Jonathan Robie wrote:Here's how I understand ὁ ἦν in Revelations 1:4
It is understandable.
Jonathan Robie wrote:The imperfect ἦν works great for this, and if you make it articular, it gives it just the right sense: ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν.
Lots of things in the Revelation are shaky grammar, but this doesn't seem ungrammatical or wrong or clumsy to me.
Well, I'm not so very confident in my grammar, but I will say "The he was" seems ungrammatical to me. So far as I know, the article doesn't have the right to nominalise finite verbs because finite verbs are verbal, not nominal. The exception to that is that a neuter article can nominalise a quotation, so it can be referred to in a text. Besides that, I don't recall having ever seen another instance of an article nominalising a finite verb. The finite verbs do carry a nominal element in their subject, and the relative can be used to put one (nominal element) of a verbal phrase into another part of the sentence. ἦν by itself, without a complement, only carries a subject, and ὅς ἦν would be the way to do that.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Suppose you wanted something equivalent to ὁ ὢν, but you want it to refer to a past state. You want to say "who is and who was", where "who was" implies timeless being. You can't really use an aorist participle for that, and there's no such thing as an imperfect participle. There's also no aorist form of εἰμί. So what do you use?
For that interpretation, perhaps ὁ πρὶν ὢν, ὁ πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ὢν, or ὁ προυπάρχων. In the case that the ἦν is describing the period of the incarnation, a period in measurable time, the finite verb could be okay, but construction of a finite verb with an article like this is not.
Exodus 3:14 wrote:καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν καὶ εἶπεν οὕτως ἐρεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς
That is referring to God as timeless.
Is there some place where ἦν has been used significantly that we could look at?