Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Jonathan Robie
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Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 14th, 2019, 11:17 am

I am trying to get a better understanding of infinitive subjects of ἐγένετο. I suspect that they have a discourse function, but I am not sure exactly what it is. Let me dump some data on you and ask some questions ...

Here are the examples I found with this query - I will ask some questions in the next post.

Mark.2.23 Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

Luke.3.21 Luke.3.22 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι ἅπαντα τὸν λαὸν καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος καὶ προσευχομένου ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν, καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν, καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

Luke.6.1 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων, καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν.

Luke.6.6 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν καὶ διδάσκειν· καὶ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖ καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιὰ ἦν ξηρά·

Luke.6.12 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι, καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Luke.16.22 ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ·

Acts.4.5 Acts.4.6 Acts.4.7 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον συναχθῆναι αὐτῶν τοὺς ἄρχοντας καὶ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους καὶ τοὺς γραμματεῖς ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ, καὶ Ἄννας ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς καὶ Καϊάφας καὶ Ἰωάνης καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος καὶ ὅσοι ἦσαν ἐκ γένους ἀρχιερατικοῦ, καὶ στήσαντες αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ μέσῳ ἐπυνθάνοντο Ἐν ποίᾳ δυνάμει ἢ ἐν ποίῳ ὀνόματι ἐποιήσατε τοῦτο ὑμεῖς;

Acts.9.3 Acts.9.4 Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐγγίζειν τῇ Δαμασκῷ, ἐξαίφνης τε αὐτὸν περιήστραψεν φῶς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἤκουσεν φωνὴν λέγουσαν αὐτῷ Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις;

Acts.9.32 Ἐγένετο δὲ Πέτρον διερχόμενον διὰ πάντων κατελθεῖν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ἁγίους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Λύδδα.

Acts.9.37 ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἀσθενήσασαν αὐτὴν ἀποθανεῖν·

Acts.9.43 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἡμέρας ἱκανὰς μεῖναι ἐν Ἰόππῃ παρά τινι Σίμωνι βυρσεῖ.

Acts.11.26 ἐγένετο δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐνιαυτὸν ὅλον συναχθῆναι ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ διδάξαι ὄχλον ἱκανόν, χρηματίσαι τε πρώτως ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τοὺς μαθητὰς Χριστιανούς.

Acts.14.1 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν Ἰκονίῳ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ λαλῆσαι οὕτως ὥστε πιστεῦσαι Ἰουδαίων τε καὶ Ἑλλήνων πολὺ πλῆθος.

Acts.16.16 Ἐγένετο δὲ πορευομένων ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν προσευχὴν, παιδίσκην τινὰ ἔχουσαν πνεῦμα Πύθωνα ὑπαντῆσαι ἡμῖν, ἥτις ἐργασίαν πολλὴν παρεῖχεν τοῖς κυρίοις αὐτῆς μαντευομένη.

Acts.19.1 Acts.19.2 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν Ἀπολλῶ εἶναι ἐν Κορίνθῳ Παῦλον διελθόντα τὰ ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη ἐλθεῖν εἰς Ἔφεσον καὶ εὑρεῖν τινας μαθητάς, εἶπέν τε πρὸς αὐτούς Εἰ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐλάβετε πιστεύσαντες;

Acts.21.1 Ὡς δὲ ἐγένετο ἀναχθῆναι ἡμᾶς ἀποσπασθέντας ἀπ’ αὐτῶν, εὐθυδρομήσαντες ἤλθομεν εἰς τὴν Κῶ, τῇ δὲ ἑξῆς εἰς τὴν Ῥόδον κἀκεῖθεν εἰς Πάταρα·

Acts.21.5 Acts.21.6 ὅτε δὲ ἐγένετο ἐξαρτίσαι ἡμᾶς τὰς ἡμέρας, ἐξελθόντες ἐπορευόμεθα προπεμπόντων ἡμᾶς πάντων σὺν γυναιξὶ καὶ τέκνοις ἕως ἔξω τῆς πόλεως, καὶ θέντες τὰ γόνατα ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν προσευξάμενοι ἀπησπασάμεθα ἀλλήλους, καὶ ἐνέβημεν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς τὰ ἴδια.

Acts.22.6 Acts.22.7 Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ περὶ μεσημβρίαν ἐξαίφνης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιαστράψαι φῶς ἱκανὸν περὶ ἐμέ, ἔπεσά τε εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς λεγούσης μοι Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις;

Acts.22.17 Acts.22.18 Ἐγένετο δέ μοι ὑποστρέψαντι εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ προσευχομένου μου ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ γενέσθαι με ἐν ἐκστάσει καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτὸν λέγοντά μοι Σπεῦσον καὶ ἔξελθε ἐν τάχει ἐξ Ἱερουσαλήμ, διότι οὐ παραδέξονταί σου μαρτυρίαν περὶ ἐμοῦ.

Acts.27.44 καὶ οὕτως ἐγένετο πάντας διασωθῆναι ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν.

Acts.28.8 ἐγένετο δὲ τὸν πατέρα τοῦ Ποπλίου πυρετοῖς καὶ δυσεντερίῳ συνεχόμενον κατακεῖσθαι, πρὸς ὃν ὁ Παῦλος εἰσελθὼν καὶ προσευξάμενος, ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῷ ἰάσατο αὐτόν.

Acts.28.17 Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς συνκαλέσασθαι αὐτὸν τοὺς ὄντας τῶν Ἰουδαίων πρώτους·
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 14th, 2019, 11:19 am

What is the difference between a formulation like this:

Mark 2:23 Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

And this:

Mark 2:23 ἐν δὲ τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεται διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

All of these can be rewritten to simpler form that says the same thing. Am I right in guessing that it is a discourse function? Is the function of the infinitive subject distinct from the overall discourse function of ἐγένετο?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Robert Emil Berge
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Robert Emil Berge » February 14th, 2019, 4:27 pm

In most of these sentences I would consider the infinitive part of the direct object of γίγνομαι, not the subject.
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Robert Emil Berge » February 14th, 2019, 4:34 pm

I know nothing about the concept of discourse function, but I can say that it isn't the same to say "It happened that he ..." as "He ...". If the difference is the discourse function, then yes. By the way, in your rewriting, it needs to be imperfect - παρεπορεύετο.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 14th, 2019, 8:03 pm

Robert Emil Berge wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 4:27 pm
In most of these sentences I would consider the infinitive part of the direct object of γίγνομαι, not the subject.
(Complement, not direct object, right?) What, then, would be the subject? Is it impersonal?
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 14th, 2019, 8:14 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 11:19 am
All of these can be rewritten to simpler form that says the same thing.
Well, I think the entire of pragmatics is that they don't really say "the same thing."
Jonathan Robie wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 11:19 am
Am I right in guessing that it is a discourse function?
It's not clear what 'it' is in your question. Is it what you're calling the "infinitive subject of ἐγένετο"? Do you mean the infinitive clause?

At any rate, I think the place to look for discourse markers is generally on the left edge, and so I would consider καὶ ἐγένετο (Mark) or έγένετο δέ (Luke) to be a kind of discourse marker signaling a later unit in the narrative.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 11:19 am
Is the function of the infinitive subject distinct from the overall discourse function of ἐγένετο?
Yes, I would say that the infinitive clause/complement provides a setting or something like that.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 14th, 2019, 9:01 pm

I'm not sure of what the discourse function of these might be, but to me they sound Septuagintal. It's not a construction you see very often outside of either the LXX translating וַֽיְהִ֖י or particularly in the NT Luke-Acts (you'll note that most of your examples are from there).
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S Walch
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by S Walch » February 15th, 2019, 8:15 am

I agree with what Barry said - it's likely a Septuagintism.

That most of your examples are from Luke-Acts (as Barry also noted) is a good indication - it is well known that Luke was attempting to mimic Septuagint style in his compositions.

I'd also say it's just impersonal: "It happened... It became... Now, it so happened that..."

Just did my own search quickly on the occurrences of καὶ ἐγένετο and ἐγένετο δὲ in Gospels-Acts, and found:

καὶ ἐγένετο - 35 in Luke, Acts | 14 in Matt, Mark, John in total
ἐγένετο δὲ - 37 in Luke, Acts | none in Matt, Mark, or John

Kinda confirms the above noted Septuagintism to me.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 15th, 2019, 6:30 pm

If I understand correctly, Siebenthal (section 217e4) believes that the following form is Semitic:
  • ἐγένετο + Adverbial + καί (optional) + finite verb
But I am looking at this form, which Siebenthal considers good standard ancient Greek:
  • ἐγένετο + Adverbial + καί (optional) + infinitive clause
Still, Luke may well be using the more standard ancient Greek form to echo the LXX.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Infinitive Subjects of ἐγένετο

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 15th, 2019, 6:36 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 8:14 pm
At any rate, I think the place to look for discourse markers is generally on the left edge, and so I would consider καὶ ἐγένετο (Mark) or έγένετο δέ (Luke) to be a kind of discourse marker signaling a later unit in the narrative.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
February 14th, 2019, 11:19 am
Is the function of the infinitive subject distinct from the overall discourse function of ἐγένετο?
Yes, I would say that the infinitive clause/complement provides a setting or something like that.
This is what I think I am seeing. For instance, in Luke 6, the form introduces the passage about Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath:
Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων, καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν.
Then introduces the passage about the man with a withered hand:
Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν καὶ διδάσκειν
Then introduces the passage about the choosing of the twelve apostles:
Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι, καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ.
It generally seems to introduce a setting for a passage. But in Matthew, so does καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ... for which Luke prefers καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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