From: David Moore (
Date: Thu Feb 22 1996 - 09:14:44 EST

On Wed, 21 Feb 1996, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> Probably they should be parsed as Aorist Subjunctive, but I think this is a
> matter on which any student of Hellenistic Greek needs to be warned in some
> footnote. The future indicative derives historically from the Aorist
> Subjunctive in an era before the adoption of the Ionic alphabet with its
> distinction of omicron from omega. I really wonder if you had put this
> question to an ordinary first-century speaker/writer of Greek s/he would
> have known or cared about the difference. When Paul writes MH GENOITO!,
> does he have any notion that he's using an Optative?

        He may not have, but he certainly knew what it meant. For a
native speaker, meaning precedes grammar. Something often happens with
missionaries who have very small children when they go to a new foreign
field. The grownups have invariably studied the language and know the
grammar. The young children, on the other hand learn the new language as
would a native speaker. Although the kids aren't able to classify the
different parts of speech and analyze the grammar, they usually have a
better understanding of it than their elders ever achieve.

        Is there something in this that could help us better learn
Greek? I know we need the terminology of Grammar to be able to talk
accurately about the process of exegesis, but sometimes just classifying
and analysing doesn't get at the real meaning. Maybe it's that there is
no substitute for the knowledge of nuance that comes mainly from loving
the language and getting to know it in many different contexts.

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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