Re Flashbacks

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at
Fri Jan 3 12:05:55 EST 2003

[Alex:]> > But there are also examples of the imperfect used in this way.
> >
> > The opening of the fifth chapter of Mark narrates the healing of the
> > Gerasene demoniac.  At v7 we read, (NRS): And he shouted at the
> top of his
> > voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I
> > adjure you by God, do not torment me."  The following verse
> reads:  *ELEGEN*
> he (Jesus)
> > had been saying to him, ...  (Some of the translations offer:
> KJV "For he
> > said unto him,";  NAS "For He had been saying to him";  RSV
> "For he had said
> > to him";  NRS "For he had said to him".   KJV does not clearly
> indicate that
> > the time sequence has shifted;  of the others cited, only the NAS gives
> > force to the imperfect.)  Maximilian Zerwick's excellent 'Biblical Greek
> > illustrated by Examples' notes this verse at section 290 (p98),
> as well as
> > Mark 6:17.
[Moon:]> I think we can interpret the situation so that the demon shouted in
> middle of Jesus' commanding.

How would you then account for the imperfectives and presents in the
following verses?

5:8 ELEGEN GAR - for he had been saying...
5:9a KAI EPHRWTA AUTON - and he had been questioning him
5:9b KAI LEGEI AUTWi - and he had said to him
5:10 KAI PAREKALEI - and he had been imploring him

Notice how the last sentence about imploring repeats the imploring in v. 7.
I think what we have here is a Hebrew circular story which the Greek writer
is trying to put into progressive Greek structure. the use of imperfective
is one way of stopping the progression and let the reader take in these
various events as overlapping one another.

In our idiomatic translations into English and other linearly structured
languages, we normally combine such verses and rearrange the pieces so they
come in chronological order.

Iver Larsen

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