[B-Greek] heis/mia/hen used as indefinite article?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Sun Jul 24 02:34:49 EDT 2005


On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 19:19:19 -0700 Jonathan Walther <krooger at debian.org>
writes:
> I read an interesting article that said heis/mia could mean "one" 
> but
> could also be translated as the indefinite article "a/an".  The 
> article
> said the same thing is done in Germain with "ein".
> 
> The article quoted Gesenius, saying that Hebrew echad was used as 
> an
> indefinite article sometimes, and that the same was done with
> heis/mia/hen as a Hebrewism, since the authors of the NT were 
> Hebrew.
> 
> The article quotes Conybeare and Stock, who show examples from the 
> LXX
> of heis/mia standing in for an indefinate pronoun.
> 
> Has anyone done a study on this?  Is this a controversial position?  
> Is
> it widely accepted?
> 
> Jonathan
_____________

I believe this is generally accepted.  It was an accomplishment for
languages such as Hebrew and Greek to possess a definite article.  Latin
never had one.  The indefinite article was a subsequent development and
was in its own way very significant as well.  The use of "one" as a
work-around for a missing indefinite article was a step in this
direction.  I would recommend section #3 under "hEIS, MIA, hEN" in BDAG. 
As examples we might note its occurence in the Apocalypse

5.5    KAI hEIS EK TWN PRESBUTERWN LEGEI MOI 
6.1    KAI EIDON hOTE HNOICEN TO ARNION MIAN EK TWN hEPTA SFRAGIDWN 
                -- Probably not.  See 6.3, 5, 7, 9, etc.
         KAI HKOUSA hENOS EK TWN TESSARWN ZWiWN LEGONTES
7.13  KAI APEKRIQH hEIS EK TWN PRESBUTERWN LEGWN MOI
8.13  KAI HKOUSA hENOS AETOU PETOMENOU EN MESOURANHMATI LEGONTOS 
13.3  KAI MIAN EK TWN KEFALWN AUTOU 
15.7  KAI hEN EK TWN TESSARWN ZWiWN EDWKEN -- Questionable 
                    cf. "IT is an ancient Mariner, 
                           And he stoppeth one of three."
17.1  KAI HLQEN hEIS EK TWN hEPTA AGGELWN -- Questionable, see 15.7 

Skipping over several which are unlikely

18.21 KAI HREN hEIS AGGELOS ISXUROS LIQON
19.17 KAI EIDON hENA AGGELON hESTWTA EN TWi hHLIWi

george
gfsomsel
___________


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