Re: Why an instantaneous imperfect in Mark 8:24?

From: Daniel L Christiansen (
Date: Sun Jun 27 1999 - 01:35:16 EDT

Moon-Ryul Jung wrote [snipped]:

> Are there other instances where hOTI is used as the relative pronoun "that (which)"?

Daniel replies:

    Of course, there are many instances of hOSTIS being used as the relative "that/who
which"; however, we are dealing with the question of the specific form hOTI. I must admit
that there are very few candidates I am aware of in the NT literature. Those which I
would consider as possibly having this force would be the following: Rev 13:4; Matt 12:42;
17:15; Luke 9:49; 11:31; John 5:18; 9:16; 9:17; 1Cor 2:14; 2Cor 8:16-17; 1John 3:9. Of
course, I must admit that such a rendering of those passages is only a possibility--a
causal force is the usual translation. In fact, I have been surprised at the lack of
clear uses. The Mark 8:24 passage seems clearest, to my mind.

> I would take the hOTI clause as a sort of noun clause, which defines what the person is
> seeing. So I would have:
> I see men that I perceive [them] walking like trees.

    Yes, I would agree: the "defining" or limiting activity is precisely what the relative
pronoun does. You have used the English "that," while I used "which"; in either case, we
have a relative pronoun governing the clause.

> Here I take the particiciple as predicative not as attributive, following Carl's well
> argued thesis.

    I agree, here. My translation in the first response to Jay Adkins was a bit "off the
cuff." I was at that point attempting more to capture the tenor of the dialogue, than the
exact syntax. Of course, the use of the participle was not being discussed, yet. Perhaps
more along the following line: "Looking up, he was saying 'I am seeing men, which I
perceive walking [but] like trees.'"

Daniel L. Christiansen
Department of Bible
Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR  97220
(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)

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