1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 20th, 2013, 4:59 pm

1 Cor 10:4 wrote:καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ πνευματικὸν ἔπιον πόμα · ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός.
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (NRSV)


Paul has both the aorist and imperfect of πίνω in back-to-back clauses. What's the difference in meaning? Whatever that difference is, it does not show up in the NRSV's translation.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby MAubrey » January 20th, 2013, 5:45 pm

I can't say why the NRSV translated the imperfect the way it did, but it seems to me perfectly natural to translate it with an English progressive past. The imperfect functions perfectly fine as stage setting material for the narrative backbone presented in verse 5, which goes back to the aorist. The imperfective is off-line framing material for the online narrative material that directly follows.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby David Lim » January 20th, 2013, 10:11 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
1 Cor 10:4 wrote:καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ πνευματικὸν ἔπιον πόμα · ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός.
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (NRSV)


Paul has both the aorist and imperfect of πίνω in back-to-back clauses. What's the difference in meaning? Whatever that difference is, it does not show up in the NRSV's translation.

Like what Mike said, "ἔπιον" here connotes the setting in which "all were drinking the same spiritual drink", while "ἔπινον" here refers back to the past in which "they drank out of a spiritual rock which followed [them]". I suppose some translations don't see the necessity of preserving minor differences in tenses as the meaning conveyed is still almost the same. In this case it would correspond to a retelling of the story from a slightly different perspective, placing the events described in a "more distant" past.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 21st, 2013, 3:28 am

David Lim wrote:Like what Mike said, "ἔπιον" here connotes the setting in which "all were drinking the same spiritual drink", while "ἔπινον" here refers back to the past in which "they drank out of a spiritual rock which followed [them]".


I'm kind of confused by your glosses. Here, you gloss the aorist ἔπιον with an English past progressive were drinking (which is imperfective), while you gloss the imperfect ἔπινον with an English preterit drank (which is usually perfective but not always). These glosses seem to reverse the aspects as they are normally understood.

David Lim wrote:I suppose some translations don't see the necessity of preserving minor differences in tenses as the meaning conveyed is still almost the same.


Well, the differences are in aspect. They have the same tense (past). The question becomes, however, what is the meaning being conveyed by the respective forms.

David Lim wrote:In this case it would correspond to a retelling of the story from a slightly different perspective, placing the events described in a "more distant" past.


I agree there's a difference in perspective, which is the goal of the original post, but I think both verbs are referring to same past.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 21st, 2013, 3:34 am

MAubrey wrote:I can't say why the NRSV translated the imperfect the way it did, but it seems to me perfectly natural to translate it with an English progressive past.


Most translate as with the NRSV. The NASB is one of the few that go with were drinking. The Vulgate, not surprisingly, goes with the perfect biberunt for ἔπιον and the imperfect bibebant for ἔπινον.

MAubrey wrote:The imperfect functions perfectly fine as stage setting material for the narrative backbone presented in verse 5, which goes back to the aorist. The imperfective is off-line framing material for the online narrative material that directly follows.


What about the γάρ? Isn't it providing explanatory / strengthening material for what precedes?
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby RandallButh » January 21st, 2013, 3:37 am

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
1 Cor 10:4 wrote:καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ πνευματικὸν ἔπιον πόμα · ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός.
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (NRSV)


Paul has both the aorist and imperfect of πίνω in back-to-back clauses. What's the difference in meaning? Whatever that difference is, it does not show up in the NRSV's translation.

Like what Mike said, "ἔπιον" here connotes the setting in which "all were drinking the same spiritual drink", while "ἔπινον" here refers back to the past in which "they drank out of a spiritual rock which followed [them]". I suppose some translations don't see the necessity of preserving minor differences in tenses as the meaning conveyed is still almost the same. In this case it would correspond to a retelling of the story from a slightly different perspective, placing the events described in a "more distant" past.


Maybe we should start over on the explanations.

The first verb, an aorist, refers to the whole event, they all drank the drink, and covers the whole wilderness experience, along with the other aorist verbs in the context.

The second 'drink' verb ἔπινον refers to something habitual, they were drinking, and is more typically 'background' comment. The imperfect may conceivably cover the individuals involved, but it more probably refers to the onging nature of 'drinking from the rock'. Notice that the 'following rock' uses an open-ended participle. Paul was referring to a traditional midrash where the rock followed the group along in the wilderness and their drinking in the midrash was a multiple occurrence in multiple places.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby David Lim » January 21st, 2013, 8:47 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Like what Mike said, "ἔπιον" here connotes the setting in which "all were drinking the same spiritual drink", while "ἔπινον" here refers back to the past in which "they drank out of a spiritual rock which followed [them]".


I'm kind of confused by your glosses. Here, you gloss the aorist ἔπιον with an English past progressive were drinking (which is imperfective), while you gloss the imperfect ἔπινον with an English preterit drank (which is usually perfective but not always). These glosses seem to reverse the aspects as they are normally understood.

Sorry I got them mixed up when responding. I just meant to say that the imperfect is better for conveying a setting, while the aorist is better for conveying a simple past event. Though in my opinion there isn't really any difference in meaning apart from the different perspective.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby MAubrey » January 21st, 2013, 5:44 pm

David Lim wrote:Though in my opinion there isn't really any difference in meaning apart from the different perspective.


Just so you know...when it comes to aspect in general, a difference in perspective, is precisely what the difference in meaning is.
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Re: 1 Cor 10:4 Aorist ἔπιον vs. Imperfect ἔπινον

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 21st, 2013, 6:08 pm

I think I'm going to use 1 Cor 10:4 as a nice, minimal pair.
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