[b-greek] Re: Mk 10:20 aspectology

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Tue Aug 29 2000 - 15:44:50 EDT

on 08/29/00 12:02 PM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> At 11:29 AM -0700 8/29/00, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>> In Mark 10:20 we read:
>> Now I would expect one of the latter-day proponents of aspectology to raise
>> the question why do see the form EFULAXAMHN here? Is this question worth
>> exploring?
>> The word group FULASSW, FULASSOMAI has semantic properties (see L&N below)
>> which override the morphological tense/aspect marking. I would conclude from
>> this that getting preoccupied with the tense/aspect marking of EFULAXAMHN in
>> this context is chasing phantoms. Looking for something that isn't there.
>> The primary contribution that EFULAXAMHN makes to this context is found in
>> the domain of lexical semantics, not tense/aspect marking.
> I don't know where this fits into the scheme(s) of things that occupy what
> we were calling (a couple years ago) "aspect geeks," but I think this is a
> 'perfect' example of what I'd call a Koine aorist that has successfully
> taken over what had once been a more common function of the perfect tense.
> I think that we would normally translate this into English (and I think
> I've even seen it so translated!) as, "All these I have kept since I was
> young." And here, I think, is a point of overlap between the French
> aoristic "passé indéfini" (Tous ceux-là j'ai gardés depuis ma jeunesse),
> the English usage of the indefinite perfect, and the Greek indefinite
> aorist EFULAXA.
> And although there are indeed instances wherein a Greek present tense may
> refer to the past and a Greek aorist may refer to the present or even
> future, NEVERTHELESS most beginning students DON'T have trouble with an
> aorist indicative; I think they get it right at least 95% of the time. It
> is the imperfect that troubles them, and of course the participles and
> infinitives and subjunctives of the aorist do bring some grief. But aorist
> indicatives? Honestly, do you really think most beginning students of Greek
> are bothered by them?


You have stated my reason for raising the question quite clearly:

>"this is a
> 'perfect' example of what I'd call a Koine aorist that has successfully
> taken over what had once been a more common function of the perfect tense.

I think that from the standpoint of Systemic Functional Linguistics the
question would be raised why did the author "choose" to use an aorist here.
Don't know if a beginning student would raise this question but the SFL
concept of "choice" means that there must be some "significance" to this
form in this context. The search for this "significance" is what I call
chasing phantoms.

Thanks for your comments.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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