ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

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Stirling Bartholomew
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ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 9th, 2015, 5:20 pm

I was reading Luke 13 this morning and came across the idiom ἄρχομαι + infintive

Luke 13:25 ἀφ᾿ οὗ ἂν ἐγερθῇ ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης καὶ ἀποκλείσῃ τὴν θύραν καὶ ἄρξησθε ἔξω ἑστάναι καὶ κρούειν τὴν θύραν λέγοντες· κύριε, ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν, καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ἐρεῖ ὑμῖν· οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς πόθεν ἐστέ.

I habitually compare Grimm-Thayer to Danker'r 3rd Ed. and in case Thayer seemed to be saying something different than Danker. I don't know what to make of Thayer's comments:
ἄρχομαι is connected with an infinitive and that so often, especially in the historical books, that formerly most interpreters thought it constituted a periphrasis for the finite form of the verb standing in the infinitive, as ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν for ἐκήρυξε. But through the influence principally of Fritzsche (on Matthew, p. 539f), cf. Winers Grammar, § 65 7 d., it is now conceded that the theory of a periphrasis of this kind was a rash assumption, and that there is scarcely an example which cannot be reduced to one of the following classes:

a. the idea of beginning has more or less weight or importance, so that it is brought out by a separate word: Matthew 11:7 (the disciples of John having retired, Christ began to speak concerning John, which he did not do while they were present); Luke 3:8 (do not even begin to say; make not even an attempt to excuse yourselves); Luke 15:14 (the beginning of want followed hard upon the squandering of his goods); Luke 21:28; 2 Corinthians 3:1; especially when the beginning of an action is contrasted with its continuance or its repetition, Mark 6:7; Mark 8:31 (cf. Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33f); or with the end of it, Luke 14:30 (opposed to ἐκτελέσαι); John 13:5 (cf. 12).

b. ἄρχειν denotes something as begun by someone, others following: Acts 27:35f (Winers Grammar, § 65, 7 d.).

c. ἄρχειν indicates that a thing was but just begun when it was interrupted by something else: Matthew 12:1 (they had begun to pluck ears of grain, but they were prevented from continuing by the interference of the Pharisees); Matthew 26:22 (Jesus answered before all had finished), Matthew 26:74; Mark 2:23; Mark 4:1 (he had scarcely begun to teach, when a multitude gathered unto him); Mark 6:2; Mark 10:41; Luke 5:21; Luke 12:45; Luke 13:25; Acts 11:15 (cf. Acts 10:44); , and often.

d. the action itself, instead of its beginning, might indeed have been mentioned; but in order that the more attention may be given to occurrences which seem to the writer to be of special importance, their initial stage, their beginning, is expressly pointed out: Mark 14:65; Luke 14:18; Acts 2:4, etc.

e. ἄρχω occurs in a sentence which has grown out of the blending of two statements: Matthew 4:17; Matthew 16:21 (from ἀπό τότε ἐκήρυξε ... ἔδειξέ, and τότε ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ... δεικνύειν). The infinitive is lacking when discoverable from the context: ἀρχόμενος, namely, to discharge the Messianic office, Luke 3:23 (Winer's Grammar, 349 (328)); ἀρξάμενος namely, λέγειν, Acts 11:4. (Compare: ἐνάρχω (ἐνάρχομαι), προενάρχομαι, ὑπάρχω, προϋπάρχω.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » February 10th, 2015, 3:47 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Thayer seemed to be saying something different than Danker. I don't know what to make of Thayer's comments:
By Danker, do you mean BDAG? "Danker" would be Danker's "The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament", but there's only 1 edition.

What about the Thayer's comments? Are they strange?
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 10th, 2015, 4:00 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Thayer seemed to be saying something different than Danker. I don't know what to make of Thayer's comments:
By Danker, do you mean BDAG? "Danker" would be Danker's "The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament", but there's only 1 edition.

What about the Thayer's comments? Are they strange?

Yes BDAG.

I don't understand what Thayer is disagreeing with, see the higlighted porttion and what follows: it is now conceded that the theory of a periphrasis of this kind was a rash assumption ...
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 10th, 2015, 7:08 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Thayer wrote:ἄρχομαι is connected with an infinitive and that so often, especially in the historical books, that formerly most interpreters thought it constituted a periphrasis for the finite form of the verb standing in the infinitive, as ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν for ἐκήρυξε. But through the influence principally of Fritzsche (on Matthew, p. 539f), cf. Winers Grammar, § 65 7 d., it is now conceded that the theory of a periphrasis of this kind was a rash assumption, and that there is scarcely an example which cannot be reduced to one of the following classes: ...
Presumably (i.e. if I'm not guilty of grammatical anachronism), ἐκήρυξε in this quote is refering to the inceptive aorist, i.e. "ἐκήρυξε (in the indicative as an inceptive aorist)", and he is saying that it is "now" thought to be something rather more than that (as he goes on to list, rather than that he is saying that every usage of the aorist is meant by the periphrasis.

For the inceptive aorist, you could look at Wallace GGBB (at the appropriate section) and Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek (4th Edition), by Ernest DeWitt Burton, Chicago 1900, pgg 35 & 37.
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Tony Pope
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Tony Pope » February 11th, 2015, 8:03 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Thayer wrote:ἄρχομαι is connected with an infinitive and that so often, especially in the historical books, that formerly most interpreters thought it constituted a periphrasis for the finite form of the verb standing in the infinitive, as ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν for ἐκήρυξε. But through the influence principally of Fritzsche (on Matthew, p. 539f), cf. Winers Grammar, § 65 7 d., it is now conceded that the theory of a periphrasis of this kind was a rash assumption, and that there is scarcely an example which cannot be reduced to one of the following classes: ...
Presumably (i.e. if I'm not guilty of grammatical anachronism), ἐκήρυξε in this quote is refering to the inceptive aorist, i.e. "ἐκήρυξε (in the indicative as an inceptive aorist)", and he is saying that it is "now" thought to be something rather more than that (as he goes on to list, rather than that he is saying that every usage of the aorist is meant by the periphrasis.

For the inceptive aorist, you could look at Wallace GGBB (at the appropriate section) and Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek (4th Edition), by Ernest DeWitt Burton, Chicago 1900, pgg 35 & 37.
Burton says an aorist is to be read as inceptive in the case of verbs whose present denotes a state or condition, which is hardly the case with κηρύσσειν. It seems rather that what Fritzsche et al were complaining about was that certain exegetes in the 19th century argued that ἤρξατο plus infinitive was simply a substitute for an ordinary narrative aorist verb, in other words ἤρξατο was entirely redundant.

Nearer our day, this usage was also discussed by Dalman, who, while (rightly or wrongly) explaining it as an aramaism, refers to a similar usage in Aramaic as "the meaningless 'he began'" and calls the expression in Luke 13.25 "very little different" from a plain future, etc.
(Gustaf Dalman, The Words of Jesus, 26-28 http://www.archive.org/stream/wordsofje ... 1/mode/2up)

In contrast to those who deal with the idiom by explaining it away as a redundancy, Fritzsche at least made a stab at explaining in what circumstances it is used, and Grimm-Thayer apparently refines this somewhat. Thus Luke employs the idiom in 13.25 and 26 to express the fact that the protests of the people banging on the door are quickly cut short by the retorts of the master of the house. (This does not, of course, mean an English translation is obliged to include the word "begin". Some other means may be found to convey the nuance.)

On the same verses, H. A. W. Meyer comments "The people have begun the persistent standing there and knocking, in respect of which they say: Lord, open to us; then the master of the house answers that he knows them not ...; next, they begin to say something else ... Thus there appears in ἄρξησθε and ἄρξεσθε, ver. 26, a very vivid representation of their several fruitless attempts."
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 11th, 2015, 3:35 pm

Tony Pope wrote: It seems rather that what Fritzsche et al were complaining about was that certain exegetes in the 19th century argued that ἤρξατο plus infinitive was simply a substitute for an ordinary narrative aorist verb, in other words ἤρξατο was entirely redundant.

Nearer our day, this usage was also discussed by Dalman, who, while (rightly or wrongly) explaining it as an aramaism, refers to a similar usage in Aramaic as "the meaningless 'he began'" and calls the expression in Luke 13.25 "very little different" from a plain future, etc.
(Gustaf Dalman, The Words of Jesus, 26-28 http://www.archive.org/stream/wordsofje ... 1/mode/2up)

In contrast to those who deal with the idiom by explaining it away as a redundancy, Fritzsche at least made a stab at explaining in what circumstances it is used, and Grimm-Thayer apparently refines this somewhat. Thus Luke employs the idiom in 13.25 and 26 to express the fact that the protests of the people banging on the door are quickly cut short by the retorts of the master of the house. (This does not, of course, mean an English translation is obliged to include the word "begin". Some other means may be found to convey the nuance.)

On the same verses, H. A. W. Meyer comments "The people have begun the persistent standing there and knocking, in respect of which they say: Lord, open to us; then the master of the house answers that he knows them not ...; next, they begin to say something else ... Thus there appears in ἄρξησθε and ἄρξεσθε, ver. 26, a very vivid representation of their several fruitless attempts."
Yes, After reading Thayer again this morning came to the same conclusion. The language and reasoning employed by NT scholars of the mid-to-late 19th Century is often difficult for me to unpack. Thayer was a product of a school system which is now a cultural fossil. BTW, his D.D. was honorary. He was a seminary graduate who taught at Harvard.

RE: Thayer and the papyri: an often repeated myth
Rather unfortunately, Thayer's Lexicon became obsolete quickly as Gustav Adolf Deissmann's work with the Egyptian papyri was soon to revolutionize New Testament and Koine Greek Lexicography with the publication of his Bible Studies: Contributions Chiefly from Papyri and Inscriptions to the History of the Language, the Literature, and the Religion of Hellenistic Judaism and Primitive Christianity published in 1901 (2nd edition 1909) and also Light from the Ancient East: the New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1910. These books and similar ones that followed helped confirm and sometimes correct inadequate definitions of many words in the Greek New Testament. With this new and valuable information for studying the Greek of the New Testament, Thayer's Lexicon became a victim of history, being published less than a decade before this papyri revolution.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Henry_Thayer

New Testament and Koine Greek Lexicography has yet to be revolutionized. Thayer and and BAG are not very different. Louw-Nida 1988, is different but it is also dated. The revolution is yet to arrive. Perhaps someone is working on the next phase.
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by George F Somsel » February 12th, 2015, 2:26 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Presumably (i.e. if I'm not guilty of grammatical anachronism), ἐκήρυξε in this quote is refering to the inceptive aorist, i.e. "ἐκήρυξε (in the indicative as an inceptive aorist)", and he is saying that it is "now" thought to be something rather more than that (as he goes on to list, rather than that he is saying that every usage of the aorist is meant by the periphrasis.
Yes, not that the aorist itself is inceptive here, but that the combination of ἄρχομαι with the infinitive constitutes an inceptive. This is a Semitic borrowing. Several years ago in the ANE list one person was contending that in 1 Sam 17 during the encounter of David with Goliath that Goliath had very politely sat down and listened to David as he berated him then got up to approach David for the battle. When I asked what caused him to think that Goliath sat down to listen to David, he said it was because it says
וְהָיָה֙ כִּֽי־קָ֣ם הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֔י וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ וַיִּקְרַ֖ב לִקְרַ֣את דָּוִ֑ד


which quite literally says "It happened that the Philistine arose and went and cam near to encounter David." To "rise up" and do something doesn't indicate a change in posture here and elsewhere when it appears in the OT, but rather is an inceptive so that what it actually means is that he began to approach David. This is a similar situation in this passage.
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 12th, 2015, 7:18 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Yes, After reading Thayer again this morning came to the same conclusion. The language and reasoning employed by NT scholars of the mid-to-late 19th Century is often difficult for me to unpack. Thayer was a product of a school system which is now a cultural fossil. BTW, his D.D. was honorary. He was a seminary graduate who taught at Harvard.

RE: Thayer and the papyri: an often repeated myth
Rather unfortunately, Thayer's Lexicon became obsolete quickly as Gustav Adolf Deissmann's work with the Egyptian papyri was soon to revolutionize New Testament and Koine Greek Lexicography with the publication of his Bible Studies: Contributions Chiefly from Papyri and Inscriptions to the History of the Language, the Literature, and the Religion of Hellenistic Judaism and Primitive Christianity published in 1901 (2nd edition 1909) and also Light from the Ancient East: the New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1910. These books and similar ones that followed helped confirm and sometimes correct inadequate definitions of many words in the Greek New Testament. With this new and valuable information for studying the Greek of the New Testament, Thayer's Lexicon became a victim of history, being published less than a decade before this papyri revolution.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Henry_Thayer

New Testament and Koine Greek Lexicography has yet to be revolutionized. Thayer and and BAG are not very different. Louw-Nida 1988, is different but it is also dated. The revolution is yet to arrive. Perhaps someone is working on the next phase.
I am curious as to why you say that it's a myth? And what would the revolution in lexicography look like? How would our world be better if the revolution took place? :shock:
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 12th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote: I am curious as to why you say that it's a myth? And what would the revolution in lexicography look like? How would our world be better if the revolution took place?
I am not saying that there are no differences between Thayer and BAGD. Someone correct me on this, the study of the papyri helped position the vocabulary of the NT in its cultural historical context which occasionally had an impact on the understanding of a NT word. But working with Thayer on a regular basis along side of BAGD I don't see a big contrast in methodology. People often say Grimm-Thayer was dated when it was published but what about Louw-Nida the methodology was probably more than 25 years old when the first edition was printed. 15 years ago SDBH [1] looked like it was going to be an advance in methodology but has it actually change the way people think about Biblical hebrew vocabulary? I don't know.


[1]SEMANTIC DICTIONARY OF BIBLICAL HEBREW
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: ἄρχομαι + infintive in Grimm-Thayer : Danker

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 12th, 2015, 2:31 pm

I suspect that Grimm-Thayer is still being used by the majority of english speaking NT students because of sites like BibleHub and STEP. Simple reason: Copyrights. A few years back someone put BAG 1957 online as well as TDNT and both were taken down for obvious reasons.

I read the intro to BDAG and BAGD again. I was surprised to discover that the project for BAG 1957 was sponsored by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
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