Conditional sentences

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Tue May 07 1996 - 16:20:33 EDT

>Perhaps someone can clear this up for me. I have always followed Brooks &
>Winbery's classification of conditional sentences; however, I have
>encountered a difficulty and need some help. Smyth notes that a simple
>condition (protasis=EI + pres. or pf. ind. / apodosis = pres. or pf. ind. or
>equivalent) states a "supposition with no implication as to its reality or
>probability." This is easy enough; however, I thought this "simple
>condition" fell under the general rubric of a "first class" condition which
>B&W defines as assuming the reality of the protatic condition. Smyth notes
>that the condition may be real or impossible; it doesn't matter since the
>point is the connection between protasis and apodosis rather than the
>reality or unreality of the condition (2298b) The passage I am working on is
>Jn 15:18. According to B&W this is a "first class condition." According to
>Smyth, it is a "simple condition." My original concern was simply what
>difference GINWSKETE as either indic. or imptv would make to the condition.
>Now, I am just confused.
>Simply put, Is Jn 15.18 a simple condition (thus real or unreal = contextual
>) or first class condition (action assumed to be real)?
>Any help would be appreciated.

First of all, if I were writing the syntax book now, I would leave more
room for considering the context. However, we are generally in agreement
with the major grammars, Blass-Debrunner, (Para 372), Robertson, Funk, II,
para 856, and Dana & Mantey. Bl.-D refers to the structure "EI +
indicative in the protasis as "EI with the indicative of reality." He says
that it "borders on the causal, 'since.'" There are times when this
construction can be translated with the word since (Col. 3:1). At other
times it can indicate a concession "but even if . . . I am" (Col 2:5).
There is no doubt of the reality of the situation conceeded. At other
times the EI clause functions much like a hOTI clause, Rom. 1:10; ". . .
praying that some how I may be permitted by the will of God to come . .

I would be tempted to translate John 15:18 "When the world hates you (and
it surely will), remember that it hated (consummative perfect) me before
you." In this context I think that the writer uses a first class condition
because he considered that the speaker was emphasizing what was surely a

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Prof. Religion
Louisiana College

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