Thursday, October 26, 2023

Acts 1:14

οὗτοι πάντες ἦσαν προσκαρτεροῦντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν τῇ προσευχῇ σὺν γυναιξὶν καὶ Μαριὰμ τῇ μητρὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ σὺν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς αὐτοῦ

these all were persisting with one mind (in) the prayer with women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers


There are two common third-declension nouns in this verse, of different sub-groups.  Remember that listings of third declension nouns often include the genitive singular form, which points to the correct spelling for the entire declension.

1   ἡ γυνή, γύναικός -  woman

Monday, October 09, 2023

Acts 1:13: Why is Ἰάκωβος translated as 'James'?

 At first glance this looks like a long and potentially complicated verse, but it is mostly names.

καὶ ὅτε εἰσῆλθον, εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον ἀνέβησαν οὗ ἦσαν καταμένοντες, ὅ τε Πέτρος καὶ Ἰωάννης καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἀνδρέας, Φίλιππος καὶ Θωμᾶς, Βαρθολομαῖος καὶ Μαθθαῖος, Ἰάκωβος Ἁλφαίου καὶ Σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου

and when they came, 

into the upper part of the house they went up

Thursday, October 05, 2023

The present active participles of γράφω

The participle conjugation below will be added to the page of conjugation tables.

I had picked γράφω as a fairly regular verb that is not λύω.  In this case the choice does not serve us well, as there is only one instance of one form of the present active participle of γράφω in the New Testament: γράφων, 2 John 1:5.  Nevertheless, the conjugation provides the pattern for other verbs. 

Spelling notes: 

1  Since these are present active participles, the beginning of each participle will be γραφ- .

2  All masculine forms except the genitive plural have an acute accent on the initial α:  γράφ- .

3  Accentuation in the feminine and neuter forms is more variable.

4  The masculine genitive and dative are identical in spelling to the neuter genitive and dative, by number.

5  The masculine singular accusative is identical to the neuter plural nominative and accusative.

6  Neuter nominatives in a given number are identical to neuter accusatives in that number.  This rule is universal.


Masculine         endings   -ων, -οντ-, -ουσ-

nom. sing.       γράφων

gen. sing.         γράφοντος

dat. sing.         γράφοντι

acc. sing.         γράφοντα

nom. pl.         γράφοντες

gen. pl.           γραφόντων

dat. pl.            γράφουσι(ν)

acc. pl.            γράφοντας

Feminine        endings   -ουσ-

nom. sing.        γράφουσα

gen. sing.         γραφούσης

dat. sing.          γραφούσῃ

acc. sing.          γράφουσαν

nom. pl.           γράφουσαι

gen. pl.             γραφουσῶν

dat. pl.              γραφούσαις

acc. pl.              γραφούσας

Neuter           endings  -ον, -οντ-, -ουσ-

nom. sing.       γρᾶφον

gen. sing.         γράφοντος

dat. sing.         γράφοντι

acc. sing.         γρᾶφον

nom. pl.         γράφοντα

gen. pl.           γραφόντων

dat. pl.            γράφουσι(ν)

acc. pl.            γράφοντα

Monday, October 02, 2023

Acts 1: 12

Τότε ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἀπὸ ὄρους τοῦ καλουμένου Ἐλαιῶνος, ὅ ἐστιν ἐγγὺς Ἱερουσαλὴμ σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν

then they returned to Jerusalem from (the) hill called 'of the olive grove', which is near to Jerusalem of a Sabbath having a journey 

A word about the proper noun Ἱερουσαλὴμ. It has Hebrew and Aramaic underpinnings, as one would expect, and has been transliterated into Greek.

There are two spellings of common use in the NT: Ἱερουσαλὴμ, a feminine, indeclinable noun, and Ἱεροσόλυμα, which is feminine in the singular, but neuter in the plural.  Perhaps the feminine gender comes from the Greek word for city, πόλις, which is feminine, although I am not sure.  

Plural?  There is some discussion about the plural forms (see here, for example), and I have no definite answer.  I will note that the -μα ending typically denotes a third-declension neuter noun (πνεῦμα, σῶμα, ὄνομα, βρῶμα), so there may have been a tug of war between Jerusalem being a city (πόλη, feminine) and the -μα ending of the transliteration.

At any rate . . .

The main verb in the verse is ὑπέστρεψαν: 3-P, aorist active indicative, ὑποστρέφω, 'I turn back, I return'.

The subject is an understood 'they', again referring to the apostles from previous verses.  A few English translations add the word 'apostles' to make this clear, but it isn't in the Greek.

So we have

τότε ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ 
then they returned to Jerusalem

and the rest of the verse explains where they were returning from, and how far away this place was from Jerusalem.  To whit:

ἀπὸ ὄρους τοῦ καλουμένου Ἐλαιῶνος

        from a hill / mountain the one called of the olive grove 

Ἐλαιῶνος is the genitive singular form of the third-declension masculine noun Ἐλαιών, 'a place of olives', i.e., an olive orchard.  This is typically translated as 'Mount of Olives', or 'Mount Olivet'.

The next phrase is clear enough:

ὅ ἐστιν ἐγγὺς Ἱερουσαλὴμ 

the one (i.e., the hill or mountain) near Jerusalem

The following phrase, however, is not clear:

σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν

Literally, 'of Sabbath having a road', which does not make sense in English.  The  idiom, much discussed, seems to be 'a Sabbath's journey away', meaning the distance that one could travel on a Sabbath.