Re: Mari Broman (was Aorist resources)

Jonathan Robie (
Mon, 09 Dec 1996 20:56:39 -0500

At 08:43 PM 12/9/96 -0500, Don Wilkins wrote:

>Well, as Carl also pointed out, the only issue concerns the indicative. I
>don't think any of us (certainly not I) would try to put time in the other

For aorist and present, this is true. For the other tenses, Mari does not
make an explicit statement, but as I read the papers, she implicitly implies
that imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, and future are true tenses *regardless*
of mood. Maybe Mari can comment about whether I'm understanding her
correctly. (She needs a break from Prolog programming anyways...)

>>Her paper indicates that the augment probably had meaning as a past-time
>>indicator in all "tenses", but lost this meaning over time for the aorist.
>>She does not establish the period over which this occured.
>Again, this is at the core of the problem and it would be most helpful if
>Mari would clarify when and how she thinks this happened.

She argues that this *had* happened by the time of the GNT. If she were able
to prove this conclusively, it would be reasonable to leave this question up
to other researchers.

>>Mari seems to focus on the concept of "cancellability". By examining how the
>>"tenses" combine with other time indicators, we can determine which are the
>>true tenses, the ones which retain their time reference even contrary to
>>other indicators in the context. Consider the difference between these uses
>>of the Aorist and the Imperfect in combination with NUN:
>This is also at the core of the problem: the matter of whether our
>interpretation of the context legitimately allows us to redefine the
>essential meaning of the tense. Note that I previously remarked that Mari's
>approach will always be the easier way, in effect cutting the gordian knot.
>But the easiest approach is not necessarily correct. An analogous situation
>exists in textual criticism, where most scholars agree that the more
>difficult reading is probably correct.

Suppose that my NUN examples had been so clear cut that only an idiot could
believe that the aorist could possibly have a past reference when combined
with NUN in any New Testament text. If that were true, I would think that
this discussion would be over by now.

As it is, I think that Mari's explanation does a better job of covering the
examples found in the GNT than traditional explanations do (and I listed all
that I found using Gramcord).

>>I've argued in a separate message that the Aorist examples, taken in
>>context, do not refer to the past, but the imperfect clearly does. Why? Mari
>>says this is because the imperfect is a true tense, and the aorist is not.
>This is a matter of definition, not grammar. If by "tense" one exclusively
>means time (i.e. not aspect), then Mari is correct, but must we then say
>that the imperfect has (despite its name) no aspect? Obviously my view is
>that the indicative is the mood of time, and that the aorist examples may
>in fact essentially refer to the past, whether or not the context imposes
>other implications.

No, Mari says clearly that it has aspect.

>And BTW Jonathan, keep up the good work.

Thanks! I'm working on it. And thanks for your help along the way!


Jonathan Robie
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