From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 21 1996 - 15:38:28 EST

On 2/21/96, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

> Here's a little problem I ran into as I was updating the GRAMCORD database;
> I'd like to see what you "morpheme-ologists" think about this one.
> The form hOMOIWSW occurs 4x in the NT (Matt 11:16; Luke 7:31; 13:18, 20) in
> roughly similar phrases about drawing a comparison to/about the Kingdom.
> There is a disagreement between the tools as to whether this should be
> parsed as a 1st Sing FUTURE INDICATIVE or as an AORIST SUBJUNCTIVE (in
> either case a "deliberative" use, I take it). I was inclined to read it as
> a Future Indicative, but then I noticed the similar passage in Mark 4:30,
> which uses the 1st Plural in a similar statement...and unless I'm missing
> something here (to close to the problem and can't see the forest for the
> know the feeling...), Mark 4:30 is clearly Aorist Subjunctive.
> Sooooooooooooooooo....I'm now wondering if the 1st singulars ought to be
> parsed as Aorist Subjunctive as well??
> What do you'all think....

Probably they should be parsed as Aorist Subjunctive, but I think this is a
matter on which any student of Hellenistic Greek needs to be warned in some
footnote. The future indicative derives historically from the Aorist
Subjunctive in an era before the adoption of the Ionic alphabet with its
distinction of omicron from omega. I really wonder if you had put this
question to an ordinary first-century speaker/writer of Greek s/he would
have known or cared about the difference. When Paul writes MH GENOITO!,
does he have any notion that he's using an Optative?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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