Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Are you suggesting
Of course he's not suggesting
– he suggested
Yeah, English has got this construction too.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:So, I say you are too literalistic and Jason is right. There's no problem if we view this through prototype theory. The usage is easily explained by the semantic nature of the present tense and cognitive understanding of the real world event. It may not be prototypical, but fits well within normal understanding about the present tense.
I'd like to see this prototype suggestion fleshed out a little more. I think I have shown, being too literalistic or not, that is is not a typical use of the present indicative. It refers to a past, completed statement, but still there is something present and continuing about it. I'm trying to articulate what this is, instead of saying, "Well, it's obvious." As I understand it, it is important to articulate the conditions under which marginal meanings occur and how they are related to the prototypical meaning. So there's quite a bit a work more to be done in order to get an adequate prototype explanation.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:And also: wouldn't the two suspected mismatches, aspectual and temporal, rather lead you to find a simple solution which doesn't have mismatches? Why do you want still to think this usage is strange? And finally, if grammarians haven't noticed this, doesn't it mean they just took it as natural use of the present tense?
I think grammarians have noticed this phenomenon with respect to the notion of a "perfective present" (see e.g., BDF $ 322), which is a terrible name but the idea is that it is a present that acts like perfect. Typically examples of this include some usages of present ἀκούω as if "I have heard" in Luke 9:9, 1 Cor 11:18, 2 Thess 3:11, and even phenomenon like "Isaiah says" or "Scriptures says" with λέγει.
As for Mark 14:60 and its Matthean parallel, I haven't exhausted the literature on this verse, so I don't know if it has been commented upon beyond Fanning's claim, p. 200, that "in contrast to the uses with general reference to be covered later, the descriptive present is used of what is occurring now
, not of what does occur
more generally in present time" (emphasis original). In checking Fanning's cites, it became clear to me that Mark 14:60 must have been mis-categorized or Fanning's discussion is inadequate because the action was not in fact occurring then but had been completed.
Yes, I do want an explanation that does not involve any temporal or aspectual mismatches. At this stage I'm seeing two possibilities:
(1) Analogize this to the historical perfect. The temporal mismatch is accommodated by shifting the deictic center / perspective point to the time of the act of communication, and the aspectual mismatch is accommodated by collapsing the reference time (in a Reichenbach/Klein system) to a point. The Cambridge grammar of English seems to prefer this approach for English; see CGEL 131, § 188.8.131.52(c), “Past Evidential Use with Verbs of Communication.” (I think this is one of the ways David was going.)
(2) Analogize this to the Russian "factual imperfect," which can include single-act habits (if I understand this right). I would apply it for Greek verbs of communication as follows. Sometimes a statement, though made in the past, can in principle be reaffirmed. (Jason touched on this when he said, "they could be called upon to answer for their testimony, to add to it, clarify it or repeat it as needed.") This possibility of reaffirmation suggests that could be repeated indefinitely (like habituals or iteratives) and thus does not have to refer to the temporal location of a specific act of communication but to the content of that communicative act. The pragmatic effect of this construction would be to background the actual communicative act and foreground its content.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala