[B-Greek] ESTIN Accent?

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Wed Jun 3 07:58:43 EDT 2009

I feel in the mood to discuss anomalies today, so let's try another on ESTIN.
My comments below **

>Perhaps this answers your question

>The use of ἐστίν ESTI/N and ἔστιν E/STIN demands special comment. When unemphatic, not at the beginning of a sentence, not preceded by ἀλλʼ ALL', εἰ EI, καί KAI, οὐκ OUK, ὅτι hOTI, τοῦτʼ TOUT', or a paroxytone syllable, as, for example, in Ἰουδαίων ἐστίν IOUDAIWN ESTI/N (Jo. 4:22), we have unaccented ἐστιν ESTIN as inἀγρός ἐστιν AGRO/S ESTIN (Mt. 13:38, 39), καθώς ἐστιν KAQW\S ESTIN (1 Jo. 3:2), etc. In some examples of mild emphasis W. H. have ἐστίν ESTIN, as in νῦν ἐστίν NUN ESTI/N (Jo. 4:23; 5:25), ποῦ ἐστίν POU ESTI/N (Mt. 2:2; Mk. 14:14). But the cases are numerous where ἔστιν E/STIN is correct, as when it is emphatic, and expresses existence or possibility, as in εἶδες ἔστιν EI=DES E/STIN (Rev. 17:18), αὐτοῦ ἔστιν AUTOU= E/STIN (Ac. 2:29),ἅγιον ἔστιν hA/GION E/STIN (Ac. 19:2), ὁ εἷς
 ἔστιν hO hEI=S E/STIN (Rev. 17:10), οὐδεὶς ἔστιν OUDEI\S E/STIN (Lu.
1:61; 7:28; 18:29). Ἔστιν E/STIN is also the accent at the beginning
of sentences, as in Jo. 21:25; 1 Cor. 15:44; 1 Jo. 5:16 f.; Heb. 11:1.
Cf. ἐστίν ESTI/N in Col. 1:15and ἔστιν E/STIN in 1:17. Then again we
have, according to the usual rule, ἔστιν E/STIN after ἁλλʼ ALL' (Jo.
13:10), εἰ EI (1 Cor. 15:44), καὶ KAI\ (Mk. 12:11; 2 Cor. 4:3), ὅτι
hO/TI (2 Th. 2:4; Mk. 6:55; Heb. 11:6), but ὅτι ἐστίν hOTI ESTI\N (Ac.
23:5) when the idea of existence is not stressed, οὐκ OUK (1 Cor.
11:20; Ro. 8:9, etc.), τοῦτʼ TOUT' (Mk. 7:2; Ro. 7:18). W. H. give
only ἑστἰν ESTI/N after ποῦ POU= (Jo. 9:12; 11:57; Mk. 14:14).

>Robertson, A. (1919; 2006). A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (233). Logos.

>From: Richard Ghilardi
>Subject: [B-Greek] ESTIN Accent?

>>Hello Folks,

>>I have examined every instance of paroxytone ESTIN in the NT and I am
satisfied that I can explain its use in every case except Rev 17:18.


>>In vss 8, 10 and 11 as well as in 21:1 the reason for the accented penult
is apparent: E/STIN is existential. But it certainly is not in 17:18. So
my question is: Why did the editors choose to accent E/STIN as

>>Yours in His grace,

>>Richard Ghilardi - qodeshlayhvh at juno.com

I agree with Richard that Rev 17.18 is not 'normal'.
I suspose that means I disagree with Robertson on this specific
verse, not on the principles. (e.g., Acts 2.29 and 19.2 can
certainly be explained as Focus on existence.)

We can explain the medieval copyists' choice as 'virtually' beginning
a sentence. If one reads KAI H GYNH HN EIDES as a dangling
introduction with a slight comma intonation, then ESTIN becomes
the virtual restart of the sentence and may take a sentence initial
accent. After all, HN EIDES is a clause in its own right that is
separating the subject from the rest of the sentence.

If one does not pause and restart, then one would need to re-accent:
. . . εἶδές ἐστιν . . . EI~DE'S ESTIN
But that may sound to little jarring to a Greek ear where predicates
so often precede ESTIN, since HN EIDES is not the predicate.
Hence the slight pause and reaccentuation of ESTIN as if from a


Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
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