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

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (
Date: Mon Jun 28 1999 - 01:20:53 EDT

Carl wrote:
> (3) Of the questions raised in this verse, the most interesting to me is
> that of the nature of this particular hOTI; it's certainly not the
> ubiquitous indicator of directly-cited speech equivalent to our <"> nor it
> is really "causal"--we wouldn't want to convey it by a "because."
> Daniel (if I've understood aright what he is saying) has suggested that
> this is not the conjunction but the relative pronoun. I think, however,
> that editors are generally pretty careful to distinguish the relative
> pronoun from hOSTIS from the conjunction by writing it as two words (hO TI)
> rather than as hOTI, analogous to the German differentiation of DAS from
> DASS. I think that "THAT" in English must be one of the most troubling of
> all English words for aliens to grasp its varied usage, because we DON'T
> differentiate the usages by spelling.
> I personally think that our hOTI in Mk 8:24 comes closer to the Latin usage
> of QUOD in the sense, "the fact being that ..." That is actually, I think,
> how hOTI and QUOD in the first instance come to be used to introduce a noun
> clause that qualifies another clause. The particular Latin usage of QUOD
> that this seems closest to, in my view, is as "but ..." --and I'd convey
> the whole verse into English thus: "And upon looking up he proceeded to
> say, "I do see people, but in fact I'm seeing them walking (as indistinctly
> as if they were) trees."


I like "hOTI = the fact being that..." very much. Given S1, hOTI S2,
we have "S1, the fact being that S2". In this case, S2 basically explains
the statement of S1. Depending on the context, S2 states a cause for S1,
though the causal link may not be strong in many cases.

Let me ask some clarifying questions:
1) Is "QUOD = the fact being that ..." a well-established fact?
2) If "hOTI = the fact being that ..." can be defened, I think we have
a very nice result. W have a unified notion of hOTI; we do not have to
worry about whether the given hOTI clause is causal or not. We simply need
respect the ambiguity of "The fact being that ...". Sometimes, it
the preceding statement as in Mark 8:24. Sometimes, it provides some weak
causal connection, too weak to be rendered as "because". Sometimes, "the
fact being that ...." can be considered to state a strong causal
In sum, is it reasonable to always consider hOTI to be "the fact being that
without worrying about whether it states a cause or not?
3) If so, the meaning of hOTI seems very close to that of GAR. Given S1.
GAR S2, S2 states some explanation for S1. For example, consider:


I see men; I perceive them walking like trees.

Is GAR interchangeable with hOTI in many cases?

Moon-Ryul Jung
Assistant Professor
Soongsil University
Seoul, Korea

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