Re: Use of imperfect in Luke 23:34

>From a text-linguistic standpoint, it has generally seemed to me that the
plot line of the gospel narratives are carried by aorist verbs.  Imperfect
verbs do not seem generally to advance the plot, but to provide further
information (background, simultaneous, etc.) about the current event or
the event about to happen in the narrative.  (For example, Egonto in Lk 
23:32 gives the background information that two other criminals "were 
being led away" at the same time; the last event on the plot line was that 
Jesus spoke to those following him, and the next event is that they 
arrived at the place called Skull.)

So perhaps the imperfect in Lk 23:34 (which is undoubtedly an insertion 
in the text) simply indicates that Jesus' saying is not another event 
after the event of crucifixion, but something that happened as part of 
that [crucifixion] event.  If is probably best translated here in the 
traditional way of translating imperfects:  "he was saying".

Philip Graber
Emory University