Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

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Mark Lightman
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Mark Lightman » March 14th, 2012, 1:30 am

δαυιδ λιμ: For the example you mention, ουκ εγνω αυτον essentially means ουκ εγνω πωποτε αυτον, so the aorist fits nicely. On the other hand, the perfect can also be used but it conveys ουκ εγνωκε αυτον εως του νυν, which is different.
All kidding aside, David, you have made your point here using a combination of Method 3 and Method 5, and I, for one, really like it. I think there is much potential in trying to shift the way we talk about Greek by using more Greek and less metalanguage. It's not perfect; talking about language never is, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

I also agree with the substance of what you say here.

υγιαινε.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 14th, 2012, 4:51 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
1 John 2:3 wrote:Καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐγνώκαμεν αὐτόν, ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν.
What is the force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν? Robertson says it's an "intensive perfect." How would the meaning be different from an aorist, say ἔγνωμεν?

Stephen
I can't of course give any definitive answer and I'm ready to accept what others have said. But I still think Robertson can be defended. If the "normal" meaning of perfect is the state resulting from a past action, what is the state resulting from a state? It's nothing more or less than more of that state.

For me this makes perfect sense. If we say "I have built a house" the result is a house standing there, not more of the same action. The action and the resulting state are two different things. In English we can of course say "I have been there" or "I have known him" but it includes the end of the state and lack of it at the present moment, unlike the Greek perfect. But stative events, at least some of them, don't have any goal in "real world", and linguistically speaking they don't include any goal or endpoint or change of state. Therefore it's meaningless to speak about a state resulting from a state. Where does this lead to? The writer could have used the present tense if he would have wanted to speak about the present moment, or aorist if he would have wanted to speak about knowing in the past. Why use the perfect tense? Because the only possible result from a state is more of that state, "state on top of state", which is the state intensified.

I'm not saying Robertson used this kind of logic. But we would do well to remember that Robertson had read quite much Greek literature and might have developed a good "sense" for things, and really felt that the perfect here has an intensifying sense. His classification isn't necessarily a sign of overclassification or classification for its own sake or of wanting to see meaning in every detail. Many of the past and present "dead grammarians" can have a gut feeling based on the good knowledge of the language (not just about the language, like I do...).
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David Lim
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by David Lim » March 14th, 2012, 6:19 am

Mark Lightman wrote:
δαυιδ λιμ: For the example you mention, ουκ εγνω αυτον essentially means ουκ εγνω πωποτε αυτον, so the aorist fits nicely. On the other hand, the perfect can also be used but it conveys ουκ εγνωκε αυτον εως του νυν, which is different.
All kidding aside, David, you have made your point here using a combination of Method 3 and Method 5, and I, for one, really like it. I think there is much potential in trying to shift the way we talk about Greek by using more Greek and less metalanguage. It's not perfect; talking about language never is, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

I also agree with the substance of what you say here.

υγιαινε.
And I am also hoping those who are fluent in Greek (not me) like Carl and yourself and many others would do this more often too! :)
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δαυιδ λιμ

David Lim
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by David Lim » March 14th, 2012, 6:29 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:I can't of course give any definitive answer and I'm ready to accept what others have said. But I still think Robertson can be defended. If the "normal" meaning of perfect is the state resulting from a past action, what is the state resulting from a state? It's nothing more or less than more of that state.

For me this makes perfect sense. If we say "I have built a house" the result is a house standing there, not more of the same action. The action and the resulting state are two different things. In English we can of course say "I have been there" or "I have known him" but it includes the end of the state and lack of it at the present moment, unlike the Greek perfect. But stative events, at least some of them, don't have any goal in "real world", and linguistically speaking they don't include any goal or endpoint or change of state. Therefore it's meaningless to speak about a state resulting from a state. Where does this lead to? The writer could have used the present tense if he would have wanted to speak about the present moment, or aorist if he would have wanted to speak about knowing in the past. Why use the perfect tense? Because the only possible result from a state is more of that state, "state on top of state", which is the state intensified.
I am not sure I understand you fully. As Stephen mentioned, an aorist is used later in the text but in the negative, which seems to agree with my understanding. But how would it fit in those two categories? Also, I am not sure I would consider there to be a clear distinction between the action of "knowing God" and a state of "knowledge of God". In a sense, it seems that to the writer knowing God is equivalent to loving him and keeping his commandments, which are not specific actions but a way of living, and the one who does these has known him; there is no "state resulting from an action", and neither is knowing God an "action that results in a state".
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 14th, 2012, 7:56 am

David Lim wrote: Also, I am not sure I would consider there to be a clear distinction between the action of "knowing God" and a state of "knowledge of God". In a sense, it seems that to the writer knowing God is equivalent to loving him and keeping his commandments, which are not specific actions but a way of living, and the one who does these has known him; there is no "state resulting from an action", and neither is knowing God an "action that results in a state".
Sorry, but I'm a big fan of linguistics and metajargon. "State" is a linguistic term. You are talking more about real life distinctions; I'm talking about linguistic classification of verbs, which includes differences in usage and semantics of verbs and verb forms. "Know" is a stative verb, both in Greek and in English. It behaves somewhat differently than activities, accomplishments etc.

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexical_aspect. Notice especially http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_Vendler: "Linguist S.-Y. Kuroda has said that Vendler's terms achievement and accomplishment "have since become basic technical vocabulary in modern linguistics,"[1] and have been used to develop numerous theories and allow for "sophisticated and highly technical" research in a variety of areas.[1]" You surely must love it! :twisted: )
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 14th, 2012, 3:15 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Sorry, but I'm a big fan of linguistics and metajargon. "State" is a linguistic term. You are talking more about real life distinctions; I'm talking about linguistic classification of verbs, which includes differences in usage and semantics of verbs and verb forms. "Know" is a stative verb, both in Greek and in English. It behaves somewhat differently than activities, accomplishments etc.
Greek has a bunch of different words for "know." I can see how οἶδα is stative, but could γινώσκω be eventive, as in "come to know"?

Stephen
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Stephen Carlson » March 14th, 2012, 3:16 pm

David Lim wrote:When the verb is negated, the usage of the aorist and perfect will not correspond exactly to the usage in the positive case. For the example you mention, ουκ εγνω αυτον essentially means ουκ εγνω πωποτε αυτον, so the aorist fits nicely. On the other hand, the perfect can also be used but it conveys ουκ εγνωκε αυτον εως του νυν, which is different.
I'm not sure about this. Are there any examples that make this clear?

Stephen
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by cwconrad » March 14th, 2012, 3:36 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:When the verb is negated, the usage of the aorist and perfect will not correspond exactly to the usage in the positive case. For the example you mention, ουκ εγνω αυτον essentially means ουκ εγνω πωποτε αυτον, so the aorist fits nicely. On the other hand, the perfect can also be used but it conveys ουκ εγνωκε αυτον εως του νυν, which is different.
I'm not sure about this. Are there any examples that make this clear?

Stephen
From the celebrated opening of the Odyssey, it is said of Odysseus on his νόστος, that he
πολλῶν δʼ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω (Odyssey 1.3).

That's most commonly -- rightly, I think -- Englished as "came to know", i.e. "became acquainted with."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 14th, 2012, 4:47 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: Greek has a bunch of different words for "know." I can see how οἶδα is stative, but could γινώσκω be eventive, as in "come to know"?
Good and true point. Still I can see why this could be said to be "intensive", if the perfect tense refers to both "coming to know" and "knowing".
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Re: Force of the perfect ἐγνώκαμεν in 1 John 2:3

Post by Scott Lawson » March 14th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Greek has a bunch of different words for "know." I can see how οἶδα is stative, but could γινώσκω be eventive, as in "come to know"?
BDAG γινώσκω... "This verb is variously nuanced in contexts relating to familiarity acquired through experience or association with pers. or thing." 6 To have come to the knowledge of, have come to know, know
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