Re: HDH + Perfect = Pluperfect?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 10 1998 - 13:08:05 EDT

At 11:31 AM -0400 6/10/98, wrote:
>John 19:33 and Mark 15:44 both use HDH with the perfect of QNHSKW.
>Would the use of the pluperfect in these passages have been redundant?
>[viz HDH ETEQNHSKEI in Mark, for instance]
>Does the HDH simply stress emphatically what the pluperfect would have
>necessarily implied?
>George Blaisdell

No; the pluperfect is used to indicate completion or a state achieved at a
point PRIOR to some point in the past. Now in John 19:33, where we read


I think we might translate it into an English pluperfect ("When they saw
that he had already died") although I'd prefer to translate it as an
English simple past ("When they saw that he was already dead")--because I
believe what we have here is a simple stative usage. In Mark 15:44 we have
something a bit different: an indirect question where the rule requires the
subordinate clause to be in the same tense as the direct citation:


This COULD be translated into English as "Pilate wondered if he had already
died"--as an English pluperfect, but again, in my opinion, the verb is
really stative and, when converted into normal English, would be "Pilate
wondered whether he was already dead."

So, in my opinion the HDH in both instances is used adverbially with the
stative force of the perfect participle and perfect indicative
respectively. Rod Decker might want to comment on this, however, because
this goes to the heart and soul of his dissertation, particularly the use
of HDH with a verb form in Mark.

These passages nicely illustrate, I think it's worth adding, the imperative
of understanding the mechanics of both the original and the target language
when translating--because each has a different strategy for expressing a
particular kind of notion.

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

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