Translation Question: Acts 19:14

Date: Fri Apr 26 1996 - 03:09:41 EDT

John, there are places where the aorist participle is effectively contemp-
orary or simultaneous with the main verb, as Carlton Winbery has indicated.
There has been controversy in the past over whether the aorist participle
can refer to action subsequent to the main verb, and while there are a few
places where this seems a good interpretation, I personally believe it is
contrary to the nature of the aorist participle. It appears that there is
a logical priority to the aorist participle in the sequence of events, which
is often or perhaps even usually a temporal priority as well, but some-
times the timing is so blurred as to indicate simultaneous actions. In Acts
19:15 this seems to be the case, and "answered" probably represents the
intent to do so which is immediately carried out. To clarify such situations,
I often tell my students to see whether two roughly simultaneous events can
be reversed and still make sense. For example, "Take and eat" can be viewed
as simultaneous actions, but the reverse "Eat and take" doesn't work (much
as you can't "eat your cake and (still) have it, too"). So in Acts 19:15
the "said" can be taken as carrying out the process of answering, which
cannot then be reversed.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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