Jonathan Robie (
Tue, 01 Apr 1997 10:27:25 -0500

At 08:36 AM 4/1/97 -0600, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 7:45 AM -0600 4/1/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:

>My 2c worth: The single, most important proof for the existence of the
>gnomic aorist is the existence of gnomes --you DO believe in gnomes, don't

Well, I believe in GNWMH, at least, and I guess there have to be little
people who sit around telling them.

>As the classical understanding of the Aorist indicative is that it states
the simple
>factuality of an action in the past, so the classical understanding of the
>"Gnomic" aorist is that its reference is not to the time of the event but
>to the fact of it: it MAY have happened, but the point is that it DOES

Ah! This is helpful. As long as I thought of it as referring to the time of
the event, the gnomic aorist seemed like a contradiction of the basic sense
of the aorist. You see, if both are valid interpretations of the aorist, I
want the aspect of "all people have sinned" and "all people do sin" to come
out the same, which it seems to if the reference is not to the time but to
the fact of it. The aspect of "all people are continually sinning" would be
different, and would be expressed with the present, right?

I just went back to Smyth, who says:

1931. Gnomic Aorist (GNWMH maxim, proverb) - The aorist may express a
general truth. The aorist simply states a past occurence and leaves the
reader to draw the inference from a concrete case that what has occurred
once is typical of what often occurs: PAQWN DE TE NHPIOS EGNW a fool learns
by experience.

Understood that way, it makes perfect sense to me.

>Which is not quite what you asked, of course.

But it probably answers my real question better than a direct answer would have.



Jonathan Robie
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