Thursday, August 31, 2023

Interlude: typing in (polytonic) Greek, step 1

31 August 2023

I'm adding the information below as a post; later, I'll make it available as a page, so that it can always be accessed from the 'Page list' on the Home page, (above). 

The full set of polytonic Greek diacritics includes:

    3 accents: acute, grave, circumflex

    2 breathings: smooth and rough

    iota subscript

    diaeresis  (two small dots placed above a vowel)

The system is more complicated than this, however, because the diacritical marks can be combined.  An 'α', for example can have a breathing, an accent, and an iota subscript:  ᾄ

You may want to be able to type the whole nine yards of polytonic Greek.  You may not.  But if you do, suggested instructions for a PC are below.  (I don't have a desktop Apple product, and don't know the procedure there.)

Step 1

Enable polytonic Greek on your system.  I admit this may not be as easy as it sounds, because it seems like the procedure can be different for every computer, and every edition of Windows.  Try the following:





You will need to scroll through a long list, but should eventually be able to find both 'Greek' and 'polytonic Greek'.

If that procedure doesn't work on your system, look for anything having to do with 'control panel', 'settings', 'keyboard', 'language', etc.

Next time; the Greek keyboard, followed by key combinations for typing the diacritics.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Acts 1:9

 30 August 2023

καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν βλεπόντων αὐτῶν ἐπήρθη, καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.

After looking at this verse, I thought it would be helpful to split it into four phrases, although one of them is only a single word:

καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν

βλεπόντων αὐτῶν 


καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν

Each phrase has its own verb form, and there are three different subjects. 

1  καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν

The verb form is εἰπὼν: masculine singular nominative, aorist active participle; λέγω / εἶπον

The subject is Jesus, from previous context.  Ταῦτα is neuter plural (accusative) and refers, generally, to 'things, these things'.

Note that the participle is aorist, which suggests a translation of 'after he said' rather than 'while saying'.  Also, the verb is a second aorist, which means that the endings are very similar to present participle endings, rather than first aorist endings.

2   βλεπόντων αὐτῶν

The verb form is the participle βλεπόντων, but be careful, it's not a masculine singular nominative form, but a masculine plural genitive (present active).  The corresponding masculine singular nominative form would be βλέπων, which is also seen in the NT.  

But what is the subject?  Here we have another genitive absolute, i.e., a participle in the genitive, and a noun or pronoun, also in the genitive.  The pronoun αὐτῶν is masculine 3-P plural, and refers back to the apostles.  

So the apostles saw something, and the present participle (as opposed to an aorist) suggests that, perhaps, something happened while they were seeing / watching.

3  ἐπήρθη

The verb is a 3-S, aorist passive indicative, from ἐπαίρω, 'I raise up, I lift up'.  From context the subject is Jesus, and because the verb is passive, he was lifted rather than doing the lifting.

4  καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν

The verb is ὑπέλαβεν, 3-S, aorist active indicative, from ὑπολαμβάνω.  This time, the singular subject is not Jesus, but the feminine νεφἐλη, 'a cloud'.

One common translation is that a cloud 'hid' Jesus from the eyes (ὀφθαλμῶν) of the apostles.  Ὑπολαμβάνω has general meanings something like 'I take up, I receive', so the idea here seems to be that the cloud received Jesus, and thus he was hidden.

The King James has this translation: "and a cloud received him out of their sight", and other translations have something similar.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Part 2 of Acts 1:8

28 August 2023

We'll start below with ἔσεσθεthe third verb in Acts 1:8, but first - here's the entire verse again:

ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ' ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς.


ἔσεσθε:  2-P, future indicative, εἰμί

The ‘you’ again refers to the apostles.  So the apostles will do two things in this verse:

 - they will receive power

 - and they will be, or become . . . . what?

Ἔσεσθε is a linking verb, with the predicate μάρτυρες, ‘witnesses’.  Diagrammed, the phrase would look like this:

The remainder of the verse explains where the apostles will be witnesses (for Jesus):

ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς

The small word τε is an enclitic particle, often not translated.  It is used here in connecting a series of items with similar function: Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth are all places where the apostles will be witnesses.

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth

Friday, August 25, 2023

Acts 1:8

25 August 2023 

ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ' ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς

Vocabulary note:  Σαμαρίᾳ is sometimes seen as an alternative spelling for Σαμαρείᾳ.  Over the hundreds - and ultimately thousands - of years of development of the Greek language, a number of sound changes occurred.  One of those changes involved the vowel combination 'ει', which early on (before Christ) took on a pronunciation very like 'ι'.

Let's identify the verb forms in this verse, and their subjects.  I am covering the first two today, and the final verb form - and final phrase - in the next post.

1  λήμψεσθε:  2-P, future middle indicative, λαμβάνω

        This very common verb (over 250 uses in the NT) has an irregular conjugation, including:

            PP1:  λαμβάνω

            PP2:  (future middle, deponent) λήψομαι or λήμψομαι

            PP3:  (2nd aorist)  ἔλαβον

        The subject of λήμψεσθε is, of course, 'you (plural)'.  'You' refers back to the beginning of Acts, where the people that Jesus is speaking to are referred to as his apostles (τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, Acts 1:2).

Λήμψεσθε also has a direct object:  δύναμιν, 'power', in the accusative, as expected.  The feminine noun δύναμις is known from Homer down, and is related to the English words 'dynamic' and 'dynamite'.

2  ἐπελθόντος: neuter singular genitive, aorist active participle, ἐπέρχομαι

        Since this participle is singular, it cannot refer to the apostles.  By sense, it seems like the referent is τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, which is also in the genitive.  What is happening here?

The phrase ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος (ἐφ' ὑμᾶς) is a genitive absolute; that is, a comgination of a participle and a noun / pronoun in the genitive, with a weak grammatical relationship to the rest of the sentence.  The Holy Spirit is, by meaning, the subject of ἐπελθόντος.  That's the way it works.

The prepositional phrase ἐφ' ὑμᾶς completes the action:  the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  Remember that the form ἐφ' is an alternative spelling for ἐπί, and used before words starting with a vowel with rough breathing.

Moving on to ἔσεσθε next time . . . . 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Acts 1:7

24 August 2023 

Εἴπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Οὐχ ὑμῶν ἐστιν γνῶναι χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατήρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ.

Let's look at the first phrase first.  It introduces the rest of the verse.

 Εἴπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς

The verb is εἴπεν, 'he said' (3-S aorist of λέγω / εἶπον), and the subject is Jesus,

from previous context.  So Jesus said something 'to them' (the apostles, also from previous context), and the rest of the verse quotes what he said.