From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Nov 02 2000 - 06:39:25 EST
At 3:05 PM -0600 11/1/00, Robert H. Matlack, Jr. wrote:
>Thanks so much for the information. The only perfect subjunctive that is
>not from OIDA that I have found is ENESCHTAI from ENECW in 3 Maccabees
>6:10 so it does seem they are rare.
>I have a couple of other questions. If one wanted to say in Greek "Mom,
>let us go to the mall", an exhortation, one would use the aorist
>subjunctive (right?), but if one wanted to say "Mom, let us go to the
>mall", a request, what would one use? The imperative?
I'm not so sure that there's a definitive answer to this one. Just as in
English the standard phrasing of the exhortation is to use the imperative
to which a pronoun and infinitive are added, so also we have that in Greek:
ELQWMEN "Let's go ..." but also AFES hINA ELQWMEN
Mt 7:4 H PWS EREIS TWi ADELFWi SOU: AFES EKBALW TO KARFOS EK TOU OFQALMOU SOU
Mt 27:49 hOI DE LOIPOI ELEGON: AFES IDWMEN EI ERCETAI HLIAS SWSWN AUTON.
Mk 10:14 IDWN DE hO IHSOUS HGANAKTHSEN KAI EIPEN AUTOI: AFETE TA PAIDIA
ERCESQAI PROS ME, MH KWLUETE AUTA.
The first of these we pretty much have to translate "Let me remove the
speck from your eye." Is it an imperative or an exhortation?
The second, "Let's see whether Elijah's coming to save him," I'd consider
The third is really the same construction; and I can't see any reason why
ERCESQWSAN TA PAIDIA couldn't have been used here in place of AFETE TA
>Now for an English question, the difference between the two statements
>above (Mom, let us go to the mall) is clear in spoken English. Is there
>any way to distinguish them in written text other than context? Are both
>correct in English?
Well, I think both are grammatically correct, but I think the request would
be clearer if it were phrased, "Mom, PLEASE let us go to the mall."
We've been over this ground before but coming at it from a different
perspective, the question how Greek imperatives ought to be rendered in
translation, some arguing that "let us go" or "let them come" are
inappropriate for ELQWMEN or ELQETWSAN because one is really asking
permission for something to be done; I've argued in the past and would
continue to argue now that it is an idiomatic locution in English, and also
in Koine Greek to use the imperative of AFIHMI with an infinitive or a
subjunctive, and that in these cases permission is not at all being sought
but rather that these are full-fledged imperative expressions.
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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