Re: 1 John and epistolary aorists

From: Jonathan Robie (jwrobie@mindspring.com)
Date: Mon Apr 28 1997 - 07:03:21 EDT


At 08:12 PM 4/27/97 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>>And I still think that there is a shift of emphasis from the writer to the
>>recipients in 2.12-.14. At the beginning, the present GRAFW is imperfective,
>>with the focus on the time of the writer:
>>
>>GRAFW hUMIN...hOTI AFEWNTAI
>>
>>Of course, the perfect is also very strong here, so the emphasis might be
>>50/50. In 2.14, two things shift the emphasis to the reader - the EGRAPSA
>>views the writing from outside, whether or not you believe in a past time
>>referent for aorist, and the three strong statements at the end clearly tilt
>>the emphasis toward the recipients:
>>
>>EGRAYA hUMIN, NEANISKOI,
>>hOTI ISCUROI ESTE
>>KAI O LOGOS TOU QEOU EN hUMIN MENEI
>>KAI NENIKHKATE TON PONHRON.
>
>Here's where I can't follow you, Jonathan. You must be seeing this shift of
>emphasis to the reader from the use of the aorist alone, because I can't
>see any difference from the GRAFW formulations: each of these also has a
>vocative and a dative hUMIN for the group addressed and a hOTI clause with
>verbs in the perfect tense; moreover two of those perfects are identical
>with those used with GRAFW (EKGNWKATE TON PATERA 2X, NENIKHKATE TON
>PONHRON). Or perhaps you see that shift as a consequence of the different
>elements in the final hOTI clauses, namely, the present tenses ISCUROI
>ESTE, MENEI EN hUMIN. But I can't see how any of these features mark the
>last sequence in 2:14 as MORE directed toward the readers than the previous
>sequence of GRAFW formulations in 2:12-13. I can't see how the addressees
>are any MORE in focus in 2:14 than they are in 2:12-13.

Well, it is quite possible that this shift is a pigment of my imagination (I
do have a colorful imagination, you know), and if you don't see it, I'm a
little reluctant to keep claiming that it is there - you have been at this
game for 40 years longer than I have! If you read the passage out loud with
the emphasis *I* use when I read it out loud, then the shift is definitely
there, but I don't have any way of proving this. To be completely frank, I
started by reading it out loud several times, noting a feeling of shift in
the passage, and trying to put a finger on what it might be. Completely
subjective.

I think that you have correctly identified the factors that I think signal
this shift: (possibly) the shift from GRAFW to EGRAPSA, and the addition of
the extra elements in the final hOTI clause. For what it's worth, when I
read the passage out loud, I read the first part *GRAFW* hUMIN, and the
second part EGRAPSA *hUMIN*. I didn't decide to do so consciously, but it
happened naturally. Clearly, this is nothing like proof, and I don't have
anything solid that I can point to.

Jonathan

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Jonathan Robie jwrobie@mindspring.com http://www.mindspring.com/~jwrobie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703 http://www.poet.com
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