Re: tense & aspect

Richard Lindeman (
Sat, 7 Sep 1996 22:05:27 +0000

> I cannot help but think that a good deal of the splitting of tense usages
> into progressively self-ramifying categories says more about our need to
> translate into the nuances appropriate to English. This is certainly valid
> where the nuances are there in the Greek, but often I think it is a matter
> of our discerning the nuances for English (or German, or French ...). There
> are real differences of aspect in Greek verbs and the tenses are really
> different. It's not the same language as the language of Homer, nor is it
> the same language as the language of Plato, either, but then, neither is it
> a wholly different language. Robertson may have been wrong about several
> things, but I think (personally) that he was right to want to understand
> Biblical Greek in terms of the development of the Greek language over the
> centuries.
> Carl W. Conrad

Interesting points Carl... Here is where Richard Young differs
markedly from your own perspective in his grammar. He does
*not* approach grammar at all from a historical perspective.
Instead he argues strongly that in the end *usage* of the language is
all that really matters. This is the entire basis of his grammar. From this
perspective, Young dismisses "time" entirely from consideration of
the various NT Greek tenses and relegates this to context. Young
even hints that "Expectation" may be at the heart of the future tense rather
than future time.

Your points are certainly valid, but I think that Young's arguments
also have their own weight. In *actual practice* I have also found
Young's observations and suggestions to be very useful personally.
Perhaps that is because I am not familiar enough with the Greek of
Homer and Plato to be able to note the historical differences.

Rich Lindeman