Re: FWD>RE>Grammatical Tense, L

From: Stephen Carlson (
Date: Mon Nov 13 1995 - 14:54:24 EST

Karen Pitts wrote:
> My "Mark's Greek is so sloppy", was in response to someone's making a big deal
> of Mark's use of imperfect of legw in some section (which I can't find now by
> browsing) where Luke had used aorist. My reply (and I think I can prove this
> empirically through data supplied by Stephen Carlson) is that Mark uses
> imperfect where other people use aorist. My basic observation on Mark's Greek
> is below in an exchange I had with Rod Decker over my "Mark's Greek is so
> sloppy" statement from late October.

I believe I asked the initial question, and it was specifically about a
situation, the Lord of the Sabbath, where both Luke and Mark agree in
using the imperfect. While, I remarked that Luke has an aorist instead
of Mark's historical present, I was asking about the force of this
imperfect, which interrupts Jesus's pronouncement at the punchline.

Here's a chart, of the verbs of saying in this pericope:

        Matthew Mark Luke
        EIPAN 12:2 ELEGON 2:24 EIPAN 6:2
        EIPEN 12:3 LEGEI 2:25 EIPEN 6:3
        omit 12:8 ELEGEN 2:27 ELEGEN 6:5

My intent was not so much to contrast Matthew & Luke's use of the aorist
with Mark's historical present, but to ask why both Mark and Luke (who
is a more careful writer) both used the imperfect in Mk2:27=Lk6:5.

I think the best reply (sorry about forgetting the list contributor's
name!) was that the use of the imperfect does not in itself signal a
punchline, but the insertion of the clause, KAI ELEGEN AUTOIS, does so
on its own, with the imperfect being appropriate for this purpose.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen Carlson     :  Poetry speaks of aspirations,  : ICL, Inc.  :  and songs chant the words.     : 11490 Commerce Park Dr.
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