[B-Greek] Pluperfect tense

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Feb 17 20:17:58 EST 2003

At 5:21 PM -0500 2/17/03, <bertdehaan at gosympatico.ca> wrote:
>> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
>> Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 13:05:58 -0500
>> To: <bertdehaan at gosympatico.ca>
>> CC: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Pluperfect tense
>> At 12:25 PM -0500 2/17/03, <bertdehaan at gosympatico.ca> wrote:
>> >Hi. In Luke 23:35 it says; KAI hEISTHKEI hO LAOS QEWRWN.
>> >What is the significance of the pluperfect tense of hEISTHKEI? It usually
>> >does not get translated with any pluperfect sense,and it would hardly fit
>> >either.Thank you.
>> >Bert de Haan
>> As the verb hISTAMAI indicates the process of coming to a standing position
>> (from a seated or reclining position) or coming to a halt (from a moving
>> status), the only way to indicate the standing state is with the perfect
>> tense form; hESTHKA means "I am standing" and is equivalent to a present
>> tense; hEISTHKEIN or hEISTHKH means "I was standing" and is eequivalent to
>> an imperfect. The same is true of OIDA, a perfect tense used in the sense
>> of a present, "I know" and the pluperfect EIDEIN used in the sense of an
>> imperfect, "I knew."
>Thank you, Carl (I got rapped on the knuckles for addressing a fellow
>B-Greeker with Mr. so I will call you Carl).
> A few follow-up questions; Using my limited resources I found that
>hISTHMI means; I stand (intransitive) or I cause to stand
>(transitive).Should it be -I come to a standing position- instead of -I
>Is hISTAMAI a thematic form of the same verb?
>I knew that OIDA was a perfect form with a present translation,I just
>didn't know why. Is the word OIDA derived from a word meaning -I learn-?
>Then the perfect tense would make perfect sense.

hISTHMI and hISTAMAI are the same verb; hISTHMI is active and causative:
"make to stand" or "establish", while hISTAMAI is middle and intransitive,
"get up" (from a seated or reclining position), "stand up" or "come to a
stop" if one is moving. The difficulty we sometimes have with this verb has
much more to do with English (or another target language) than with the
Greek: "I stood up" means I completed the action of rising: ESTHN, "I am
getting up" is hISTAMAI; "I am standing" is hESTHKA. Upon seeing these
different forms half a dozen times you should recognize the different
senses in context.

OIDA is from the same root as the aorist EIDON; the root is wEID/wOID/wID,
the same Indo-European root as in English "wit" and "wisdom" and as in
German "wissen" and "Wissenschaft" sowie auch "Weisheit," Latin videre. The
root means something like "absorb by experience"--much as in colloquial
American English "get it." EIDON means "I did get it" in the sense "I took
it in" while OIDA means "I've got it!" in the sense that my experience has
sunk in and I've got a good grip on it.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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