[B-Greek] Matt. 10.30
thomas.hagen at libero.it
Wed Apr 15 17:09:20 EDT 2009
I have a question concerning the periphrastic construction of the perfect tense in Matt. 10.30.
…and of you - even the hairs of the head are all numbered.
ὑμῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.
UMWN DE KAI hAI TRIXES THS KEFALHS PASAI HRIQMHMENAI EISIN.
I’m sure I will reveal my ignorance with this question, but you have to be humble to learn. I’d like to know if, compared to the simple perfect, the periphrastic perfect - HRIQMHMENAI EISIN – adds any extra weight to the idea that the count is being continually updated, that in any given moment you could say, “God has just counted all the hairs on your head.”
Another way to put it would be to compare the two perfect forms to the difference in English between the simple and the continuous forms of the present perfect. A mother might say to her son: “Why are you reading that Harry Potter book again? You’ve already read it three times!” (In this case the son is not necessarily reading the book when his mother speaks to him.) Or she might say: “You’ve been reading that book for three hours. It’s time to stop or you’ll hurt your eyes.” (In this case the boy is actually reading the book when his mother speaks.)
Is there any similar difference in Greek between the simple and the periphrastic construction of the perfect, or is the periphrastic form simply a straightforward alternative to the simple form, nothing more, nothing less.
If the second case is the answer, then I’d like to ask if the perfect, in either form, carries with it the idea that something that has been going on is still going on in the present moment. And if this is the case, then how does Greek express something that has happened at some unspecified time in the past – and could happen again – but is not necessarily happening now in the present moment? Is that the role of the aorist?
I apologize for the somewhat complicated formulation of my question. If you can make anything out of it, I will greatly appreciate whatever explanations you can give me.
More information about the B-Greek