Jump to content

Interesting imperfects

Λύχνις Δαν

Recommended Posts

Having spent weeks battling optatives, countless imperatives of entreaty and other joys, we strike .... imperfects. There really haven't been that many and here we have :


Psa. 34

11     ἀναστάντες μάρτυρες ἄδικοι ἃ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον ἠρώτων με·


12     ἀνταπεδίδοσάν μοι πονηρὰ ἀντὶ καλῶν καὶ ἀτεκνίαν τῇ ψυχῇ μου.

13     ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν τῷ αὐτοὺς παρενοχλεῖν μοι ἐνεδυόμην σάκκον καὶ ἐταπείνουν ἐν νηστείᾳ τὴν ψυχήν μου,


 14     ὡς πλησίον, ὡς ἀδελφὸν ἡμέτερον, οὕτως εὐηρέστουν· ὡς πενθῶν καὶ σκυθρωπάζων, οὕτως ἐταπεινούμην.


NETS is interesting translating these either as iteratives (ἠρώτων), or as what I believe are "Pluperfectives" to use Wallace's terminology, and one simple past, ἐγίνωσκον.

Brenton in contrast renders them all as simple pasts, what Wallace would call instantaneous imperfects.


I would suggest the iterative in ἠρώτων is arguable and could also have been translated as NETS handled the others "...they would ask me ...".


Taking 11 as an example: ἀναστάντες μάρτυρες ἄδικοι ἃ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον ἠρώτων με·

one might try in a brutally straightforward way :


"Having risen unjust witnesses were asking me things I was not knowing."


Tortured, I'll grant. But if one assumes that having risen the unjust witnesses would then depart again for a time one might do what NETS does :


"When unjust witnesses rose up, they kept asking me about what I was not familiar with."


But this might be interpreted to suggest that once such a witness arose the questioning was repeated for some time. Well it might have been but it is possible that one might read this to mean that each time they asked the same sort of question. So one is left perhaps preferring:


"Having risen up unjust witnesses would ask me things I did not know"


Of course various mashups of the above could also be considered. "Having risen" for example seems to weaken the iterative aspect, and lacking a ὁταν one would seem to be denied "whenever".


Anyhow, just lobbing this one out to see what anyone else might think. The imperfects were an interesting and unexpected change. It takes a lot of work (reading) to get to the point of naturally handling these things in a foreign language.






  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...