Re: Aorist + NUN = past (was Voice and Morphology...)

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Wed Oct 29 1997 - 12:13:09 EST

Jonathan Robbie wrote;

>My claim, following from Mari Olsen's theory, is that NUN+Aorist is roughly
>equivalent to a perfect, portraying the current state resulting from a past
>condition. NUN+Imperfect portrays an event in the recent past.

>>The second example occurs with an imperfect form and is a disputed passage:
>>John 11:8, NU'N EJZHVTOUN (The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews
>>*were just now seeking* to stone you, and you are going there again?!").
>This is NUN+Imperfect. In my view, "were just now seeking to stone you" is a
>great translation.
> snip John 21:10, W|N
>>EJPIAVSATE NU'N (Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have
>>just caught).
>Again, I would prefer "which you have (now) caught" - I think the viewpoint
>is the current condition resulting from a past action. Your translation
>hedges a bit between a view to the past and a view to the present. If the
>view were purely of the past, the translation "that you just caught" would
>be better (but I do not think this is the right translation).
I have some difficulty really distinguishing between the use of NUN+aorist
in John 21:10 and NUN+imperfect in John 11:8.

I have treated NUN, ARTI and other adverbs of time with the aorist as
"dramatic." They do look somewhat like the culminative aorist which looks
like perfective action. In the case of John 21:10 the fish have just now
been caught (what better time to cook and eat) and as a result available
for the meal. In John 11:8 the "Jews have just been seeking to kill you,
and you are going there again." The present result is it is dangerous.

Perhaps I need to rethink my section on the imperfect. As it stands the
last eg. would have to be descriptive, but I think there is more to it than

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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