Re: John 21:19/21 AKOLOUQEI (was: APOLOUQEI)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri May 29 1998 - 19:19:49 EDT

At 4:54 PM -0400 5/29/98, wrote:
>Carlton Winbery wrote:
>> George Blaisdell wrote;
>> >
>> >I like the Robertson version best, although perhaps "You, Peter, are
>> >following me!" might do as well, where the addition of Peter's name
>> >carries the force of the SU in the Greek. So much hinges on the tone
>> >of voice as it is pronounced out loud in English...
>> No, If this were in any way a statement of fact rather than an imperative,
>> it would be AKOLOUQEIS=. If it is second person, AKOLEUQEI has to be
>> imperative. It could be translated, "You, follow me!" or even "You, keep
>> on following me!" "You are" in English is just not imperative even though
>> it is second person.
>Well, it does show up on Perseus as an indic. 2nd pers sing pres. as
>well as imperative. Perhaps just not in the GNT, but elsewhere in
>ancient Greek it is found... I don't know where, but Perseus would
>have the reference. The point here is that it might carry the force
>of both indic and imper, just as the English CAN... but does not
>always. Is AKOLOUQEIS used elsewhere in John? If yes, that would
>just about seem to settle the matter in congruence with your view. If
>not, it still doesn't make your view wrong...

George, I just checked what Perseus offers for AKOLOUQEI; I found

pres ind mp 2nd sg
imperf ind act 3rd sg
pres imperat act 2nd sg
imperf ind act 3rd sg
pres ind act 3rd sg

You should realize that the Perseus parser automatically considers all
possibilities of an ending with the assumption that a verb actually has
every morphological slot filled; the first one listed (pres ind mp 2nd sg)
is what you came in with the first time you discussed this verse--the
problem is that this verb, AKOLOUQEW, never appears in the NT in the middle
or passive--so that possibility is obviated; for the others there are some
significant differences of vowel-length and accentuation that don't show up
in this very simple transliteration. In effect, therefore, the present
active 2nd person sg. imperative is the only thing that will go with the SU.

Probably the Perseus parser has more value for a beginning Greek student or
teacher who wants to envision all the possibilities that a given spelling
of a verb form may include. But when it comes down to analysis of specific
verbs in a given literary (or non-literary) context, there is no substitute
for knowing the language itself--and for verbs, that's means knowing their
idiosyncracies--knowing them the way you know persons as individuals, which
is something very different from knowing the morphological rules, although
one must come to know them as well.

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

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