[B-Greek] Question on DE
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Apr 17 05:39:04 EDT 2006
On Apr 16, 2006, at 11:51 PM, Larry Wilson wrote:
>> "When DE is used with times of the day or divisions of the day it
>> simply means
>> "near to" or "close to" or "just before" that hour or time of the
>> day. When it
>> is not used then the reference is to during that time." End of quote
>> Is this true? I had never heard of this until this year and I have
>> heard it
>> from two different sources that balance the seeming contradiction
>> between John
>> 19:14 "the sixth hour" and the "third hour" of the synoptics.
>> Thanks for your
> Well, I had a look at the lexical references, and could find
> nothing indicating
> this. I don't have a copy of Denniston's *Particles*, maybe
> something in there?
> He needs to supply proof of the assertion, remembering that the use
> of particles
> can be highly idiosyncratic with certain authors.
> The above issue as to whether DE could represent "just before" here
> briefly stems from the following:
> 1. That DE appears in use as an adverb in later usage as "not" a
> variation of OUDE(V) or MEDE(V). In some Greek writings OUDEV and
> MEDEV became OU, ME and DEV and then the final -V was dropped to
> become DE. Thus in several Greek Lexicons you will find DE(V)
> listed with the definition as "not." But in koine Biblical Greek,
> the final -V is already dropped and thus not appears as OUDE or
> MEDE but more often simply OU or ME. So the tendency to simplify
> "not" is already present as ME and OU and sometimes OUV, which begs
> the question whether or not at John 19:14 DE is appearing as "not",
> in which case, It was NOT preparation could be understood as
> meaning "just before", DE in its most direct application being used
> to express "not quite".
(1) I note that you use BOTH "V" and "N" in transliteration to
represent the consonant Nu; we do NOT use the "V" at all in our
standard B-Greek transliteration scheme.
(2) The DE that derives from OUDEN/MHDEN is altogether unrelated to
the ancient Greek particle DE and one should never suppose a DE in an
ancient Greek text to be that later Greek negative adverb. So any
importation of that supposition to the question of these Koine Greek
NT texts is inappropriate and misconceived.
(3) I think that's really quite enough to obviate further
consideration of this question. I have no idea where the opening
citation came from, but it is meaningless and inapplicable to ancient
> 2. Next importantly, if one makes this presumption for DE
> PARASKEUH here to qualify as "not quite preparation" and thus a
> reference to the afternoon just preceding preparation, one would
> not expect it to be used with PARASKEUH (preparation) when it is
> clearly referencing the day of preparation. In that regard, five
> other references to preparation at the time just before Jesus is
> being placed into the tomb do not use DE PARASKEUH. For instance:
> JOHN 19:14 "HN DE PARASKEUH"
> it was BUT preparation
> MARK 15:42 "HN PARASKEUH"
> It was preparation
> JOHN 19:31 "PARASKEUH HN"
> preparation it was
> LUKE 23:54 "HMERA HN PARASKEUHS"
> day was of preparation
> Also JOHN 19:42 and MATT. 27:62
> Out of six references noting preparation in relation to Jesus'
> death, only John 19:14 uses DE, which if it were of critical
> distinction in relation to preparation as "not" could be understood
> to refer to just before preparation. In that case, the trial prior
> to Jesus' crucifixion at 9 o'clock (i.e. third hour, per Mark
> 15:25) would not conflict with the death of Jesus at 3:00 p.m.
> As is currently translated, the trial at noon on the same day as
> preparation (but preparation) as the day he dies means Jesus' death
> takes place within three hours of the trial.
> So the question is, in lieu of claiming John is directly
> contradicting the Synoptic Gospels, will the use of DE here, if it
> can actually be established as possibly being used as an adverb as
> "not" let John off the hook?
> 3. Finally, there's the issue of the use of DE with other times of
> the day that become interesting, most particularly a reference to
> the same time of the day, the afternoon period from noon to
> nightfall in the form of DE EPAURION. PAURION, EPAURION and DE
> EPAURION appear in the gospels. When the question becomes whether
> or not DE EPAURION is a reference to the afternoon period from noon
> to nightfall if DE is used as "NOT" meaning "not quite" or "not
> yet", two other references continue the context of that period
> (Acts 10:3, 30, ninth hour;10:9, sixth hour).
> When a check made of some extra-Biblical Classical Greek texts was
> made, several references in Polybius utilized three versions of
> EPAURION with DE including DE THN EPAURION, DE EPAURION and most
> importantly the contracted D'EPAURION, as well as EPAURION alone as
> do the gospels. The contracted D'EPAURION suggests a distinction
> in time reference when DE is used with EPAURION than when it is
> not, and if it carries the negative meaning of "not" or "not quite"
> then it would reference the time just before the next day. In
> Jewish culture, the next day began at nightfall; in Roman culture
> the reference would be to sunrise.
> I bring this up because in this casual comparison it seems as
> though the expression of 'D'EPAURION' which shows up in Polybius in
> the 3rd century BCE as a reference to the last quarter of the day
> before the next (i.e. Midnight to sunrise) was adapted into Jewish
> cultural reference in concept as DE EPAURION in reference to the
> last quarter of the Jewish day, which would be noon to nightfall.
> Thus DE EPAURION was a reference equivalent to our afternoon
> period. But that formed a basis for substitution using a specific
> type of day that began at nightfall, such as preparation. thus DE
> EPAURION became DE PREPARATION, equivalent to a reference to the
> afternoon before the next day, or in the case of John 19:14 the
> afternoon before the specific next day of preparation.
> SUMMARY QUESTION: So based upon the above, the question for the B-
> Greek scholarship is whether or not DE is sometimes being used as
> an abbreviation of OUDE/"not" in a few select references when it
> comes to times of the day, primarily founded upon the older Greek
> reference of DE EPAURION possibly being coined to represent the
> last quarter of the day before the next "morrow", in Roman culture
> a time from midnight to sunrise, adapted by the Jews to the similar
> period before their next day from around noon to nightfall. This
> seems a reasonable consideration because DE is not consistently
> used with EPAURION or PREPARATION, but especially since John 19:14
> is unique in using DE with PARASKEUH where as five other references
> in the gospels do not, those five references clearly occurring on
> the day of preparation whereas John 19:14 is otherwise in
> contradiction if the DE is ignored and not translated as "It was
> not (DE) preparation" meant it was not yet preparation and thus the af
> ternoon before Jesus' death.
> That, in turn is simplified into whether or not John 19:14 has been
> commonly mistranslated or not? But fundamental to this would be
> also whether or not instances of DE EPAURION are always references
> to the afternoon period which occurs just before the next Jewish day.
> If DE EPAURION can be confirmed to represent the last quarter of
> the day approaching sunrise in Greek culture, with the adaptation
> to the same last quarter of the day in Jewish culture prior to
> nightfall, then it could be argued that DE on occasion had already
> become an abbreviation for OUDE/"not" in times earlier than the 6th
> century, when it begins to appear more prominently in written
> works, keeping in mind that most conventions of language occur
> first in the spoken form and then becomes acceptable in the formal
> written form, but in the case of KOINE Greek, this adaptation would
> have shown up earlier since koine Greek is a less formal Greek and
> closer to the common spoken Greek.
> Sorry for the extra long post but that's basically what I have
> found so far based upon text comparisons and the various meanings
> for DE over the ages.
> Larry Wilson
> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
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