[B-Greek] Matthew 24:34

bertdehaan at gosympatico.ca bertdehaan at gosympatico.ca
Mon Jun 16 20:13:40 EDT 2003

 > At 2:17 AM -0700 6/16/03, K.Bratanov wrote:
> >Hello everybody,
> >
> >Would you please help with the correct translation of Mat 24:34
> >
> >The Greek says:
> 	   (should be:PARELQHi hH GENEA hAUTH)
> >I was surprised to find conjunctive, and "an" particle, instead of
> >future (according to the versions I've read) It'd be interesting for
> >me what is your proposal for literal translation as well.
> >
> >I think that the particle "AN" makes the meaning little different
> >from defining *historical* points of beginning and end (for ex. the
> >sec. half of the I-st c.). Perhaps Jesus of Nazareth speaks rather of
> >period of continuance, e.g. less than 30 yrs, not mentioning the
> >historical point of beginning? Which would mean that we could only
> >get from here an idea of *how much time* those events would take, but
> >in now way *when* exactly they'd begin and, respectively, end ?

Carl Conrad replied:
> "Truly I tell you, this GENEA will not pass until all these things have
> taken place."
> The real question is precisely what hH GENEA hAUTH was intended to  mean.
> Here's what NET note on it says:
> =====
> "This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various
> views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning "race"
> and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away.
> But it is very questionable that the Greek term v (GENEA ) can have this
> meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean "this
> type of generation" and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then
> the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or
> (3) generation may refer to "the generation that sees the signs of the end"
> (v. 30), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the
> movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it
> happen very quickly, in rapid succession. "
 The "exegetical insight" section of Mounce's BBG chapter 22 speaks about this. I would like to quote this and see if there are any comments about it being a valid discussion.

"The aorist... is the indefinite tense that states only the fact of the action without specifying its duration. When the aorist describes an action as a unit event it may accentuate one of three possibilities....1. inceptive or ingressive 2. constative or durative 3. culminative or telic.
These aspects of the indefinite aorist may shed some light on a perplexing saying of Jesus in his Olivet discourse... I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things GENHTAI.  The difficulty lies in the fact that Jesus has already describes the end of the world in vivid terms .... unless the expression "this generation" is stretched to include the entire age from Jesus' first to his second coming (a less likely option), the aorist GENHTAI must provide the clue.  If we view the verb as an ingressive aorist and translate it from the perspective of initiated action, the saying may be rendered, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things begin to come to pass."
This nuance of the same aorist form may also be seen in the angel Gabriel's words to Zechariah (Luke 1:20): "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day GENHTAI TAUTA." Not only the birth but the adult ministry of John the Baptist is prophesied by Gabriel in vv. 13-17, yet Zechariah recovers his speech as soon as he writes the name of his infant son John on a tablet (vv.62-64). Accordingly, v.20 should be translated,"And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day these things begin to happen.
The student is well advised, then, to pay careful attention to the contextual meaning of the larger sense unit and interpret the aorist as the pericope or paragraph would suggest."

This makes good sense to me but I would love to hear what some of you think about it. Thank you.
Bert de Haan.

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