[b-greek] Re: Gal. 3:24

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sat May 12 2001 - 12:54:46 EDT

At 3:09 PM +0000 5/12/01, Mark Wilson wrote:
>Concerning your translation:
>>"So the Torah has turned out in fact to be our
>>teacher-aide on our way to Christ, and the end-result of this is that we
>>are justified/made-righteous."
>I think my lack of experience in Greek leads me to ask this follow-up
>question. I note in your translation two things that seem to be very
>"Indicative" if you will.
>First, "has turned out IN FACT..." and "we ARE justified/..."
>In other words, there does not appear to be any element of "potential" in
>your take of this verse.

You are quite right. I don't see any element of "potential" there.

>In my mind it would seem that the two indicatives, (a) and (b), would be
>synonyms, if for no other reason then their like Mood, while (c) would, at
>least, be capable of yet another nuance, by virtue of its Mood. Or, are you
>saying that depending on the contexts like Gal. 3:24, they should be
>considered exact eqivalents.

(a) and (b) are not indicatives; they are infinitives. But (b) could be
expressed with an indicative as hWSTE EDIKAIWQHMEN ("and so we were
justified/made-righteous"), inasmuch as the clearer Attic distinction
between "probable" result (expressed with hWSTE + infinitive) and "actual"
result (expressed with hWSTE + indicative) seems more or less to have

>Basically, I just can't get out of my mind some element of uncertainty or
>potentiality when I see a Subjunctive.

And that, I think, is where your misapprehension lies: you're thinking of a
SEMANTIC function of the subjunctive mood. I think that sort of SEMANTIC
function might be spoken of more authentically at earlier stages of the
Greek language, but in many a construction the subjunctive is nothing more
than an indicator of grammatical subordination. By the NT period the
subjunctive phrase hINA IDW has come to mean just about the same as the
infinitive IDEIN. The Greek-speakers in John 12:21 say "QELOMEN TON IHSOUN
IDEIN"--they could as well have said "QELOMEN hINA TON IHSOUN IDWMEN."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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