[B-Greek] 1 Cor. 7:11 "EAN DE KAI CWRISQH"

Roe d.roe at t-online.de
Sat Feb 8 09:45:56 EST 2003

Iver Larsen schrieb:

> As Ann has said the difference between aorist and present subjunctive in
> these constructions is not a matter of tense, but of aspect. The present
> "tense" is used mainly in cases of a general nature which may occur at any
> time or repeatedly. It is often connected with whatever, whenever, whoever.
> The aorist is used when their is focus on a particular possibility. Assuming
> this particular event happens or has happened, what then?

Thanks Ann and Iver for your help. I'd looked at this some
time ago and meanwhile let slip the vague understanding I once
had of it.

Conzelmann in his Hermeneia commentary says of the expression
EAN DE KAI CWRISQH in 1 Cor. 7:11 that it "does not mean the
conceding of exceptions ('if she separates herself after
all'), but refers to an already existing situation: 'if she
has separated herself"-despite the linguistic difficulty of
EAN with the aorist subjunctive referring to the past.15"

He refers to: "15 Blass-Debrunner §373." Not having
Blass-Debrunner, I don't know whether Conzelmann's reference
to the grammar is for support of his opinion, or for
discussion on "the linguistic difficulty of EAN with the
aorist subjunctive referring to the past"... 

Trying to amalgamate your and Conzelmann's remarks, I see the
subjunctive aorist with EAN to generally refer to present or
repeated action, but that it can and sometimes does instead
refer to past action -- i.e., in 1 Cor. 7:11 that Paul *more
likely* refers to the possibility of separation without regard
to time, and that it is grammatically *less likely* Paul
refers to separation which had already occurred upon receipt
of his letter.

Iver, you characterized the aorist subjunctive: "Assuming this
particular event happens or has happened, what then?" Is it
possible Paul intended "assuming this particular has already
happened, then..." -- the subjunctive force referring to the
indefinite possibility that some had already separated in
Corinth, with no intention of referring to future happenings?
Or would we then have to say Paul expressed himself poorly?

Interestingly (though not so relevant to B-Greek), while I had
noted that the majority of English translations recognize the
subjunctive mood of the phrase without reference to the past,
the majority of German translations I've looked at (the 1984
Luther, Elbefelder, Schlachter, Zürcher, Gute Nachricht,
Menge, Dietzfelbinger, and Baader) translate/interpret the
subjunctive aorist to refer to past action, against a minority
which refer to present or repeated action (Einheitsbibel, the
1912 Luther, and Münchener).

Thanks again for you time and help,


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