Why three different forms of the same word?

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Alan Bunning
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Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Alan Bunning » February 20th, 2014, 10:35 am

In John 9:14 we have the word “ANEWXEN” which is 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:17 we have the word “HNEWXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:21 we have the word “HNOIXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.

Now I understand that ANOIGNUMI, and ANOIGNUW are alternative forms of ANOIGW, but that does not explain why the same author would use 3 different forms of the same word within seven verses. It is also not a matter of textual criticism because individual texts such as P66, for example, also use all three different forms.

Why would one author use three different forms of the same word?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 20th, 2014, 3:38 pm

bunning wrote:In John 9:14 we have the word “ANEWXEN” which is 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:17 we have the word “HNEWXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:21 we have the word “HNOIXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.

Now I understand that ANOIGNUMI, and ANOIGNUW are alternative forms of ANOIGW, but that does not explain why the same author would use 3 different forms of the same word within seven verses. It is also not a matter of textual criticism because individual texts such as P66, for example, also use all three different forms.

Why would one author use three different forms of the same word?
Okay, first mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, I approved this post thinking it was someone else. We do have a strict username policy, and the individual will be asked to provide a real user name before any other of his/her posts are approved. Secondly, it really belongs in the Beginners' Forum, but I have forgotten how to move a topic and can't figure it out, so if another administrator would help...

Secondly these are all third person singular aorists, and variants on the same form. I'm not sure why the author does this, except perhaps the dreaded "stylistic variation" -- in other words, for whatever reason, it sounded right to the author to do so. I don't know how many times I've read that passage and never noticed this... :o
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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by cwconrad » February 20th, 2014, 3:42 pm

bunning wrote:In John 9:14 we have the word “ANEWXEN” which is 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:17 we have the word “HNEWXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.
In John 9:21 we have the word “HNOIXEN” which is also 1st person singular aorist indicative of anoigw.

Now I understand that ANOIGNUMI, and ANOIGNUW are alternative forms of ANOIGW, but that does not explain why the same author would use 3 different forms of the same word within seven verses. It is also not a matter of textual criticism because individual texts such as P66, for example, also use all three different forms.

Why would one author use three different forms of the same word?
I'll try to suggest some answers here, but a couple matters of "bookkeeping" are in order:
(1) You really need to identify yourself more clearly if you want to participate in this forum -- that's a matter of policy here. See viewtopic.php?f=38&t=90&sid=cad2cbb30b8 ... 7735d#p292
(2) Ordinarily we use Greek unicode font here to write Greek text rather than the old transliteration scheme dating back to the years before unicode fonts became standard. Thus the verb forms about which you're inquiring are:
John 9:14 ἀνέῳξεν, John 9:17 ἠνέῳξέν, John 9:21 ἤνοιξεν

The question is an interesting one -- the more so, inasmuch as we have three alternative forms of an aorist 3 sg. active indicative within eight verses. All three forms are clearly recognizable as from ἀνοίγω/ἀνοίγνυμι/ἀνοιγνύω as you note. BDAG indicates that forms of this verb in the GNT range widely over the spectrum:
BDAG wrote:ἀνοίγω (ἀνά, οἴγω ‘open’; Hom. +) on this by-form of ἀνοίγνυμι see Kühner-Bl. II 496f; W-S. §12, 7 and §15 (p. 130); B-D-F §101; Rob. 1212f; Mayser 404. Fut. ἀνοίξω; 1 aor. ἀνέῳξα J 9:14 (vv.ll. ἠνέῳξα, ἤνοιξα), ἠνέῳξα vs. 17 (vv.ll. ἤνοιξα, ἀνέῳξα), mostly ἤνοιξα Ac 5:19; 9:40 al.; 2 pf. (intr.) ἀνέῳγα; pf. pass. ἀνέῳγμαι 2 Cor 2:12 (v.l. ἠνέῳγμαι), ptc. ἀνεῳγμένος (ἠνεῳγμένος 3 Km 8:52; ἠνοιγμένος Is 42:20), inf. ἀνεῴχθαι (Just., D. 123, 2). Pass.: 1 aor. ἠνεῴχθην Mt 3:16; v.l. 9:30; Jn 9:10; Ac 16:26 (vv.ll. ἀνεῴχθην, ἠνοίχθην); inf. ἀνεῳχθῆναι Lk 3:21 (ἀνοιχθῆναι D); 1 fut. ἀνοιχθήσομαι Lk 11:9f v.l.; 2 aor. ἠνοίγην Mk 7:35 (vv.ll. ἠνοίχθησαν, διηνοίγησαν, διηνοίχθησαν); Ac 12:10 (v.l. ἠνοίχθη); Hv 1, 1, 4 (Dssm. NB 17 [BS 189]); 2 fut. ἀνοιγήσομαι Mt 7:7; Lk 11:9f (v.l. ἀνοίγεται). The same circumstance prevails in LXX: Helbing 78f; 83ff; 95f; 102f. Thackeray 202ff.
BDF §101 wrote:ἀν-οίγειν: as in the pap. (Mayser I2 2, 188) never -οιγνύναι (§92). Augmentation has become very involved: always διηνοίχθησαν Lk 24:31, διήνοιγεν 32 etc.; so also without δι- always in (a new) second aor. pass. ἠνοίγην A 12:10 (-χθη E al.) etc. (§76). In the other forms (impf. is attested only from διαν-) the old syllabic augm. is still strongly attested: aor. act. ἀνέῳξεν Jn 9:14 (ἠνέῳξεν LX, ἤνοιξεν D), 17 KL (ἠνέῳξεν BWX, ἤνοιξεν SAD al.), likewise 32; in 21, 26, 30 also ἤνοιξεν B, which is to be preferred; cf. A 5:19, 9:40, 12:14, 14:27, Rev 6:1, 3 etc. Perf. intrans. (Ion.-Hell., Phryn. 157) ἀνέῳγα Jn 1:51 (ἠνεῳγότα S), 1 C 16:9, 2 C 6:11, otherwise ἀνέῳγμαι (like Att.) R 3:13 OT, 2 C 2:12 (ἠνεῳγμ- DEP), A 7:56 (διηνοιγμ- SABC), 9:8 (ἠνεῳγμ- ScCE, ἠνοιγμ- S*A), 10:11 (ἠν- E), 16:27, Rev 4:1 046 (ἠν- SAP); the text vacillates between ἀν- ἠν- also in 10:2 (ἠν- p47SCP, ἀν- 046), 8 (ἠν- SCP, ἀν- p47 046), 19:11, (3:8 ἀν- AC 046). First aor. pass. ἀνεῴχθην Mt 3:16 (ἠν- B), 9:30 (ἠν- BD), 27:52, Lk 1:64 etc.; ἠνεῴχθ- Jn 9:10 preponderant (ἀν- AK al.); ἠνοίχθ- A 16:26 SAE (ἠνεῴχθ- BCD, ἀνεῴχθ- HLP); Rev 20:12 (twice) also vacillates. Inf. (with misplaced augm., §66(2)) ἀνεῳχθῆναι Lk 3:21 (-νοι- D). Second aor. pass. ἠνοίγην s. §76(1). The LXX is in accord with the NT; Helb. 78f., 83ff., 95f., 102f.; Thack. 202ff. Ptol. pap. ἤνῳξα, ἀνοῖξαι, ἀνοίξαντες, ἀνεῳγμένος (ἠνυγμ-); Mayser I2 2, 104, 108, 188. For Plut. (Quaest. conv. 737 D ff.) ἀνοίγειν is a word beginning with α.

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 53). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
It is evident that the writings of the GNT were composed during a time of considerable linguistic change: many alternative forms and usages appear throughout the corpus, nor is this the only passage, I'm pretty sure, wherein alternative forms are found within a single sequence. Why? One reason is because human beings are simply not as consistent as they would like to think they are. An English-speaker may well write "night" and "nite" or "light" and "lite: "though", "although", and "tho." But three different spellings? Evidently the difference in forms has not been smoothed out by copyists or editors. We're dealing here with concurrent forms, all evidently in use in the era.
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ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 20th, 2014, 4:06 pm

Since there are variant readings, as noted above in BDAG and BDF (but unfortunately not in NA27), it could still be text-critical issue. That the NA27 agrees with P66 does not settle it.

I notice that there is a different persona in each verse. In John 9:14 is in the speech of the narrator; in v.17, it is that of the Pharisees; and in v.21 it is that of the man's parents. I don't know if that is significant, but I do know that some authors attempts to make their characters sound appropriate. Perhaps the different forms have different usages among different social groups and the author is trying reinforce their standing somehow through their speech. I don't really know: we are almost entirely ignorant of first-century sociolinguistics. So if there is a difference, we probably don't know what it is.
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Alan Bunning
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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Alan Bunning » February 20th, 2014, 8:29 pm

My apologies for failing to identify myself. I hadn't used B-Greek since it left the listserve format and I did not take the time to familiarize myself with the new forum very well.

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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Alan Bunning » February 22nd, 2014, 12:25 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Since there are variant readings, as noted above in BDAG and BDF (but unfortunately not in NA27), it could still be text-critical issue. That the NA27 agrees with P66 does not settle it.

I notice that there is a different persona in each verse. In John 9:14 is in the speech of the narrator; in v.17, it is that of the Pharisees; and in v.21 it is that of the man's parents. I don't know if that is significant, but I do know that some authors attempts to make their characters sound appropriate. Perhaps the different forms have different usages among different social groups and the author is trying reinforce their standing somehow through their speech. I don't really know: we are almost entirely ignorant of first-century sociolinguistics. So if there is a difference, we probably don't know what it is.
I further pursued the explanation of the different forms indicating different personas, but it wasn’t consistent either:

John 9:14 ανεωξεν Narrator
John 9:17 ηνεωξεν Pharisees
John 9:21 ηνοιξεν Parents
John 9:26 ηνοιξεν Pharisees
John 9:30 ηνοιξεν Ex-blindman
John 9:32 ηνεωξεν Ex-blindman

So two different forms were used for both the Pharisees and the Ex-blindman. It is really hard to believe that a single author (or copiest if you want to go there) would make that many “mistakes” in the span of 19 verses, assuming that he was trying to be consistent. Thus, it is more logical to assume that it was on purpose. I would assume that an author would stick with what ever form of the word he was most familiar with, unless there was some creative purpose behind it. My best guess is that he was using different forms of ἀνοίγω/ἀνοίγνυμι/ἀνοιγνύω which may have had slightly different connotations in meaning, but I have no clue as to what that would be. I noticed that other authors such as Matthew (Matt. 27:52, 3:16) and Luke (Acts 12:10, 16:26) used more than one form of these words as well, but I don’t know why that is either. I am not really a fan of the stylistic variation argument here, because these are more like spelling errors than synonyms, but that is all I am left with at this point.

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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 22nd, 2014, 12:39 pm

Alan Bunning wrote:I further pursued the explanation of the different forms indicating different personas, but it wasn’t consistent either:
Oh well...
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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by cwconrad » February 22nd, 2014, 1:05 pm

In view of the fact that we don't "know" anything about these forms in this passage other than that they're not consistent, I'd think it worth considering that we're dealing with a passage that's been redacted. Raymond Brown is one scholar who has argued that the text of the gospel of John was being reshaped within the Johannine community over the course of three generations. That's just a hypothesis, but it's not altogether implausible.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by Wes Wood » February 22nd, 2014, 2:08 pm

cwconrad wrote:In view of the fact that we don't "know" anything about these forms in this passage other than that they're not consistent, I'd think it worth considering that we're dealing with a passage that's been redacted. Raymond Brown is one scholar who has argued that the text of the gospel of John was being reshaped within the Johannine community over the course of three generations. That's just a hypothesis, but it's not altogether implausible.
I agree with this. You would not have to agree with Brown's conclusions to admit the possible use of sources, but it seems some of these "different" words appear occur close enough to each other to present difficulties with this hypothesis as well.
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S Walch
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Re: Why three different forms of the same word?

Post by S Walch » February 22nd, 2014, 10:50 pm

I guess that a further question to be asked would be, does GJohn have such a variation for other words as well, or is this just restricted to ανοιγω, and specifically in this section of the book?

Could the word following the verb have any bearing on what spelling was used?:

John 9:14 ανεωξεν + αυτου (genitive, third person)
John 9:17 ηνεωξεν (P66 ηνοιξεν) + σου (genitive, second person)
John 9:21 ηνοιξεν + αυτου (genitive, third person)
John 9:26 ηνοιξεν (P66 &P75 ηνεωζεν) + σου (genitive, second person)
John 9:30 ηνοιξεν + μου (genitive, first person)
John 9:32 ηνεωξεν (P66 ηνοιξεν; P75 ανεωξεν) + τις (pronoun, nominative)

Or possibly preceding?:

John 9:14 και (conj.) + ανεωξεν
John 9:17 οτι (conj.) + ηνεωξεν/ηνοιξεν
John 9:21 τις (pron.) + ηνοιξεν
John 9:26 πως (adverb.) + ηνοιξεν/ηνεωζεν
John 9:30 και (conj.) + ηνοιξεν
John 9:32 οτι (conj.) + ηνεωξεν/ηνοιξεν/ανεωξεν

Or possibly what both precedes and follows?

John 9:14 και (conj.) + ανεωξεν + αυτου (genitive, third person)
John 9:17 οτι (conj.) + ηνεωξεν/ηνοιξεν + σου (genitive, second person)
John 9:21 τις (pron.) + ηνοιξεν + αυτου (genitive, third person)
John 9:26 πως (adverb.) + ηνοιξεν/ηνεωζεν + σου (genitive, second person)
John 9:30 και (conj.) + ηνοιξεν + μου (genitive, first person)
John 9:32 οτι (conj.) + ηνεωξεν/ηνοιξεν/ανεωξεν + τις (pronoun, nominative)

The possibilities of "what it could be" appear to be quite endless...

Edit:

I did also notice that P75 appears to give equal treatment to each variant spelling: ανεωξεν (14 & 32); ηνεωξεν (17 & 26); ηνοιξεν (21 & 30); giving a little pattern of
ανεωξεν - ηνεωξεν - ηνοιξεν - ηνεωξεν - ηνοιξεν - ανεωξεν.

P66 on the other hand appears to prefer ηνοιξεν (17, 21, 30, 32), with the other two only occurring once each (ηνεωζεν/26; ανεωξεν/14).
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