peChristos aftonf!



  • imikhail, sorry, your English is not accurate.

    rise, raise, rose are all the same verb.

    We can say Christ rose, and Christ was risen and both are the same verb with different nuances. Neither form says anything at all about whether or not the action took place with or without support.

    If we wanted to say that Christ recieved the activity of another agent then that requires the passive form of the same verb. It is all the same verb.

    We would say, Christ was raised.

    Rise and raise and rose are all the same verb. It is the form of the verb which provides different nuances.

    Christ was risen is not usually good English. If a person meant that some other agent had been involved then we would say Christ was raised. Otherwise we would only say Christ was risen in the context of a sentence such as..

    By the time Peter arrived at the tomb CHRIST WAS RISEN from the dead.

    This form of the sentence says nothing at all about whether Christ was raised by his own power or that of another. Indeed it is entirely possible to use the passive in a reflexive sense.

    i. Christ was raised from the dead by his own power.

    ii. Christ raised himself from the dead.

    Neither of these forms require someone else to have raised Christ. Indeed it is clear from them both that He raised Himself.

    Your criticism of the phrase 'Christ is risen' as meaning that someone helped him is just plain wrong in English. Christ is risen says nothing at all about any agency, and indeed the implied agency is that of the subject of the phrase.

    Christ is hungry, is exactly the same form as Christ is risen. At some point in time he became hungry and continues to be hungry. At some point in time he rose from the dead (somehow) and he continues to be in the state of being risen.

    Christ is risen! would never normally be taken as meaning that He was raised by some other agent. So I do believe clearly and absolutely that you have misunderstood the English.

    Christ has been raised from the dead! would almost always be taken as suggesting that He was raised by some other agent.

    Christ rose, and Christ arose, are again the same meaning as Christ is risen although with less emphasis on the continuing state.

    These are all just one verb, not two.

    Christ was risen is not good English, outside of specific sentence structure..

    Lazarus was risen from the dead when I saw him last, but he is no longer.

    But it is very clear to me, as an advanced native English speaker, that

    Christ rose and Christ was risen or Christ is risen have NO SENSE AT ALL of Christ being the subject of another agent.

    Christ was risen and Christ was raised ARE TWO DIFFERENT meanings and not the same at all.

    The difference between Christ rose and Christ is risen is not at all where you are finding it. It has nothing at all to do with one meaning that he was helped and the other meaning that he acted alone. Neither form means that at all.

    The difference is that the Coptic form (as Remnkemi has explained) is a past form and says that at some point in the past Christ rose from the dead. (Which is of course a true statement). While Christ is risen has the continuous sense that not only did Christ rise from the dead but he remains risen.

    Let me insist again, this has nothing to do with him being helped or not.

    Christ is risen DOES NOT MEAN HE WAS HELPED.
  • Thanks Fr. Peter for your input. It is really helpful.

    The question still remains that the English translations are not consistent with the Coptic ones. In the gospel the verses about resurrection give the impression that He received support as it uses a variety of "was risen" "has been raised", "was raised".

    The Coptic is consistent to use "rose".

    Any ideas as to why the English uses the passive form?

    Will you please elaborate on

    Christ was risen and Christ was raised ARE TWO DIFFERENT meanings and not the same at all.

  • Christ was risen means that at some point in the past Christ was in the state of being risen from the dead, but possibly is not now. It does not carry any sense of another agency.

    Christ was raised means that at some point in the past Christ was raised from the dead and does imply some other agency.

    If we are restricting ourselves to the passages in the Gospels, Matthew 28:6 for instance..

    Darby - He is risen
    NKJV - He is risen
    NIV - He has risen
    NASB - He has risen
    KJV - He is risen
    Douay-Rhiems - He is risen
    ESV - He has risen

    Coptic - He rose

    I can't see that there are decent English translations of this passage using the form 'He has been raised'. They all us 'is risen' or 'has risen', which are all forms of the same verb as 'he rose'. The form 'he rose' is the simple past. That is, as far as I understand,the form used in the Coptic Gospel text. That used in the Greek Gospels produces a perfect continuous sense. Remenkemi has described that the Coptic does not have this verb form and so cannot say the same thing in one word.

    None of these forms suggest any other agency in the resurrection. (The actual issue is separate, since clearly the wider NT texts show that the resurrection is to be understood as a Trinitarian action). But in regard to this passage there is no suggestion of additional agency.

    The Gospel verses do not seem to me to imply any other agency at all.

    Matthew 28:6 - He is risen
    Mark 16:6 - He is risen
    Luke 24:6 - He is risen

    The passive form is not used in these angelic announcements as translated into English. What references do you have to these being translated into English in a passive form?

    God bless

    Father Peter
  • EKhrestos anesty,
    Yes imikhail, this is how I understood it from FR. Peter and mabsoota; risen in that sentence is treated rather like an adjective than a past participle.
    DEar FR. Peter, I disagree with you. Raise is not the same as rise. The former is a transitive verb pretty much like Coptic donos, and the latter is intransitive like the Coptic dan. You may have been talking about meanings only, which I could quite grasp but this is where the confusion occurred for imikhail I guess: although both verbs mean quite the same, I mean the English and Coptic counterparts, they are translated differently in different places in the Bible...
  • Dear Fr Peter,

    Here are the verses I am referring to:

    Mark 13:9
    "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." KJ

    Mark 16:14
    Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat , and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen . KJ

    John 2:22
    When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said . KJ

    When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. RSV

    After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. NIV

    Too many to list.
  • I am talking about meanings, does anything else matter?

    The word raise has many meanings, but one is clearly belongs to the collection of meanings around the verb rise.

    There is no passive form...

    I have been risen

    it is the form

    I have been raised

    This is not entirely germane to the question though, which I must admit I am losing track of. The Gospels say 'he is risen', or 'he has risen'. The Coptic says 'He rose'. I don't see a great difference other than in tense which Remnkemi has explained.
  • imikhail,

    The form 'was risen' again does not include any sense of another agency.

    It is a past tense of the verb that is all. I am not sure what you are saying.

    Your example of John 2:22 just shows that the Greek form does not have one fixed translation.

    Surely the question is why the Coptic does not translate the the variety of forms? The Greek must surely be the authoritative text.

    Again, I am afraid I have lost track of what you are trying to show. Can you explain again. Not in terms of the English but in terms of why the Coptic is different to the Greek.
  • In all the verses I listed, Coptic is consistent to the simple past tense which used in the greeting.

    English on the other hand has a variety of forms that explains the different ways our Church has employed "Christ is risen" in its hymns.

    That is all and thanks for all you the contributors on this thread in particular Fr. Peter.
  • Imikhail you have not explained why the Coptic uses the simple past when the Greek, and by extension the English, does not.
  • Ekhrestos anesty,
    In all honesty I think that the Coptic doesn't necessarily use the simple past tense, but the present perfect. It's only understood in the context of the sentence, and it shares the same form with the simple past tense anyway....
  • Fr. Peter,

    I do not know Greek so I cannot really compare those verses that I listed to see what is the tense used in Greek. However, I know that in other matters of theology the Coptic is a very accurate translation.

    Let me give an example:

    We all know that the Holy Spirit did not descend hypostatically on the Virgin. Yet the inEnglish translation says "the Holy Spirit". The Greek does not have the definite article neither does Coptic. Theologically, it is known that when the definite article is known, it does indicate hypostasis and when it is not it is the grace of the holy Spirit.

    So, both Greek and Coptic is accurate in this regard.

    Again, I am sorry I cannot really comment on the Greek verb tenses with regard to the resurrection.

  • Sorry, I don't agree.

    In what context are you saying that the Holy Spirit refers to the Person of the Holy Spirit, and Holy Spirit does not refer to the Person of the Holy Spirit?

    The Greek in the Gospels is NOT the simple past tense, the Coptic is. The Coptic is clearly different to the Greek. Are you suggesting that every scholar who has translated the Greek into English has made a mistake?
  • I've been doing some research.

    First I want to make a correction on my last post. According to, the present progressive is the same as the present continuous. So Coptic does have a present continuous or present progressive.

    Second, "risen" is the past participle of rise. It is an irregular English verb. Normal or regular verbs always have the "ed" ending in the past participle: He walked.

    According to (and many other sites), the present progressive "Use the Present Continuous with Normal Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can also be used to show that something is not happening now." It is formed by [am/is/are + present participle]. It does not say anything about the status of being for the subject of the verb. And it is used with normal or non-irregular verbs. On this verb conjugation site, the present progressive or present continuous form of the phrase would be "Christ is rising". Therefore, "Christ is risen" is not the present progressive form.

    The past progressive verb, as defined by, is "Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past. Remember this can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time." It is formed by [was/were + present participle]. So the phrase would be "Christ was rising". This is not appropriate in our case.

    The conjugation form using "risen" is the Present perfect. The present perfect is described: "We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc. We CAN use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet" This seems to be very close to the meaning we are looking for. An action that happened in the past without a specified time. Although we know the specific time Christ rose from the dead, the nuance of the greetings is claiming that Christ has risen at some time in the past but the specific time is not important. What is important is the fact that he rose. The present perfect is formed by [has/have + past participle]. So the phrase would be "Christ has risen". Risen, like seen, is an irregular verb. Searching "seen" in the New Testament, shows us that the Coptic doesn't have a specific form for irregular past participles. There are very few irregular verbs in Coptic. Everytime "seen" is used in the New Testament, the past tense is used. For example, John 14:9 "He who has seen Me, has seen the Father" in Coptic is vyetafnau `eroi afnau `eViwt. So the preterite is also the present perfect. Both "Christ rose" and "Christ has risen" in Coptic is Pi`,rictoc aftwnf

    Now the past participle can be used as an adjective. For example, "It is written". In Coptic, this is formed by using the present tense with the qualitative form of the verb: `c`cqyout. This, however, seems to be an idiom because it always uses the 3rd person feminine present form. It never uses any other present tense form. Also, in Coptic, there is no qualitative form of the Coptic verb rise (the English qualitative is "be raised").

    I looked for other instances of the past participle used with the present tense of "be" to describe the state of being: [is + past participle of an irregular verb]. One example I found is "is seen" in Romans 8:24. The phrase "a hope that is seen" in Coptic is ouhelpic eunau `eroc. This is the present continuous form even though it describes the state of being seen.

    1. twnf is an irregular Coptic verb.
    2. I have not found any references describing the differences between twnf, twn, twounou. I don't think it has anything to do with transitive vs intransitive verbs. I think it has more to do with irregular patterns of the infinitive, pronominal and the pre-prepronominal forms.
    3. In English, risen is the past participle form of an irregular verb. The only verb tense that would make sense is the present perfect. I believe this is why the English translators translated "has risen" most of the time.
    4. As far as I can tell, the verb tense that describes the state of being risen is the present tense: He rises. To describe the present state of an action that happened in the past, again uses the present tense (like "it is written) but must use the qualitative form of the verb.
    5. As Fr Peter mentioned, rise and raise are the same verb.
    6. After all this, I think Dzheremi's observation is accurate. We shouldn't be looking for such "hard" determinism. I think the Coptic Pi,rictoc aftwnf is the perfect present, the simple past, and the closest thing to the present qualitative. Without additional context, there is no way to distinguish them. However, knowing that this is a Resurrection greeting, and knowing that both the present qualitative and the simple past is intended, both meanings are implied. Therefore, I think the Coptic translators of the Greek Bible were very accurate and true to the Greek meaning.
    7. On a side note, anecty is not the only Greek word used in the New Testament. Matthew 14:2 "John the Baptist risen from the dead" uses yger;y. The same with Matt 27:64, Matt 28:6, 7, Mark 6:14, 16, Mark 16:6, Mark 16:14, Luk 9:7, Luk 24,6, 34, 2 Tim 2:8. On the other hand, anacty is used in Mat 17:9, Mark 3:26, Mark 16:9, Luk 9:8, Luk 9:19. As you can see yger;y is used more often than anecty. In Coptic and English, "risen" or aftwnf is always used. This goes back to Dzheremi's comment that one language translation is not always hard or rigid in another language. This risen or anecty is a targum of the Greek verbs used. In light of this, I believe the Coptic translators were very sensitive and accurate to the Greek original.
    I hope I have not confused everyone. Sorry this was very long.
  • Sorry, I don't agree.

    In what context are you saying that the Holy Spirit refers to the Person of the Holy Spirit, and Holy Spirit does not refer to the Person of the Holy Spirit?

    Fr. Peter,

    I see you like to disagree and then you ask a question to clarify what you are disagreeing with  :D

    Ok, let me explain

    Luke 1:35
    "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

    Coptic and Greek say: "A Holy Spirit"

    Matthew 1:18
    ow the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

    Coptic and Greek say: "of (a) Holy Spirit" no definite article

    Matthew 3:11
    I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

    Coptic and Greek say: "with (a) Holy Spirit" no definite article

    Here the Holy Spirit did not descent hypostatically on the Virgin, nor He does during baptism.

    Now let's switch gears to the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit

    Matthew 12:32
    Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

    Coptic and Greek use the definite article "the" to denote the person and essence of the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 13:11
    But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

    Coptic and Greek use the definite article "the".

    These are very few examples. There are numerous ones
  • Ekhrestos anesty,
    Dear Remenkimi, can I ask how do reach your conclusions comparing Coptic with English in both grammar and verb conjugation. I cannot get my head sound this, and I do believe that's a strange approach...
  • I think you are wrong to strictly assign meaning to the presence or absence of the definite article, certainly in Greek and probably in Coptic.

    This is why the scholarly translators of the Bible use the definite article in English even if it is not present in Greek. This is why, I believe, those who learn Coptic can never pick up all the nuances which would have been there for a native speaker.

    In English I need to use a definite or indefinite article, but there are lots of languages where the definite article is used for emphasis, and it does not mean that a definite meaning is not to be applied even if the definite article is not present. I have learned languages where this is the case. In Finnish, for instance, I kept adding definite articles that were not necessary to give a definite sense to a sentence even if the definite article was not used. It is the same in Greek, and therefore I must disagree with you.

    'Spirit' and 'the Spirit' can both be taken in a definite sense in Greek. It is the context which matters, as the scholarly translators into English very clearly show. What you are suggesting is that those who have translated the Bible into Enlgish are less knowledgeable than you. While I respect your knowledge I find that unlikely.
  • George,

    Without getting into the specifics of your examples (because I don't know enough about Coptic to comment on them) I would caution against applying categories as they are employed in English to Coptic or other languages that are not at least genetically related to English. Even languages that are genetically related encode these things differently, and constructions that may seem to mean the same thing often do not. For example, participles are a bit more complicated in Russian than in English. In English, adverbial and adjectival participles are marked in the same way (gathering potatoes, .... vs. the girl living with us...), while in Russian they are distinct (-sch + gender ending for adj. participle; -ya for adv. participle). This leads to a situation where the English translations of these constructions would be inadequate, because any translation could not capture the internal changes that happen to the Russian verb. They would look the same in English. Echoing Ophadece's concern, I would like to know just how cleanly English grammatical structures can be mapped on to Coptic.
  • ...And how cleanly Greek structures can be mapped onto Coptic, which has been my unanswered question. Since Coptic is not related to Greek, despite using loan words, I suggest that there are as many, but different, obstacles to mapping Greek into Coptic as Greek into English.

  • Fr. Peter,

    This is not my own opinion or interpretation with regards to the definite article. This is a theological study.

    In fact, the EO accused the Coptich Church in teaching that the Holy Spirit hypostatically on the Virgin and one of the points they pointed out is what I explained above. This was in the late sixties around 1967

    The Coptic Church backed away from this teaching.
  • Spirit' and 'the Spirit' can both be taken in a definite sense in Greek. It is the context which matters, as the scholarly translators into English very clearly show. What you are suggesting is that those who have translated the Bible into Enlgish are less knowledgeable than you. While I respect your knowledge I find that unlikely.

    I am not taking this personally at all. Again, this is not an opinion but rater a theological point.

    When debating theological issues, every letter counts as you very well know. One of those was the definite article and how the Coptic Church used to say that Jesus got incarnate through the hypostatic union of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin's womb. EO differed and pointed out that if that were true, the definite article would have been used. Strangely enough, Coptic agreed with what they were saying and the Coptic translation agreed perfectly with the Greek in this regard.

    I am not making any claims against the English translation for the Arabic translation is deficient. I could have used Arabic instead of English but it would have meant nothing to you. Besides I cannot show Arabic letters on this forum anyway.

    I guess what we can take from this is that we need to reference the original languages when we are studying matters of theology.

    I will repeat again that any translation is an interpretation and all have to be taken collectively to arrive at the true meaning of the text.

  • I think the Coptic bikhristoc afdonf is the perfect present, the simple past, and the closest thing to the present qualitative.


    the letter "a" signifies simple past and it is simple as that.

    Do not extend the Coptic language through interpretation of other languages.
  • imikhail, Coptic is not an 'original' language. It is a translation from the Greek, just as the English and Arabic are translations from the Greek.
  • I understand that Coptic is not original but one of the earliest translations as Latin (older than Latin).

    On scholarly works, Coptic is listed among the original languages of the Scriptures and is studied as such. Again, this is not my opinion or bragging about Coptic it is simply a fact.

    Languages that are considered original:

    Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, Syriac and Latin.
  • Dzheremi, Fr. Peter,

    I guess I wasn't clear. I was trying to show how English categories are not the same in Coptic. They cannot be cleanly cross categorized into Coptic. In the case of risen, there is additional nuances in that risen is an irregular English verb. Coptic treats many irregular verbs differently depending solely on the context. So where the English New Testament has "is seen", the Coptic either uses the past simple, the perfect, or the present continuous. This shows English categories cannot be mapped into Coptic.

    The same with Greek. Greek words cannot be mapped into Coptic so cleanly either. Look at "Greek loan words" by the late Bishop Greghorius. He was talking about Greek loan words. In some instances, a Coptic word is used in the Bohairic version of the Gospel, while the Sahidic used the Greek loan word, and vice versa. Sometimes, both Coptic versions use Coptic words even when a suitable, frequently used Greek loan word is available. He concluded that he couldn't map loan words in Coptic. He even looked at phonetic mapping. In our case, he Greek original uses 2 different verbs for risen, there must be some internal nuance not depicted in Coptic or English. So neither Coptic or English can be mapped to Greek 100%. Is this what you were asking about, Fr Peter?

    imikail, I wasn't extending Coptic through English. I was showing how Coptic treated certain Greek words and how English treated certain words in the Bible. What is clear from scripture passages is that the Coptic past tense is used when the Greek or English implies the perfect tense. How you want to interpret that information is up to you. I don't think the preterite is absolute as you might believe. It isn't in English either.
  • I don't think the preterite is absolute as you might believe. It isn't in English either.

    By definition Preterite in English is past tense.

    I find it strange for a verb to be in the past tense to indicate something else than past ...

    Could you please give examples in English where past is not really past?
  • [quote author=imikhail link=topic=11306.msg137207#msg137207 date=1304438226]
    Could you please give examples in English where past is not really past?

    Gladly. Take for example annah] `erok. We say it in the Conclusion of the Midnight Psalmody. It looks like the preterite. However, if you look at the context, we are saying, "You are the Son of God [and] we believe in you". (It's not "we believed in you") It cannot be the past tense. Otherwise, we are saying "We believed in you at one specific time." (This is the definition of the preterite.) but now we no longer believe in you.

    If on the other hand, the phrase annah] `erok is the present perfect, which does not specify a time that an event that happened in the past but continues to the present then the correct translation for annah] `erok  is "We believe in you", not "we believed in you".

    Another example is the second present tense. It is formed by a + subject + verb (this is identical to the preterite), yet the context clearly shows an event occuring in the present tense. Take a look at Piwik. The first verse is Aremacf a[ne ;wlem@ af] nan `mpefcwma....anwnq sa `eneh Translation: "You gave birth to him without spot. He gave us His body...we lived forever." The first two verbs are the simple past tense: gave birth, gave us His body. The third verb, although it is identical to the perterite/past tense form in both Coptic and Englis, it can't be the preterite. We can't live forever in the past tense. However, we can live forever in the present. It is the second present tense.

    This is what I can come up with for now. I hope it clarifies things. 
  • But here you are dealing with translations.

    This does not mean that the verb anonkh means that it is present. Or the verb "annahdi" means it is in the present. These are in the past.

    Translation is different. In addition, the translation is an interpretation of what the Coptic ought to mean.

    Why "we believed in you" is wrong? Does it really mean that it happened in the past and now we stopped believing? Of course not.

    Take the following verse as an example

    1 John 4:16
    "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."

    Does this verse, following your rationale, mean that we have stopped knowing and believing the love of God? Nonsense.

    You cannot submit one language to another based on translations. Simple past in Coptic does not mean present. It may be translated in the present but it is in the past.

  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Well said imikhail
  • Look up any Coptic textbook, Bohairic or Sahidic. In Bohairic, the second present tense looks identical to the preterite but it is the present tense. Look at "So you want to learn Coptic" page 221 You can look up Thomas O Lambdin Inroduction to Sahidic Coptic here. The Second present=circumstantial.

    In your example, of 1 John 4:16, it is not the simple past. It is the perfect present. There is no mention of time. If 1 John 4:16 said, "And we have known and believed yesterday the love God had for us." It would be the simple past. It would also imply we no longer believe and God no longer has love for us. But since it is the perfect present (in English and Coptic), with no specific time mentioned, it is obviously the present tense, since we still believe in the love and God still loves us. Refer to for more information.

  • I don't know Arabic all that well. So I hope someone can answer my question. In the verse of Pioik that I mentioned uses the second present tense in Coptic and English, what does the Arabic say? The Arabic text is ولدته بغير دنس، وأعطانا جسده ودمه الكريم فحيينا الى الأبـد. Is  فحيينا the past tense or the present tense?

    And I'm not compairing. Like Dzheremi said, Arabic is not genetically related to English or Coptic. So if the Arabic is past tense, the English and Coptic can still be present tense. But I don't know enough Arabic to tell.

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