EIMI -- copulative or stative

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Jul 29 08:54:05 EDT 1999

At 2:43 PM -0700 7/28/99, shawn wrote:
>I'm new to all this so bear with me if this question is too easy.
>However, this is my first posting to b-greek so I'm fairly excited!
>First of all it isn't hindering my translation skills but I'm curious
>because I was reading in some sources about the verb EIMI (D.A. Black's,
>Learn to read New Testament Greek pp.20, and Parsons Greek Tutor).
>First Parsons' referred to it as a stative verb, which www.m-w.com defines
>as "expressing a state, condition, or relation".
>Black's text referred to it as a copulative verb, which he further defines
>as "...(from Lat. copulo, `I link together') because it links subject and
>So which is more accurate?  Are they basically saying the same thing or is
>there a slight difference between how they look at the verb?

I don't disagree with what Jonathan has said on this, but I'm wondering
whether the difference envisioned here isn't between what's usually
referred to as the "copulative" and "existential" functions of the verb
BE/EINAI. When EINAI is copulative, it links a subject and a predicate word
(a substantive or an adjective); when EINAI is existential it states that
the subject EXISTS.

	SWTHR hHMIN ESTIN hO CRISTOS: "Christ is our Savior.

	ESTIN hO QEOS: "God exists."

Generally when ESTIN is existential it comes first in its clause.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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