Hebrews 3:13

Hebrews 3:13

In the Greek text, Hebrews 3:13 reads, “ACHRIS HOU SEMERON
KALEITAI” (αχρις ου το σημερον καλειται) I seem
to be having difficulty handling “TO SEMERON” In Dan Wallace’s work
“Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics” (pg. 232-233) he has a discussion of
the article’s use with adverbs, in which he gives 16 examples, out of
which there are 4 where the article may simply be dropped in the
translation, e.g. Acts 18:6:

APO TOU NUN EIS TA ETHNE POREUSOMAI (From now on, I will go to the

Of course you could keep the article and render it as (from the
present time) but to make better sense in English I think it’s best to
drop it and render it simply (from now on). I’m therefore inclined to
translate Heb 3:13: “ACHRIS HOU” (while) “TO SEMERON” (today)
“KALEITAI” (it is called) or “while it is called today.” But I’ve
recently understood that if “ACHRIS HOU” is translated “until”
instead of “while” then the article may not simply substantise the
adverb but could actually point to some other temporal entity, and
thus be translated. “Until (that day) or (time) which is called
today.” If someone could clear up my confusion it would be much
appreciated. Thanks.

Robert Campanaro

4 thoughts on “Hebrews 3:13”

  1. —– Original Message —–
    Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 11:46 AM

    Robert, your’re doing the grammatical equivalent of hyper-ventilating…
    Take a deep breath… 🙂

    Your example is not quite parallel. In Acts 18:6, the article substantizes
    the phrase, APO TOU NUN, “from the present time,” i.e., “from now on.” In
    Hebrews 3:13, however, the article serves the purpose of showing that
    SHMERON is being concieved not as a word functioning in the context, but as
    a vocabulary item. We would use quotation marks to create the same effect,
    “while it is called ‘today.'” This is standard use of the article in Greek
    when wants wants to talk about a word as a word rather than using it as an
    item functioning grammatically in a context. As to the translation of ACRIS
    HOU, I would render it as “while” because of the present tense KALEITAI.

    N.E. Barry Hofstetter
    Classics and Bible @ TAA

  2. I ought to let Barry speak for himself. If his response differs from
    mine, I’m sure he will — he may anyway!! I don’t think I’d want
    to call this a matter of “art” in Biblical translation. Of course, it’s
    not really translation we’re concerned with here so much as with
    understanding “ordinary” ancient Greek usage. The way that
    one comes to have a good grip on “ordinary” ancient Greek
    usage is to read (or speak — if you have a conversational partner
    for ancient Greek 😉 — voluminously. The use of the article to
    indicate that a word is itself being employed like a noun in
    a statement is not really uncommon. But the only way to acquire
    a sense of what’s common is to read enough to encounter the
    recurring items used in ordinary discourse.

    Carl W. Conrad
    Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

  3. —– Original Message —–
    Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 2:32 PM

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Man, you can always tell a
    Classicist — even though you can’t tell them much! 🙂 🙂

    N.E. Barry Hofstetter, semper melius Latine sonat…
    Classics and Bible Instructor, TAA
    (2010 Salvatori Excellence in Education Winner)
    V-P of Academic Affairs, TNARS



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