Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

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Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby mgiannini » April 23rd, 2012, 1:12 pm

Mark 4:39 ... ἐπετίμησεν τῷ ἀνέμῳ καὶ εἶπεν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, Σιώπα, πεφίμωσο.


I'm just wondering how to best translate the highlighted word into English. I understand that perfect imperatives are usually constructed periphrastically, but apparently this word is one of the few exceptions. I also understand that in the imperative there is no time component to the construction, rather the aspect is most significant.

Since it is perfect, then, is it best to try to bring across the permanent result of the command? Would a valid loose translation be, "Be silent/calm, and stay that way".

As a side question, can somebody comment on the switch from σιωπαω to φιμοω? Is there a nuance to the meaning of these words, because I understand them to basically mean "to be quiet, to silence".

Thank you for your help.
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Re: Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby Scott Lawson » April 24th, 2012, 9:57 am

Funny you should ask! We have been discussing this subject under the post of Imperatives of saying. Carl/Hercules! We have another Hydra head and this time it's not my fault! :D

mgiannini wrote:I'm just wondering how to best translate the highlighted word into English.

As a translation I like Hush! Be quiet!

mgiannini wrote:Since it is perfect, then, is it best to try to bring across the permanent result of the command? Would a valid loose translation be, "Be silent/calm, and stay that way".

Be silent, Put the muzzle on and keep it on. Σιώπα., πεφίμωσο...Mark 4:39. The action is durative. Robertson’s Big Grammar, page 908, 4, lines 13-15.
However, I think permanence is too strong, otherwise there would never be another storm on that sea...I don't know maybe there never has been again! Might ought to look into that it may help us prove something about imperatives. :D

mgiannini wrote:As a side question, can somebody comment on the switch from σιωπαω to φιμοω?


My feeling is that the present imperative σιώπα is commanding a change in activity while the perfect imperative πεφίμωσο is commanding a change in state/condition in relation to that specific time or event.

mgiannini wrote:I also understand that in the imperative there is no time component to the construction, rather the aspect is most significant.

John Kendall was kind enough to refer us to Steve Baugh's work on tense form choice in the oblique moods.
http://baugh.wscal.edu/PDF/ALL/GreekTenseFormChoice_Baugh.pdf


As to middle/passive I think Carl indicates that it is primarily viewed as reflexive in imperatives.
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Re: Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby mgiannini » April 24th, 2012, 11:22 am

However, I think permanence is too strong, otherwise there would never be another storm on that sea...I don't know maybe there never has been again! Might ought to look into that it may help us prove something about imperatives


Ha ha. I had the same thought even as I wrote my post. I seem to remember reading that perfects needed to be understood from the perspective of the speaker, and not our own. If that is true, then it would seem reasonable to at least expect the storm to cease until they reached land.

As to middle/passive I think Carl indicates that it is primarily viewed as reflexive in imperatives.


Aren't all commands inherently reflexive in the sense that you are the one who needs to carry it out/obey? Maybe I am misunderstanding your point, but wouldn't we expect most/all imperatives to be middle/passive to emphasize the reflexive nature of obedience? Could you, or someone else, elaborate on this, or point me to relevant material to read on this?

Thank you for your full response to my original question.
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Re: Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby Scott Lawson » April 24th, 2012, 9:31 pm

mgiannini wrote:Aren't all commands inherently reflexive in the sense that you are the one who needs to carry it out/obey?


No.

Scott Lawson wrote:Could you, or someone else, elaborate on this, or point me to relevant material to read on this?


Smyth pages 389-94 :D
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Re: Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby Shirley Rollinson » April 26th, 2012, 8:16 pm

mgiannini wrote:
Aren't all commands inherently reflexive in the sense that you are the one who needs to carry it out/obey? Maybe I am misunderstanding your point, but wouldn't we expect most/all imperatives to be middle/passive to emphasize the reflexive nature of obedience? Could you, or someone else, elaborate on this, or point me to relevant material to read on this?

Thank you for your full response to my original question.

The person making the command is not the person obeying, so it's not reflexive - unless it's something like "move yourself" ἐρχoυ
e.g. "feed the cat!" is definitely transitive :-)
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Re: Mark 4:39 - perfect middle/passive imperative

Postby Scott Lawson » April 26th, 2012, 9:59 pm

.
Shirley Rollinson wrote: "feed the cat!" is definitely transitive


But...don't assume, Matthew, that all verbs in the active voice are transitive. You may already have come across this if you were able to read Smyth.
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