Main Verbs

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Scott Lawson
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Main Verbs

Post by Scott Lawson » August 19th, 2011, 9:31 pm

Can an infinitive be a main verb in a sentence?

Scott Lawson
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Scott Lawson

cwconrad
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by cwconrad » August 20th, 2011, 6:13 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Can an infinitive be a main verb in a sentence?

Scott Lawson
I'm not sure what you have in mind. Your question would be easier to understand if you'd cited a text whrein you thought an infinitive might be functioning as the main verb of the clause. You might take a look at Smyth §§2012-2013, "Absolute Infinitive" and "Infinitive in Commands, Wishes" -- http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/phil ... monographs and http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/phil ... ographs.In BDF I find the following on usage of the infintiive as a command that may be relevant:
389. The imperatival infinitive is extremely old and is especially common in Homer, while in Attic it has become less frequent (Schwyzer II 380; subject in nom.). It is limited in the NT to two passages in Paul, both without subject; when the subject is to be expressed, even Paul uses ἵνα: E 5:33 (§387(3)).

R 12:15 χαίρειν μετὰ χαιρόντων, κλαίειν μετὰ κλαιόντων, Ph 3:16 πλὴν εἰς ὃ ἐφθάσαμεν, τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν; but cf. also Lk 9:3 μηδὲν αἴρετε … μήτε ἀνὰ δύο χιτῶνας ἔχειν. A governing verb (of saying, or χρή, δεῖ) can readily be supplied everywhere in the NT passages (which was not the case with the old imperatival inf.); cf. the accusatives with inf. in T 2:2–10 with a single occurrence of παρακάλει in v. 6. The salutatory inf. χαίρειν in epistolary style (A 15:23, 23:26, Ja 1:1 [§480(5)]) is likewise clearly elliptical. The independent inf. (with any modifiers belonging to the subj. in the acc.) or acc. with inf. in legal phraseology (λέγειν ‘one must say’ = λεκτέον, κεῖνον ἀπόλλυσθαι ‘he must die’) is also the result of a subsequent detachment of a governing δοκεῖ etc.; cf. Schwyzer II 383; Bonitz, Index Aristotelicus s.v. Infinitiv. The better reading in 2 T 2:14 is μὴ λογομάχει AC* latt (pm. -χεῖν, conceived as dependent upon διαμαρτυρόμενος). Is IEph 11.1 μόνον ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εὑρεθῆναι imperatival or a loose addition (§391(4)) to ἢ … φοβηθῶμεν ἢ … ἀγαπήσωμεν? Imperatival inf. in the pap. Mayser II 1, 150f., 303–5 (primarily in official orders and the like). Interchange of impera. and inf. (Lk 9:3) e.g. PEleph 1.4 (311 BC) παρεχέτω Ἡρακλείδης πάντα, εἶναι δὲ ἡμᾶς ….—Rob. 1092f.; Moule 126f.


Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (196–197). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Scott Lawson
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by Scott Lawson » August 20th, 2011, 2:54 pm

Carl,

It was brought to my attention that the main verbs of the compound subjects at 1 Thess. 3:11 and 2 Thess. 2:16, 17 are optative 3rd person singular rather than plural as one might expect. This of course raised the questions why and what could it mean. At first glance I took the verbs to be infinitives but wasn’t sure if an infinitive could stand as a main verb. Your information was helpful and I also found that A.T. Robertson’s grammar addresses both of these verses on pages 940 and 943 under Imperatival Infinitives. So it seems that stripped of their accents, the verbs κατευθυναι and παρακαλεσαι found at 1 Thess 3:11 and of 2 Thess 2:16, 17 respectively, could be considered infinitives.

Also, Daniel B. Wallace in his book Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics on page 482 makes the following observation about 1Thess. 3:11

"Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our path to you

There may be some significance in the use of a singular verb with this compound subject. Some possibilities are: (1) At this early stage of the new faith (1Thessalonians being the second earliest Pauline letter), a clear distinction between the Father and Son was not yet hammered out (but the distinction in persons is made by the distinct articles before each name); (2) the optative is uniting the Father and Son in terms of purpose and, to some degree therefore, placing Jesus Christ on the same level as God; (3) as is common in the NT, when a compound subject is used with a singular verb, the first-named subject is the more important of the two (though this normally or exclusively occurs in narrative literature, and typically with the indicative mood)."


So I'm wondering if the Imperatival Infinitive is in fact an option in these verses and if it is not what may be indicated by the use of the singular verb?
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cwconrad
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by cwconrad » August 20th, 2011, 3:25 pm

You ought to have indicated in the first place which verses you were concerned about. I don't think that the imperatival usage of the infinitive has anything to do with the optative singulars that trouble you. You might consider BDF §195:
135. Connected by και (ἤ). Regarding agreement with two or more subjects connected by καί, the same loose rules are valid for the NT as for classical usage. The following examples with persons as subject may be noted: (1) When the subject consists of sing. + sing. or of sing. + plur. the verb agrees (a) with the first subject if the verb stands before it, except when the subject-group is basically conceived as a whole; (b) with both subjects taken together if the verb stands after the second subject; (c) with the first if the verb stands between; (d) rules (a) and (b) can be combined when a finite verb stands before and a participle after the group, or the reverse. (2) When one of the two subjects is a 1st plur., the verb is in the 1st plur. and modifiers which refer to the subject are in the nominative plur.; such modifiers are in the masculine even when the subject group combines masculine and feminine. (3) Attributives (participles) which belong to two or more connected substantives customarily agree with the nearest. (4) The sing. is regularly used with two sing. subjects connected by ἤ (as in English but contrary to German).

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (74–75). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
I note that in 2 Thess 2:16-17 there is indeed a participial phrase intervening between the second subject and the singular optative form, but that's not the case in 1 Thess 3:11. "Loose rules" is inded an appropriate descriptive term here.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by Louis L Sorenson » August 20th, 2011, 8:05 pm

Here is the text in question:

ΠΡΟΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΙΣ Β 2.16-17
16 Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ [ὁ] θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς παράκλησιν αἰωνίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα ἀγαθὴν ἐν χάριτι, 17 παρακαλέσαι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας καὶ στηρίξαι ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ ἀγαθῷ.

Aland, B., Aland, K., Black, M., Martini, C. M., Metzger, B. M., & Wikgren, A. (1993, c1979). The Greek New Testament (4th ed.) (540). Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies.
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Mike Baber
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by Mike Baber » August 20th, 2011, 8:09 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:Can an infinitive be a main verb in a sentence?

Scott Lawson
Sure. For example, Philippians 1:21.

ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος

I don't know what qualifies as a "main verb," in a sentence, but since the only verbs in Philippians 1:21 are infinitives, I no longer need to know. :lol:
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cwconrad
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Re: Main Verbs

Post by cwconrad » August 20th, 2011, 8:56 pm

Mike Baber wrote:
Scott Lawson wrote:Can an infinitive be a main verb in a sentence?

Scott Lawson
Sure. For example, Philippians 1:21.

ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος

I don't know what qualifies as a "main verb," in a sentence, but since the only verbs in Philippians 1:21 are infinitives, I no longer need to know. :lol:
I think that most grammarians would understand the syntax of Phil 1:21 in terms of the infinitives (τὸ ζῆν and τὸ ἀποθανεῖν) as subjects and Χριστὸς and κέρδος as their predicate words respectively. The infinitives are not "main verbs", but rather the "main verbs" would be the implicit but commonly elliptical copula ἐστίν.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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