Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Exploring Albert Rijksbaron's book, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction, to see how it would need to be adapted for Koine Greek. Much of the focus will be on finding Koine examples to illustrate the same points Rijksbaron illustrates with Classical examples, and places where Koine Greek diverges from Classical Greek.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 3rd, 2019, 1:42 pm

MAubrey wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 9:10 pm
Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 7:08 pm
After the Porter vs Fanning debate revolutionized Greek scholarship
Also, it didn't revolutionize Greek scholarship. They're touch points on a long standing trend.
When I say "revolutionize", I'm paraphrasing Constantine Campbell (though I admit this may be a somewhat hyperbolic word choice). Here's an exact quote:

"The publication of Stanley Porter's Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament in 1989 is significant for at least three reasons. First, along with the work of Buist Fanning published shortly after, it (re)launched verbal aspect as a subject of discussion (and debate) within Greek studies. Though there was a flowering of aspect studies in the Period 1890-1910, the topic became more or less dormant in the interim with a few important exceptions, such as McKay. Porter and Fanning remain the founding fathers of modern aspect scholarship in Greek.
Second, as a consequence of relaunching the study of Greek verbal aspect, Porter (and Fanning) also relaunched Greek scholarship in general. After great activity in the nineteenth century and early twentieth, Greek scholarship as a whole became relatively quiet after the rise of modern linguistics. It had begun to gain some momentum again in the second half of the twentieth century, but was given a significant injection of energy from 1989 on."
(Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek, pg. 45-46)
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2019, 2:31 pm

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 1:42 pm
When I say "revolutionize", I'm paraphrasing Constantine Campbell (though I admit this may be a somewhat hyperbolic word choice).
The people in that school do believe that they have revolutionized our understanding of the Greek verb. There is more than one school. I suppose each school thinks they have the most important insights. Some books that approach Koine Greek using modern linguistics take a rather different approach. Some see the aspect wars we had back then as more of a distraction than anything else.

Again, it's probably better to focus on specific examples and how to interpret them. Do you have any you are particularly interested in?
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 3rd, 2019, 3:18 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 10:48 am
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 6:15 am
Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 7:08 pm
were there instances in which aorist indicative constructions (i.e. in the New Testament), commonly translated as past tense, were reinterpreted with future temporal reference?
Can you give examples (Koine, from OT/NT or elsewhere) where aorist indicative should be interpreted with future temporal reference?
I really do think this would be easier to discuss on the basis of a set of concrete examples. Stephen, are there passages you are thinking of?
Constantine Campbell (Advances in the Study of Greek, pg 122) states the following regarding "Future Aorist", but provides no examples:

"Perfective aspect with any lexeme in a present referring context can implicate a future aorist. More common than the present aorist, this is another special function of the aorist."

John 11:8 seems to be a good example of an aorist's being reinterpreted (by Porter) with a present temporal reference. But this notably does not seem to have been worked into any standard translations:

SBL: λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί· Ῥαββί, νῦν ἐζήτουν σε λιθάσαι οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, καὶ πάλιν ὑπάγεις ἐκεῖ;

Look at Porter's own translation with the aorist in the present tense:
The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews are now seeking to stone you, and again you are going there?"

Now look at other standard translations, which do not completely employ Porter's method:

KJV: His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
NET: The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish leaders were just now trying to stone you to death! Are you going there again?”
NIV: "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
NASB: "The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”

Here's an example of a present indicative that the KJV translated in the English present tense, but was later translated (NET & NIV) in the explicit future:

Matthew 26:2

SBL: Οἴδατε ὅτι μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας τὸ πάσχα γίνεται, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς τὸ σταυρωθῆναι.

KJV: Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
NET: “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
NIV: "As you know, the Passover is two days away--and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
NASB: “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”

This is from a summary of Porter that can be found on pages 22 & 25 in this document - http://ntresources.com/blog/documents/porter.pdf

Here's the excerpt that discusses the use of proleptic aorist (restricted to the sense of emphasizing the completeness of a future event):
If a speaker desires to portray a future event as complete, he may chose to use the aorist form (perfective aspect). This is not as common as the future use of the present, but adequate examples may be cited to substantiate the validity of the category (this is true of both classical and Hellenistic Greek).

John 13:31
...Νῦν ἐδοξάσθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐδοξάσθη ἐν αὐτῷ·
(now the Son of Man is to be glorified, and God is to be glorified in him);

This example requires that νῦν be taken in a logical rather than deictic sense; also note the support of v. 32 for a future reference.

John 17:18
καθὼς ἐμὲ ἀπέστειλας εἰς τὸν κόσμον, κἀγὼ ἀπέστειλα αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν κόσμον·
(as you sent me into the world, I send them into the world)
[? will send, or, am sending? there is a future sense no matter how one decides to translate].

Perhaps the clearest example is Jude 1:14:
...ἰδοὺ ἦλθεν κύριος ἐν ἁγίαις μυριάσιν αὐτοῦ
(behold, the Lord is coming with his many saints) [will come].

“There is sufficient proof in the diversity of syntactical constructions in which future reference may be found that although this usage is not widespread it is a category of usage that cannot be ignored. It cannot be adequately explained on the basis of a time-based conception of the tenses, but is fully commensurate with an aspectual model” (233).
Jude 1:14 has a variety of translations:
KJV: ...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
NET: ..."Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones,
NIV: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
NASB: “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,

You see the NASB trying to stay as literal as possible, using the explicit past tense, which could be construed as misleading (if not for the clear eschatological context). But this is NOT an example (per my question) of a passage that was previously interpreted as a reference to a past tense event that was reinterpreted in the future. Context always bore out the sense of this verse and it was seemingly never confusing to any readers.

Excerpt from page 25 (ibid) references use of the perfect for future temporal reference:
There are only a few perfects used in future contexts. Porter suggests six passages that contain this use, the best examples of which are John 17:22,

κἀγὼ τὴν δόξαν ἣν δέδωκάς μοι δέδωκα αὐτοῖς...
(and I am going to give to them the glory which you give me);

and James 5:2–3,

ὁ πλοῦτος ὑμῶν σέσηπεν καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια ὑμῶν σητόβρωτα γέγονεν, ὁ χρυσὸς ὑμῶν καὶ ὁ ἄργυρος κατίωται καὶ ὁ ἰὸς αὐτῶν εἰς μαρτύριον ὑμῖν ἔσται καὶ φάγεται τὰς σάρκας ὑμῶν ὡς πῦρ ἐθησαυρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις
(your riches are going to rust and your garments are going to become moth food, your gold and silver will rust and their rust will be a testimony against you and will consume your flesh like fire [note the parallel future forms]).
Here are other translations of the perfects referenced above for comparison:

KJV: Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
NIV: Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
NASB: Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 3:18 pm
Constantine Campbell (Advances in the Study of Greek, pg 122) states the following regarding "Future Aorist", but provides no examples:

"Perfective aspect with any lexeme in a present referring context can implicate a future aorist. More common than the present aorist, this is another special function of the aorist."
OK, but without examples ...
Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 3:18 pm
John 11:8 seems to be a good example of an aorist's being reinterpreted (by Porter) with a present temporal reference. But this notably does not seem to have been worked into any standard translations:

SBL: λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί· Ῥαββί, νῦν ἐζήτουν σε λιθάσαι οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, καὶ πάλιν ὑπάγεις ἐκεῖ;

Look at Porter's own translation with the aorist in the present tense:
The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews are now seeking to stone you, and again you are going there?"

Now look at other standard translations, which do not completely employ Porter's method:

KJV: His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
NET: The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish leaders were just now trying to stone you to death! Are you going there again?”
NIV: "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
NASB: "The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”
OK, let's start with this one. ἐζήτουν is imperfect, isn't it? I think the aorist would be ἐζήτησαν. But of course, the traditional understanding is that either would have past reference in the indicative.

It's at least logically consistent to translate ἐζήτουν as a reference to an event in the recent past - see John 10:31-32, when they were picking up stones in order to stone Jesus. What is the argument against the traditional understanding in this passage?
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by MAubrey » August 3rd, 2019, 4:32 pm

The thing is:

Everyone knew about examples like these before 1989 and everyone knew that there was a coersion of temporal reference in them. Grammars talked about them regularly, but just put them in different categories.

The only thing that Porter really did was provide a different explanation for why they existed--an explanation that makes accounting for other usages (or lack thereof) far more complicated.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2019, 4:55 pm

MAubrey wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 4:32 pm
The thing is:

Everyone knew about examples like these before 1989 and everyone knew that there was a coersion of temporal reference in them. Grammars talked about them regularly, but just put them in different categories.

The only thing that Porter really did was provide a different explanation for why they existed--an explanation that makes accounting for other usages (or lack thereof) far more complicated.
To get a feeling for this, see what various grammars have to say about these examples.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 3rd, 2019, 5:52 pm

Jonathan already said almost enough about John 11:8 (it's not aorist!), but let's say for argument's sake it's aorist...

It's dangerous to interpret Porter without further context, but I wonder how he can translate it with English continuous tense ("are seeking") if aspect is important. How can aorist be interpreted as an ongoing event if the aspect should imply a complete event (especially including the endpoint, as the basic linguistic knowledge today outside NT Greek scholarship tells us)? Is he so hard trying to prove non-existence of tense that he forgets the aspect?
Matthew 26:2

SBL: Οἴδατε ὅτι μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας τὸ πάσχα γίνεται, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς τὸ σταυρωθῆναι.

KJV: Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
NET: “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
NIV: "As you know, the Passover is two days away--and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
NASB: “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”
Smyth (not about Koine, but classical):
1879. Present for the Future (Present of Anticipation).—The present is used instead of the future in statements of what is immediate, likely, certain, or threatening.

Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 421). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.
Here, too, I wonder what happened to the aspect if there's no tense. The aspect is non-complete, without endpoint. If it just refers to the future but with the aspect, it should mean something like "will be being betrayed". Actually aorist should be used instead, because it would be a complete event, including the endpoint.

However, in the context we can see that Jesus is already being betrayed by Judas. It's already happening, but will be completed in the future.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2019, 6:06 pm

Let me look at what he calls the clearest example:
Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 3:18 pm
Here's the excerpt that discusses the use of proleptic aorist (restricted to the sense of emphasizing the completeness of a future event):
Perhaps the clearest example is Jude 1:14:
...ἰδοὺ ἦλθεν κύριος ἐν ἁγίαις μυριάσιν αὐτοῦ
(behold, the Lord is coming with his many saints) [will come].

“There is sufficient proof in the diversity of syntactical constructions in which future reference may be found that although this usage is not widespread it is a category of usage that cannot be ignored. It cannot be adequately explained on the basis of a time-based conception of the tenses, but is fully commensurate with an aspectual model” (233).
Jude 1:14 has a variety of translations:
KJV: ...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
NET: ..."Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones,
NIV: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
NASB: “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,

You see the NASB trying to stay as literal as possible, using the explicit past tense, which could be construed as misleading (if not for the clear eschatological context). But this is NOT an example (per my question) of a passage that was previously interpreted as a reference to a past tense event that was reinterpreted in the future. Context always bore out the sense of this verse and it was seemingly never confusing to any readers.
Let's look at some alternative understandings. Here's the explanation from the UBS Translator's Guide:
The verb came is translated literally in RSV from the Greek, which uses an aorist form here (past tense, completed action). Most commentaries, however, interpret the aorist here as having a future sense, since in 1 Enoch the quotation is about God coming as judge in the future. It is quite common for a biblical prophet to speak in the past tense when he is referring to a future event, thus emphasizing his faith that God will surely fulfill what he has predicted. This form of speech (past tense for future events) is likely to create problems for modern-day readers, especially when such a form does not exist in their own language. Accordingly some translations have used the future tense here; for example, TEV “The Lord will come”; others have used the present; for example, AT “the Lord comes.”
In other words, the prophecy is pointing to a future time, portraying events that will have taken place at that time. In general, you have to be a little careful when using prophetic speech or poetry to try to understand the base meaning of a tense.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 3rd, 2019, 6:11 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 5:52 pm
It's dangerous to interpret Porter without further context, but I wonder how he can translate it with English continuous tense ("are seeking") if aspect is important.
I assume that Porter is (correctly) treating ἐζήτουν as imperfect, which would have a continuous aspect.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
August 3rd, 2019, 6:11 pm
I assume that Porter is (correctly) treating ἐζήτουν as imperfect, which would have a continuous aspect.
I hope so. Anyways, it's strange that a completely good explanation would need to be replaced. There's no problem in interpreting it as "were seeking".
________________________
Forced re-interpretations of a few passages aside, one general problem about these non-tense or aspect-only explanations is that all these linguistic phenomena (aorist for future, gnomic aorist, present for future etc.) loose their rhetorical, congnitive and emotional force if there's no tense.
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