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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

The Greek Particle

02.4.4

When Dana & Mantey (1957, p.24) described δε they said:  “It is also common as a transitional or continuative particle, when it may be translated and, moreover, then, now, etc.” (emphasis in source).

 

Bauer, W.  (1979, p. 171).  "one of the most commonly used Grk. particles, used to connect one clause w. another when it is felt that there is some contrast betw. them, though the contrast is oft. scarcely discernible.  Most common translations:  but, when a contrast is clearly implied;  and, when a simple connective is desired, without contrast;  freq. it cannot be translated at all. . . . 1. to emphasize a contrast . . . e.  introducing an apodosis after a hypothetical or temporal protasis, and contrasting it with the protasis . . . 2 Pet 1:5 (for the protasis vs. 3f);"

 

The grammatical structure in 2 Peter 1:5-7 is not conditional, as no indication of conditionality is present anywhere in these verses.  Further, nothing in these verses indicates that Peter considered any of these virtues to be 'hypothetical'.  He was convinced of their reality and was strongly imploring his readers to 'add' them in their lives.

 

In the 2 Peter text, using the clause 'in your faith supply moral excellence' as an example, the word 'faith' would be the introductory clause or Protasis, and the clause 'moral excellence' would be the result clause or Apodosis.  Given this understanding, Bauer's statement in 1.e. could be understood as saying:  'introducing an apodosis (Result/Moral Excellence) after a hypothetical or temporal protasis (introductory clause/Faith), and contrasting it with the protasis (introductory clause/Faith).

 

This could be further simplified as:  'Faith occurs before Moral Excellence.'  The possibility of a 'hypothetical' relationship is not indicated, leaving only the 'temporal' relationship of the protasis happening before the apodosis.  This option is also indicated by the rest of the grammar in these verses.

 

This particle, δε, is used between each clause in the passage.  A pair of terms is given, the particle δε is given, and then the next pair of terms is given.  As such, the use of this particle is quite repetitive in the sequence.

 

This usage is not simply repetitive, but forms a Polysyndeton.  "Seven 'ands' in vv. 5-7."  (Bullinger, E. W.  1901 B, p. 1864;  PDF B p. 562).   What is a  Polysyndeton?  It is a "Repetition of connectives or conjunctions for rhetorical effect, as, 'east and west and south and north.'" - (The Readers Digest Assoc.  1966, p. 1048).  Thus, a Polysyndeton is a rhetorical style.  It is a "slow[ing] up the rhythm of the prose" so as to produce "an impressively solemn note." (Corbett, E. P. & Connors, R. J.  1999, p. 52).  In addition to the solemnity referred to, a Polysyndeton also adds a feeling that the ideas are being built up.  This feeling is quite compatible with the approach to the text taken by the 2 Peter Theory.

 

Its use implies that to the growth attained in the first pair of character qualities, the next pair of qualities are to be added.  The seven clauses are NOT to be considered as separate, but as a linked, unified process that is sequential in nature.  Each step is joined to those prior and those following.