3rd Aorist or Athematic Aorist

Tue, 29 Oct 1996 08:36:44 -0500

Thanks for the help on the 3rd/Athematic. Chris is still struggling to
understand his instructor in this area. Below is his E-mail to me. Can we
help her out?

Thanks again,

Here is the ENTIRE description of the "3rd Aorist" in Franks (absolutely
incomprehensible) Grammar. Frank is a great teacher of Greek in a small
group reading the text, but the introductory Biblical Greek grammar he wrote
is horrible:

" Long-Vowel Aorist

There is another aorist conjugational pattern which some grammars call a
third aorist, others a long-vowel, root, or athematic second aorist. This
subtype comprised inherited IE stems to which the secondary endings are
added directly to the final long vowel of the stem. The verb stem may end in
H or W, as in the following paradigms of EBHN, aorist of compounds of BAINW,
go, and EGNWN, aorist of KINWSKW, know."

And he gives both in Indicative, imperative, Subj, optative, Infin, and
particp. forms.

And he notes: Two forms of a root aorist of DUNW with stem ending in a long
U are attested as variant readings in the NT: EDU (Mk 1:32) and PAREISEDUSAN
(Jude 4).

He then goes on to talk about -MI verbs, which he gives in the aorist active
and middle in all moods. After that, he says:

(h)ISTHMI has both a first and a second (third) aorist, ie, ESTHSA and ESTHN;
the second aorist is intransitive, I stood, awhile the first aorist is
causative, I made to stand.

AND THAT's ALL. And it makes absolutely no sense to me at all. I just am
resigned to getting it wrong on tests.

Does any of this make any sense to you?

And Smythe is no help either. He has a list of -W verbs of which he says
(para 687, if you ever find a copy of Smythe):

"The following W verbs have second aorists of the -MI forms." And lists:


I THINK this is the "limited" list of verbs Frank keeps referring to as
being in Smythe. But I wouldn't bet much on that guess.

In a later chapter of his grammar, Frank says:

Aorist and future passive:

"The aorist and future passive tenses are formed by the addition of the
system sign (TH) E (+ length in the indicative, imperative and infinitive) to
the verb base. When the TH is present, the tense is called first
aorist/future passive, e.g., EBLHTHHN; without the TH, it is called second
aorist/future passive, e.g., EGRAPHHN. In the first aorist/future, the final
stem consonant is always assimilated to an aspirate before the TH. Other
phonetic changes in the verb stem often precede the addition of the TH. The
most common is the insertion of S, e.g., HKOUSTHHN. These latter changes are
not regular, but are easily recognized and need not be learned except in the
principal parts of the verbs listed in the vocabularies." [of course, his
vocabulary lists include all irregular verbs 5 or more times in the NT]

"The aorist passive is conjugated by adding the secondary endings of the act
ive (his emphasis) directly to the stem plus system signs, i.e., the tense is
athematic. First and second aorists are conjugated identically. Some few
verbs show both first and second aorists (without distinction of meaning)."

Then he goes on to show the aorist passive, using ELUTHHN, in all moods.

BUT just in case you then think you have it figured out, he has a boxed in
area immediately after these forms which says "The endings in this paradigm
[and, remember, this is aorist passive he is talking about] are exactly like
those of the third aorist -EBHN except for the optative and the participle,
which correspond to those of athematic -MI verbs in -E, like TITHHMI.

I liked it better before I ever heard of the 3rd aorist. Aren't you sorry
you bit on my previous email?