Is ELEGEN(imperfect) used almost as aorist (EIPEN)?

Moon-Ryul Jung moon at
Sun Jan 5 19:52:23 EST 2003

Alex wrote down the following statement, to which I would agree:

 What is fundamental, I think, is
> that the author's use of the imperfect slows the narrative pace and views
> the action in its continuance.  In verbs of speech such as ELEGEN, the
> imperfect is not a tense just to be used to introduce longer discourses such
> as parables;  this would be true if the distinction between the imperfect
> and aorist were a matter of the nature of the action. 

 Rather, whereas the
> aorist is chosen if the author wants simply to affirm that something was
> said, the imperfect is appropriate even for a single utterance if it is the
> author's purpose to have the reader view the process of the action.

However, I would like to clarify the part marked by ***... ***.
How would the reader view the PROCESS of the action? It may be DURATIVE
or ITERATIVE. Consider an example:

 Harry was hopping. 

Does the speaker want the hearer to visualize the process of a single act
hopping? But it seems that it is quite difficult for the hearer to
a single act of hopping because the duration of a single act of hopping is
too short. Therefore, most hearers would instead visualize the process in
which Harry repeats hopping. 

So, when ELEGEN is used with a single utterance, we should ask if the
is long enough for the hearer to visualize its process. As Alex said, it
be the case that the quoted utterance is the summary of what the speaker
and the process of speaking might have been complex enough or long enough
look inside of it.

So, as I thought about the imperfect ELEGEN in Mark, I brought the

 I did not examine the whole Mark. But it seems that in a given 
paragraph, ELEGEN is used not alone but in sequence.  In other words,
ELEGEN is used to describe a conversation in which more than two parties
interact. In the case of Mark 2:23-28, each of ELEGON, LEGEI, and
ELEGEN may be viewed to describe a part of the whole conversation. 
The first instance ELEGON introduces a question, which is incomplete
without an answer, which in turn would raise another question. 
Or somehow this first question was not all that the
speaker wanted to say. The speaker might have more to ask. So, it makes
sense for the narrator to say " They were saying (asking) X" to mean 
that X was an instance of the actions that constitute the whole 
process of saying. This process seems similar to what happens in the
iterative interpretation of "Harry was hopping". 

Just a wild guess!

Moon R. Jung
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea

More information about the B-Greek mailing list