Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

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Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 17th, 2012, 5:56 am

Matt 3:2 presents John the Baptist's famous preaching as follows:

Matt 3:2 wrote:Μετανοεῖτε · ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἣ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Repent! For the kingdom of God has come near.


What's the sense of the present imperative here?
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Alan Patterson » September 17th, 2012, 7:32 am

Stephen,

What's your hunch? This seems pretty straight forward.

I take the Present Tense Command of μετανοεῖτε to be something as simple as, "there is no time to waste, all of you get started immediately." It would then follow that the Aorist is "Be Done with it, Complete the Action." I don't see anything in the context that would warrant some meaning more complex. Could John's message be that simple?
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby cwconrad » September 17th, 2012, 7:58 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Matt 3:2 presents John the Baptist's famous preaching as follows:

Matt 3:2 wrote:Μετανοεῖτε · ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἣ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Repent! For the kingdom of God has come near.


What's the sense of the present imperative here?


So simple as Alan Patterson suggests? I don't quite think so. The action called for is one of radical reorientation of one's life. My take on the imperfective imperative is that the addressees are bidden to get started on the process of this radical reorientation. It's a process suggested, I think, not a "presto-change-o" makeover.
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ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Alan Patterson » September 18th, 2012, 7:17 am

Carl,

Where exactly do we disagree? I believe I am in agreement with your answer. I agree they are to get started (Present Tense Imperative). Here are my words: all of you get started immediately.

I did not get the sense that Stephen was asking about the definition of μετανοεῖτε. However, I can see where we disagree on this. A "radical reorientation" is closer to the finish line. The first step, at the starting line, is an act of the volition to chose a different course of action. I guess we are getting off the subject at hand... sorry.
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby cwconrad » September 18th, 2012, 8:07 am

Alan Patterson wrote:Carl,

Where exactly do we disagree? I believe I am in agreement with your answer. I agree they are to get started (Present Tense Imperative). Here are my words: all of you get started immediately.

I did not get the sense that Stephen was asking about the definition of μετανοεῖτε. However, I can see where we disagree on this. A "radical reorientation" is closer to the finish line. The first step, at the starting line, is an act of the volition to chose a different course of action. I guess we are getting off the subject at hand... sorry.


You're right; I think we do come down on the same side of the question of the present imperative. My reaction to your response was perhaps a reaction to your "There is no time to waste!" -- which is indeed, I think, the implication of ἤγγικεν ὁ καῖρος. I get "radical reorientation" from μετανοεῖν; although it's said to represent Hebrew shuv, it's so often Englished as "repent" -- which suggests to me more a confession of sin and recommitment. I think what's implied here is, if I may borrow the phrasing, an "extreme makeover" of a person's orientation toward everything. Granted that it's a long-term process, what's called for is a start of a long and painstaking process. I thought that both the start and the process should be emphasized in an understanding of the present imperative; an aorist can, I think, have an inceptive force for a long-term process, while the imperfective emphasizes the ongoing process as much as its start.
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ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Scott Lawson » September 18th, 2012, 11:11 am

At Revelation 3:19 the aorist is used and I note that BDAG gives the gloss μετανόησον = take counsel with yourself but I wonder if "show yourself repentant" or "show repentance" are possible so as to reflect the active voice? I realize that BDAG's gloss seems to reflect a middle voice. How does the voice affect the force of the imperative whether present or aorist?
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby cwconrad » September 18th, 2012, 3:02 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:At Revelation 3:19 the aorist is used and I note that BDAG gives the gloss μετανόησον = take counsel with yourself but I wonder if "show yourself repentant" or "show repentance" are possible so as to reflect the active voice? I realize that BDAG's gloss seems to reflect a middle voice. How does the voice affect the force of the imperative whether present or aorist?


The verb μετανοεῖν appears only in the active in the GNT; LSJ doesn't indicate any middle-passive usage either. There's no need to imagine any middle notion here; the verb itself implicitly indicates mental transformation. I note that NET gives simply "repent" for μετανόησον in Rev 3:3.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Scott Lawson » September 18th, 2012, 5:31 pm

Carl wrote:"The action called for is one of radical reorientation of one's life. My take on the imperfective imperative is that the addressees are bidden to get started on the process of this radical reorientation. It's a process suggested, I think, not a "presto-change-o" makeover."

I'm away from my computer and library and working from my iPhone, so please excuse my lack of electronic sophistication in posts.
Some questions come to mind:

1.) Does a "radical reorientation of ones life" bring In entailments to the verb that is not inherent in μετανοειν or as BDAG glosses it; take counsel with yourself?

2.) Is it Akionsart or Aspect that is in view?

3.) If Aspect is it telic or atelic.

4.) You present it from an Aktionsart viewpoint and progressive and evidently an activity rather than stative which I can see in the present. But we get the simple "Repent!" as you point out in the NET.

5.) If Aspect is the aorist the default?

FWIW my sense is that the present is used for vividness.
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby MAubrey » September 18th, 2012, 9:29 pm

I'm not Carl, but I read this and I could use a few clarifications about what you mean.
Scott Lawson wrote:2.) Is it Akionsart or Aspect that is in view?

Aktionsart and Aspect are always both involved in any predication. It's never one or the other. It's always both.
Scott Lawson wrote:3.) If Aspect is it telic or atelic.

How could you ever make an imperfective telic?
Scott Lawson wrote:4.) You present it from an Aktionsart viewpoint and progressive and evidently an activity rather than stative which I can see in the present. But we get the simple "Repent!" as you point out in the NET.

This statement doesn't make any sense as it stands. Or at least, it is sufficiently ambiguous that I derive no meaning from it. That is to say, it isn't clear what you mean when you say that Carl is presenting it "from an Aktionsart viewpoint." Also, there absolutely nothing stative about the present tense; that's just false.
Scott Lawson wrote:5.) If Aspect is the aorist the default?

Default in what way?
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Re: Matt 3:2 μετανοεῖτε

Postby Scott Lawson » September 18th, 2012, 10:19 pm

Mike thanks for your questions! I speak more English than I understand so I'll do my best to clarify my questions!

2.) My understanding is that with imperatives Aspect is involved and not Aktionsart. I know these two terms get mixed together so my perspective is Aktionsart is what A. T. Robertson would use.

3.) Here may be a good instance of Here is fine instance of speaking more English than I understand. Thanks! You've reminded me that both the present and aorist are imperfective. Right?

4.) As a translation of the aorist imperative in NET at Revelation 3:19 as per Carls suggestion would'nt "begin repenting" be the idea rather than simply "Repent!?"

5.) In considering the aspectual force of a verb I understand that if there may be default choice for the tense used and if so no special significance can be attached to its use.

Mike, thanks again for your questions and also for your indulgence!
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