πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

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R. Perkins
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 14th, 2018, 11:46 pm

Thank you all very much. Will take some time to digest this, and, I'm not attempting to drag this out, but am really trying to grapple w. this text. I actually just read a supposed exegetical refutation to some of the grammatical assertions made here that - if okay - I would like to glean your response on (?). There are just so many differing views of the participle in relation of the verb (esp. the aorist it seems?) that it can honestly be confusing. The response is below:

To begin, this verse (John 6.38) is comprised of three clauses: an independent clause (A), and the two dependent clauses of (B) and (C). From the perspective of text linguistics and discourse analysis, clauses (B) and (C) are tied in with (A) and both flow from (A).

(A) ὅτι καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
(B) οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν
(C) ἀλλὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με

To say “You could expand the phrase ἀλλὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με to say ἀλλὰ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με, it's the implied ποιῶ that should be understood in relation to καταβέβηκα.” With this line of argumentation, you can just as well make καταβέβηκα in (A) the main verb of (B), for in the same manner one can easily expand the phrase οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν to say οὐχ καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν, and you can just as well argue that the verb καταβέβηκα is “implied” in (B).

Just because someone can plug in what they say is implicit in a text that does not mean that it is something that was intended by the author as his communicative intent. Now I can easily expand on this from the perspective of Relevance Theory but I know I will lose people here so I will leave it at that. Whatever the case, if you take your line of argumentation to its logical conclusion then for the very same reason, and by logical consistency in your hermeneutical method, you would have to result in automatically making καταβέβηκα the main verb of (B), AND since (C) is dependent on (B) then you have just refuted yourself, for then you would have made the present participle πέμψαντός of (C) actually dependent on the “implied” καταβέβηκα of (B) after all, and of the linguistically encoded καταβέβηκα at (A). The interesting thing here is that in fact πέμψαντός in (C) IS dependent on the main verb of καταβέβηκα in (A) but I will show this in a bit, I want to cover a few more things first.

A few things to note here. One thing we know from linguistics is that linguistically encoded information is much more explicit than implicit information. Second, ποιῶ WAS linguistically encoded by the author in (B) but WAS NOT linguistically encoded in (C) by the same author. Third, each clause has its own linguistically encoded verb for a reason, (A) has καταβέβηκα (perfect active indicative), (B) has ποιῶ (present active subjective) and (C) has πέμψαντός (aorist active participle). Fourth, the linguistically encoded information in (B) and (C) is made explicit for a specific purpose, to highlight the rhetorical contrast between (B) and (C) and is linguistically primed by the contrastive phrase οὐχ ἵνα. The set of (B) and (C) is dependent on (A), so the main verb of this text in discourse is the καταβέβηκα. Clauses (A), (B) and (C) are one unit as a cohesive whole, with (B) and (C) dependent of the independent clause (A) with the head verb of καταβέβηκα.

The claim, “The participle πέμψαντός is part of a nominal construction τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με, and does not have a direct relationship to καταβέβηκα."

Actually, it does, and in more ways than one. First of all, the linguistic items of (B) ποιῶ and (C) πέμψαντός cannot stand on their own, because (B) and (C) are dependent clauses that flow and expand from the independent clause (A). Thus (B) and (C) express incomplete thoughts and are not designed to stand alone ripped apart from their discourse context. In contrast clause (A) can stand on its own and can express a complete thought, and this clause in turn itself flows from the previous text because it is interwoven to the previous text by ὅτι. With this being the case, no matter how you look at it, (B) and (C) rely on (A) just from the simple perspective of discourse analysis. This is important because in (A) we have the head verb καταβέβηκα (perfect active indicative) which has been linguistically encoded in an independent clause in its linguistic and discourse context. Just from this perspective alone, from discourse analysis, I have already demonstrated that the head verb here is καταβέβηκα (perfect active indicative).

However, there are more reasons to show why the active participle πέμψαντός in (C) has a very clear relation to the head verb καταβέβηκα in (A)...Consider what some grammars say about the aorist participle: “The aorist participle is normally, though by no means always, antecedent in time to the action of the main verb. But when the aorist participle is related to an aorist main verb, the participle will often be contemporaneous (or simultaneous) to the action of the main verb.” (Wallace, Greek Grammar, p. 624) Notice the part: “The aorist participle is normally, though by no means always, antecedent in time to the action of the main verb.” This is something that you will see often in the grammars.

Here is another example: “The Aorist Participle of Antecedent Action. The Aorist Participle is most frequently used of an action antecedent in time to the action of the principal verb.” (Burton’s NT Greek Moods & Tenses, sec. 134)

“The aorist participle indicates an action occurring prior to the time of the main verb.” (Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek, p. 237)

“The aorist participle, for example, usually denotes antecedent time to that of the controlling verb” (Wallace, 614)

Under section 202 “The Tense of the Participle” Dana & Mantey reads: “(1) Antecedent action relative to the main verb is ordinarily expressed by the aorist or perfect. . .” (Dana & Mantey, p. 230) There are a few things I want to say here, the participle in (C); whether the participle πέμψαντός is used as a verb, or adjective, or substantively, the fact is that it nonetheless always remains linguistically encoded as an aorist. The linguistically encoded morphological tense and its verbal semantic value is not canceled out by its pragmatic use, and hence always retains a verbal property linguistically encoded. If we look at this from a purely linguistic perspective then we see that the semantic verbal property of the participle remains. Wallace says: “. . . because the participle has embodied two natures, neither one acts completely independently of the other. Hence, the verbal nature of participles has a permanent grammatical intrusion from the adjectival nature. . .” (Wallace p. 615) This is why the translation of τοῦ πέμψαντός με is translated as “the one who SENT ME.”

So even if it is used substantively you cannot cancel out the verbal semantic property of the same linguistic item because it still retains it, and it also retains its aspect which may be dimensioned, but it’s still there nonetheless. Wallace says: “Second, with reference to its verbal nature: Just because a participle is adjectival or substantial, this does not mean that its verbal aspect is entirely diminished. Most substantial participles still retain something of their aspect. A general rule of thumb is that the more particular (as opposed to generic) the referent, the more of the verbal aspect is still seen. (See the introduction for detailed discussion.)” (Wallace 620)


Continued (if allowed :oops:)...

R. Perkins
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 15th, 2018, 12:02 am

I said, "“From what I understand (again, I am only Greek II), it's important to remember that in substantive uses of the participle, the idea of time or even aspect is rather in the background. And this is a substantival participle, functioning as a noun, and that's really all it does. It isn't acting like a verb that derives its time from that of the main verb.”

The response,

This is like standing in front of an oncoming train and closing your eyes and saying, “it’s not there.” Notice, that even you had to admit that it is “in the background,” and you are correct, for if it were not there at all, you would not be able to translate the action of being “sent” at (C). In other words, the action of being “sent” would not be there, but it is there, and this shows that the verbal property is not absent from the participle. I can understand why you would not want it there at all, because you do not want to face the truth, because you know that as an aorist tense you would have deal with the dreaded truth that the action of being “sent” took place BEFORE coming down from heaven, and that of course will completely destroy the Oneness position for it clearly shows that the Son of God preexisted.

Now, as much as you do not want to see it, the aorist participle πέμψαντός still retains its linguistically encoded verbal property, and hence it is still nonetheless an aorist. Now, seeing that it is still an aorist, and seeing that it still retains its verbal property...since aorist participles were most frequently used of an action antecedent in time to the action of the principal verb, and since here in John 6:38 (A) we have the principal verb of καταβέβηκα (perfect active indicative), and since in (C) we have πέμψαντός (aorist active participle), then it is clear that the action of the one who sent the speaker took place BEFORE the action of descending from heaven.

The referential identity in (A) who is speaking is the same referential identity who is speaking in (B) and (C). There is not one single example in ancient koine Greek usage (as far as I am aware) where we see an independent clause connected to a dependent clause by οὐχ ἵνα, and where we see that the referential identity of the independent clause suddenly switched speakers at mid verse to another referential identity in the dependent clause without giving us any kind of a clue that such a thing has taken place!...The referential identity who is speaking at (B) and (C) is the Son of God, and it was the Son of God who said that he was sent FROM HEAVEN.

Now maybe you care to answer some of my questions while on this subject?

1. Who was the referential identity who actually performed the action of the verb καταβέβηκα at (A)?

2. Who was the referential identity who actually SAID that he performed the action of the verb καταβέβηκα at (A)?

3. Was there ever a time in the Bible when Jesus spoke and where it was also the case that the Son of God did not also speak?

4. Who is the referential identity who spoke at (B) and (C)?

5. Can you give me a single example from ancient koine Greek usage where we see an independent clause connected to a dependent clause by οὐχ ἵνα, and where we see that the referential identify of the independent clause suddenly switched speakers at mid verse to another referential identity in the dependent clause?


Again, I hope this is not a violation of rules in any way. Just really would like some honest input from those more versed in Greek (partic. participles) than I am. I realize the writer above seems rather smug & blusterous (by nature), but, I try to see beyond that & still consider the assertions made (I take the biblical data very seriously - as I well know all on here do or they likely wouldn't be here :)).

Greatly appreciate your time. Very-very informative (I have learned tons on here).

R. Perkins
Posts: 58
Joined: January 18th, 2013, 9:55 pm

Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 15th, 2018, 12:45 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 10:55 am
R. Perkins wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 6:18 am
[
Excellent! Incidentally, would y’all say that Robertson’s Grammar (Light from Ancient East) is still relative to biblical Greek in light of the Egyptian papyri? My Greek Proff. said yes since “we would all still be using Robertson if it weren’t for Dr. Wallace (& I would add Mounce, Carson, et al.). I have Robertson’s mammoth work, but for some reason seem to subconsciously deem it irrelevant anymore (probably due to recent advances in Koine as noted by Dr. Constantine Campbell, et al.). Same principle w. Thayer-Grimm (although I realize that Robertson was far ahead of them linguistically).
Just to be perfectly pedantic, Robertson wrote A grammar of the Greek New Testament in the light of historical research. Deissman wrote Light from the Ancient Near East.

Still valuable, but remember that a lot of work in lexical semantics has been done since these were published. A lot more work remains to be done...
Got it. I thought as I was writing that late last night (from my iPad) that I didn't have the title right. Was thinking of Deissman's title, but referring to Robertson's mammoth work.

Sincerely appreciate the catch.

R. Perkins
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 15th, 2018, 12:50 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 11:16 am
Robertson is hard to read, but an excellent source of examples to illustrate most things, and really quite good if you learn to read him. Not the first place to learn new concept, but perhaps a great place to look for the examples once you have read an easier explanation elsewhere.

Find 2-3 grammars that you can read and compare them when you are learning something new. For the Greek verb, Rijksbaron has the best simple explanations, though his examples are harder to read for a NT student because they are mostly classical Greek.
Okay, got it. I recently purchased Cambpell's work on verbal aspect: https://www.olivetree.com/store/product ... ctid=34141

I like Dr. Campbell's teaching style, but will definitely look into Rijksbaron.

Quick question: I have heard the assertion that applicable syntactical parallels of a given construct (e.g., John 6.38) have to be taken from Koine' - not classical. I have also heard that this is not entirely true since Koine' is a result of classical. Am I missing something here?

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 15th, 2018, 4:12 am

If I understood correctly, the passages in boldface font in your previous posts were someone else's and you want to know what we think about it. Right?

Well, here's what I think about it: it's nonsense. Someone tries to prove his opinion by cleverly confusing us with verbose linguistically-sounding mumbo-jumbo, distracting us away from the text and from what it actually is and says. There's a place for linguistics, and I like it, but this sounds like someone doesn't know the language first and doesn't understand the text first and does something unnecessary and misleading to support some bogus interpretation.

I may be wrong, and I won't spent my time trying to understand the details of what was said, but that's how I feel about it.

R. Perkins
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 15th, 2018, 5:27 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 4:12 am
If I understood correctly, the passages in boldface font in your previous posts were someone else's and you want to know what we think about it. Right?
Yes, this is correct.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 4:12 am
Well, here's what I think about it: it's nonsense. Someone tries to prove his opinion by cleverly confusing us with verbose linguistically-sounding mumbo-jumbo, distracting us away from the text and from what it actually is and says. There's a place for linguistics, and I like it, but this sounds like someone doesn't know the language first and doesn't understand the text first and does something unnecessary and misleading to support some bogus interpretation.
Right. Not really in a position to comment in much detail (again, being only a beginning Greek II student), but my suspicion is precisely as you have stated. For me at least, it smacks of linguistic verbiage devoid of practicalities :?:. Or, more directly, agenda-driven "exegesis" (hope this is not out of place in any way).

Maybe I'm wrong, but this supposed "refutation" seems to be written by someone w. enough understanding of Greek to be dangerous (a personal fear that drives me to submit my textual interactions to open scrutinization on here). Language such as "linguistically encoded" (isn't that what morphology is?), etc. just sounds unnecessarily non-sensical in an effort to sound exegetical to me :oops:.

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 4:12 am
I may be wrong, and I won't spent my time trying to understand the details of what was said, but that's how I feel about it.
My thoughts exactly. Honestly though, I just want to understand this text as it was intended by the original author - hence my reasoning for submitting these "rebuttals" for consideration. I am learning a lot on this thread about the myriad functions of participles (I have always heard they were really the "nuts and bolts" of the Greek language).

Jonathan Robie
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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 15th, 2018, 8:16 am

R. Perkins wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 12:50 am
Okay, got it. I recently purchased Cambpell's work on verbal aspect: https://www.olivetree.com/store/product ... ctid=34141

I like Dr. Campbell's teaching style, but will definitely look into Rijksbaron.
Just be aware that Campbell's understanding of the verb differs significantly from that of Mounce, Wallace, Robertson, Smyth, or Funk. So if you go that route, you might have to spend time understanding what the differences are. Campbell and Porter are each challenging the mainstream understandings of the Greek verb, and evaluating whether or not they are right is a lot more complicated than first understanding the mainstream models.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 15th, 2018, 8:53 am

R. Perkins wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 12:02 am
I said, "“From what I understand (again, I am only Greek II), it's important to remember that in substantive uses of the participle, the idea of time or even aspect is rather in the background. And this is a substantival participle, functioning as a noun, and that's really all it does. It isn't acting like a verb that derives its time from that of the main verb.”
Exactly.
R. Perkins wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 12:02 am
The response
Was that a response? He doesn't really address what you said - particularly this:
It isn't acting like a verb that derives its time from that of the main verb.
He seems to ignore that entirely here:
Now, as much as you do not want to see it, the aorist participle πέμψαντός still retains its linguistically encoded verbal property, and hence it is still nonetheless an aorist. Now, seeing that it is still an aorist, and seeing that it still retains its verbal property...since aorist participles were most frequently used of an action antecedent in time to the action of the principal verb, and since here in John 6:38 (A) we have the principal verb of καταβέβηκα (perfect active indicative), and since in (C) we have πέμψαντός (aorist active participle), then it is clear that the action of the one who sent the speaker took place BEFORE the action of descending from heaven.
Here the aorist gives the flavor "he who sent me" rather than "he who sends me", and it's action is not directly related to the main verb, it is understood in the context of the noun phrase. So this isn't really a good syntactic argument.

But I also think there's a better argument based on verb meaning and context: logically, the verbs καταβέβηκα and πέμψαντός seem to be connected. "He who sent me" indicates a past time. Was he sent before he came or after he came? To answer that question meaningfully, I think it's helpful to take a look at the use of πέμπω, καταβαίνω, ἄρτος, and οὐρανός in John 6, perhaps starting with verse 31.

In this context, what sending is in view? What coming is in view? How are sending and coming related to heaven? The goal of learning the language is to read carefully in context, not to do some kind of mathematical proof of theology using grammatical terms.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 15th, 2018, 11:12 am

R. Perkins wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 11:46 pm
From the perspective of text linguistics and discourse analysis, clauses (B) and (C) are tied in with (A) and both flow from (A).

(A) ὅτι καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
(B) οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν
(C) ἀλλὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με
Here's one problem I see with his reasoning on the basis of syntax alone: the verb that governs (C) is not πέμψαντός. Because the participle occurs within the noun phrase τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με, it cannot govern the dependent clause as a whole. Something has to function as the verb that governs this dependent clause - it might be a verbless clause, or it might be ellipsis, where the verb is already understood in context and does not need to be repeated.

In this case, it's obvious from the construction, in either English or Greek: "not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me". What verb governs "the will of the one who sent me"? Ignore the fancy grammatical terms for a second and use your natural sense for language. He did not come to do his own will. Why did he come down? Obviously, "to do the will of the one who sent him".

Let's ask that in Greek:

διὰ τί καταβέβηκε;
ἵνα ποιῇ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός αύτόν.

Bingo. We've found the verb that governs the dependent clause (C).

Let me add that in parentheses:

(A) ὅτι καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
(B) οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν
(C) ἀλλὰ (ἵνα ποιῶ) τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με

So the verb governing each dependent clause is ποιῶ, not the participle πέμψαντός. He came to do something, and τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με is what he came to do.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

R. Perkins
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Joined: January 18th, 2013, 9:55 pm

Re: πέμψαντός in J. 6.38?

Post by R. Perkins » January 15th, 2018, 9:01 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 8:16 am
R. Perkins wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 12:50 am
Okay, got it. I recently purchased Cambpell's work on verbal aspect: https://www.olivetree.com/store/product ... ctid=34141

I like Dr. Campbell's teaching style, but will definitely look into Rijksbaron.
Just be aware that Campbell's understanding of the verb differs significantly from that of Mounce, Wallace, Robertson, Smyth, or Funk. So if you go that route, you might have to spend time understanding what the differences are. Campbell and Porter are each challenging the mainstream understandings of the Greek verb, and evaluating whether or not they are right is a lot more complicated than first understanding the mainstream models.
Right, Campbell does seem to have an issue w. the more traditional understanding of the verb (part. middle deponents). Interesting reading though. I like his writing style.

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