Please HELP: Confused about Sentence Type Tagging

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 13 2018 10:21 PM

For you Logos experts out there (or maybe someone from Faithlife), hopefully someone can explain to me how this works. I'm playing around with searches involving Sentence Type tags. I was looking for all of the Imperative sentences spoken by Jesus in the gospels.

I'm confused at one of the results, Mat 5:20:

"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

This is tagged as both Declarative and Imperative, but isn't this just a Declarative sentence? Jesus is giving information about the condition for his hearers to be able enter the kingdom of heaven, correct?

And if this is an Imperative sentence, why are John 3:3 and 3:5 not also tagged as Imperative? (They are only tagged as Declarative, but they are similar conditional statements to the one above, the logic is the same):

"Jesus answered him, 'Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.'...'Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.'"

Is there a valid reason for the difference in treatment or are these mistakes in the tagging? Thanks!

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 14 2018 5:45 AM

In the Matthew pericope (i.e. 5.20), the Greek verb translated as "shall abound" (or "shall exceed") is a subjunctive active. It is the active form of the verb in the subjunctive mood that makes it an imperative. Whereas, in the John pericope (3.3), the Greek verb translated as "be born", is a passive form of the subjunctive. The passive form of subjunctive verbs are not imperatives.

Thus, the tagging is correct: both pericopes are declarative (both have "for I say to you"), but only Matthew's is an imperative, because the verb in the subjunctive mood is active and not passive.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 113
LogosEmployee

Hello Kiyah:

Just to clarify a bit more: Matthew 5:20 as a whole is not double-tagged, rather it is treated as two sentences with one embedded within the other: "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" and "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven".

The context menu may confuse that a little bit, but you can test it out by right-clicking the word "tell" (in the ESV - "say" in some other versions). Doing so, you should only see the Declarative tag. It's only when you right-click on the latter part of the verse that you will see two tags.

Otherwise, David is correct as to why the embedded sentence is tagged as an Imperative.

Posts 650
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 15 2018 7:25 AM

Thanks a bunch David and Jeremy! Good to know.

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