Re: Didache and the future tense

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 27 1995 - 13:28:08 EDT

At 6:00 AM 10/12/95, Travis Bauer wrote:
> In chapters one and two of the didache, there are a lot of future
>tense verbs that seem to operate as imperatives. Can future tense be
>used as such?

Yes; this is, I believe, a Semitism, coming from usage of the Hebrew
imperfect to state commands, as in the 10 Commandments. The LXX translates
these as future indicatives in the Greek and the usage is seen at several
points in Semitizing NT Greek, and, of course, particularly in citations
from the LXX.

Ironically, the future indicative appears originally to be derived from an
aorist subjunctive; in Homeric Greek the aorist subjunctive with a
short-vowel link (O/E instead of W/H) is frequently used as an imperative
and looks like a future, but this usage is not found in classical Attic,
nor, I believe, in Hellenistic Greek outside of writers affected by the
LXX. I shouldn't want to be dogmatic about that, but I believe it's the

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:28 EDT