for English)
2) Those with a technical meaning in a special case and don't really fit when you use them with other things - makes you seem like you have a better mastery of the nuances of the language and is great in the pursuit of excellence[list]

For a given word, you will probably be able to make an educated guess as to which one is which. Generally speaking, the more prepositions on the front the more specialist the meaning, but not always - there are words with a technical meaning in some circumstances, as indeed in our own native languages. Louw and Nida will help you greatly in this regard if you use it intelligently relating it to the text - as you already do. They won't help you with how to put the word together with other words in the ordinary ways. BADG supplies quite a lot of date for that, and your own familiarity with the useages that you have collated will help - I have heaps of those such list and stuff too around the place. I find extracting levels of detail fun and useful too. "Open the door" = "walk to the door - grap the handle - pull the handle down - pull back on the handle - push the door to the wall", then when you are composing you can beef things out with detail. The way that I have written the stuff like >>...|| is always like a never finished set which I use to record data - primarily from looking at the text - in a way that I can use it for composition.

Wes Wood wrote:I ... listed... all of their occurances in englishman's concordance and read and copied the texts involved from my GNT into a word document with enough extra text to allow for comparison of their contexts.

Beyond the word level, there are familiar phrases that are used over and over again. They will become more readily recognisable from your experience and engagement with the text. I suggest you go beyond the popular parsing that you are probably familiar with and look at sentence patterns in addition to the parsing. Familiarity with those sentence patterns will be very useful for composition as you go on.

Wes Wood wrote:you once said that you are an intuitive learner. I seem to be as well.

I think you could say that I don't think in grammatical words as I read the Greek. I like to recite a few passages or phrases from time to time. I rarely get to the point of full memorisation, but rather to the point of close familiarity. Language is not often produced well when it is based on (even very good) rules, but rather some very good examples. After so long, naturally, I don't so often look to reference books to give me knowledge, but to check that I think I know to see whether it is true or not. Composition and extensive vocabulary learning are both not very popular, but I find them useful to be able to assay what the writers did not say, and to recognise in what ways the chose not to express themselves, and so to be able to understand what something says from what it does not say.

Wes Wood wrote:I say all this to indicate that I have a tendency to work backwards.

I think most people do naturally work back in that you get the whole of the bit of the language on board then put it all together. Comprehension comes in steps, while language enters the brain in a line. That creates somewhat of a conundrum during the period when you are getting your fluency up. You need to get to the end before really understanding the beginning, but it all happens so slowly that you have "forgotten" so much from your working memory before you get 2 words further on. Within each sense unit you can usually build up from the right and eventually reach the left where it all starts. Reading backwards - reverse order reading whole words - is helpful training for reading fluency. I find that in the second language you need to train your mind to do the review the meaning stage at the end of each phrase - it doesn't come easily or naturally.

Anyway, try your best.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Wes Wood » November 9th, 2013, 5:06 pm

You have really exceeded my hopes for help in this thread. Thank you, Stephen. I know I need to go beyond the parsing level of searches, but I do not have the resources needed to do grammatical searches. To make matters worse, my computer skills are so poor even using the word "skills" in reference to my limited abilities is ridiculous.
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 9th, 2013, 9:27 pm

Wes Wood wrote:I do not have the resources needed to do grammatical searches. ... my computer skills are so poor even using the word "skills" in reference to my limited abilities is ridiculous.
I'm in the same boat.

Have you noticed the thread discussing bible software in this regard?
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
Stephen Hughes
 
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Re: Words for divisions of time

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 9th, 2013, 9:39 pm

Wes Wood wrote:You have really exceeded my hopes for help in this thread. Thank you, Stephen.

The game is not over yet! So far I'm the only one who's replied to you. If you think my replies were helpful, wait till someone who knows what they're talking about chips in.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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