the imperatives in Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3b

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the imperatives in Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3b

Post by jgibson000 »

Can anyone here tell me whether from the point of view of aspect there is (or is not) a significant difference in meaning between the present imperative form of δίδωμι that Luke uses in his version of the Bread petition of the Disciples' Prayer and the aorist imperative form of this word that Matthew uses in his, especially if B. Fanning (Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990] 97, 380-382) Stanley Porter (Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood [New York: Peter Lang, 1989] 347-350) and Frank Stagg ("The Abused Aorist", Journal of Biblical Literature 91 [1972] 222 231, esp. 225-226) are are correct in noting that the aorist imperative in a request does not signify asking for something that is to happen "once-only", it indicates only that something specific should happen in a specific situation, in this case, each time the petition is prayed?

With thanks in advance,

Jeffrey B. Gibson
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: the imperatives in Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3b

Post by Robert Emil Berge »

I'm sure Fanning, Porter and Stagg have very intelligent readings, and make a lot out of the difference in aspect in these two formulations of the prayer, but I haven't read them. In the end, however, this is very simple Greek (except for the meaning of ἐπιούσιος). Matthew's version is a prayer for sufficient bread on the actual day of the prayer, but since this is an instruction for how to pray, we can infer that the prayer should be repeated every day, maybe. The aorist is the most natural aspect here, a present imperative would imply that the giving was already happening, and a wish for it to continue, which exactly is the case in Luke's version, where the prayer is for continuing giving sufficient bread day by day. Actually none of the sentences would change a lot just by changing the aspect of the imperative, since the sentence as a whole is quite clear, but it would sound just a little bit strange, I think.
Jonathan Robie
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Re: the imperatives in Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3b

Post by Jonathan Robie »

Let's get the text in front of our eyes (see the forum rules above ;->):
Matthew 6:11 wrote:Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
Luke 11:3b wrote:τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν·
So the difference is δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον versus δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν. I wonder if there are differences between σήμερον and καθ’ ἡμέραν that might affect the choice of verb tense here.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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