This is my first post to this list. I hope I do things right!
I would add to Andy Reimer's comment that it seems to me that the
imperfect EPETIQESAN should also be taken into consideration. For
this word the inceptive (or inchoative, for any who prefer that term)
use seems appropriate: as Peter and John began laying hands on the
Samaritan believers (one at a time; at least one per apostle), they
were receiving the Holy Spirit. Thus ELAMBANON appears iterative
rather than progressive: as hands were laid on each believer, there
was some visible or audible confirmation that he did indeed receive
the Holy Spirit. I agree that the use of the imperfect in this verse
seems to serve narrative rather than theological purposes.
In Love to God and Neighbor,
Bob Jones University
>>> A.M.Reimer <uunet!SHEFFIELD.AC.UK!A.M.Reimer> 8/29/96, 12:23pm
> Why at Acts 8:17 is elambanon imperfect? Is it because the Spirit
> away? Or is it because there was more than one Samaritan, and so
> was a process which took place over a period? Or are we reading too
> the tense?
> Alistair Stewart-Sykes
> Codrington College, Barbados
If I might jump in with a not terribly well thought out response but
one which strikes me as immediately obvious...
ACTS 8:17 sets the stage for the story which follows. Hence, Simon's
request comes in the midst of the laying on of hands and the
reception of the spirit by the Samaritans. The logic of the story
dictates the ongoing sense which is supplied by the imperfect, i.e.,
Peter and John were laying on hands and the Samaritans were receiving
the Spirit when Simon waltzes up and asks for goose which lays the
golden egg. Simply put, it is narrative flow which demands the
imperfect, not anything theological. But the discourse analysts
among us would be the experts on that...
PhD Student, Univ. of Sheffield
GREG BLOOMQUIST, Theology
Saint Paul University / University of Ottawa
223 Main, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 1C4 CANADA