Re: John 1:5

Date: Fri May 08 1998 - 09:23:35 EDT

Richard Lindeman wrote:
> Edgar Krentz wrote:
> >But John 1:5 is NOT a temporal clause! Please read the grammar carefully.
> Thank you, I stand corrected. You are right! John 1:5 is not a temporal
> clause as Smyth would describe it. But the whole paragraph and also the
> clause within John 1:5 is so permeated with temporal references that I have
> to wonder whether or not it would probably apply anyway.
> I suppose that I could have instead tried to make my appeal to Smyth...
> paragraph #1885 which describes one use of the present tense as: "Present of
> Past and Present Combined. The Present, when accompanied by a definite or
> indefinite expression of past time, is used to express an action begun in
> the past and continued in the present." But strictly speaking, this
> paragraph may not directly apply either. Yet it comes pretty close. I
> don't see a definite or indefinite expression of past time accompanying
> FAINEI, but the verb is surrounded on all sides by past references and it
> makes sense (at least to me) to translate it this way.
> I wrote:
> >>
> >>I am fairly certain that Carl will agree that the *time* of FAINEI in
> John
> >>1:5 depends upon whether whether we read this verse as an independent
> clause
> >>or a dependent clause within the paragraph. In the former case we must
> >>translate it with absolute time(present - ongoing). In the latter case we
> >>must translate it as relative time(past - ongoing). I read this clause as
> >>being strongly dependent and yet at the same time introducing an
> independent
> >>thought.
> >>
> This part is correct. As Smyth states it... "The time of an action is
> either absolute or relative. Time that is absolutely present, past, or
> future is reckoned from the time of the speaker or writer. Time that
> relatively present, past, or future in dependent clauses is reckoned from
> the time of some verb in the same sentence." Therefore, if John 1:5
> contains a dependent clause, then the time of FAINEI *must* be relative
> time.
> I wrote:
> >>I appeal to SMYTH grammar... paragraph #2388 which states that "the time
> >>denoted by a temporal clause is not always solely contemporaneous,
> >>antecedent, or subsequent to that of the principle clause, but may
> overlap
> >>with the time of the principle clause (before and at the same time, at
> the
> >>same time and after, until and after)
> >>
> This part may be incorrect as John 1:5 really doesn't really contain a
> temporal clause as defined by Smyth.

After reading the above, Rich, I was all set to just pack it up and
head for the showers. Smythian illiteracy had me on the ropes ~ MY
illiteracy, that is... :-) But then you wrote the following:

> I didn't realize what kind of a can of worms this was going to be.

And you, my friend, with this one little sentence, restored my faith ~
Wiser words than these are seldom written, and none more candidly...

> But I am
> certainly learning in the process.

Me too!!

> I think the problem is that the tenses
> are defined so many different ways by so many different authors.

You are right, of course.

Firstly, the authors who write these works each have a different focus
that they employ tenses to convey, and even within the same author,
the foci shift and then so does the job of the tenses used.

Secondly, along come the 19th and 20th century grammarians who then
just bypass the idea of tense altogether and try to understand Greek
verbs in terms of verbal aspect ~ Which is what the differing foci of
authorial intent comes down to in verbal usage, and each sees
differently just what the intent is.

Thirdly, we are then met with comprehensive listings by various
commentaries of ALL the usages of each of the constructions ~ Often
thousands of them ~ to 'HELP' [?!?!?!?] us see their 'rule' for
translating this particular one!!

Fourthly ~ The commentaries disagree ~ So we start looking for one we
can trust, and will tend to use that one more 'authoritatively' than
the others.

And Fifth ~ We argue and discuss this endlessness of interpretative
interweaving that results so predictably in NO CLOTH being woven ~
Just ever growing balls of worms that we keep putting in ever
enlargening cans.

> It isn't
> so much that the grammars disagree with each other... but rather that they
> use different terminology and so people get confused by it.

Is it any wonder? And the grammars are not always in agreement, even
within themselves!!

> Ultimately we
> are forced to adopt our own sets of terminology to try to understand it.

More to the point, we are forced to think for ourselves, which is the
blessing of this curse!!
> Rich Lindeman

Blessings to you, Rich ~

George Blaisdell

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