[b-greek] Re Future

From: Alex / Ali (alexali@surf.net.au)
Date: Thu Nov 01 2001 - 08:33:58 EST

Paul Fullmer wrote,
>Can anyone help me determine if there is a single Greek word that means

>I am aware of Louw & Nida's presentation of the expressions TO MELLONTA and

>I'm working on a hypothesis that there is no single word covering the sense
of "future"/"Zukunft" because the New Testament/ancient Greek notion of time
is not comparable to ours. Any insights you can provide would be helpful.

I haven't seen a response to this yet; perhaps the little that follows may
be of some help, even though I am not taken by the idea that the NT/ancient
Greek notion of time was not comparable to ours. I'm not sure whether this
idea arises from work on Greek verbal aspect such as Porter's, since those
who argue for a re-thinking on Greek verbal aspect are *not* saying that the
language was unable to express time. It seems to me that the Greek-speaker
was well able to express time. I don't quite understand my own fascination
with notices of death in the papyri, but here are a few phrases: ETELEUTHSEN
TWi ENESTWTI ETI <i.e. ETEI> MHNI hAQUR - he died in the present year in the
month of Hathyr; ETELEUTHSEN ETI PALAI - he died just recently; ETELEUTHSAN
LOGWN - they died in the past twelfth year of Antoninus Caesar the lord
after the presentation of accounts. In other words, in the ordinary stuff
of life revealed in the papyrus, there was no difficulty in expressing time,
which could be expressed with precision where required (in these cases,
there was every reason to express time with sufficient clarity - they didn't
want to carry a tax burden for a family member already dead). The examples
cited refer to the past year and to the present, and what's left is TO
LOIPON, or TO LOIPON CRONON or other variant (Woodhouse's English-Greek
dictionary will supply you with a few other ways of referring to the
future). You mention TA MELLONTA and EIS TOUS AIWNAS. Another reference to
the future you might be interested in is at Luke 22:49 IDONTES DE hOI PERI
AUTON *TO ESOMENON* EIPAN KTL - having seen 'what was about to happen'. hO
HN KAI hO WN KAI hO ERCOMENOS is another phrase discriminating between time
past, present, and future. Paul, since you haven't fleshed out your own
view of the Greek understanding of time, these may not be entirely relevant
to your own pursuits, but I might simply reiterate by way of conclusion that
my own opinion is that the language doesn't require us to understand their
view of time as being much different from our own if at all.

Dr Alex Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia

PS I have continued to enjoy the discussion of the middle and passive voice,
and hope to ask a question or two of my own when I have time, perhaps this
coming weekend.

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