[B-Greek] Mark 6:41

Webb webb at selftest.net
Thu Jun 8 12:12:29 EDT 2006

My take:
It's very hard to pin the sense of the aorist down in a brief statement. In
a narrative context like this, it's like a simple past in English. It's not
that it tells you that the verbal action happened in such-and-such a way,
but just that it happened. Depending on the context, that may typically
leave the reader with one or the other impression, just as in English. It's
the "unmarked" (or "unremarkable", if that conveys more meaning) tense-form
for narrative writing.

However, the imperfect does indeed say more than that it just happened. It
suggests some kind of extension in time. Whether that be by repetition, by
getting started ("inception"), by the notion that something went on "for a
while", in any case the idea of extension does come in.  

My rendering of Mark 6:41 takes care to convey the force of the imperfect:

And he broke up the loaves, and was giving them to his followers, so they
could serve the people.

If you're asking if the disciples experienced multiplication of the bread as
they handed it out, I'd say that the text doesn't answer that one way or the
other. I suppose the general impression is that Jesus continuously or
repeatedly handed out portions of broken bread to the disciples - even
though he only started with a small handful of loaves. 
Webb Mealy

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]
> On Behalf Of Norman Wood
> Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 4:42 AM
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [B-Greek] Mark 6:41
> Hi,
> Mounce says "that the imperfect indicates a continuous action normally
occuring in
> the past"
> Does this mean that he broke(aorist) the bread ( a one off action) , then
> EDIDOU that Jesus continued to give out bread to the disciples as they
served it to
> the men present, the increase in bread occuring with him and being passed
> All the best
> Norman Wood
> Scotland
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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