Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Greek Question

I was reading in 1 John the other day and I came across something about which I have a question.

1 John 2:9 in the Greek:

ο λεγων εν τω φωτι ειναι και τον αδελφον αυτου μισων εν τη σκοτια εστιν εως αρτι.

The one saying in the light _________ and the brother of him he hates in the darkness he is until now.

That's a "wooden" translation (as my Greek professor calls it). But, the question I have is...why does John employ ειναι here? I've not spent hours researching it, but I looked in a few books and couldn't find anything.

I was hoping some of you Greek scholars would be able to help!


Jim said...

As Burton rightly points out, "The Infinitive is frequently used in the indirect quotation of assertions."

Burton, Ernest De Witt: Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek. 3rd ed. Edinburg : T. & T. Clark, 1898, S. 154.

What's he mean? That the infinitive serves as a sort of "quotation marker" "The one who says, "I am in the light" but instead hates his brother is a liar!"

Don't translate the infinitive, leave it as a quote indicator, and you'll be fine.

By the way, "hoti" also functions in the same way at times.

Josh McManaway said...

You, sir, are the man. Thanks, Jim!

Alan Knox said...

Well, I'm late. But, I agree... this is probably an infinitive of indirect quotation.


GLW said...

Actually, technically, "The one who says, "I am in the light", but instead . . ." involves a direct quotation. As an indirect quotation, it would be "The one who says (that) he is in the light but instead . . ." or "The one who claims (himself) to be in the light but instead . . ." The original statement was clearly, "I am in the light", but our author is referring to the claim without directly quoting the other person's speech. "Hoti" does indeed, however, function as a marker of direct (not indirect) quotation.

But I do agree that Jim is the man, anyway.

Sean Winter said...

Hi Josh

Jim gets it right. Note that menein in 2.6 seems to function in the same way. If you haven't seen it yet, Martin Culy's Handbook on the Greek Text of the Johannines (Baylor) is a helpful guide on some of this stuff.


Mike said...

Yeah, Culy discusses a lot of things about syntax that the normal commentay does not.

check it out.


GLW said...

Μενειν in 1 Jn 2.6, like ειναι in 2.9, also marks an indirect quote, and should be translated accordingly: "The one who claims to abide in him" or "The one who says he abides in him". NB the difference (no infinitive) in the direct quote in 2.4: ο λεγων εγνωκα αυτον και τας εντολας αυτου ουκ τηρων, κτλ. / "The one who says, 'I have known him' and does not keep his commandments", etc.

Patrick George McCullough said...

Well, I am very late to the discussion and have nothing important to add. But if you have a copy of Wallace, GGBB, then check out pp. 603-605 on the issue of infinitives used with indirect discourse. Of interest on the ὅτι issue, see BDF §396 and §397.

Getting too much information yet? :)

Josh McManaway said...

Thanks to everyone who left a comment!