MOODS BEYOND INDICATIVE Mood: the affirmation of the relation of action to reality. Is the action actually taking place or is it potential? This question introduces the two basic moods in any language: the real and the potential. In New Testament Greek there are four true moods - one expresses real action (indicative), three express potential action (subjunctive, optative and imperative). Indicative Mood: action which is viewed by the speaker as real. Action which is viewed by the speaker as possible, contingent upon certain conditions, is expressed by one of the potential moods according to the distance which the action is removed from reality. Four English sentences illustrate this principle: 1. Indicative mood: The child is running.. This expresses action which is really taking place. 2. Subjunctive mood: If the child runs, he will escape. This expresses action which is not really taking place but which is objectively possible. The child has the ability to run. This is the nearest potential mood to reality. 3. Optative mood: Oh, that the child would run! This expresses action which is not really taking place but which is subjectively possible (a wish). It is one step further removed from reality than the subjunctive. 4. Imperative mood: Run, child! This expresses action which is not really taking place but which is volitionally possible, i.e., the action will depend on whether the person addressed wills to produce action (to obey). It is the furthest removed from the indicative mood.
The Subjunctive Mood Two things are indicated in the Greek tense: time of action and kind of action. Of these 2 only kind of action remains outside of the indicative mood. In the subjunctive mood, the time of action is lost. In a sense, all subjunctives point to the future for their fulfillment; thus, they are not concerned with the past. n
The kind of action -
Present Subjunctive: linear/ continuous V-PAS-1S λυω I may (or might) continue loosing Aorist Subjunctive: punctiliar V-AAS-1S λυσω I may (or might) loose (in one act)
In English we use the helping words “may” and “might” to communicate the conditional nature of the subjunctive verb. The word “may” is used when the main verb is present or future; the word “might is used when the main verb is aorist. Present Subjunctive
1. V-PAI-1S CONJ V-PAS-1S P-DSM 1. V-PAI-1S CONJ V-AAS-1S P-DSM I am coming that I may continue speaking to him. I am coming that I may speak to him. 2. V-AAI-1S CONJ V-PAS-1S P-DSM I came that I might continue speaking to him.
2. V-AAI-1S CONJ V-AAS-1S P-DSM I came that I might speak to him.
3. V-FAI-1S CONJ V-PAS-1S P-DSM I will come that I may continue speaking to him.
3. V-FAI-1S CONJ V-AAS-1S P-DSM I will come that I may speak to him.
n An interesting variety of expression is possible in the subjunctive mood. The following are frequently found: 1. One use of the subjunctive is that of the subordinate clause to express purpose. The main conjunction used in this construction is “ινα”. “ινα” can be translated 2 ways: V-PAI-1S CONJ ερχοµαι ινα I am coming in order that
as telic - purpose: in order that as ecbatic - result: with the result that V-AAS-1S P-DSM ειπω αυτω I may speak to/in/by/with him.
2. Conditional sentences: 1. Affirming the reality of condition: COND V-PAS-3S V-FAI-3S T-ASF N-ASF If (ει) he is studying, he will learn the Greek. 2. Contrary to fact condition: COND V-LAI-3S V-AAI-3S T-ASF N-ASF If (ει) he had studied, (αν) he would have learned the Greek. 3. Probable future condition: COND V-AAS-3S V-FAI-3S T-ASF N-ASF If (εαν) he studies, he will learn the Greek. 4. Possible future condition: If (ει) he would study, (αν) he would learn the Greek. New Words: ει - if, since, whether, if only εαν - if, when, though, even if Note: When εαν and µη are used together, it can be translated as “except”. Note: “αν” is not translated as a specific English word, but simply indicates the subjunctive mood. 3.
The hortatory subjunctive is the use of the first person plural to exhort others to join them in action. V-PAS-1P PREP T-ASM N-ASM ελθωµεν εις τον οικον. Let us continue going into from without the house. V-AAS-1P PREP T-ASM N-ASM ελθωµ εις τον οικον. Let us go into from without the house.
The prohibitive subjunctive is the use of the second person aorist subjunctive (never the present) to express a negative entreaty or command. (You do not have to use the 2nd person “you” or “you all”) PREP N-ASN PRT-N V-AAS-2P P-1AP εις πειροσµον µη εισενεγκης ηµας. a. Lead us not into from without temptation b. Don’t ever lead us into from without temptation **This forbids the beginning of an act. The present imperative is used for expressing the prohibition of the continuance of an act already. The translation of this depends on the respect/authority of the one addressed.
The deliberative subjunctive is used to express a question which is either a mere rhetorical device expecting no answer at all, or a real question which expects an answer in the imperative. I-NSM V-AAS-1S P-2DP τι ειπω υµιν. What shall I say to you? If an answer is expected at all, it will be in the imperative, e.g. “say this” or “say that” or some similar expression.
The subjunctive is used to express the emphatic negation. This construction employs the double negative “ου µη” and is much stronger than the simple “ου” with the indicative. PRT-N PRT-N V-AAS-3P ου µη εκϕυγωσιν They shall by no means escape.
Note: When Subjunctive Verbs are acting as the Main Verb of the sentence, a participle will be translated as if the Main Verb is in the present tense. This is because subjunctive verbs do not show time of action in their translation.
Subjunctive Translation Checklist 1.
Find the main verb to determine the time of the action. If there is no main verb, look to the general context (or consider it present tense.) Look for key words a) ινα - “in order that/for the purpose that…may/might” b) εαν/ει...αν, ει - Conditional Sentence – “If…” or “If…then”
Look for negative particles a) With “µη” in the 2nd Person Aorist – Prohibitive – “Lead us not” or “Don’t ever lead” b) With two negative particles “ου” and “µη” – Emphatic Negation – “They shall by no means escape”
If the sentence contains a 1st Person Plural Subjunctive, it may be translated – “Let us…”
Look for the Interrogative Pronoun “τι” (parsed I) – “What shall I say?”
If none of the above apply, use the word “may” or “might” to indicate the conditional nature of the action.
Published on Nov 30, 2012