Re: Mari Broman (was Aorist resources)

Don Wilkins (
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 14:55:11 -0500 (EST)

At 8:56 PM 12/9/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>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.

We probably shouldn't get into this too deeply without an official ipsa
dixit (as you yourself indicated previously), but there is obviously need
for conclusive (or at least convincing) proof. If she can not offer it,
then we should view her approach as theory subject to testing and

>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.

Ah, now you've gone and uncomplimented me! But you are right in doing it to
make your point, Jonathan. In the minds of many, no doubt, the discussion
is over already. If what you are suggesting with NUN is really the case,
then I suspect we will find it to be true as well for a good many
extra-biblical examples.

>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).

But bear in mind the temptation to cut the gordian knot. If I really have a
panic button to press whenever I encounter difficult constructions, I'll
probably use it rather than try to dig deeper for another solution. I don't
believe Mari's approach can be fairly evaluated merely on the grounds that
it makes sense in the context, given the fact that other, perhaps more
painstaking, approaches also make sense.

>>>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.

Then we are back again to the indicative mood, where (as I would argue) the
imperfect and aorist both have the functioning augment, and both
essentially refer to past time. Note that I use *essentially* in the
literal sense, since I think that the writer/speaker can use contextual
factors to put different spins on the overall meaning without necessarily
changing the concepts of the tenses.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside