γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

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γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jaihare » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:19 am

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In Galatians 4, it seems that Paul intentionally used γενέσθαι when speaking of Jesus while γεννηθῆναι when talking of Isaac and Ishmael being born of Sarah and Hagar, respectively.

Here are the verses in question:
4:4-5 ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ, ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν.
4:23 ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται, ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας δι’ ἐπαγγελίας.
4:29 ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τότε ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς ἐδίωκε τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα, οὕτως καὶ νῦν.
The epistles of John also use γεννηθῆναι when they are talking about believers being "born of God."

There's obviously a distinction to be made here. Richard Carrier makes the argument that γίνομαι (i.e., γενόμενος) refers to Jesus' being "made" (similar to ποιησάμενος) rather than "born," since Paul didn't envision Jesus as a human being in the same sense as we are human beings. That is, he envisioned him as an angelic being that took on flesh in some sense (by descending through the various heavens rather than actually having been born to a human mother).

Can you devise any explanation that might clarify why Paul used γίνομαι of Jesus rather than γεννηθῆναι? That is, why didn't he write γεννηθέντα ἐκ γυναικός instead of γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός? I'm wondering how much explanatory power Carrier's argument has. It attracts me, and I can certainly see that Paul distinguishes here between these two verbs (on purpose, for sure). I'm just looking to find out if there is another (better?) explanation for this lexical distinction.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jaihare » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:23 am

By the way, the above verse represents the only time in Paul's writings where it is said that Jesus was "born," yet it doesn't use the word "born" (γεννηθείς) but rather "came to be" (γενόμενος). Why does Paul never mention Jesus' birth?

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:42 am

To me γίνομαι seems pretty standard for "to be born" (or more exactly, "to come into being"), at least in the classical period. I don't think that the comparison between γενόμενος and ποιησάμενος is really apt. If there's a distinction to be made between γενόμενος and γεννηθείς, I think the point is that γεννάω really means "to beget" and so γεννηθείς means "begotten". So with γεννηθείς "begotten" you have an implicit reference (however slight it may be) to the act of procreation (that's what κατὰ σάρκα means, no?), while with γενόμενος "come into being" there are no naughty bits involved whatsoever – Jesus' birth is completely "pure".

That's at least how I see it.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jaihare » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:21 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:To me γίνομαι seems pretty standard for "to be born" (or more exactly, "to come into being"), at least in the classical period. I don't think that the comparison between γενόμενος and ποιησάμενος is really apt. If there's a distinction to be made between γενόμενος and γεννηθείς, I think the point is that γεννάω really means "to beget" and so γεννηθείς means "begotten". So with γεννηθείς "begotten" you have an implicit reference (however slight it may be) to the act of procreation (that's what κατὰ σάρκα means, no?), while with γενόμενος "come into being" there are no naughty bits involved whatsoever – Jesus' birth is completely "pure".

That's at least how I see it.
So, it's your supposition that the use of γίνομαι there indicates belief in the virgin birth?

Do you think that babies are born impure because their parents had sexual unions?

What does this say about, say, Matthew's three (four?) uses of γεννάω with regard to the birth of Jesus?
1:16 Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς, ὁ λεγόμενος χριστός.

1:20 ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐνθυμηθέντος ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου κατ’ ὄναρ ἐφάνη αὐτῷ λέγων· Ἰωσὴφ υἱὸς Δαυίδ, μὴ φοβηθῇς παραλαβεῖν Μαρίαν τὴν γυναῖκά σου, τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου·

2:1 Τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ γεννηθέντος ἐν Βηθλεὲμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, ἐν ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου τοῦ βασιλέως, ἰδού, μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα,

Perhaps 2:4 indirectly - καὶ συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ, ἐπυνθάνετο παρ’ αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ χριστὸς γεννᾶται.
If γεννάω represented the use of naughty bits, why did Matthew have no difficulty using it when talking about the birth of Jesus? Indeed, all of the gospel writers use γεννάω of Jesus, obviously giving him a physical birth. Why shouldn't Paul at least once have used it, too? The use of γίνομαι seems intentional on his part, since only a few verses later he repeatedly uses γεννάω (and not γίνομαι) referring to Isaac's birth - which was also a fulfilment of promise.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:50 pm

jaihare wrote:So, it's your supposition that the use of γίνομαι there indicates belief in the virgin birth?

Do you think that babies are born impure because their parents had sexual unions?

What does this say about, say, Matthew's three (four?) uses of γεννάω with regard to the birth of Jesus?
Look, I'm not thinking anything, I'm just trying to figure out what a writer who died two millennia ago was thinking. Believe me or not, but I'm not really interested in theology, I'm reading Greek for Homer and other Classics. And I really don't know whether Paul (He wrote Galatians, right?) believed in virginal birth or not; without looking at the larger context, but only these passages, I'd say maybe he did, or at least that someone might read him that way.
1:16 Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς, ὁ λεγόμενος χριστός.

1:20 ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐνθυμηθέντος ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου κατ’ ὄναρ ἐφάνη αὐτῷ λέγων· Ἰωσὴφ υἱὸς Δαυίδ, μὴ φοβηθῇς παραλαβεῖν Μαρίαν τὴν γυναῖκά σου, τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου·

2:1 Τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ γεννηθέντος ἐν Βηθλεὲμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, ἐν ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου τοῦ βασιλέως, ἰδού, μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα,

Perhaps 2:4 indirectly - καὶ συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ, ἐπυνθάνετο παρ’ αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ χριστὸς γεννᾶται.
If γεννάω represented the use of naughty bits, why did Matthew have no difficulty using it when talking about the birth of Jesus? Indeed, all of the gospel writers use γεννάω of Jesus, obviously giving him a physical birth. Why shouldn't Paul at least once have used it, too? The use of γίνομαι seems intentional on his part, since only a few verses later he repeatedly uses γεννάω (and not γίνομαι) referring to Isaac's birth - which was also a fulfilment of promise.
You are taking me much too literally. If you look at LSJ, you'll see that γίγνομαι is very frequently used in the sense "to be born" in the classical era; I don't know whether it was still common in that sense in the 1st century AD, but I suppose it's easy to check somewhere whether it's common in the NT. In any case, it would be strange if it suddenly took on the meaning "made" or ποιησάμενος. As for γεννηθείς, the word seems equally standard for "to be born", I didn't mean to say the contrary. However, I thought that used in contrast these two words have slightly different implications, and what I was trying to do was pointing these out. γεννάω, according to LSJ, is "causal of γίγνομαι (cf. γείνομαι), mostly of the father". So my take on this is that most of the time γενόμενος and γεννηθείς mean just the same, but the slight difference in meaning might be made operative if needed. By "operative" I don't mean that writer wants to dwell on the naughty bits (I was writing tongue in cheek), just that for a causative verb like γεννάω a causator (i.e. a parent) is implied.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:08 pm

One addition: In classical authors, γίγνομαι is mostly, but not exclusively, used in the perfect in this sense.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jeidsath » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:12 pm

4:1-7 really deserves to be read together. Paul is delivering (a slightly mixed) metaphor, and the verse makes no sense on its own.

I do think there is a real question, here, but it is γενέσθαι vs. γεγενῆσθαι, not γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι. What you can note from the context, is that Paul isn't really talking about the birth of Jesus here. Like Carrier, I'd say that Paul is saying "showed up" rather than "born." For the purposes of this metaphor, Paul is not at all concerned with where Jesus came from but with his status for performing the act of ransom and adoption. I would translate something like:

"God sent his own son, who (all of a sudden, one day) showed up, of a woman, and under law, hence under the law he can go out and unpawn all these folk from the shop, so that we can get adopted into the family."

Note that Paul is also compressing the event. Jesus is there at the cross, and he has all the proper credentials to do this thing, and bang, God gets it done! Paul is not talking about the life, birth and death, or ministry, of Jesus. He is talking about the single event. So unlike Carrier, I wouldn't try to read anything into this about where Jesus came from. Paul obviously isn't speaking to that here.
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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Timothée » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:46 pm

Γίγνεσθαι ‘to be born’ (the basic meaning)
Γεννᾶν ‘to sire’ (sometimes also ‘to bring forth’); passival sense is ‘to be sired’ and ‘to be born’

Liddell & Scott’s dictionary gives γίγνεσθαι the basic meaning ‘to come into being’, as PD states. I’d say, however, that this is if not wrong then slightly misleading, or at least reconstructed for the benefit of the dictionary entry. If I comprehend correctly, the basic meaning of γίγνεσθαι is really ‘to be born’, which is then used multifariously in figurative senses. The Indo-European basic meaning for this common stem *ĝen- is ‘to sire’ (according to Pokorny 373 [,erzeugen‘]), so it has come full circle in Greek. (In Modern Greek, then, γίνομαι has lost the sense ‘to be born’ and now means ‘to become’.)

Γίγνεσθαι is used figuratively much more diversely than γεννᾶν.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jeidsath » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:23 pm

γίγνομαι is a very frequent verb in the New Testament, but only rarely used to mean born. Here and maybe John 8:58? "πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί" There may be other examples, but almost everywhere else it means something like "occurred" or "happened" or "appeared."

Strong's Greek: http://biblehub.com/greek/strongs_1096.htm
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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Timothée » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:06 am

Romans 1? “3 περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, 4 — —.” This illustrates well my note on the Modern Greek usage of this word: the change was already ongoing.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Paul Derouda » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:23 am

I more or less agree with Joel here, the distinction must be that γεννηθῆναι means being born in the ordinary way, while γενέσθαι is just "came into being", "came up", "showed up". With my tongue-in-cheek excursus on naughty bits I meant to point out that with γεννηθῆναι, the passive form of causative verb γεννάω, conception/birth is seen as a concrete process with a definite causator/parent(s), while γενέσθαι just means "came into being" in a more abstract sense. So to me, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός (instead of γεννηθέντα) seems to downplay the physical relationship between mother and son.

Although I haven't read what Carrier is saying, I wonder how you could read anything into γενέσθαι about where Jesus was coming from.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:49 pm

I suppose that Lucian's Ass isn't really Koine Greek, but this quote does seem to prove me wrong.

...καὶ ὑμᾶς δὲ τοὺς ἐξ ἐκείνης γενομένους φιλῶ ὥσπερ οὓς ἔτεκον αὐτή

...and you who were born from her, I love just as those I birthed myself.

EDIT: Wordfilter for Λούκιος ἢ Ὄνος.
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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Isaac Newton » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:55 am

jaihare wrote:πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐμοῖς φίλοις τοῖς ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ συναγωγῇ TEXTKIT καλουμένῃ, χαίρειν.

In Galatians 4, it seems that Paul intentionally used γενέσθαι when speaking of Jesus while γεννηθῆναι when talking of Isaac and Ishmael being born of Sarah and Hagar, respectively.

Here are the verses in question:
4:4-5 ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ, ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν.
4:23 ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐκ τῆς παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα γεγέννηται, ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἐλευθέρας δι’ ἐπαγγελίας.
4:29 ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τότε ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς ἐδίωκε τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα, οὕτως καὶ νῦν.
The epistles of John also use γεννηθῆναι when they are talking about believers being "born of God."

There's obviously a distinction to be made here. Richard Carrier makes the argument that γίνομαι (i.e., γενόμενος) refers to Jesus' being "made" (similar to ποιησάμενος) rather than "born," since Paul didn't envision Jesus as a human being in the same sense as we are human beings. That is, he envisioned him as an angelic being that took on flesh in some sense (by descending through the various heavens rather than actually having been born to a human mother).

Can you devise any explanation that might clarify why Paul used γίνομαι of Jesus rather than γεννηθῆναι? That is, why didn't he write γεννηθέντα ἐκ γυναικός instead of γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός? I'm wondering how much explanatory power Carrier's argument has. It attracts me, and I can certainly see that Paul distinguishes here between these two verbs (on purpose, for sure). I'm just looking to find out if there is another (better?) explanation for this lexical distinction.

εὐχαριστῶ τοῖς ἀποκρινομένοις πᾶσιν ἐν ἀγαπήσει καὶ φιλίᾳ.

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Looks like you have proved that apostle Paul believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form rather than an actual human being because he used γενέσθαι rather than γεννηθῆναι when "speaking of" Jesus .
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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jaihare » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:59 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:Looks like you have proved that apostle Paul believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form rather than an actual human being because he used γενέσθαι rather than γεννηθῆναι when "speaking of" Jesus .
οὐκ ἐμοὶ διαφέρει εἰ τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο ἀληθές ἐστιν. πιστεύω εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν ὅτι οὐκ ἄγγελος οὐδὲ θεὸς οὐδὲ ἄνθρωπος ἦν.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Isaac Newton » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:25 am

jaihare wrote:
Isaac Newton wrote:Looks like you have proved that apostle Paul believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form rather than an actual human being because he used γενέσθαι rather than γεννηθῆναι when "speaking of" Jesus .
οὐκ ἐμοὶ διαφέρει εἰ τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο ἀληθές ἐστιν. πιστεύω εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν ὅτι οὐκ ἄγγελος οὐδὲ θεὸς οὐδὲ ἄνθρωπος ἦν.
I know you don't believe that Jesus is any of the above ( mainly because you don't think he even existed), you're of course entitled to believe this. However, I take issue with your claim that in Galatians 4, apostle Paul intentionally used γενέσθαι when speaking of Jesus while γεννηθῆναι when talking of Isaac and Ishmael because apostle Paul apparently believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form and not just a human being like Issac and Ishmael. For starters such a comment betrays on your part an incorrect understanding of the range and function of γενέσθαι and γεννηθῆναι .
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by jaihare » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:16 pm

Isaac Newton wrote:I know you don't believe that Jesus is any of the above ( mainly because you don't think he even existed), you're of course entitled to believe this. However, I take issue with your claim that in Galatians 4, apostle Paul intentionally used γενέσθαι when speaking of Jesus while γεννηθῆναι when talking of Isaac and Ishmael because apostle Paul apparently believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form and not just a human being like Issac and Ishmael. For starters such a comment betrays on your part an incorrect understanding of the range and function of γενέσθαι and γεννηθῆναι .
Show me, please, where I made such a claim. I said that Richard Carrier made that claim. I didn't make the claim myself. Thanks for trying, though.

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Re: γενέσθαι vs. γεννηθῆναι in Galatians 4

Post by Isaac Newton » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:17 pm

jaihare wrote:
Isaac Newton wrote:I know you don't believe that Jesus is any of the above ( mainly because you don't think he even existed), you're of course entitled to believe this. However, I take issue with your claim that in Galatians 4, apostle Paul intentionally used γενέσθαι when speaking of Jesus while γεννηθῆναι when talking of Isaac and Ishmael because apostle Paul apparently believed Jesus to be an Angelic being in human form and not just a human being like Issac and Ishmael. For starters such a comment betrays on your part an incorrect understanding of the range and function of γενέσθαι and γεννηθῆναι .
Show me, please, where I made such a claim. I said that Richard Carrier made that claim. I didn't make the claim myself. Thanks for trying, though.
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