Aorists inthe Magnificat

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Mon Apr 22 1996 - 14:19:58 EDT

  I have a question about the overall use of verb tenses in the Magnificat, Luke
1:46-55, so please excuse me if I don't type in transliterated text for ten verses.
(BTW, I've found the cause of my mail woes -- it's a "fix" by my computer support
group for another problem. Some fix). The Magnificat starts with a present
tense verb and then switches to a string of aorist tense verbs. Most of those
aorist verbs speak of God doing things like giving good things to the hungry and
sending away the rich empty (though I'm still unsure about whether KENOUS
means empty persons or empty, i.e., useless things, and Bauer's comment on it
doesn't really help me decide). Since surely Jesus in the womb has not
accomplished these things during gestation, the aorist verbs raise a difficulty.
They have been seen as "prophetic" aorists, gnomic aorists with no time referent
or ingressive aorists (starting from here and now). I'd like to know what
others on the list think about how to understand the aorists and I'd be particularly
interested in someone like Bruce Terry who seems to understand Porter and Fanning
on verbal aspect better than I to comment on this. I'm personally undecided
between the "prophetic" aorist in which the speaker sees these events as so
certain that they can be spoken of as accomplished and and ingressive aorist
in which they have started but their completion is cerain. Then again, verbal
aspect may turn the problem on its head. Thanks.

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA (no matter what the header says -- so don't just hit that
reply button!! for the sake of Kenneth Wright,

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