Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

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Brian Peterson
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Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Brian Peterson » September 3rd, 2012, 2:55 pm

It is typically thought that the perfect οιδα does not imply past action, but is strictly implying a present tense time reference. However, I am finding that the normal force of the perfect works well in many (if not all) cases from the NT. I am not aware of an example where an exclusive present force (with no hint of a past completed action) is required by the context, nor am I aware of an example where γινοσκω is an adequate replacement. It appears in most cases that an English translation along the lines of "have perceived" (stem ειδ meaning: "see") makes perfect sense.

Romans 8:28 is such a case: Verse 28. “And we know” (οιδαμεν δε οτι) “But we have observed that…”

I think the sense of the verb is to know as the result of having seen (in other words, knowledge by observation). I'm really thinking that in all cases the perfect οιδα implies: knowledge based on (prior) observation, or to know by having observed or experienced (to have perceived/learned/observed through the senses). Οιδα in this sense does not appear to imply any kind of intuitive knowledge, but knowledge gained through the physical sense at a particular past point in time.

Is anyone aware of any examples of οιδα that does not fit this description?

Thanks,

Brian
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David Lim
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by David Lim » September 5th, 2012, 12:17 am

Brian Peterson wrote:Is anyone aware of any examples of οιδα that does not fit this description?
[Matt 26:72,74 (see Matt 7:23)] και παλιν ηρνησατο μεθ ορκου οτι ουκ οιδα τον ανθρωπον ... τοτε ηρξατο καταθεματιζειν και ομνυειν οτι ουκ οιδα τον ανθρωπον και ευθεως αλεκτωρ εφωνησεν
[1 Cor 1:16] εβαπτισα δε και τον στεφανα οικον λοιπον ουκ οιδα ει τινα αλλον εβαπτισα
[1 Cor 7:16] τι γαρ οιδας γυναι ει τον ανδρα σωσεις η τι οιδας ανερ ει την γυναικα σωσεις
[2 Cor 5:16] ωστε ημεις απο του νυν ουδενα οιδαμεν κατα σαρκα ει δε και εγνωκαμεν κατα σαρκα χριστον αλλα νυν ουκετι γινωσκομεν
At the least these show that "οιδα" does not mean the same thing as "have perceived" in English, since there is certainly no past event in 2 Cor 5:16. Moreover LSJ also says of "οιδα" that the aorist and perfect are usually supplied by "γινωσκω".
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 5th, 2012, 4:46 am

Brian Peterson wrote:It is typically thought that the perfect οιδα does not imply past action, but is strictly implying a present tense time reference.
I'm not sure I like the wording "imply" here. (Because we came into the world knowing nothing, the present state of knowing something certainly implies a past action of coming to know it.)

The perfect οἶδα exhibits the stative meaning of the perfect: it refers to a present state (here, of "knowing"). In its pre-Greek pre-history, it is a very ancient perfect of a old verb meaning "to see" with the idea of being in a state of having seen something, i.e., knowing. But this particular sense has generalized over the millennia, even before Greek came to be, and it has come to refer to the state of having come to know something or someone. So I wouldn't rely on οἶδα as meaning "I have perceived."

For current usage, do not rely on etymology but consult the appropriate lexica (BDAG, LSJ).
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Alan Patterson
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Alan Patterson » September 5th, 2012, 7:12 am

Brian,

The actual event depicted with the Perfect Tense is historical and parenthetical (but, see below for aoristic Perfect). There is absolutely nothing about the actual event that the author wants to draw your attention to. The concern is simply with 'how do things stand now.' I understand the Perfect Tense as:

...(actual event)...PRESENT RESULT

The Perfect often takes the place of the Aorist, which I understand to be illustrated:

...ACTUAL EVENT...(present result)

The above temporal observations do not take into consideration the Deictic Center, the temporal nucleus of the context [the entire event being referenced outside of a temporal vacuum].

The Perfect in Rm 8:28 is the standard usage for the Perfect Tense, namely, how does it stand NOW, and the temporal process of coming to know is historical and parenthetical. I would say that the "default sense" of a Perfect Indicative is generally Now Time, unless historical events are being described, in which case you will measure the Perfect Tense in relation to the DC. For example, when the Present Tense is used for historical events, it is simply describing an event concurrent with the DC (this is called the Historical Present in grammar books).

That's my take, anyway. (I have found the archives to be extremely helpful; some out here have articulated this far better than I. If you have time, I'd search the archives for Deictic Center, Temporal, etc.)
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Brian Peterson
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Brian Peterson » September 9th, 2012, 3:31 pm

So I wouldn't rely on οἶδα as meaning "I have perceived."
Would it be fair that οιδα can signify "I know" (in a stative manner) based upon "having perceived" in the past? Wallace observes that "there is very little distinction between the act and its results...The result of knowing is knowing...Thus this usage occurs especially with verbs where the act slides over into the results. They are resultative perfects to the point that the act itself has virtually died; the results have become the act (GGBB, 580)." I tend to think that the fact that "παντα συνεργει εις αγαθον", as articulated in Romans 8:28, is a result of having seen/observed such truth from the past in God's historical dealings of those within Israel, and this leads to a present result of "knowing" ("the act of seeing in the past slides over into the results of now knowing). Is this fair?
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 10th, 2012, 5:24 am

Brian Peterson wrote:
So I wouldn't rely on οἶδα as meaning "I have perceived."
Would it be fair that οιδα can signify "I know" (in a stative manner) based upon "having perceived" in the past?
No, it wouldn't quite be fair to do so. Although it may well have been true far in the pre-Greek past that the ancestral form of οἶδα originally meant "I have seen" in Proto-Indo-European, it would be an instance of the etymological fallacy to suppose that, apart from evidence of contemporary usage, this ancient meaning persisted into the Koine Greek. Relevant evidence is that of contemporary usage, for which you should consult the appropriate resources, such as BDAG and LSJM lexica.
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Alan Patterson
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Alan Patterson » September 10th, 2012, 6:58 am

Would it be fair that οιδα can signify "I know" (in a stative manner) based upon "having perceived" in the past? Wallace observes that "there is very little distinction between the act and its results...The result of knowing is knowing...Thus this usage occurs especially with verbs where the act slides over into the results. They are resultative perfects to the point that the act itself has virtually died; the results have become the act (GGBB, 580)." I tend to think that the fact that "παντα συνεργει εις αγαθον", as articulated in Romans 8:28, is a result of having seen/observed such truth from the past in God's historical dealings of those within Israel, and this leads to a present result of "knowing" ("the act of seeing in the past slides over into the results of now knowing). Is this fair?

Brian Peterson

Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Unread postby Stephen Carlson » September 10th, 2012, 5:24 am

Brian Peterson wrote:

So I wouldn't rely on οἶδα as meaning "I have perceived."

Would it be fair that οιδα can signify "I know" (in a stative manner) based upon "having perceived" in the past?

Stephen Carlson wrote:

No, it wouldn't quite be fair to do so. Although it may well have been true far in the pre-Greek past that the ancestral form of οἶδα originally meant "I have seen" in Proto-Indo-European, it would be an instance of the etymological fallacy to suppose that, apart from evidence of contemporary usage, this ancient meaning persisted into the Koine Greek. Relevant evidence is that of contemporary usage, for which you should consult the appropriate resources, such as BDAG and LSJM lexica.

From Alan Patterson

Re: these resultive perfects

I think I misunderstand Stephen's reply, since I would replied to your question....
Would it be fair that οιδα can signify "I know" (in a stative manner) based upon "having perceived" in the past?
...Yes, this is exactly correct. Now, I would agree with Stephen if his argument is that "having perceived" means "having look at and now understand."

The idea of οἶδα is that one has a thorough understanding of the issue at hand. One could say that he has thoroughly perceived the subject matter and is in a state of knowing.

By the way, note that Wallace says

"there is very little distinction between the act and its results...The result of knowing is knowing...Thus this usage occurs especially with verbs where the act slides over into the results. They are resultative perfects to the point that the act itself has virtually died; the results have become the act.

This corresponds to my earlier statement that the event is parenthetical. I.e., it is not part of the subject being discussed; rather, the act/state is entirely in focus. The antecedent event is not known, other than one can possibly surmise how the individual has come to currently be in this state.

Stephen, can you clarify your statement as to why you disagreed with Brian's statement:
So I wouldn't rely on οἶδα as meaning "I have perceived."
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Re: Τhe perfect οιδα & Romans 8:28

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 10th, 2012, 8:32 am

My position is that οἶδα over the ages has effectively lexicalized from what used to be a very ancient perfect into what is now a stative verb with perfect morphology. Thus, the key to understanding its meaning is not the grammar book but the lexicon. That means, people in this thread should be citing BDAG or LSJM for οἶδα, not Wallace for his general remarks on the perfect.

I also disagree with Peterson's apparent grammatical argument here:
Brian Peterson wrote:I tend to think that the fact that "παντα συνεργει εις αγαθον", as articulated in Romans 8:28, is a result of having seen/observed such truth from the past in God's historical dealings of those within Israel, and this leads to a present result of "knowing" ("the act of seeing in the past slides over into the results of now knowing). Is this fair?
Whether or not the conclusion holds, it is eisegesis to base it on the grounds that οἶδα is morphological perfect.
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