Re: EAN + future indicative

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 21 1997 - 15:25:48 EDT

At 5:03 AM -0500 9/21/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>IN Acts 7:7 we have a text variant:
>EAN DOULEUSOUSIN supported by P74 A C D
>EAN DOULEUSWSIN supported by P33 Aleph B E ... Maj
>The editors of NA27 decided to accept EAN DOULEUSOUSIN, probably
>because it is more difficult.
>Now my question has to do with EAN + future indicative. BDF (373)
>says that there are no undisputed examples of EAN + future
>indicative and the proceeds to not explain it. BAGD (p211.2.a) has the
>exceedingly illuminating comment "in the same mng.", without giving
>much of a clue about which meaning is the same meaning.
>My question is: What, if any, difference is there between the
>syntax/semantics of these two readings? I have spent some time in
>the grammars and have come up with a vague sense that there is no
>difference but haven't found any clear statements to that effect.

In terms of classical Attic grammar, one ought not ever to see EAN with an
indicative, but only with a subjunctive. However, one does find EAN in
Hellenistic generalizing constructions even where it can't be understood as
a combination of EI + AN such as would be used with a subjunctive. Here
DOULEUSOUSIN would, of course, be a future indicative, DOULEUSWSIN and
aorist subjunctive. Even the aorist subjunctive would, of course, here
refer to a future contingency. I don't believe Luke would have written this
EAN without a subjunctive, but if he is citing the LXX of Genesis 15:13-14,
he might not correct a grammatical error in his received text, while a
later scribe might correct Luke's text and put the subjunctive for the
future. I don't have a LXX text ready to hand to see whether the future
indicative is in fact what appears in the text of Gen 15:13-14.

As for the meaning, I don't really see any conceivable difference in
meaning between hWi EAN DOULEUSWSIN and hWi EAN DOULEUSOUSIN; either should
mean "whatever nation they shall serve (as slaves) ..." But the future
indicative with EAN is just simply "bad" or irregular Greek.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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