[b-greek] Fwd: Mk 10:21

From: CWestf5155@aol.com
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 00:29:48 EDT

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Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 00:27:34 EDT
Subject: Re: [b-greek] Mk 10:21
To: c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net
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In a message dated 08/29/2000 3:49:20 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net writes:

> In Mk 10:12 we read:
> The lexical semantic data on hUSTEREI indicates that it specifies a STATE.
> This is a property of the word as it is used in the GNT.
> What difference would if make in the meaning of this statement if hUSTEREI
> was inflected as a imperfect or an aorist?


I did read Rolf's response, but rather than responding to the response, I'd
like to take a whack at this one.

I agree with Porter that the present tense involves foregrounding. It is
emphatic material that is more immediate--in your face. It depicts action in
progress. The imperfect also depicts action in progress, and I agree with
Randall's observations about the imperfect--it develops the context or the
setting (I actually would call this background or backdrop)--it is more

It's the difference between a bar scene where the setting in the imperfect
(backdrop) are the flies buzzing, the alchohol flowing, and a dog scratching.
(The flies were buzzing, the alchohol was flowing...) The present is like a
focus on a pocker game on center stage (and there's this card game). The
aorist is like the play by play account of the game (the dealer hit the bad
guy with two), and the perfect could mark the climax where the Virginian
pulled his gun out and said "Smile when you say that" (though I think that
there are additional ways to mark the climax).

So the flies buzzing in the imperfect is remote--it's local color. But if
you used the present--"and there's this fly buzzing", you're signalling that
the fly is more central and of more interest--and I think that you are also
set up to expect something more about the fly. If you used an aorist, "the
fly buzzed" it would seem that it would be part of a sequence of events.

So if Jesus used the imperfect it would be more indirect, and remote. It
would be as if he were setting the stage for something else. The use of the
present is a bit more confrontive and makes the issue more immediate. And
that's really in the spirit of what follows (hUPAGE,,,KAI DOS [TOIS]
PTWCOIS...KAI DEURW MOI). This is a highly confrontantive encounter.

I guess that Rolf is suggesting that there is no pragmatic difference in
saying "You were lacking in one thing" and "You lack one thing" or perhaps
even "You lacked one thing" (throughout the process of your youth), since it
amounts to the same state or information. However, the full message involves
more than the transfer of information.

Cindy Westfall
PhD student, Roehampton

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