More On Don Preston's Butchery Of ????? with the Infinitive

Howard Denham
October 23, 2014

More Greek grammarians on the use of μελλω with the infinitive:

(1)   Alpheus Crosby– “583. III. A future action may be represented more expressly as on the point of accomplishment, or as connected with destiny, necessity, will, purpose, & c., by the verbs μελλω, εθελωor θελω…with the Inf. [infinitive, HDD].” (A Grammar of the Greek Language, Boston, MA:Crosby & Nichols, 1862, p. 366.)

[NOTE: This is stated in his grammar on Classical Greek, wherein μελλω often was attached to the idea of imminence, but even then, as Crosby’s notation implies, such was not its sole meaning or use. Often it merely indicated that the future action was determined by Divine will or some other factor as necessarily having to occur or having been ordained. Markopoulos, as we have shown, has demonstrated that the idea of intention (which he cites as the oldest idea of the term) and also that of imminence receded in the Koine period to be replaced as having a dual modality primarily with the idea of certainty.]

(2)   William Watson Goodwin – “73. (μελλω with the Infinitive.) A periphrastic future is formed by μελλω and the present or future (seldom the aorist) infinitive. This form sometimes denotes mere futurity, and sometimes intention, expectation, or necessity.” (Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, London, UK: MacMillan &Co., 1929, p. 20).

[NOTE: Again, Goodwin shows that even during the Classical period the idea of imminence was not the exclusive meaning or use of μελλω with the infinitive, as Hyper-Preterists, like Don Preston, have claimed.]

(3)   P. Thomson – “(b.) There exists a kind of Periphrastic Future with μελλω, or θελω followed by the infinitive (generally present or future)…They differ, as a rule, from the simple Future, by emphasizing the intention or desire to do a thing…” (The Greek Tenses in the New Testament, Edinburgh, UK: J. Gardner Hitt, 1895, p. 26).

[Note: Thomson does not even address the use of μελλω with the idea of imminence. Given Don Preston’s myopic approach to Blass & DeBrunner, who did not address the ideas of intention or certainty, which the term also often reflects, one could easily claim that imminence is never the meaning in any Koine text and that intention or certainty is what it “always means.” But the approach is unwarranted on either account. It is sufficient to refute his nonsense by pointing out that Thomson,a genuine Greek scholar of no mean ability, would beg to differ with him on the meaning of μελλω with the infinitive and that his case is not nearly as “cut and dried” as Preston intimated in his radio rant on the construction.]

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