Re: Jn 20.22

From: Joe A. Friberg (
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 11:17:27 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Steven Craig Miller <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 9:00 AM

> To: Nigel Hanscamp and Carl W. Conrad,
> NH: << ... can someone tell me: what is the imperative force of the aorist
> active LABETE in Jn 20.22. >>
> I'm unsure that I understand your (Nigel Hanscamp's) question. What do you
> mean by "imperative force"? Do you merely mean to ask what type of
> imperative it is? Such as, whether it is a command, prohibition, request,
> etc.?
> CWC: << LABETE is pretty simply, "Receive"; I would think the aorist used
> here would indicate effectual reception, so that, to put it colloquially,
> one might use "Take" or "Get" in this instance, or even "take possession
> of," except that this last suggests that the Spirit is something one can
> have all by oneself, and I hardly think that is meant. >>
> Effectual reception? The context might imply effectual reception, but the
> aorist imperative at Jn 20:22 is simply an exhortation. If I have a bowl
> grapes on a table and I say to my guest: "Take some grapes" there is no
> effectual reception of the grapes, just a request, yes?

Per Steven Miller's hypothetical situation, that is not the language I would
use to guests. To guests, I might suggest "Have some grapes," while to my
children, if I want to require them to sample some grapes, I might demand
"Take some grapes." This latter phrase would be *intended to be* more
effectual! It occurs to me that English may *lexicalize* the aspectual
distinction which is exhibited more often in Greek by the aor./pres.

In other words, I think that Carl Conrad is exactly right when he stated
<<I would think the *aorist* used here would indicate effectual reception,
so that, to put it colloquially, one might use "Take" or "Get" in this
instance>> [emphasis mine].
That is, the aorist puts the focus on the initial reception at a point in
time, whereas, had the pres. been used, it would emphasize the ongoing
possession of the Spirit. An action which is (viewed as) punctiliar is
(viewed as) more precise and certain (*effectual*) than an action viewed as

Another quick example that comes to mind of lexicalized aspect in English is
'enter' vs. 'go in'. 'Enter' focuses on crossing the threshold.

Question: Has any work been done to consider this notion of lexicalized
aspect in English (or other languages)? (It relates to B-Greek with respect
to the question of adequately translating or even expressing the nuances of
the Gk aspectual system in other languages!)

God bless ya'll!
Joe Friberg
Arlington, TX

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