[B-Greek] Aorist vs Present tense of "drink" in John
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Mar 9 14:30:00 EST 2006
On Mar 9, 2006, at 2:00 PM, Robb Wallace wrote:
> Hello, would the following be a correct translation of the
> following verses?
> Jn 4:13-14 “…whoever drinks (present participle) of this water
> again and
> again will thirst again, but whoever drinks just once (aorist
> of the water that I will give him will never, ever thirst again
> negative with subjunctive).”
Could we please have the text to look at? Or must we each look it up
... PAS hO PINWN EK TOU hUDATOS TOUTOU DIYHSEI PALIN; hOS D' AN PIHi
EK TOU hUDATOS hOU EGW DWSW AUTWi, OU MH DIYHSEI EIS TON AIWNA ...
For my part, I think you're overtranslating the present and aorist:
there isn't any "again and again" in the present participle and there
isn't any "just one time" in the aorist subjunctive. The sharp
distinction is between the two waters, not between the verb tenses.
I'd English it rather as "Anyone who drinks from this well will get
thirsty again, but anyone who has drunk from the spring of water that
I give him will never be thirsty again." That is to say, I think that
the force of the aorist is to indicate completion of the drinking
rather than some number of times one has drunk.
> Jn 7:37-38 “…if anyone thirsts, let him continually come (present
> imperative) to Me and drink again and again (present imperative).
> He who
> continually believes (present participle) in me…”
EAN TIS DIYAi, ERCESQW PROS ME KAI PINETW. hO PISTEUWN EIS EME, KAQWS
EIPEN hH GRAFH, POTAMOI EK THS KOILIAS AUTOU hREUSOUSIN hUDATOS ZWNTOS.
Here too I think the present tense is overtranslated; there really
isn't any admontion to repeated action here; if there is any
particular force at all to the imperfective aspect, it's that the
thirsty person should begin the approach and the drinking. I'd
English this as, "Anyone who is thirsty should come to me and drink;
if anyone commits to me, then, as scripture has said, streams of
living water will flow ... "
> I’m a little confused as to why there is a change in tenses from
> the aorist
> tense in 4:14 (one time event) to the present in 7:37 (continually)
> drinking. Are we to only drink once or over and over? Any thoughts?
I think there's much too restrictive an understanding of the
imperfective and aorist aspects here.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
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