What is the tense of "Christ is risen"?

See subject.


I think it is the Present Perfect tense.

I would say it’s simple present tense. The word “risen” in this example is an adjective, similar to “pure as the driven snow.”

You can also parse risen as an adjective, in which case it’s just the present tense.

I’d also vote for present tense, with “risen” being an adjective. Present-perfect tense would be “Christ has risen”.

Present passive. He was dead but now He is risen.

Is there a difference between “He is risen” and “He has risen”. I think of the latter as the passive voice.

In a gun battle, there is a serious difference between “I have shot” and “I am shot” – the parallel meaning is the one you are looking at/for. While I see your point, “He has risen” refers tp an event nearly 20 centuries ago; “He is risen” to his present state today.

(All of this, i think it goes without saying, is within a universe of discourse presupposing the Christian Resurrection as factual.)

Exactly. If I say: “I am cold”, is that passive?

I think the two most plausible analyses are:

  1. Present-tense form of copula be, with risen parsed as an adjective.

  2. Present perfect, but differing from normal present perfect in that the auxiliary be is used instead of have.

If (2) is correct, then we have to explain why this pattern is not productive, e.g., why do we not find:

a. John is eaten breakfast.
b. John is taken a shower.

Maybe it’s an archaism.

However, I do not think that a passive analysis is tenable (and besides, passive is a voice, not a tense, so it doesn’t really answer the question anyway), because at least in English, intransitive predicates do not passivize. That is, if “Christ is risen” were passive, then we would expect an active counterpart along the lines of “Somebody rose Christ”, contrary to fact: rise is intransitive, cf. transitive variant raise. Of course, it’s also true that some passive forms lack active counterparts, e.g., “John is reported to have left” but not “I reported John to have left”. But I don’t think we want to go down that road in this case.

No. The passive voice is used to indicate that something was done to you by someone else. The test is to ask whether you could add the words “by John” to the sentence and still end up with something that makes sense. So “I am shot” is passive because “I am shot by John” is a valid sentence, whereas “I am cold by John” is a hot mess, so “I am cold” is not passive.

Right. I was not suggesting it was. I was challenging that “He is risen” is passive.

It’san archaic construction. It means the same as “has risen.”

I’m with Frylock. Long ago, I learned that German verbs use the auxiliary verb sein (instead of haben) to form the present perfect provided that the main verb is intransitive and that it indicates a change of location or of condition. The example given was ist storben (has died). In Christian theology, and in biblical language not so distantly removed from its Germanic roots, we get not only thee and thou, but also is risen to indicate a permanent change in condition.

Is “Christ is risen” actually in the NT?

I can’t find that phrase but “he is risen”, “the Lord is risen” and “Jesus of Nazareth, who is risen” all appear in the King James version, sometimes multiple times.

It’s a deliberate choice of wording to support a specific belief. “He has risen” leaves open the possibility that He rose, but then died again at a later date. “He is risen” deliberately states that He rose, and remains in that state even now.

OK, so it does look like it might be an archaic grammatical construct.

Also French. “I have arrived” is <<Je suis arrivé>>, not <<J’ai arrivé>>, and similar for the other so-called “Advent” verbs. The construction is only just dead in vernacular English; as recently as The Children’s Encyclopaedia a writer could say “I am come too soon for you” with only a slight hint of archaism. And of course “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

That’s not a tense in English.

Neither is this.

English has a grand total of two tenses: present and past. The sentence in question is in the present tense, and it also employs the perfect aspect. It’s certainly not in the passive, since the verb isn’t transitive.