[B-Greek] Heb 8:13

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Fri Oct 2 14:03:38 EDT 2009

On Oct 2, 2009, at 1:44 PM, Cornell Machiavelli wrote:

> ἐν τῷ λέγειν Καινὴν
> πεπαλαίωκεν τὴν πρώτην: τὸ δὲ  
> παλαιούμενον καὶ γηράσκον ἐγγὺς  
> ἀφανισμοῦ.
> The first πεπαλαίωκεν is Perfect tense: the first covenant  
> is in a state of
> being obsolete. It continues with παλαιούμενον καὶ  
> γηράσκον Present participles: the
> first covenant is then said to becoming obsolete and growing old..  
> It has moved from a state
> of being obsolete to a process (or, something in progress) of  
> becoming obsolete. Why the move from Perfect
> to Present with PALAIOW?

I think that PALAIOS and KAINOS are relative terms with regard to  
longevity of "things" as opposed to GHRAIOS and NEOS are relative  
terms with regard to living things or persons (no doubt they may be  
used interchangeably, but there is that distinction between their  
common usages). I don't think PALAIOS means "obsolete" so much as it  
means "old in relationship to something that is new." At any rate, I  
don't think that PALAIOUSQAI and GERASKEIN in and of themselves imply  
obsolescence. On the other hand, the author of this unnamed snippet  
certainly does imply that a thing that has been around a long time and  
is getting older is as good as "shuffled off this mortal coil."

But there is no absolute requirement that TO PALAION should  
necessarily cease to PALAIOUSQAI. We've been discussing Thayer's  
Lexicon today; there's something that's PALAION that doesn't appear to  
be EGGUS AFANISMOU, although some would think it should be. Quite a  
few of us think that A. T. Robertson's big grammar wears its years  
pretty well.

I recall vividly my High School Geometry prof enunciating the  
aphorism: "There are new books and there are good books; the good  
books are not new and the new books are not good." I think he sort of  
felt that Euclid was still good. And I suppose that we could just  
about define the sense of a "classic" as a work of literature that is  
PALAION but not EGGUS AFANISMOU, something that wears its years well.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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