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Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 5:50 am
by Stephen Hughes
In the sequence ὁ ὤν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος (Revelation 1:4), ἦν seems a full verb. Presumably the phrase ὁ ἦν was modeled on the articular participles that occur with it. I have questions:

Is there any reason why the aorist participle ὁ γενόμενος might have been avoided?
Acts 7:38 wrote:Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ γενόμενος ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ μετὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου τοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ ὄρει Σινᾶ καὶ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν· ὃς ἐδέξατο λόγον ζῶντα δοῦναι ἡμῖν·
While it is possible that the distinction between participles and verbs was not well understood by the writer (cf. our present discussion about the perfect), if ὁ ἦν were a mis-spelt participle of another verb, what would be the most likely candidate?

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 6:55 am
by Jonathan Robie
Wouldn't ὁ γενόμενος imply coming into being (as opposed to eternal existence)?

C.f. Acts 4:11 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ λίθος ὁ ἐξουθενηθεὶς ὑφ’ ὑμῶν τῶν οἰκοδόμων, ὁ γενόμενος εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 6:56 am
by Jonathan Robie
Stephen Hughes wrote:While it is possible that the distinction between participles and verbs was not well understood by the writer (cf. our present discussion about the perfect), if ὁ ἦν were a mis-spelt participle of another verb, what would be the most likely candidate?
I don't think the writer was confused about this. We might be.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 11:16 am
by Stephen Hughes
Jonathan Robie wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:While it is possible that the distinction between participles and verbs was not well understood by the writer (cf. our present discussion about the perfect), if ὁ ἦν were a mis-spelt participle of another verb, what would be the most likely candidate?
I don't think the writer was confused about this. We might be.
Are there any other examples of a finite verb standing for a participle in a pseudo-articular participle construction?

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 11:48 am
by Jonathan Robie
Stephen Hughes wrote:Are there any other examples of a finite verb standing for a participle in a pseudo-articular participle construction?
I don't understand what you're trying to say here. Here's how I understand ὁ ἦν in Revelations 1:4:
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων ἃ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς.
Suppose you wanted something equivalent to ὁ ὢν, but you want it to refer to a past state. You want to say "who is and who was", where "who was" implies timeless being. You can't really use an aorist participle for that, and there's no such thing as an imperfect participle. There's also no aorist form of εἰμί. So what do you use?

The imperfect ἦν works great for this, and if you make it articular, it gives it just the right sense: ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν.

Lots of things in the Revelation are shaky grammar, but this doesn't seem ungrammatical or wrong or clumsy to me.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 2:42 pm
by Stephen Hughes
Jonathan Robie wrote:Here's how I understand ὁ ἦν in Revelations 1:4
It is understandable.
Jonathan Robie wrote:The imperfect ἦν works great for this, and if you make it articular, it gives it just the right sense: ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν.

Lots of things in the Revelation are shaky grammar, but this doesn't seem ungrammatical or wrong or clumsy to me.
Well, I'm not so very confident in my grammar, but I will say "The he was" seems ungrammatical to me. So far as I know, the article doesn't have the right to nominalise finite verbs because finite verbs are verbal, not nominal. The exception to that is that a neuter article can nominalise a quotation, so it can be referred to in a text. Besides that, I don't recall having ever seen another instance of an article nominalising a finite verb. The finite verbs do carry a nominal element in their subject, and the relative can be used to put one (nominal element) of a verbal phrase into another part of the sentence. ἦν by itself, without a complement, only carries a subject, and ὅς ἦν would be the way to do that.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Suppose you wanted something equivalent to ὁ ὢν, but you want it to refer to a past state. You want to say "who is and who was", where "who was" implies timeless being. You can't really use an aorist participle for that, and there's no such thing as an imperfect participle. There's also no aorist form of εἰμί. So what do you use?
For that interpretation, perhaps ὁ πρὶν ὢν, ὁ πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ὢν, or ὁ προυπάρχων. In the case that the ἦν is describing the period of the incarnation, a period in measurable time, the finite verb could be okay, but construction of a finite verb with an article like this is not.
Exodus 3:14 wrote:καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν καὶ εἶπεν οὕτως ἐρεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς
That is referring to God as timeless.

Is there some place where ἦν has been used significantly that we could look at?

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 4:57 pm
by Jonathan Robie
I'd want more evidence before I would agree that this is not grammatical. My understanding is that the substantive-making power of the Greek article applies to just about anything:
Smyth wrote:The article has the power to make substantival any word or words to which it is prefixed.
I can't find a lot of examples of this for finite verbs, though.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 3rd, 2015, 11:29 pm
by Stephen Hughes
I think that the degree of reasonability of your doubt would take further to get beyonded than I would require. As much as anything else, it is a matter of the definition of "grammatical".

If it had have been ο εποίησεν to apply the beginning of the Old Testament to Him, then that could have been more easily conjugated properly. I think this ο ην would be understood as the application of the opening lines of John's gospel to the person.

I don't think there is much point in extending the definition of the grammar to cover specific instances like this. The proper and the possible are often two different things.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 4th, 2015, 1:18 pm
by Stephen Hughes
Jonathan Robie wrote:I can't find a lot of examples of this for finite verbs, though.
Could you share the references, besides these ones in Revelation.

Re: Rev. 1:4 ὁ ἦν not ὁ γενόμενος

Posted: December 4th, 2015, 2:39 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Stephen Hughes wrote:I think that the degree of reasonability of your doubt would take further to get beyonded than I would require. As much as anything else, it is a matter of the definition of "grammatical".
OK, what definition of grammatical are you using, and how can you prove that something is not grammatical?