Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Forum rules
Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Post Reply
Peter Streitenberger
Posts: 219
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Peter Streitenberger » March 28th, 2019, 6:06 am

Dear friends,

I can`t cope with the participle Aorist ἀγαγόντα (in bringing, having brought, willing to bring, in order to bring ctl.) and the resulting meaning in Heb 2.10:

Ἔπρεπεν γὰρ αὐτῷ, δι᾽ ὃν τὰ πάντα, καὶ δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα, πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι.

The first try is to understand the aorist indication as what happend before:

"Because it was appropriate to Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, having brought many sons into glory, to complete the Author of their salvation through sufferings".

But I would say: first the salvation then bringing sons to glory and not vice versa?

One English translation has for the participial clause "in order to lead many sons into glory". A purpose clause would make sense, but we have learned that this is NOT the function of an Aorist participle.

Another has "And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation".

Most rendered the clause as modal "in bringing", which I don`t understand.

The question is: Blass/Debrunner/Rehkopf write (Paragraph 339 Footnote 5) that in Heb 2.10 as in Heb 6.13 according to classical Prose an exchange has happend and the meaning is that the outcome and the reason have switched, so that first the salvation has established and then many many sons are brought into glory. That is the exact opposite of what I thought an Aorist is, namely an expression what happend before not vice versa, even if that (see my first rendering) makes not much sense (or I do not understand the sense).

One German translation has "willing to bring many sons into glory" - would make sense, but a modal (expressing the will?) version of a par. aorist?

At the moment I am disturbed what the Greek says and how to understand the clause. I would prefer the BDF solution, as it would make the clause meaningful, but I hesitate that this is indeed a classical prose understanding of an aorist participle, at least new for me.
Any help is appreciated!
Yours
Peter
0 x



MAubrey
Posts: 982
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by MAubrey » March 28th, 2019, 1:32 pm

Participles don't specify sequentiality one way or the other. While aorists are used for event sequencing, but that's an indicative thing that isn't at play in the non-finite forms.

I don't think "modal' is the right word for "in bringing." My sense is that particular translation of the participle is trying to achieve what BDR are describing, which seems to me perfectly natural, especially with participle syntax. It's like switching the apodosis and protasis of a conditional. You're restructuring the basic construal, but not changing the logical propositional relationship between the two parts.
1 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Daniel Semler
Posts: 88
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Daniel Semler » March 29th, 2019, 12:05 am

Hi Peter, MAubrey (Mike, right ?),

Apologies for the length. I got interested in this and went all over the place checking stuff out. If only for my own benefit in sketching them out, here are my thoughts.

I'm really not sure I understand "in bringing" here at all, but it is widespread in English translations. It carries a hint of causality it seems to me, and I'm not sure that's what is meant.

@MAubrey, I'm not sure I'm following apodosis/protasis thing here but that suggests a sense of consequence/cause (as the text lies) also. (a) "in bringing" seems to suggest that the bringing to glory in some way supports/causes/faciliates the perfection, contra BDR. (b) "when he brought", Burton below, seems to remove/reduce the hint of cause here, and (c) "in order that" makes Christ's perfection the cause of the bringing to glory.

Am I right in following you that you are describing case (c) in your comment ? If the Greek says this, then a reasonable translation might be "It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, to complete the Author of their salvation through sufferings, [thus] leading many sons into glory.". Yet perhaps that goes to far, is too strident, given the construction.

Thoughts ?

Thx
D

Some references I used while looking into this
--------------------------------------------------------
Burton (Moods and Tenses) discusses this passage, and says:
Heb. 2:10; ἔπρεπεν γὰρ αὐτῷ, δι᾿ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ δι᾿ οὗ τὰ πάντα, πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι, for it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. The participle ἀγαγόντα is neither antecedent nor subsequent to τελειῶσαι, nor yet strictly identical with it. Nearly the same thought might be expressed in English by when he brought or in bringing, and in Greek by ὅτε ἤγαγεν or ἐν τῷ ἀγαγεῖν (cf. 109).

Ernest De Witt Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, Accordance electronic ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago press, 1903), paragraph 397.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/Burton_Greek#397
Grammars, such as Mounce, Wallace, speak of time relative to the main verb. I'm thinking here given that the verb to which ἀγαγόντα is adjunct is an infinitive that this time sense is even less pronounced. Robertson quoting Moulton and Burton holds more with them than others it seems:
It is doubtless true, as Burton7 notes, that the antecedent use furnishes the largest number of instances, but that fact does not prove priority or originality of conception. “The aorist participle of antecedent action does not denote antecedence; it is used of antecedent action, where antecedence is implied, not by the aorist tense as a tense, but in some other way.”8 Moulton9 is equally explicit: “The connotation of past time was largely fastened on this participle, through the idiomatic use in which it stands before an aorist indicative to qualify its action. As point action is always completed action, except in the ingressive, the participle naturally came to involve past time relative to that of the main verb.” It is probable that the original use of the aorist participle was that of simultaneous action.

A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Accordance electronic ed. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), 1112.
https://accordance.bible/link/read/Robertson_Greek#7775
1 x

Peter Streitenberger
Posts: 219
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Peter Streitenberger » March 29th, 2019, 5:27 am

Dear Mike and Daniel,

>I don't think "modal' is the right word for "in bringing."

Could be a matter of language. The German term for the expression of a "modus", how something is performed ("in", "by"), is just called "modal", could be disturbing as "modality" oder "a modal expression" are used for wishes ("I want XY") or epistemic expressions ("something should/could/must happen") as well.

But in Heb 2.10 I cannot figure out how "in bringing" (let it be labeled by any other term) makes sense. So other solutions are better. And I would like to accept your suggestion, Mike. I simply try to find one or more parallel passages more, for such construction a TLG search is much effort and within the Bibel I was not successful myself to find such a switch, but BDR adds 1Tim 1,12 (Aorist) and Mk 2.23 (Present) as parallel, then Heb 6.13:

- 1Tim 1,12: ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο, θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν,
that he has counted me faithful, appointing to ministry him

Should be taken as: After he counted me faithful (Aorist), he appointed me (Aorist Ptcl., different constituent order in regard to Heb. not of much dispute). So that would fit the pattern of Heb 2,10.
The pattern could be: First counting faithful, then appointing.

- Mk 2,23 is not a genuine parallek, as the participle is in the present tense, maybe worth of consideration later. Or someone of you find it enlightening.

- Then Heb 6.13 is given as parallel:
Τῷ γὰρ Ἀβραὰμ ἐπαγγειλάμενος ὁ θεός, ἐπεὶ κατ᾽ οὐδενὸς εἶχεν μείζονος ὀμόσαι, ὤμοσεν καθ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ,
For God, having promised (Aorist) to Abraham, since he had no greater to swear by, swore by himself,

The pattern could be: First he swore, then he promised.

Maybe the whole thing is more a stilistic and not so much an issue of grammar itself (Hysteron proteron)?

I would find it most helpful, maybe your time permits, to discuss a rendering. The "in bringing" is ruled out for me, as it simply does not make sense (at least for me). Other parallel passages of such a behaviour would be of interest. So I hope/tend towards Mike solution, even if I try to get more than the two parallels as pattern, but then I would take it more as Hyst. prot. than a question of syntax.

So the C-solution of you, Daniel, despite I have in my ear, that this is not an Aorist feature....then the answer could be: a stilistic device.

Thank you both for your helpful comments, any more?

Yours Peter
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1551
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 29th, 2019, 5:40 am

Peter, you are not the first to be troubled by this:
Ellingworth wrote:Ἀγαγόντα presents two problems. The question of its implied antecedent was discussed above under αὐτῷ. The aorist tense is best understood as indicating, not an event prior to τελειῶσαι (as in vg “qui multos filios in gloriam adduxerat”; Luther “der da viele Kinder hat zur Seligkeit geführet”), but coincident action (MHT 3.80). The context also suggests an ingressive aorist (Spicq, Héring), referring to God’s firm decision to “bring many sons to glory” (Vanhoye 1969.309f.). The participle ἀγαγόντα expresses the main action, and the main verb subordinate action (Zerwick 1963.86, §263).
Ellingworth, P. (1993). The Epistle to the Hebrews: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 160). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.
1 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Peter Streitenberger
Posts: 219
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Peter Streitenberger » March 29th, 2019, 7:18 am

Dear Barry, nice to meet you! Oh, no, yes, there is a second problem:
>The question of its implied antecedent was discussed above under αὐτῷ.

At least this one is not tempting the rendering if you stay with "he", so the Lord Jesus or God, the father, can function as antecedent. But in the latter part of your quote, the commentator seems to refer to God, which is probably the best solution.

Can you say (without effort), what "MHT 3.80" is (or maybe has)? But I even could not find the Kühner-Gerth passage, named in BDR, in the book (KG II, 98f is something different in my book). I try to find a fitting chapter in the Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language.

Yours Peter


ADDITION: Just a try: German "…..viele Söhne zur Herrlichkeit führend, den Urheber ihres Heils durch Leiden vollendet zu haben". English "….bringing many sons to glory, having perfected the author of their salvation through sufferings". Could you comment?
0 x

Daniel Semler
Posts: 88
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Daniel Semler » March 29th, 2019, 8:32 am

Hi Peter,
... how something is performed ("in", "by"), ...
This is the problem I was having with it.
So the C-solution of you, Daniel, despite I have in my ear, that this is not an Aorist feature...
This was an attempt to find out if I had understood the what BDR and Mike were trying to explain. I've not run across that kind of explanation before. My usual approach is action antecedent to main verb - in the way described by Robertson - and what you appear to favour also. The wrinkle here is that the main verb is an infinitive it seems to me, and ἀγαγόντα seems to be adjunct to it. Ellingsworth's statement that the participle carries the main action strikes me as not so much a grammatical argument as a an exegetical one. Not necessarily incorrect. But that's another reason to try to understand what BDR put forward. A pity they did not offer any classical examples.

Attridge in Hermeneia on Hebrews talks about the antecedent of the participle and decides that, despite lack of case concord, it is αὐτῷ. After looking it a while I was wondering if it was better to view the antecedent as a covert accusative subject of τελειῶσαι. It rather depends upon how you model the clauses syntactically. It amounts to the same thing of course, God, but might better explain the case. I tried attaching it to τὸν ἀρχηγὸν but couldn't make that fly.

At this point I'm out of my depth, probably by a good way and in several respects, but I joined this list to learn more, and this is a good example to discuss.

Thx
D
1 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1551
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 29th, 2019, 11:37 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:18 am
Dear Barry, nice to meet you! Oh, no, yes, there is a second problem:
>The question of its implied antecedent was discussed above under αὐτῷ.

At least this one is not tempting the rendering if you stay with "he", so the Lord Jesus or God, the father, can function as antecedent. But in the latter part of your quote, the commentator seems to refer to God, which is probably the best solution.

Can you say (without effort), what "MHT 3.80" is (or maybe has)? But I even could not find the Kühner-Gerth passage, named in BDR, in the book (KG II, 98f is something different in my book). I try to find a fitting chapter in the Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language.

Yours Peter


ADDITION: Just a try: German "…..viele Söhne zur Herrlichkeit führend, den Urheber ihres Heils durch Leiden vollendet zu haben". English "….bringing many sons to glory, having perfected the author of their salvation through sufferings". Could you comment?
Ellingworth wrote:Αὐτῷ: the identification of participants in the rest of the verse raises several problems. It is best to proceed from the known to the uncertain. Τὸν ἀρχηγόν must refer to Christ, as explicitly in 12:2, and αὐτῶν must refer to the “many sons.” It is virtually certain that αὐτῷ refers to God, just mentioned in v. 9, and for whose name διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα is a periphrasis (cf. 1:3; 5:5f.; 10:30). Grammatically, ἀγαγόντα may refer either to God or to Christ, but in the context, a great majority of commentators find it more natural to make it refer to God, first because it is anarthrous, and secondly because of the presence of αὐτῶν, which would be superfluous if Christ were meant (so Vanhoye 1969.308; similarly P. E. Hughes 101f., Attridge, Lane, Grässer; but Käsemann 1984.143n.156, and by implication Delling in TDNT 1.488, disagree). Assimilation of the case to the accusative (αὐτὸν τελειῶσαι) is not uncommon; the conjecture ἀγαγεῖς διδόντα (Scheidweiler 230) is unnecessary. The action of God is similarly implied in 12:2, the other place in Hebrews where Christ is called ἀρχηγός.
Ellingworth, P. (1993). The Epistle to the Hebrews: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 159). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

MHT = Moulton-Howard-Turner, Grammar of New Testament Greek

I can't comment on German, despite my last name. Another explanation of the text is simply that it views the work of Christ as complete, "the one who brought many sons to glory," standing in, as participles often do, for what would be a clause in English, or for that matter Latin, as the Vulgate has it:

qui multos filios in gloriam adduxerat

So that the participle is not giving antecedent action, but descriptive. "He wanted to give a raise to the firefighters who saved many lives in New York."
1 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Peter Streitenberger
Posts: 219
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Peter Streitenberger » March 30th, 2019, 1:38 pm

Thanks Barry, ok, good to know - here is only the old Moulton free Grammar at hand, but I try to figure out how to get own examples with the TLG (the search options are better in Bible programs, but the Database is so huge - to interpret data is the challenge). Yes, your name is genuine German and I understand or at least guess the meaning, but that would fit better off list. Yours Peter
0 x

Peter Streitenberger
Posts: 219
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:45 am

Re: Hebrews 2,10 - meaning of the Aorist participle

Post by Peter Streitenberger » March 30th, 2019, 2:37 pm

Daniel Semler wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 8:32 am
Hi Peter,
... how something is performed ("in", "by"), ...
This is the problem I was having with it.
So the C-solution of you, Daniel, despite I have in my ear, that this is not an Aorist feature...
This was an attempt to find out if I had understood the what BDR and Mike were trying to explain. I've not run across that kind of explanation before. My usual approach is action antecedent to main verb - in the way described by Robertson - and what you appear to favour also. The wrinkle here is that the main verb is an infinitive it seems to me, and ἀγαγόντα seems to be adjunct to it. Ellingsworth's statement that the participle carries the main action strikes me as not so much a grammatical argument as a an exegetical one. Not necessarily incorrect. But that's another reason to try to understand what BDR put forward.
Attridge in Hermeneia on Hebrews talks about the antecedent of the participle and decides that, despite lack of case concord, it is αὐτῷ. After looking it a while I was wondering if it was better to view the antecedent as a covert accusative subject of τελειῶσαι. It rather depends upon how you model the clauses syntactically. It amounts to the same thing of course, God, but might better explain the case. I tried attaching it to τὸν ἀρχηγὸν but couldn't make that fly.

At this point I'm out of my depth, probably by a good way and in several respects, but I joined this list to learn more, and this is a good example to discuss.

Thx
D
Dear Daniel and all others,

agreed, I just found one similar (but not exactly the same pattern, as the Ao. ptcpl. follows) passage in Acts 21.14: "21.14: ἡσυχάσαμεν εἰπόντες („we got quiet, talking“) - first they were silent, then the began zu speak.

Then (BDR) has for a postponed Ao. ptcpl.: Acts 25.13 κατήντησαν εἰς Καισάρειαν ἀσπασάμενοι τὸν Φῆστον ("arrived at Caesarea to greet Festus").
First the arrival has to take place, then they greeted Festus.

BUT in both cases a coincidence of actions is plausible as well ("while").

yours P.
0 x

Post Reply