Re: Perfect outside the indicative

From: dalmatia@eburg.com
Date: Sun Jun 07 1998 - 11:22:26 EDT


Jonathan Robie wrote:

> John 4:6 hO OUN IHSOUS *KEKOPIAKWS* EK THS hODOIPORIAS EKAQEZETO hOUTWS
> EPI TH PHGH
> John 4:6 Now Jesus, *having been wearied* from the journey, sat thus upon
> the well.

I like this sentence translated even more woodenly than this! ~

"Therefore Jesus, *being tired* from the journey, was sitting tiredly
upon the well."

This translation places the perfect in the present, honoring the
present tense of the perfect. The action of tiring is completed NOW,
in the present, you see, hence the perfect.

 Had it been a present tense participle, "tiring" would, of course, be
correct, because the action is not complete but still in progress, or
'imperfective', as most seem to like to call it, and thus lend great
potential for confusion of terms...

And had it been an aorist, it would then be "who tires", denoting the
simple existence of the action of tiring, without indicating
specifically either its current progress or its present completion.

Now in English, if 'I tire', then 'I am tired' [usually], and I
suspect that the Greek might work in much the same way, where the
aorist and the perfect work very similarly. And English is not
exactly wrong to translate either as 'was tired', because in English,
that is the 'force' of both, and may very well so in the Greek ~ Yet
the Greek uses one or the other, and the challenge in translation is
to preserve the difference in the Greek usage of the one or the other,
and not to blur them into one English expression ~ If we can...
 
> I do not mean to imply that "having been wearied" is a great translation
> into English, but it is the most woodenly literal translation of a perfect
> participle that I could find, so I thought I would inflict it on y‚all.
> Although Robertson uses this as an example that refers to the current state
> - Jesus is tired - the perfect in this example doesn‚t work without
> reference to a past event, tiring himself out from the journey. Suppose I
> left out the prepositional phrase EK THS hODOIPORIAS ("from the journey") -
> my guess is that the result still implies a past event:
>
> hO OUN IHSOUS *KEKOPIAKWS* EKAQEZETO hOUTWS EPI TH PHGH
> Now Jesus, *having worn himself out*, sat thus upon the well.

Or, "Therefore Jesus, being tired, was sitting tiredly upon the well."

And you are right, the perfect does indeed entail a prior action, in
this case the action of tiring, and specifically the tiring action the
journey. My only differring with you is that I see the 'past event'
that caused the state of 'being tired' as the event of 'tiring', which
is the perfect verb's meaning, and not as some other event, such as
'walking on a long journey', which is accidental to the event of
tiring.

The aspect of the perfect is the point of completion of its action in
the present, and it is this point that 'sees' the action, and that the
action has reference to in present time. It works very much like an
adjective, which is a 'state' of existence, yet the Greek is using the
verb form.
 
> I‚m surprised that Robertson uses this as an example:

And I have not been able, so far at least, to find a way to share your
surprise!! :-)

George Blaisdell

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