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1 John 1:9

Dear Alastair,

Do you have examples from the new testament, or if not then from the septuagint, of the construction “ean” + subjunctive aorist, which clearly mean more than simply an indefinite possibility? I have not seen “ean” + subjunctive used when the “gnomic sense” is intended, and I consider “ean” to “modify” the verb, including its grammatical and semantic meaning. For example, Matt 9:21 uses “ean monon aywmai” where the aorist subjunctive is clearly referring to the possibility of the woman touching Jesus’ garment just once, so it must be the context that supplies the “gnomic” meaning. Other clear examples of this construction in Matt which are not gnomic are 12:29, 16:26, 18:13,15-17, 21:3,21,24-26, 22:24, 26:42, 28:14. So are there examples which are unambiguously “gnomic”?

David Lim

On 3 April 2011 12:34, Alastair Haines wrote:

> > On Apr 2 Renwick Preston wrote: > > Aorist Subjunctive in 1 Jn 1:9 > > Why is the word for forgive in this verse an aorist? > > > > From: Carl Conrad > > 1 John 1:9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, > > ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. > > [1John 1:9 EAN hOMOLOGWMEN TAS hAMARTIAS hHMWN, > > PISTOS ESTIN KAI DIKAIOS, hINA AFHi hHMIN TAS hAMARTIAS > > KAI KAQARISHi hHMAS APO PASHS ADIKIAS.] > > > > I would think it’s because God’s forgiveness is thought of as a single > act > > rather than as an ongoing one. > > > > From: Nikolaos Adamou > > It is the 3rd structure of a hypothetical case > > ἐὰν + subjunctive , ἀόριστος (past) > > ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν – ἀφῇ + καθαρίσῃ > > > > it is used to indicate the something is repeated in the past and in the > > future > > http://users.sch.gr/papangel/sch/anc/ph10.ipothetiki_logi.pdf > > CC: “rather than as an ongoing one” > NA: “repeated in the past and in the future” > > At the prompting of Professor Conrad, regarding the force of the aorist for > exactly this same verb three times in Matthew 6, I checked some well-known > authorities on the subject. > > Porter categorises many cases like these as OMNITEMPORAL, which is a broad > class subsuming several traditional divisions. Fanning, on the other hand, > in a discussion of gnomic aorists, refines traditional divisions into > additional classes. For example, “the aorist of similies” (not relevant > here), but also, “aorist for Semitic perfect” (following Black). Two > classes > of Semitic perfect typically translated by aorists in the LXX are gnomic > perfects and stative perfects. Similar observations are made in technical > commentaries on Matthew. > > In the current verse, would Porter, Fanning, Black et al. line up behind CC > “single act rather than … ongoing” or NA “repeated in … past and … > future”? Perhaps these authorities may support BOTH CC AND NA in 1 John and > in Matthew. That is, the aorist could reflect John’s (or Matthew’s) first > language Semitic usage. Whatever precise idiomatic usage obtains, however, > the verb “to forgive” is being abstracted beyond a single TIME SITUATED > event. > > In so far as Professor Conrad and Nikolas Adamou refer to the same > conception, I think the best literature supports them. That conception is > something like: PRIMARILY the state of God forgiving the remorseful viewed > as a TIMELESS UNITY, but with legitimate conotations of concrete > instantiation of this general principle, without commitment to whether it > is > regular, continuous, past, present or future. > > I can supply various quotes from Porter, Fanning, Black and various > commentaries if there is sufficient interest. > > alastair > > — > B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek > B-Greek mailing list > B-Greek@lists.ibiblio.org > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek >

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