[B-Greek] Future Perfect

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Mon Nov 10 04:50:02 EST 2008

Ken erwthse
Black's beginning grammar lists the Future Perfect as a verb tense.
In looking into this, I found a web site that said the Future Perfect is
always formed in the NT by a periphrastic though it did not say
what that was. I'd guess future of EIMI + perfect participle.
However, Smyth, according to the search engine on Perseus,
mentions this tense just once, giving a single form of it.
I couldn't find a discussion of it in Smyth online otherwise.
So I'm uncertain. Is the Future Perfect a tense with its own forms
that I should at least mention to beginning students, or is it in the
NT only a periphrastic and therefore should be ignored because
it is an intermediate topic?  When did the actual tense get basically
replaced by the periphrastic construction?

Ken Litwak

The future perfect is very marginal and can be covered by
ESOMAI + perfect participle (MEOTXH PARAKEIMENH).
 there is a "real one" in Hebrews 8:11,
EIDHSOYSIN (Ionic-->Koine?).
The "normal" form was EISONTAI. Philo uses this latter
quite a bit.

and when they occur they are usually verbs that like to have
the 'present' (you do believe in the present tense?) with the
PARAKEIMENOS perfect like
EIDENAI -> EISESQAI '(in order) to know',
MEMNHSQAI -> MEMNHSESQAI '(in order) to remember'

The only one that we give our students in the SXOLH
(we now have "J-terms", too, Jan 09--shameless plug)
EISONTAI  "I ... will know". It might be considered "Attic" but
it is also literary Koine. [[It is a good one to know since the
other form EIDHSW is self evident in reading, while
EISOMAI could easily be mixed up with OISW 'I will bring'
or EISIW "I would be entering" or
Homeric EISOMAI "I will enter".]]

Slightly more common are
a few frozen perfect subjunctives without using the 'be' verb.

However, it has exegetical significance in places like Matt 16:19
and 18:18. Where the question hinges on a
differential reading of the Greek possibilities.
ESTAI LELYMENA 'will be loosed' or 'will be having-been-loosed'?
The simple reading could have been accomplished by
LYQHSETAI 'will be loosed'.
So some would argue that the participle must be intended to
be fully explained EXHGHMENH 'exegeted', since the simple
future passive was not used.

However, some have noticed that
LELYMENON and DEDEMENON correspond to technical terms
in Hebrew מותר mutar and אסור asur. Having the status of
technical terms would explain why the compound structure
would be used: it would preserve the technical term as distinct.

As a Hebrew speaker, I can't read 16:19 and 18:18 above without
hearing the tech term. I am pretty sure that that is Matthew's
intention. Certainly Jesus', since he took the idiom for granted
and did not add explanation.


Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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