Carlton Winbery (
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 20:23:30 +0400

Jeffrey Gibson wrote;

>I am aware that early writers used the forms of PEIRAW to supply the
>tenses for the future, aorist, etc. of PEIRAZW. But this does not seem to
>be the case in later Hellenistic writers who tend to use either
>PEIRAW or PEIRAZW but not both, especially when they want to convey the
>idea of "proving" or "putting a person or thing to the test". Certainly
>this is the case with New Testament writers, and it is most noticable in
>the fact that when speaking of Jesus' "testings" the Gospel authors (and
>the author of Hebrews), following perhaps the usage of the LXX in
>translating Hebrew words for "testing", limit themselves to
>(EK)PEIRAZW. Does this not imply that, what ever might have been the case
>with earlier authors (Homer being one), PEIRAZW and PEIRAW
>were eventually seen as having slightly different shades of meaning?
> What I am trying to do is to draw up a list of all instances of
>PEIRAZW in pre-3rd Cent C.E. Greek Literature, so that the semantic range(s)
>that the verb possessed at any given period of its use can be
>laid bare. Now since the trend of later authors was to use one verb but
>not the other (for stylistic reasons, because of
>regional usage?), and since some of these authors, when speaking of a
>trial or testing, do so only when the context demands a tense in which the
>form of PEIRAZW and PEIRAW overlap, it is difficult to know which of the
>two verbs is actually being employed, and therefore difficult to know
>whether one should instance a particular passage as a use of the former
>or the latter.
> So this is why I seek some critera for determining which verb is
>actually being used.
> If I am off base in this, I will be grateful to be corrected.

First PEIRAW. This vb is a verb ending in a long A which does
not lengthen in the present and imperfect nor before the S, of the fut/aor,
or K of the perfect, or MAI, SAI, TAI, etc of the perf. mid/pass or the Q
of the Aor pass. Some of the time it adds a S before the ending of the
perf. mid/pass and before the Q of the aor passive.

A complete list of these verbs in the NT appears in Brooks & Winbery,
Morphology, p. 151. There is also a list of NT verbs with present in -IZW,
-AZW, and -OZW on pp. 156-160. These verbs would be distinct from the long
AW verbs in the present and imperf (1st pp.). They would be identical in
the future and aorist act and middle and in the perf. active. The AZW
verbs will not have the S before the K of the perf, but will have it before
the ending of the perf. mid/pass and the Q of the aorist passive whereas
the AW verbs where the A does not lengthen will sometimes have the S in the
perf pass and aorist pass. The instances that I checked out in the LXX
regularly had variations of the AW verbs with and without the S. The
problem in looking at the LXX is that Hatch & Redpath does not distinguish
between these two verb forms.

It appears to me that in Hellenistic literature and esp. in the NT, Apos.
Fathers (very limited check here), and LXX; it is impossible to distinquish
these two verb forms due to the addition of a S to the stem even in the 5th
and 6th pp. or due to textual variations. In at least one case in
Heroditus the A of the PEIRAW lengthened to H before the Q of aor. pass.,
but I haven't had time to check the pre-hellenistic lit.

In Hellenistic lit. the following would probably be the principal parts. A
good place to do further research would be in the LXX and Apos. Fathers. A
search of TLG could be instructive also, but I do not at the moment have
that capability.



Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Fax (318) 442-4996
Phone (318) 487-7241