Re: Mark 1:11

Carlton L. Winbery (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 19:56:05 +0400

>> From: Perry Robert Wiles <>, on 9/9/96 10:06 PM:
>> Contra Zerwick Luke 7:35 seems a clear example of a gnomic aorist.
>> Usage in Mk 1:11 also seems to require a timeless sense, hence gnomic
>> seems correct designation.
> I guess I'm at a loss to understand why we would take these 'as a
>general rule' or 'axiomatic / proverbial' examples (Dana and Mantey's as well
>as Zurwick's description of the gnomic). If the example in Mark 1:11 expresses
>the reality of a fact which has already taken place, then it should be viewed
>as culminative (which can sometimes be construed as gnomic, per D&M, but I find
>it difficult to see such a reading here -- perhaps you could help me understand
>why you hold it to be gnomic). Dramatic seems to be the better of the
>possibilities I've encountered so far. Also, why does Mk 1:11 seem to require
>a timeless sense for you? When I am pleased with my son, it occurs 'in the
>moment.' Other times I love my son but I am not 'well pleased' with him
>(overwhelmed with emotional fervor) as a general rule.
> RE: Luke 7:35, it does seem to fit the pattern of a gnomic aorist,
>yet, it could also be taken as culminative. I agree that it seems axiomatic
>and proverbial and hence, wonder why Zurwick would object to this instance
>being rendered as gnomic -- D&M cite it w/ John 15:8 and 1Pt. 1:24 as examples
>where the aorist is used rhetorically and captured in English translation by
>the present (under the heading of gnomic) but then go on to cite only Gal 5:24
>as a clear example of a gnomic aorist, i.e., "it is the normal disposition of
>those who are Christ's to crucify the flesh." Perhaps it is not the normal
>disposition of wisdom to be justified by her children so much as it is the
>culmination of wisdom to be justified by her children (after all, children are
>slow to come around to honoring mother and father) <wink>.
> I'd like to hear more about the nuances involved here.
I would agree with Zerwick that this cannot be gnomic. The gnomic is
generally reserved for a general maxim that is always true, i.e., wisdom is
always vindicated by its fruits. James Brooks cited the parallel to this
in Mt.3:17 as an example of the dramatic. The problem is that not all
grammars include this category. If dramatic is rejected then it seems to
me that the aorist here looks as the fact of God being pleased from the
point of the total event and thus would be culminative. A number of the
other egs. of the dramatic in other grammars are very close to the
culminative, egs. 1Cor. 4:18, Mt. 9:18, Jn.21:10 Mk. 16:6.

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. NT & Greek La College