Sorry guys, it just won't wash.
Victor wrote:Either translation of ἤλθομεν, simple past or perfect, is justifiable in the present case. The use of two concurrent aorists and their being conjoined by καὶ is no guarantee that the second event is implied as having been completed or even initiated hard upon the first, though. My own feeling, and evidently that of others (e.g. the American Standard version*), is that the action described by εἴδομεν is conceived of as having occurred relatively remotely (days or weeks) before the time of speaking, and should be rendered in English by the simple past, whilst the action described by ἤλθομεν is presented as just completed at the moment the speakers announce the reason for their arrival, and in consequence should be rendered by the perfect.
The point is that there is no indication of any such differentiation IN THE GREEK. The two verbs are presented in parallel, on a par with one another, and any semantic distinction between them is imported by us, and falsifies the text
. They have to be translated identically.
Victor wrote:One factor in the choice of translation that nobody has mentioned, but that may be influential, is the divergent usage of simple past and perfect tenses among speakers of American and British English: speakers of Am. E. favour simple pasts in some circumstances where speakers of Br. E. prefer perfects. I don't know which variety of English is native to you, but certainly for a native speaker of British English translating ἐκέρδησας (18, 15), ἠργάσατο (26, 10), ἐτελεύτησεν (9, 18), ἐμοίχευσεν (5, 28), and ἔφθασεν (12, 28) as simple pasts would leave an impression not merely of "translation English", written by someone wishing "to show the difference in meaning from the Greek perfect", but of decidedly unnatural English idiom.
This is true, and a good point. In certain parts of the world, California for one, "Did you eat?" is used to ask if someone has already had lunch, in other parts, e.g. England, "Have you eaten?" is used.
And it's true that even in American English some of the instances you cite, especially the first, would sound more natural with the "have gained" form. And I'd add to your list 6.12, the Lord's prayer [unless there's been a collapse between ἀφήκαμεν and ἀφείκαμεν, which is quite conceivable - I haven't investigated. - I see that Mark has Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι (10.28), as if ἀφήκαμεν is being used as equivalent to the "correct" perfect ἀφείκαμεν--while in Matt this becomes Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι, unequivocally aorist. Well, I leave this hanging. There must be literature on this.] - Anyhow, to that extent I'll relent: occasionally the aorist may most naturally be translated by the english "has" form. But (i) that only shows that even main-clause aorist doesn't quite invariably map exactly on to English simple past (English idiom may differ), (ii) that's all the more reason to read the text in Greek and not in translation, for otherwise the semantic difference between aorist and perfect is lost, and (iii) in any event this does NOT apply in the case of our target sentence, where there's nothing unnatural-sounding about "We saw his star and came to worship him" (sc. "and here we are"--but that's only understood, it's not in the Greek.)
Victor wrote:* "for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
You gotta be kidding. "are come" for plain common-or-garden down-to-earth ἤλθομεν?! (It would be fine for ἥκομεν, but that's not what we have.) That's truly horrendous.
Markos wrote:Indeed, the sense being:
ἰδόντες γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ, πάρεσμεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.
You're telling Matthew what he ought to have written?! He could have written that if that's what he meant, but he didn't. Your semi-classicizing paraphrase represents what you would like the sense to be, not what it actually is. I can imagine him retorting ὃ γέγραφα γέγραφα.