Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 14th, 2012, 2:40 am

Scott Lawson wrote:In my reading today I came across εισιν seemingly used as a past tense at Acts 4:13 where it says: "Θεωρουντες δε την του Πετρου παρρησιαν και Ιαωνου, και καταλαβομενοι οτι άνθρωποι αγράμματοι εισιν και ιδιωται, εθευμαζον, επιγινωσκον τε αυτούς ότι συν τω Ιησου ήσαν,..."

Is this a candidate for a stative HP?


Well, εἰσίν is certainly stative, but, no, it's an ordinary present tense in indirect discourse. Though English requires a backshift of the tense of the verb, Greek uses the present for time incident to the main verb, just as if it were direct discourse.

Scott Lawson wrote:Can εχω at times be stative? I note a number of times that it appears in the present tense with a past tense meaning. For example John 5:6: "τουτον ιδων ο Ιησους κατακειμενον, και γνους οτι πολυν ηδη χρονον εχει, λεγει αυτω Θελεις υγιης γενεσθαι;"


Same deal here. ἔχει is indeed stative, but again this indirect discourse and Greek does not backshift the verb tense. Note also the use of a present with πολὺν ... χρόνον in an "extended now" construction, for which English uses the present perfect tense.

Scott Lawson wrote:Perhaps the above example is better categorized as a Present of Past Action, but does that category imply that the verb be an activity (action) rather than a state?


No, I don't think that's necessary. The ordinary rule of not backshifting in indirect discourse suffices for these examples.

Scott Lawson wrote:Thanks in advance for answering my questions and my apologies if my questions detract from the discussion.


Not a problem.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » October 14th, 2012, 8:18 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Can εχω at times be stative? I note a number of times that it appears in the present tense with a past tense meaning. For example John 5:6: "τουτον ιδων ο Ιησους κατακειμενον, και γνους οτι πολυν ηδη χρονον εχει, λεγει αυτω Θελεις υγιης γενεσθαι;"
Perhaps the above example is better categorized as a Present of Past Action, but does that category imply that the verb be an activity (action) rather than a state?


It's often taken as a Present of Past Action Still in Progress (or Extending-From-Past-Present) and I think it is. Being in οτι clause doesn't affect that. It's πολυν ηδη χρονον which makes it EFPP because it referes to a time span extending to the present time (the present time of the οτι clause, which can be called Deictic Center or whatever). See e.g. John 5:17 and John 15:27 for stative EFPPs. But still the οτι explains how the present tense can be used at all. The next λεγει is of course a normal Historic Present.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby MAubrey » October 14th, 2012, 9:54 pm

RandallButh wrote:Missed some of this thread bouncing around the bush in TZ.

A couple of comments:
1. I agree with many here: no this (Mt 2:18) is not a HP and is inside a subordinated OTI clause.
2. (a position cited but not advocated by anyone in the thread, thankfully)
by assuming the Biblical Hebrew verb system as the underlying substrate. St. John's wavering between past and present, present and future is according to him due to the timelessness of both the Biblical Hebrew indicatives.


This shows a common, modern misunderstanding of BH.
BH, too, has time restrictions and sensitivity in its verbs, as is seen in the same restriction as Greek in not letting 'tomorrow' (52xx, מחר // αὔριον) occur in the same clause with either YIQTOL or VEQATAL.

Just to make clear to anyone who missed it. This quote that shows a misunderstanding of Biblical Hebrew is a view that Gerhard Mussies is criticizing as incorrect and not one that he accepts as accurate.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Roy Fredrick » October 16th, 2012, 10:31 am

In linguistics and rhetoric, the historical present refers to the employment of the present tense when narrating past events. Besides its use in writing about history, especially in historical chronicles (Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 129-131)(Leech 2002: 7).
All you have to do is read Jer 31:17 which is speaking about restoring her children to the Promised Land and that past saying is a present happening which states the present active indicative "to be" satiated!

Jer 31:17 And there is hope for thy latter end, saith Jehovah, and thy children shall come again to their own border. [DARBY].
1Ch 25:5 All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby MAubrey » October 21st, 2012, 3:26 pm

Roy Fredrick wrote:In linguistics and rhetoric, the historical present refers to the employment of the present tense when narrating past events. Besides its use in writing about history, especially in historical chronicles (Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 129-131)(Leech 2002: 7).

Yes, but the world is more complicated than that. Those are properties of the English historical present. The Greek historical present is more complicated than that, as such, citing English grammars isn't particularly relevant.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Alan Patterson » October 22nd, 2012, 6:54 am

Sorry for getting back so late.

I'm having a hard time explaining the DC to you, I think, because when you read DC, you think of the writer presenting some narrative and the times/tenses are in relationship to the writer. And I'm saying that a writer embeds huge chunks of events WITHIN their own time period. It is not a narrative (as I think you might be defining it) at this point; it is simply portraying the events in their temporal setting. I disagree with the idea that I am pushing the HP back one level; that makes no sense to me. The HP in English literature is common usage. It is how events are portrayed, whether in the past or not.

In Greek, that "HP" has no relationship to the time of writing; it's only relationship is to the DC. Every proposed HP functions commonly within it own literary unit. The writer is not using the HP to make a text more vivid, as if the Present Tense were an oddity.

Also, I was referring to Olsen's RT and ET. This is prominent throughout her work. When the ET is presented, the tenses used surrounding it will all act according to their normal temporal slots. Present tense will be concurrent with ET. Aorist tense prior to it. These tenses act in a temporal fashion in this model. The RT is relative to the ET, not the time of writing.

Can Mike or Stephen give me two HPs, only two, two each is fine. And I will explain how the DC works within that context. When I said the Greek system does not have the HP, I am dead serious. There is no "phenomenon" of a HP in my system. That's why someone mentioned the HP in English. Surely it is common to most advanced languages; how could it not?

Mike, I really do appreciate your "missing something" comment. I prefer we keep our conversation at that polite or professional level. Since our systems are quite different at the fundamental level, it is rather hard to grasp each others' model. I understand yours to some extent because there are a lot of people who hold that and I read them often, but I simply disagree with this model.

Can Mike or Stephen give me two HP, only two. And I will explain how the DC works in my model. Pick common ones so we can discuss the norm.
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 22nd, 2012, 7:32 am

Alan Patterson wrote:Also, I was referring to Olsen's RT and ET. This is prominent throughout her work. When the ET is presented, the tenses used surrounding it will all act according to their normal temporal slots. Present tense will be concurrent with ET. Aorist tense prior to it. These tenses act in a temporal fashion in this model. The RT is relative to the ET, not the time of writing.


Olsen works in the three-time system of Reichenbach, where you have ET (event time) and RT (reference time), as well as what she calls C (the deictic center). In such a system, aspect is how ET relates to RT and tense is how RT relates to C. So past is RT < C and present is RT = C. Normally, the historic present in a three-time system gets explained by a shift in C to the time of the story. Looking at Olsen's dissertation (I don't have her book), she doesn't seem say much about the HP (maybe I missed something), mostly that "the writer implicates past reference and cancels present implicature." So she doesn't think that present time reference is part of the meaning of the present.

Personally, I have no problem thinking of HPs as a kind of DC-shifted present in narrative, though it is insufficient as an explanation because something is also going on aspectually.

Alan Patterson wrote:Can Mike or Stephen give me two HPs, only two, two each is fine. And I will explain how the DC works within that context. When I said the Greek system does not have the HP, I am dead serious. There is no "phenomenon" of a HP in my system. That's why someone mentioned the HP in English. Surely it is common to most advanced languages; how could it not?


I raised the example of Matt 3:15 ἀφίησιν earlier in this thread. Let's start with that. How do you analyze it? I think it is HP, or a present with a (temporarily) shifted DC, which I see as equivalent.

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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Alan Patterson » October 24th, 2012, 7:14 am

Stephen,

Here is the Matt 3

15 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν, Ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην. τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν. 16 βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος

τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν

τότε adv. then, at that time... What happens after their discussion...

Then, at that time, John permits it...

This is, in my model, a very common, vanilla usage of the Present Tense in Narrative.

3.16 After Jesus was baptized (note Matt begins to develop another contextually based DC/C, showing the temporal elements)

Stephen, I don't think our models are convertible. If you are saying that the contextually based Present Tense in Model B (the one I subscribe to) can mean the same as the HP in Model A (the one you subscribe to), I just don't see how. I think you would then have to adopt the Historical Aorist, Historical Perfect, and the Historical Future, not just the HP. And I am not sure how you would explain a HP in light of the entire book. However, let me be quick to add that I feel you are moving in the right direction, and I'm not implying you've made some significant change in your thinking based on our exchanges. We still retain our different, and I would say non-convertible, models.

That the Present Tense of ἀφίησιν in Matt 3.15 seems so natural within my model, it was hard to see why you would use this HP as a difficult tense usage. I understand in your model it does, but it is just natural in mine. I think the "thinking" within each model is noticeable different.

Shall we continue to beat these two dead horses? :o )
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby Alan Patterson » October 24th, 2012, 7:15 am

Sorry about that emoticon. Not sure how it changed from a simple smiley face. :0 )
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Re: Matt 2:18 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν ... historical present?

Postby RandallButh » October 24th, 2012, 8:03 am

Alan,
I don't understand your "model".
Your present tense in Matt 3:15-16 is past referring AND refers to something that is aspectually complete/perfective. John permitted the the action, complete, in order for the baptism to go forward.
This is the classic definition of a writer using the Greek present tense for rhetorical purposes, AKA 'historical present'. By definition it is contextually based.
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