Others who are far more learned in biblical Greek will have to elucidate on the above question, but I'll take a stab as a newbie :Wes Wood wrote:Stephen Hughes wrote:Even in the indicative, there is not such a correspondence between the Greek aorist indicative and the English simple past tense, to make an assumption like that.
The aorist form ἡγήσατο has to be interpreted in the situation that it is used in. The use of the aorist may be saying "past time ... [relative] to the writing of [the] letter" as you suggest, but that should be something that you conclude after weighing up the other possibilities that the Greek aorist has.
A book like Daniel Wallace's Greek grammar beyond the basics can be used to do that. Going through a list of umpteen aorists all dressed up in fancy names can be daunting, but stick at it. Consider all possibilities, short list them down to two or three, then assign a percentage of probability to all three of your shortlisted possibilities., rather than just choosing the one that seems right to your understanding of the meaning. By having a few in front of you, you will exercise more comparative and evaluative higher-order brain functions. Recognise that your choice - which may well be equ. to English simple past is the preferred option out of many possibilities, rather than the only correct answer. For now, look at the types of aorists that your textbooks list, and verbalise or write down your reasons for choosing or rejecting one or the other of them for this case. Divide or categorise your reasons into grammatical reasons, textual reasons, personal reasons or theological reasons. That will help you to make the process of choice more transparent. Later after training and over time, a reasonably objective way of determining the role and function of the aorist will develop in your reading. Practicing long-handled at the beginning will probably lead to you making reasoned choices as you read in future. Later - a few years later - as you feel that such analysis slows you down, letting context get you to the shortlist then deciding quickly will be a good way forward. Experience will be your teacher in that.
Who are you and what have you done with the real Stephen Hughes! Sorry, for the off topic post, but I couldn't resist.
In an attempt to remain near the topic at hand, what are some reasons why the participle could not be viewed as the main point of reference or topic around which the main verb is structured or interpreted? Please understand that I am not proposing anything or attempting to challenge the status quo, but I don't think I have heard/read any of the reasons for the current understanding. Thoughts?
It's my understanding from the grammars cited above (e.g., Robertson, Dana & Mantey, etc.) that this is just the way Greek works inherently. That is, the participle is designed w.out a "watch" so that it takes its aspectual and/or time cue from the main verb - designed wearing a "watch" (a little metaphor going on here).
I suppose it would be akin to inquiring why conjunctions are used as connectives (?) - although I would equally like to understand this better. From my elementary understanding, this is simply the intended function of the participle (notwithstanding the purpose of the participle of means).
Now, I probably just revealed my ignorance even further ! Will now run to the hills & put on the whole armor of God while I await my reproof !