[B-Greek] Significance of Pluperfects In John 6:17

Kevin W. Woodruff cierpke at prodigy.net
Wed Jul 25 09:20:51 EDT 2007


I'll give you what Daniel Wallace in his book Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (pages 584-585) says about this verse:
They began crossing the sea to Capernaum. Now it was already dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The first pluperfect in this text is intensive (as is evident by the ἤδη); the second one is extensive (ἐληλύθει).

Intensive Pluperfect 
    This use of the pluperfect places the emphasis on the results that existed in past time. Its force can usually be brought out by translating it as a simple past tense. This is different from an aorist, however, in that the aorist is not used to indicate a resultant state from the event. It is different from an imperfect in that the imperfect describes the event itself as progressive, while the pluperfect only describes the state resulting from the event as continuing. This usage is relatively common. 

Extensive Pluperfect 
    The pluperfect may be used to emphasize the completion of an action in past time, without focusing as much on the existing results. It is usually best translated as a past perfect (had + perfect passive participle). (Some examples might better belong to the intensive category.) This usage is relatively common, especially in the Fourth Gospel. 

I hope this helps


Prof. Kevin W. Woodruff, M.Div., M.S.I.S.
Library Director/Reference Librarian, Assistant Professor of Bible, Greek, Theological Bibliography and Research
Tennessee Temple University/Temple Baptist Seminary, 1815 Union Ave. 
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404, United States of America
423/493-4252 (office) 423/698-9447 (home) 423/493-4497 (FAX)
Cierpke at prodigy.net http://pages.prodigy.net/cierpke/woodruff.htm

----- Original Message ----
From: Douglas M. Wood <dougwood at gracebible.ws>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 5:57:08 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] Significance of Pluperfects In John 6:17

Dear Text Experts:

     I am a pastor preaching this coming Sunday.

In chewing on and investigating the meaning of

my text (John 6:15-21; Jesus Walks On The Sea),

I discovered your website.  I trust that you are

most interested in discerning the meaning that

the Holy Spirit intended, through His on-purpose

choice of Greek words.  

     There are 2 pluperfects in John 6:17.  Since 

there are only 22 pluperfects in the entire NT, I

am thinking that 2 in one spot is very significant.

     Most English translations render the verse

as a report on the time and status -- for example, 

"And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come

to them" (NKJV).  I find such a translation superfluous 

given the time report in v. 16.  

     I am theorizing that the pluperfects in this 

verse intone something more significant --

and cosmically so, related to the Light

coming into the Darkness theme in this, the

Gospel of John.

    What say you about the pluperfects here ?

Are there any articles in your archives that you

can point me to ?  Do you know of any 

commentaries that attempt to fathom the significance

of the pluperfects (so far, I have only found the

William Hendriksen volume on John in the New

Testament Commentary by Baker Book House

[1953] that calls any attention at all to the pluperfects;

but, I find his interpretation of the meaning not

fully satisfying) ?

    Thank you for any assistance that you can be.

                                    In Christ,

                                                   Doug Wood

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