Re: The Three Alphas

Date: Wed May 27 1998 - 10:30:25 EDT

Warren Fulton wrote:

> In his comment on Silva's alleged downgrading of aspect in
> exegesis,Carl Conrad cited Mk 8:34 as a test case, where Jesus'
> three alpha commands (APARNHSASQW, ARATW, and AKOLOUQEITW) seem to
> demonstrate quite vividly the contrast between aorist and present
> imperatives:
> >I can't really believe that the fact that the first two
> >imperatives are aorist and the last one progressive is a
> >negligible one for the full understanding of what the Greek
> >is saying.
> Neither can I. Nor can I view this kind of shift in aspect a
> "subtlety" without "implications" for the listener. As someone who
> has spent a lot of time hanging out on Greek beaches listening to
> mamas issuing imperatives to their young, I am convinced that every
> Modern Greek child is acutely aware of the difference between these
> forms, a difference which has persisted in the language until this
> day not because it is an unmarked luxury but because it carries the
> basic distinction between generality and specificity you get in the
> whole verb system. When I hear my mama telling me PROSEXE the
> jellyfish, I know I have to react immediately. When I hear PROSECE
> the jellyfish, I know its a general warning.

Warren ~

Thank-you for this very clear illustration of the difference between
aorist and present imperatives. Since I do not know modern Greek, I
am assuming that PROSECE is aorist, and PROSEXE is present, yes? So
that the aorist gives the general warning, and the present gives the
immediate warning? Or do I have it reversed?

George Blaisdell

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