From: Jon R. Venema (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 03 1999 - 11:43:19 EDT
Message text written by "Mark House"
>A student raised a question the other day that I told him I would research
>further. It relates to the use of the subjunctive mood, which I told my
>students typically introduces a mild element of contingency.
>we're reading 1 John 1, and the question arose concerning the use of the
>subjunctive in v. 9, where the writer promises that (pardoning any
>transliteration flubs) EAN hOMOLOGWMEN TAS hAMARTIAS hHMWN, PISTOS ESTIN
>DIKAIOS, hINA AFHi HMIN TAS AMARTIAS.... The question concerned the hINA
>clause, which I explained as a result rather than a purpose clause.
>Wouldn't the use of a future indicative (without hINA) have made the
>more reliable? Something like: If we confess..., he is faithful...and he
>WILL forgive.... Put another way, doesn't the subjunctive here lend to
>uncertainty of a promise that the writer seems to want to drive home to
>readers with certainty?
>I ventured the guess that the INA clause is a standard way of expressing
>results (or, more frequently, purpose), and doesn't necessary carry with
>any implicit uncertainty. But that answer did seem to run contrary to my
>prior definition of the subjunctive as communicating contingency.
>Any comments will be greatly appreciated.
>Adjunct Greek Prof.
>Fuller Theological Seminary
I have tended to treat this hINA clause as equivalent to an infinitive
after adjectives denoting ability fitness, capacity, etc, may serve to
the meaning of the adjective (Smyth ¤2002), and could be classified as an
explanatory/expexegetical use of hINA. Result is not out of the question
(given his PISTOS ESTIN KAI DIKAIOS, we can expect . . .). I render it in
English like an infinitive with "to" (often used with a sense of to
Jon R. Venema
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