Re: MH + Pres Imper

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri May 29 1998 - 14:34:56 EDT

At 6:06 AM -0400 5/29/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>I was going back over Acts 11 this morning and ran into MH KOINOU in 11:9 and
>wondered why not an aorist subjunctive? I looked in Smyth (#1835-41) and BDF
>(427.4) and Porter (Ch 13. 1.1.2). I did not find a stated reason why a
>speaker/writer might choose to use MH + Pres Imper rather than MH + Aorist
>Porter (p 221, bottom) says "In most contexts , translations of of negated
>imperatives and negated subjunctives used as prohibitions can be virtually
>My response to this is, who cares if the English translations are identical.
>The question is what did the distinction between these two forms of
>prohibitions amount to in K. Greek. Do we know? Is one form of prohibition
>more emphatic than the other? Are the really identical idioms?
>"It is the commonest grammatical vice for one to make a conjectural
>translation into English and then to discuss the syntactical propriety of the
>Greek tense on the basis of this translation . . . "
>A.T. Robertson (p.821)

You might add to the pot of injunctions the not so very uncommon MH +
future indicative, which is, I think, a remnant of a classical construction
wherein we have MH + future indicative in a subordinate clause introduced
by hOPWS and perhaps an imperative saying something like "be careful," or
"watch out."

Present imperative with MH is, I think, the standard injunction not to do
something: e.g. John 20:17, where Jesus says to Mary Magdalene, MH MOU
hAPTOU (about which we have had much conversation, as I recall). The aorist
subjunctive with MH is much more emphatic. If Jesus says to Mary, "Don't be
clinging to me," in the above cited verse, but a TAUTA MH POIHSHiS is more
like, "Don't EVER do that!"--for those with Latin, it's the equivalent of a
Latin perfect 2 sg. subjunctive, one of my favorite examples of which is
from an ode of Horace: TU NE QUAESIERIS, "You must not ever ask ..."

ATR does have some gems, doesn't he?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:44 EDT