FWD>RE>Grammatical Tense, L

From: Karen Pitts (karen_pitts@maca.sarnoff.com)
Date: Mon Nov 13 1995 - 00:44:24 EST

Mail*Link(r) SMTP FWD>RE>Grammatical Tense, LEGW,

Dear Ed:

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.

The basis for my observation is as follows. I have browsed much of the Gospel
looking for examples for my Greek classs and I am now reading it verse by
verse (I'm almost finished with Chapter 4), so my concrete examples come from
the first few chapters. I wouldn't say I'm bothered by Mark's Greek, but his
Greek is much more like John's than Luke's, and I think it is stretching his
Greek to make a big deal of his using imperfect rather than aorist. I would
classify it as a stylistic difference rather than one with tense/action/aspect
implications. But, I could be totally off base. I'd appreciate any comment
you have to make.


Date: 10/26/95 3:45 PM
From: Karen Pitts

You are correct, my statement

>Mark's Greek is so sloppy, that I don't know that I'd place any importance on
>the tenses he uses

is a bit too general. What I should have said, is that Mark uses imperfect
FAR more than any of the other Gospel writers. My snail-pace class learns
imperfect in lesson 3 and aorist in lesson 12 (which is sometimes separated by
a year or more), so I search widely for Biblical examples of imperfects. They
are almost always in Mark. Therefore, I don't know that I would place that
much interpretation on his use of imperfect vs. the aorist. I'd have to study
this in depth to support my intuition, which I'm not prepared to do right now.

I still maintain that Mark's Greek is sloppy. He uses participles in purpose
clauses where you would expect an infinitive and he uses periphrastic phrases
far more than anyone else (although John does use them quite a bit). And I
find his use of imperfect a bit jarring.

Anyway, I'll try to keep my generalizations a little less inflamatory.


Karen Pitts
Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, NJ, teacher of NT Greek
David Sarnoff Research Center, Princeton, NJ, statistician

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Date: 26 Oct 1995 14:48:12 U
From: Karen Pitts <karen_pitts@maca.sarnoff.com>
Subject: Re: Grammatical Tense, LEGW,
To: Rod Decker <rdecker@accunet.com_>
Cc: Biblical Greek <b-greek@virginia.edu>
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