Question for all you grammarians


#1

i was looking for the greek word for “know” in Luke 1:34 (“How shall this be, seeing i know not a man?”) and Strong’s says it is ginwvskw (transliterated “ginosko”), which is “a prolonged form of a primary verb.” what does it mean to be the “prolonged form”? would this mean that it is an action happening in the present that extends into the future? i wonder if this has any implications for the catholic understanding that, w/ her words here, Mary is implying a life-long vow of virginity, that her “not knowing a man” was indicative both of the present and the future…


#2

[quote=phatcatholic]i was looking for the greek word for “know” in Luke 1:34 (“How shall this be, seeing i know not a man?”) and Strong’s says it is ginwvskw (transliterated “ginosko”), which is “a prolonged form of a primary verb.” what does it mean to be the “prolonged form”? would this mean that it is an action happening in the present that extends into the future? i wonder if this has any implications for the catholic understanding that, w/ her words here, Mary is implying a life-long vow of virginity, that her “not knowing a man” was indicative both of the present and the future…
[/quote]

It is the 1st person singular perfect active indicative form of the word. When they say it is prolonged, it just means that it is another form other than the present form of the word. This word is the 4th principle part of the verb, which is the perfect form.

The perfect tense is completed aspect and present time. It is translated so that the action is completed in the past but it is continueing into the present. For example, say you filled a glass in the past, in the perfect tense it would still be filled in the present. It is translated with the word “have”. “I have filled” or in this case with the negative that proceeds the word in the verse it becomes, “I have not known.”

Here is the Greek NT. Click on any word and it will give you information on the word. It is in Greek characters though, so you have to know the characters.

greekbible.com/


#3

eipen de mariam proV ton aggelon, pwV estai touto, epei andra ou ginwskw;

eipen de mariam pros ton aggelon, pos(long o sound) estai touto, epei andra ou ginosko(both o’s are long);

But Mary said to the Angel, how will this be, since I have not known man.
%between%


#4

jimmy,

your answer was very helpful. i have a few more questions tho. when i used the greek bible to retrieve the verse, and i clicked on the greek word for “know” it said the tense was “present”, not “perfect.” (at least, as far as the key goes, it didn’t have an “X”, which they use to indicate that the perfect tense is being used). you said it was in the perfect tense, so i was just wondering where you got that.

also, is there somewhere online where i can go to learn what all these words mean, for Tense, Voice, Mood, and Case? that would be very helpful!!

finally, if the tense of this verb indicates an action completed in the past that extends into the present, then i guess i can’t point to the tense of the verb as proof that her “not knowing a man” extends into the future. right?


#5

just so you know, basically what i’m trying to do here is somehow show, by Mary’s words in Luke 1:34, that she intended to remain a virgin. my opponent says that there is nothing in the greek that would indicate that her “not knowing a man” extends into the future, that she was only addressing her present state. but, my question is: why would a state that only existed in the present cause her to question a future event (“how ***shall *** this be”)? from what i can tell, the angel relays the virgin birth as something that will happen in the future, not something that will happen presently or immediately–and Mary understands the angel as speaking of a future event.

here is the passage:

**Luke 1:31-35 ** (DRV)
**31 ** Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
**32 ** He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
**33 ** And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
**34 ** And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
**35 ** And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

to me, the only way this make sense is if her present state was meant to extend into the future. that’s the only reason i can think of for why her present state would cause her to question a future event. but, the greek does not indicate that her present state extends into the future. so, that kinda puts me at a loss…


#6

[quote=phatcatholic]jimmy,

your answer was very helpful. i have a few more questions tho. when i used the greek bible to retrieve the verse, and i clicked on the greek word for “know” it said the tense was “present”, not “perfect.” (at least, as far as the key goes, it didn’t have an “X”, which they use to indicate that the perfect tense is being used). you said it was in the perfect tense, so i was just wondering where you got that.

also, is there somewhere online where i can go to learn what all these words mean, for Tense, Voice, Mood, and Case? that would be very helpful!!

finally, if the tense of this verb indicates an action completed in the past that extends into the present, then i guess i can’t point to the tense of the verb as proof that her “not knowing a man” extends into the future. right?
[/quote]

Sorry about that, I am wrong. It is the present tense, I saw the P and assumed perfect. I was actually wondering why they translated that prestent in English but now I see my mistake.

I don’t know where online you could go but I can give you some information on them. You might want to get a Greek book so that you can learn the sentence structures.

I was actually wondering the same thing when I looked it and thought it was perfect, but I was wrong, it is present tense.

In my next post I will give some info about tenses, moods, cases, and voice.


#7

as far as what all the linguistic terms mean, i managed to find this site, which looks like it will be helpful.

also, see post #5 in this thread on why i’m asking all these questions.

thanks! :smiley:


#8

[quote=phatcatholic]just so you know, basically what i’m trying to do here is somehow show, by Mary’s words in Luke 1:34, that she intended to remain a virgin. my opponent says that there is nothing in the greek that would indicate that her “not knowing a man” extends into the future, that she was only addressing her present state. but, my question is: why would a state that only existed in the present cause her to question a future event (“how ***shall ***this be”)? from what i can tell, the angel relays the virgin birth as something that will happen in the future, not something that will happen presently or immediately–and Mary understands the angel as speaking of a future event.

here is the passage:

**Luke 1:31-35 **(DRV)
**31 **Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
**32 **He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
**33 **And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
**34 **And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
**35 **And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

to me, the only way this make sense is if her present state was meant to extend into the future. that’s the only reason i can think of for why her present state would cause her to question a future event. but, the greek does not indicate that her present state extends into the future. so, that kinda puts me at a loss…
[/quote]

Since it is actually present tense it can extend into the future. The present tense is present time and progressive aspect. It would be translated “I know”. Progressive aspect means that it is in action or something like that. You would translate as “I am walking” or “I am filling”.


#9

[quote=jimmy]Since it is actually present tense it can extend into the future. The present tense is present time and progressive aspect. It would be translated “I know”. Progressive aspect means that it is in action or something like that. You would translate as “I am walking” or “I am filling”.
[/quote]

how do you know that this present tense has a progressive aspect? is there something about the greek word that tells u that? not all present tenses have this aspect, right? (sorry, excuse my ignorance). i need a source or something that proves that this extends into the future before i make this claim. if i say “well someone from catholic answers told me” then that won’t hold much weight w/ my opponent.


#10

[quote=phatcatholic]as far as what all the linguistic terms mean, i managed to find this site, which looks like it will be helpful.

also, see post #5 in this thread on why i’m asking all these questions.

thanks! :smiley:
[/quote]

That site should be helpful, but it is not specified for Greek. Some things on there are latin or other for example the Ablative which is in latin but not Greek.

If you need any info, ask. I will still give you info on tenses, cases, mood, and voice if you would like.


#11

[quote=phatcatholic]how do you know that this present tense has a progressive aspect? is there something about the greek word that tells u that? not all present tenses have this aspect, right? (sorry, excuse my ignorance). i need a source or something that proves that this extends into the future before i make this claim. if i say “well someone from catholic answers told me” then that won’t hold much weight w/ my opponent.
[/quote]

the questions i quoted above are what i’m most concerned with right now. i think i’m on the verge of being able to prove what i want to prove with this verse! however, any info you have available on tense/case/mood/voice would still be appreciated.

thanks,
phatcatholic


#12

[quote=phatcatholic]how do you know that this present tense has a progressive aspect? is there something about the greek word that tells u that? not all present tenses have this aspect, right? (sorry, excuse my ignorance). i need a source or something that proves that this extends into the future before i make this claim. if i say “well someone from catholic answers told me” then that won’t hold much weight w/ my opponent.
[/quote]

The present tense can either be progressive or repeated aspect. Repeated aspect translates it as repeated or habitual. The other, progressive, translates it as being in progress. The present tense for the verb to fill in the 1st person can be translated either as “I fill”(habitually) or “I am filling”.

Here are a couple links that describe the Greek tenses and everything else.

ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/inter-tense.htm
ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#PRESENT

They explain it pretty well.


#13

[quote=phatcatholic]the questions i quoted above are what i’m most concerned with right now. i think i’m on the verge of being able to prove what i want to prove with this verse! however, any info you have available on tense/case/mood/voice would still be appreciated.

thanks,
phatcatholic
[/quote]

Aspect

Simple Aspect - presents it simply.
Progressive Aspect - presents it as continuously happening.
Repeated Aspect - Presents it as happening repeatedly or habitually.
Completed- Presents the action as completed in the past.

Tense

There are seven tenses in Greek. Present, Perfect, Aurist, Imperfect, Pluperfect, Future, and Future Perfect.

The present tense has either a progressive aspect or a repeated aspect. It is also in the present time. For the verb to fill and 1st person you would translate it as “I fill”(repeated) or “I am filling”.

The perfect tense is completed aspect in present time. It expresses an action that occured in the past but the effects are still in effect in the present time. It would be translated as, “I have filled”(it is still full).

The Aurist tense is simple aspect in past time. It expresses something that is independant of the present. It presents it very planely. It would be translated, “I filled”.

Imperfect tense is progressive or repeated aspect in the past time. It expresses something that was happening continuously or repeatedly. It translates, “I was filling”.

Pluperfect tense is completed and it is past tense. It expresses something that happened previously to an event or by a specific time. For example in the bible when it uses the term “full of grace” for Stephen, it also uses the pluperfect tense in Greek. It is understood as Stephen having been filled with grace previously to his martyrdom. With the verb to fill it is, “I had filled”.

The Future tense is progressive or repeated aspect or also simple aspect in Future time. “I will fill”.

The Future Pluperfect is in completed aspect and future time. It is translated as “I will have filled”.


#14

Mood

There are four moods. The Indicative, the Subjunctive, Optative, and the Imperative.

The Indicative mood expresses something that is real and is factual. All the translations from my last post are in the indicative mood.

The Imperative mood expresses a command. It can only be expressed in 2nd or 3rd person. For 2nd person, “You fill the glass.”

The Subjunctive mood expresses something that is not factual. They are used in conditional clauses and purpose clauses and other sentence structures. There is no set way to translate them. The can express something that may happen. An example of a sentence where it would be in English would be, “We pray in order that we may be saved.” It is used in conditional sentences like this one above where the first verb is in present time or future time tenses. The inderlined word is in present time. The blue is the subjunctive translation.

Optative mood is also a non-factual mood. It is used in the same type of sentences the Subjunctive is used in pretty much. It is used in sentences with past verbs in the first part. It would be like this, “We prayed in order that we might be saved.” The underlined words are past tense. The blue is the optative translation.

Non -Finite verbs

There are two types of non-finite verbs, the infinative and the participle.

The infinative expresses the verb without indicating a person. It is translated “to fill”

The participle is a verb that is used as an adjective. “The running man”.


#15

Here are a couple links that describe the Greek tenses and everything else.

ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/inter-tense.htm
ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#PRESENT

They explain it pretty well.

dude, those links are HUGE! thank you so much!! :smiley:

ok, just to make sure i got this straight, every greek verb in the present tense has either a progressive or repeated aspect. correct? if so, then one could rightly claim that, when Mary says “i know not a man” she is speaking of sexaul interaction with a man that is both foreign to her presently and will continue to be foreign to her. correct?

if this is indeed correct, then we have in the original greek for this verse proof that mary intended to remain a virgin. i hope that is the conclusion we can rightly deduce…cause that would be AWESOME! :smiley:

pax christi,
phatcatholic


#16

Voice

There are two voices, the active and passive voice.

The active voice expresses the verb as being done by the subject. “Jack kicks” Jack is the subject and he does the kicks.

The passive expresses the verb being done to the subject. “Jack is kicked” Jack is the subect but he is being kicked.

Case

All the above parts are affected by the form of the verb, but the case is the form of the noun or adjective that is used. There are Five cases in Greek; the nominative, the genetive, the dative, the accusative, and the vocative.

The nominative case is used for the subject. In the sentece “Jack kicks”, Jack is in the nominative case.

The Genetive Case expresses ownership or motion from. In the the sentence, “Jack kicks the ball from the line”. The line is in the genetive. The genitive case is normally expressed in English with the preposition of as in, “the car of Jack”.

The Dative case is used for the indirect object. In English it is usually expressed by the preposition “to” or “for”. “I give the box to the girl.” The girl is in the dative.

It is also used to express instrumantality and accompanyment. It can be expressed in English by the prepositions “by” and “with”. “With my brother” and “Kicked by my foot.” They are both in the dative.

The accusative case expresses the direct object. “Jack kicks the ball”.

The Vocative case is the case that is in direct speach. It is used when addressing a person. For example, in Luke 1;28 when the angel greets Mary, he says, “Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.” In this sentence "full of Grace is in the vocative case in the Greek. It is like a name that the angel addresses her with.


#17

[quote=phatcatholic]dude, those links are HUGE! thank you so much!! :smiley:

ok, just to make sure i got this straight, every greek verb in the present tense has either a progressive or repeated aspect. correct? if so, then one could rightly claim that, when Mary says “i know not a man” she is speaking of sexaul interaction with a man that is both foreign to her presently and will continue to be foreign to her. correct?

if this is indeed correct, then we have in the original greek for this verse proof that mary intended to remain a virgin. i hope that is the conclusion we can rightly deduce…cause that would be AWESOME! :smiley:

pax christi,
phatcatholic
[/quote]

Correct, it is always repeated or progressive.

You have to be careful, it can be translated as being a vow of virginity, but not all present statents have to go into the future. It can be translated as her making a vow to remain a virgin. We know from this passage that Mary has no plans to have sex as the time. We know that Mary is already married to Joseph, so it sounds an awfull lot like a vow of virginity.

That said, Augustine understood this to mean that Mary took a vow of virginity.


#18

An addition to what I said above. If I say I am filling my glass, that means that I am doing it now and it is continuous, but we do not know for sure that I will still be filling it in 5 minutes.

What we can conclude from the passage in Luke is that when the angel is there she does not know any man sexually and that she has no plans to know any man sexually. We also know that Mary and Joseph are already married(Matt. 1;20).


#19

[quote=jimmy]An addition to what I said above. If I say I am filling my glass, that means that I am doing it now and it is continuous, but we do not know for sure that I will still be filling it in 5 minutes.

What we can conclude from the passage in Luke is that when the angel is there she does not know any man sexually and that she has no plans to know any man sexually. We also know that Mary and Joseph are already married(Matt. 1;20).
[/quote]

but vs. 18 says she was found to be with child while they were betrothed, but ***before * ** they came together. vs. 24 says joseph didn’t take mary as his wife until after the dream, after she was found to be pregnant. so, to me this means that they were betrothed, not married, when the angel came to her.

this is important b/c protestants explain her alarm by saying that she didn’t know man b/c she was still in the betrothal period, the time when a couple did not have sex. what would you say to this?


#20

[quote=phatcatholic]but vs. 18 says she was found to be with child while they were betrothed, but ***before ***they came together. vs. 24 says joseph didn’t take mary as his wife until after the dream, after she was found to be pregnant. so, to me this means that they were betrothed, not married, when the angel came to her.

this is important b/c protestants explain her alarm by saying that she didn’t know man b/c she was still in the betrothal period, the time when a couple did not have sex. what would you say to this?
[/quote]

I thought betrothed was to be married.


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