[B-Greek] imperative participle

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Jul 16 11:54:42 EDT 2007


On Jul 16, 2007, at 11:12 AM, Lascelles James wrote:

> Is there a simple explanation for the use of the aorist particple as
> imperative. As in Matt 17:27 POREUQEIS. Why not use the aorist  
> imperative
> instead?

Text: πορευθεὶς εἰς θάλασσαν βάλε  
ἄγκιστρον καὶ τὸν ἀναβάντα πρῶτον  
ἰχθὺν ἆρον, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα  
αὐτοῦ εὑρήσεις στατῆρα· ἐκεῖνον  
λαβὼν δὸς αὐτοῖς ἀντὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ  
σοῦ.
POREUQEIS EIS QALASSAN BALE ANGIKSTRON KAI TON ANABANTA ICQUN ARON,  
KAI ANOIXAS TO STOMA AUTOU hHEURHSEIS STATHRA ...

This really is ordinary Greek style: the action of going precedes the  
casting of the line into the water; note similarly in the second half  
of the verse that ANOIXAS is aorist participle as action preceding  
the finding of hEURHSEIS.

In effect what you're asking is: "Why doesn't the Greek usage  
correspond to what the English translation does?" This is one of the  
reasons why I have warned against the notion that producing an  
English version is the test of understanding the Greek text: the  
standard modes of expressing any idea may be very different in  
ancient Greek and modern English; conversion of the sense of the  
Greek into modern English idiom requires two very distinct steps: (1)  
understanding what the Greek text is saying -- in its own terms, and  
(2) reformulating what the Greek text is saying -- in standard  
English idiom. Greek ordinarily tends to subordinate prior to  
posterior sequential actions in formulation, while English idiom  
tends to coordinate them and let the sequence itself indicate the  
order of actions.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/





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