Re: Mari Broman Olsen (nee Mari Broman)

Edgar M. Krentz (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 22:05:18 -0500

I have been following, though not as carefully as I ought, this very long
thread. I do not feel competent to respond to particular items raised in
the discussion. However, I do want to make one or two methodological

1. As I recall there was much discussion of NUN with an aorist indicative;
that was used as evidence that the aorist indicative indicated present
time. Two reactions: a) NUN does not always have a temporal sense. At times
it is logical, as in NUN de, "but as the case actually is," and has
logical, but not temporal significance. b) At times NUN can mean "just
now," actuallydenoting the immediate past. One should evaluate those NUN +
aoriost indicative passages with these data in mind.

2. In my opinion ;-), the NT alone is an inadequate data base on which to
draw such far-reaching linguistic conclusions. One should check such
conclusions out by reading works of relatively the same time period, e.g.
Strabo, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, Lucian, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, etc.,
to see whether Ms. Olson's conclusions hold good.

3. One of Saul Levin's OBITER DICTA I rcall from his course on structural
linguistics and comparitive Greek and Latin grammar was "All
generalizations are lies, including this one." There is much truth therein.
I instinctively look for the one exception that makes the generalization
false. I would argue that restricting the evaluation of the aorist
indicative to passages that include NUN already skews the argument, since
the addition of NUN may make the analysis depend on special cases.
What does one make of the aorists in 1 Cor 15:3-5? the verb
EPARRHSIASAMEQA in 1 Thess 2:2? of EUDOKHSAMEN in 1 Thess 3:1? None of
these, to be sure have NUN with them; is it then the NUN that makes present
time of the aorist in some passages? What of the so called dramatic or
instantaneous or gnomic aorists?

I hope I am not starting another long string on the aorist. I have not read
Mari Olson's owrk, so will not comment on her analysis. but what I have
read in defense of her work does not persuade me that the aorist, by
definition, is timeless in the indicative.

Pardon the length of this reaction.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR *****
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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