re: Aorist Imperative form of Mark 1:3

Date: Wed Sep 04 1996 - 18:43:36 EDT

A good discussion is always made better by Carl's entrance, and in this case
he all but illustrates the point I was making. His teacher Mr. McMinn should
indeed have used the aorist imperative (I'm reluctantly reminded of the slogan
"Just do it!" which unintentionally expresses the right idea). The notion that
the aorist imperative means "once for all time" is an error (if the form is
supposed to mean this inherently) found in several grammars. Taken to its
extreme, this would mean that Mr. McMinn's shoes would never again have to be
polished, and I would love to get some shoe polish that would make that possi-
ble (especially since my shoes get polished once in their lifetime, if they
are lucky). In my view, the aorist imper. just says to do something, with no
implications for the future after the act is done. In Mark 8:34 we have no
reason to suspect that a true disciple would have to recommit himself, and so
this is one deed that we would hope and expect to be for all time; but that's
not implied by the aorist. Compare "Marry me!": no need to do it every day,
obviously a lifetime commitment (we hope), but we infer that from what we know
of marriage, not from the English imperative. In contrast to the aor. imper.,
the AKOULOUQEITW in Mark 8:34 is continuous just as Carl said, and appropri-
ately so. As I commented before, the present imperative is the unusual form,
and more difficult to translate because we may have to add something like
"continually" to clarify the right idea.
BTW Carl, I send you another copy of Prometheus; the original had a bug that
needed immediate fixing.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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