Heb 1:1-3

Roger Thornhill

Active member
Pretty dismal.

I used to read a book systematically in Greek (John, Paul, etc) and now I generally read passages when researching a topic.

Now, controversy appears to drive me to study rather than pure love of the language.

Currently I am unoccupied.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
If by "unoccupied" you mean unemployed, then that's a perfect time for you to spend more time on your Greek reading. Get back to systematic reading if you can -- occasional reading is always good, but no substitute. I hear what you are saying about people adding subjective weight to their exegesis. Intuition can be good, but one should always be able to explain and defend that intuition. Occasionally thinking it through rigorously can show that the intuitive reading was not the best. There are some specific examples, BTW, in my OP, particularly in considering the rhetorical nature of the passage.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
If by "unoccupied" you mean unemployed, then that's a perfect time for you to spend more time on your Greek reading. Get back to systematic reading if you can -- occasional reading is always good, but no substitute. I hear what you are saying about people adding subjective weight to their exegesis. Intuition can be good, but one should always be able to explain and defend that intuition. Occasionally thinking it through rigorously can show that the intuitive reading was not the best. There are some specific examples, BTW, in my OP, particularly in considering the rhetorical nature of the passage.
No, by unoccupied I meant I don't have a current exegetical project to provide the incentive to expand my reading.

I am quite busy now otherwise.

I checked the link again for Silva. I had been interested in the linguistics before and the link is still not valid.
 
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Gryllus Maior

Active member
No, by unoccupied I meant I don't have a current exegetical project to provide the incentive to expand my reading.

I am quite busy now otherwise.

I checked the link again for Silva. I had been interested in the linguistics before and the link is still not valid.
Good to hear that! And Silva as in Moisés Silva? I must have missed something, what were you looking for? Silva was the second reader for my Th.M. thesis. Brilliant man.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
Good to hear that! And Silva as in Moisés Silva? I must have missed something, what were you looking for? Silva was the second reader for my Th.M. thesis. Brilliant man.

The link from your OP comes up with 'not found' and has Silva in the URL. I was trying to see how the rhetorical figures of speech related to the OP.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
Thanks. Is that your site?

Also, can you explain what you mean by asyndeton highlight the unity of the thought" in Hebrews 1?

According to Runge, it is the default means of connecting clauses in English and the NT Epistles.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
Thanks. Is that your site?

Also, can you explain what you mean by asyndeton highlight the unity of the thought" in Hebrews 1?

According to Runge, it is the default means of connecting clauses in English and the NT Epistles.
No, that's not my site. It's hosted by BYU. Where does Runge say this? I'd like to see his statement in context -- my instinct is to say it's wrong, since we have lots καί's and other connectives in the NT.

It is one thing to identify the mechanics of a rhetorical device. You then have to ask the question, why this device in this context? By omitting the connectives, the effect for me is to highlight how the actions described in each clause fit together.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
It's his book Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pages 20 and 21.

From my hard copy (CARM said the photos I tried to upload were too large):

"the writer did not feel the need to specify any kind of relationship between the clauses."

'it is the most basic ("unmarked") option. It is the option chosen when there is no particular reason to signal that some feature is present.'
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
You then have to ask the question, why this device in this context? By omitting the connectives, the effect for me is to highlight how the actions described in each clause fit together.

According to Runge, if the writer "had wanted to constrain a specific relation, there are plenty of conjunctions to make the intended relation explicit. The choice to use asyndeton represents the choice to not specify a relation."

Runge makes sense to me. I don't understand how you view asyndeton as highlighting a specific connection, hence my question.

I just dusted off my dog-eared copy of Levinsohn's Discourse features of NT Greek and on page 118, section 7.2 Asyndeton he makes a similar statement on "constraint" as does Runge.
 
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Gryllus Maior

Active member
Very good -- I have Rung's Discourse Grammar, and so was able to examine his entire discussion. Without getting into too much detail, let me suggest that there is a difference between the asyndeton that Runge discusses and asyndeton consciously used as a rhetorical device. In Hebrews it's the latter, and particularly between participial phrase (functioning as clauses), and this is part of what leads me to my conclusion.

1) I would quibble with Steve that asyndeton marks no special relationship. Rather, it leaves the reader to determine the relationship of the clauses from context.

2) My overall problem with DA is that it focuses on too narrow a corpus. While much of Levinsohn and Runge is valuable, much also contradicts what I see the Greek doing, and these guys really have to expand their horizon (and some people, such as MIke Aubrey, have been doing just that).
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
I understand Runge and Levinsohn, but I still don't understand your point about "unity of thought" based upon asyndeton.

If you consider that asyndeton is to be interpreted based on ones view of the context, isn't that completely subjective?

As for a narrow corpus in DA, that's only a problem when the corpus being considered falls outside the scope. But in this case it does not.

Do you disagree that asyndeton is "unmarked" in the Epistles and narratives?

Or do you take issue with the concept of "marked" vs "unmarked" as valid feature for DA?
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
I understand Runge and Levinsohn, but I still don't understand your point about "unity of thought" based upon asyndeton.

If you consider that asyndeton is to be interpreted based on ones view of the context, isn't that completely subjective?

As for a narrow corpus in DA, that's only a problem when the corpus being considered falls outside the scope. But in this case it does not.

Do you disagree that asyndeton is "unmarked" in the Epistles and narratives?

Or do you take issue with the concept of "marked" vs "unmarked" as valid feature for DA?
Conrtext is literally everything. No, it doesn't have to be subjective, and shouldn't be. Interesting that many of Runge's examples are simply independent sentences. Greek normally starts independent sentences without connectives, and if he wishes to call that asyndeton, fine. It's when we have asyndeton within a sentence that it gets interesting.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
My hermeneutic places first priority on objective grammatical elements over subjective grammar. Context is subservient to grammar.

As for the one sentence in verses 1-4, you say:

"While questions of punctuation are necessarily interpretative, from the modern perspective Heb 1:1-4 is one sentence."

But your modern English translation does not reflect this.

What do you mean by "modern perspective"?
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
My hermeneutic places first priority on objective grammatical elements over subjective grammar. Context is subservient to grammar.

As for the one sentence in verses 1-4, you say:

"While questions of punctuation are necessarily interpretative, from the modern perspective Heb 1:1-4 is one sentence."

But your modern English translation does not reflect this.

What do you mean by "modern perspective"?
There is a difference in looking at the Greek and rendering it into English. "From the modern perspective" = "How we do punctuation today." Greek is one sentence. However, it's better in English to break it up a bit.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
There is a difference in looking at the Greek and rendering it into English. "From the modern perspective" = "How we do punctuation today." Greek is one sentence. However, it's better in English to break it up a bit.

I memorized Hebrews 1:1-12 in Greek decades ago. When I recite the passage in my mind, I place a full stop more than one time in verses 1-4.

Just as the writer intended it. ;)
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
Well, it looks like the Forums are finally back up and running (but not a lot of people know that yet!). I thought I would post the following just to get things going again in Biblical languages.


Hebrews 1:1-4

An Exegetical Exploration

Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις 2 ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ, ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων, δι’ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας· 3 ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, 4 τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων ὅσῳ διαφορώτερον παρ’ αὐτοὺς κεκληρονόμηκεν ὄνομα.

Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Heb 1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. [ESV]

Introductory Statement

Hebrews opens with the theme of the revelation (λαλήσας, ἐλάλησεν) of God’s redemptive purposes in their eschatological fulfillment (ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων) in the Son (ἐν υἱῷ). The central motif is the contrast between the old covenant (πάλαι… τοῖς προφήταις) and the New Covenant fulfilment in Christ, the latter being clearly superior (κρείττων, διαφορώτερον) to the former. Throughout Hebrews, this contrast will be described extensively in several ways, but in the first chapter it is the superiority of the Son as the revelator Dei versus the “shadows and types” of the OT prophets.

Grammatical and Stylistic considerations

While questions of punctuation are necessarily interpretative, from the modern perspective Heb 1:1-4 is one sentence. The main verb is ἐλάλησεν in vs. 2. The former λαλήσας is in fact an aorist participle clearly in this context marking antecedent action. ὃν in vs. 2 begins three relative clauses which describe the Son in terms of his nature (ὢν) and work (φέρων, ποιησάμενος). With exception of ἐκάθισεν and κεκληρονόμηκεν, all the verbs translated idiomatically as finite verbs in the ESV above are in fact participles, the precise nature of which will be discussed below.

The balanced nature of the clauses (as roughly equal in length) and the heavy use of participles (compared to the paratactic style of most NT writings) marks this sentence as periodic in the classical Greek rhetorical style. This rhetorical effect is heightened by the use of anaphora (ὅν, δι’ οὗ [and not the elided form of διά, common in classical Greek, but not the Koine of the NT], and ὅς). Another rhetorical feature employed by the writer is asyndeton. Each of the clauses has no conjunction joining it to the previous clause. The overall effect of these devices is to highlight the unity of the thought and to communicate the ideas in a particularly vivid and powerful way, the perfect introduction to the lofty themes the writer wishes to discuss throughout his treatise. [For definitions and examples of these rhetorical devices, see the Silva Rhetoricaewebsite (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm).]

Exegesis Proper

The writer begins by describing the varied nature of the Old Covenant revelation (Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως), most likely considering the different prophets and possibly the different literary genres used to express that revelation. This is in contrast to the revelation in the Son. The suggestion between the “one and the many” here suggest the authoritative and final nature of the Son’s revelation. The ESV above correctly captures the perfective nuance of ἐλάλησεν, “has spoken.” The aorist may sometimes be translated idiomatically by the English perfect, where the action is clearly completed. This contrast, and the finality of the revelation in the Son, is also emphasized by the chronological, or better, eschatological reference, “long ago” (πάλαι) vs. “in these last days” (ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων).

The relative clauses then describe the work and nature of the Son, and this description answers the question as to why the Son is the superior and final revelation of God.

In ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, how do you view the function of καὶ, and the relationship between ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτὴρ?
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
In ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, how do you view the function of καὶ, and the relationship between ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτὴρ?
It coordinates the two nouns. The son is both ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτὴρ.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
It coordinates the two nouns. The son is both ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτὴρ.

Of course, that is the most basic generic definition. You are probably aware that ἀπαύγασμα can be active or passive.

Does this mean that the Son as the recipient of the χαρακτὴρ of the Father (cp εικόν Col. 1) is coordinated with the Son as the recipient of ἀπαύγασμα?
 
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