Re: Jn 20.22

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 15:49:21 EDT

At 2:29 PM -0500 10/13/99, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
>To: Joe A. Friberg,
>Thank you for your nice post. Perhaps my problem is with the term
>"effectual." My Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition,
>1997) defines "effectual" as meaning: "producing or able to produce a
>desired effect."
>Now the statement was made:
>CWC: << LABETE is pretty simply, "Receive"; I would think the aorist used
>here would indicate effectual reception ... >>
>IMO the aorist imperative LABETE does NOT "indicate effectual reception."
>The statement, quoted above, seems to imply that the mere command was able
>to produce the desired effect. Perhaps such could be considered true on
>account of some theological reason, but such cannot be true, IMO, of the
>aorist imperative generally. IMO it is simply impossible for the aorist
>here to "indicate effectual reception."

I guess all this tempest was my fault. By saying I thought the aorist
imperative would indicate effectual reception, what I meant was that the
action called for by the imperative would (if obeyed, received, taken to
heart--all depending on whether you see this as an "exhortation" or a
"command") result in the actual taking/receiving of the Spirit; I meant to
distinguish the force of a present imperative LAMBANETE, which might mean
"start taking" or "take from time to time" or "keep right on taking" from
the force of an aorist imperative LABETE, which I take to mean "Go ahead
and take it, right now, whole hog and all the way." I certainly didn't mean
that the imperative itself was effectual, but rather that action called for
by the imperative was effectual action. I really didn't understand all the
citation of authorities about imperatives on this point.

>Wallace goes on to write:
><< The basic force of the imperative of command involves somewhat different
>nuances with each tense. With the 'aorist,' the force generally is to
>'command the action as a whole,' without focusing on duration, repetition,
>etc. In keeping with its aspectual force, the aorist puts forth a 'summary
>command.' With the 'present,' the force generally is to 'command the action
>as an ongoing process.' This is in keeping with the present's aspect, which
>protrays an 'internal' perspective. >>
>There is absolutely nothing about the imperative mood which implies

I didn't think I had ever said anything about "reception" being implied by
the imperative; I meant simply to say that the aorist used in this
imperative indicated the intent that the reception urged by the imperative
LABETE should actually work, whereas LAMBANETE might only lead to a little
bit of cautious sniffing at the air as Jesus ENEFUSHSEN. There was a nifty
verbal exchange in an old Danny Kaye film (Court Jester?) where
instructions have been given and then this little dialogue: A: "Get it?" B:
"Got it!" A: "Good!" I think that Jesus is saying, with LABETE, "Get it!"

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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