Perfect Active Indicative

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Perfect Active Indicative

Postby Alan Patterson » October 26th, 2013, 11:13 pm

Sorry my Greek text did not transfer over??? I still haven't figured that out. Just in case that is frustrating to you, it is more so to me!

But, my concern is with the way Mounce translates the Perfect Active Indicative. Mounce is not putting the focus on the present stage of the result of having been loosed. His translation really does not require that the individual is currently loosed, whereas that is what the Greek emphasizes. There was a past act of loosing, but that is more so a footnote as far as the Greek is concerned. The Greek emphasis is perhaps 'solely' on the Current Moment. I almost put down the "Present Moment,' but that could give someone the idea of Present = Continuous action or ongoing action.

Here is Mounce:

Paradigm: Perfect active indicative

leluka I have loosed
lelukaV You have loosed
leluke He/She/It has loosed

lelukamen We have loosed
lelukate You have loosed
lelukasi They have loosed

I do not find his glosses at all representative of the Greek Perfect. I would suggest something more in the line of:

I am loosed
You are loosed
He/She/It is loosed

We are loosed
You are loosed
They are loosed

The past act of loosing is not at all where the Greek emphasis falls. It is on its Current State. If we were speaking in generalities, it would better be identified as Present Tense (of some past act). I suppose there could be a usage in which the antecedent act is being focused on, but those would be exceptionally rare. The Prefect Tense in Greek is very close to the Present Tense, remove the Aspect and you've got it.

Any comments?
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Re: Perfect Active Indicative

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 27th, 2013, 4:30 am

Alan Patterson wrote:But, my concern is with the way Mounce translates the Perfect Active Indicative. Mounce is not putting the focus on the present stage of the result of having been loosed. His translation really does not require that the individual is currently loosed, whereas that is what the Greek emphasizes. There was a past act of loosing, but that is more so a footnote as far as the Greek is concerned. The Greek emphasis is perhaps 'solely' on the Current Moment. I almost put down the "Present Moment,' but that could give someone the idea of Present = Continuous action or ongoing action.

Here is Mounce:
leluka I have loosed

I do not find his glosses at all representative of the Greek Perfect. I would suggest something more in the line of:
I am loosed

RandallButh wrote:In the first you are mixing diatheseis (voices). The subject functions differently in 'I have untied something' and 'I am untied'.

To flesh out Randy's first response a little (now split off into another thread), your English glosses switch from active to passive. "I am loosed" would correspond to the perfect middle λέλυμαι, not the perfect active λέλυκα.

The perfect active in Greek for verbs that do not signify a state or a change of state in the (agent) subject is a bit of an odd duck. I wonder if perfect middles should be taught first, because they are more representative (and common) for what the Greek perfect does.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Perfect Active Indicative

Postby Alan Patterson » October 27th, 2013, 11:29 am

Yes, I am getting confused myself. Sorry.

What I do NOT like about Mounce's gloss for the Perfect Active is the emphasis on the past. The past is not the focal point of the Prefect. The "now time" is what we are looking for, the present moment? Here is the paradigm again:

Here is Mounce:

Paradigm: Perfect active indicative

leluka I have loosed
lelukaV You have loosed
leluke He/She/It has loosed

lelukamen We have loosed
lelukate You have loosed
lelukasi They have loosed


Per Mounce, leluka is I have loosed. What I am trying to do is give this gloss a present moment feel. Perhaps I should have said I loose, You loose, and He looses (there really is not a great gulf fixed between the Present and Perfect; this is what I am trying to indicate). What is the gloss for the Perfect Active such that we can indicate to the reader that the Perfect Tense focuses on the Present moment, not what I HAVE done, but where does it stand NOW? Am I misunderstanding his I "have" loosed?

I would rather gloss each Perfect has a Present and put an asterisk there to indicate this is the Perfect sense, not the Present, even though they are translated the same!
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Re: Perfect Active Indicative

Postby RandallButh » October 27th, 2013, 12:05 pm

Alan,

the perfect has something in it that is already completed, it is not just a present tense "I loose". It applies a completed action to the present.
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Re: Perfect Active Indicative

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 27th, 2013, 12:38 pm

Alan Patterson wrote:Per Mounce, leluka is I have loosed. What I am trying to do is give this gloss a present moment feel. Perhaps I should have said I loose, You loose, and He looses (there really is not a great gulf fixed between the Present and Perfect; this is what I am trying to indicate).

No, that won't work. The perfect expresses a present state, not a present activity.

Alan Patterson wrote:What is the gloss for the Perfect Active such that we can indicate to the reader that the Perfect Tense focuses on the Present moment, not what I HAVE done, but where does it stand NOW? Am I misunderstanding his I "have" loosed?

You might be. The English present perfect has a number of different senses. One of them, a perfect of result, indicates that the result of a past action persists to the present. For example, I have lost my glasses in the result sense means that I can't find them now, and She has gone home in most contexts means that she is home now. So the gloss I have loosed for λέλυκα is perfectly adequate, but not quite ideal, since the English present perfect also has an experiential sense (the person has done the action once in his life), which is very rare for the Greek perfect.

Perhaps the trouble involves the looking for a gloss. No gloss is really adequate to capture the sense of the perfect, especially for the perfect active when verb does indicate a state or change of state in the subject, but if you really want a gloss of λέλυκα in English, the least terrible option is I have loosed. As for the middle λέλυμαι, the gloss I am loosed is more adequate than I have been loosed.
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