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Matthew 13:46

Stephen Carlson » February 26th, 2013, 11:23 am

Alan Patterson wrote:I will reread your excellent post, but I want to first thank you for such a detailed answer. To give me a head start, are there any unambiguous examples of 6, which partially reads:

it’s basically equivalent to an aorist where no relevance to the current discourse context can be detected.

Sure. I think the clearest one is in:

Matt 13:45-46 wrote:45 Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας · 46 εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.
45 “Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 Now when he found one expensive pearl, he went out and sold off all that he had and bought it.”

cwconrad » February 27th, 2013, 7:45 am

David Lim wrote:Stephen, sorry for interrupting your conversation, but I would like to know how you conclude that in Matt 13:45-46 there is no relevance of the perfect in its context. For me I would consider the perfect to emphasize the state of having nothing left unsold rather than the act of selling everything. So I would like to hear your view. :)

Seems to me that “the state of having nothing left unsold” finds expression rather in πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν


πιπράσκω (Aeschyl., Hdt.+.—B-D-F §101 p. 48; s. Mlt-H. 254) impf. ἐπίπρασκον; pf. πέπρακα (Mt 13:46 and Hv 1, 1, 1 it has aorist aspect; s. B-D-F §343, 1; Rob. 900).


343. Perfect for the aorist. There are scattered traces of the late use of the perfect in narrative (§340): (1) unquestionable examples in Rev: 5:7 ἦλθεν καὶ εἴληφεν, cf. 8:5. (2) In Paul: 2 C 2:13 ἔσχηκα in historical narration, 12:17 ἀπέσταλκα among nothing but aorists (ἔπεμψα DE, ἀπέστειλα several minusc.), 11:25 νυχθήμερον ἐν τῷ βυθῷ πεποίηκα alongside aorists only and without adequate reason. J 12:29p66 ἐλάλησεν; pm. λελάληκεν. (3) Γέγονεν for ἐγένετο (Burton 43) Mt 25:6 (B ἐγένετο), 17:2 (according to Chr), γεγόναμεν ApocP 11 (for papyri s. Mlt. 146 [229f.] and an example from an inscrip. 239 n. on 168 [263]).

Hatzid. 204; Dieterich 235; Mlt. 141–7 [222–31]; Psaltes 229f.; Eakin, Aorists and Perfects in First Century Papyri (AJTh 20 [1916] 266–73; aoristic use in pap. of i AD only in the cases of εἴρηκα and εἴληφα); Mayser II 1, 140f.; Chantraine 233–45; Meuwese 87ff.; Rob. 898–901. Εἴληφα and ἔσχηκα in pap. and LXX: Thack. 24; Huber 74.
(1) Rev 7:14 εἴρηκα (046 εἶπον), cf. 19:3, i.e. in forms in which reduplication is not clearly indicated. Mk 11:2 κεκάθικεν ‘has sat’ (ἐκάθισεν SBCZΨΘ). Certain aoristic use likewise in Herm Vis 1.1.1 πέπρακεν (cf. Mt 13:46 πέπρακεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν), 3.1.2 ὦπται S (A ὤφθη), Homil Clem 2.53

Carl W. Conrad

Thanks for chiming in. I appreciate your providing this example, but I do have a concern.

45 Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας · 46 εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.
45 “Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 Now when he found one expensive pearl, he went out and sold off all that he had and bought it.”

There is a 2 minute response, not edited, that I’ll check later :) I’ll try an expanded translation/paraphrase

1. having located a pearl of great value
2. he left (to sell all his stuff)
3. (he sold [his possessions]) [I put (he sold) in brackets to show that this is not the focal point the author wants to draw our attention to]; in fact, it is assumed based on what follows]
4. and now in possession of the proceeds from all he sold [this is the focal point of a Perfect verb]
i.e., all of his property and personal possessions that he was holding on to,
5. he [now in possession of cold, hard cash) bought the pearl

Again, this is my view of the Perfect Tense. The phrase “he sold” is not the focal point of πέπρακεν. He can’t buy the pearl until he is in possession of the moola. :)

I reserve the right to be correct with any of the above.

Stephen Carlson » February 27th, 2013, 8:45 am

Alan, the “focal point” (assuming I understand you correctly) of a classical perfect should be the current discourse context. If the man’s being possession of the proceeds is the focal point, it is not in the current discourse context. It is within the context of the narrated story, not within the discoure context of Jesus teaching the disciples. A remote tense such as an aorist or pluperfect would fit the narrative context.

Let’s look at it another way. Though English uses the perfect more frequently than Greek, English also requires a present perfect to be relevant to the current discourse context. The fact that none of the major translations rendered πέπραχεν with an English present perfect is a redflag that none of these translators (even the very literal NASB) could detect any relevance to the current discourse context. These all translate the verb with the preterite “sold.”

Stephen, I am not suggesting that this is a Classical Perfect; I am saying that the Perfect Tense does not seem strange to me. It is not the fact that “he sold” his belongings, but his current state of being able to purchase the pearl now. “He sold” is background information and really should not be given too much attention.
I would, like Vegas,say that ‘what is in a parable, stays in the parable.’ The parable is a story, and the story in itself is the entire discourse. (This may be our fundamental difference.) There is NO TEMPORAL RELATION to how this parable fits those OUTSIDE of the parable, such as Jesus’ hearers. This parable has no relationship to the time it is presented. The current context — of the one presenting the parable — does not make a temporal connection between the parable and the hearers. The parable represents a universal truth, presented in a story/illustration.

The preterite “sold” is exactly correct. That is how I originally translated it. The difference, I think, is the “focal point” of the “sold” portion of the story.

The idea of your current discourse context of parables, if you ask me, actually has no connection with the time the parable is presented.