Re: Verbal aspect and Acts 28:30

From: Bruce Terry (
Date: Thu May 09 1996 - 18:54:44 EDT

On Thu, 9 May 1996, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

> I want to focus a little more on the subject of verbal aspect. I recently
>read an author on narrative strategies in Luke-Acts argue that since ENEMEINEN
>in Acts 28:30 is aorist, the focus is on Paul's stay in his own rented house
>as a past event, placing the writing of Acts after these two years. Without
>getting into a discussion of the dating or ending of Acts (the literature is
>immense on these last few verses, and the theories number only a few less than
>Avogadro's number), if we understand the aorist via verbal aspect, it seems to
>me that "Luke" is saying Paul stayed for two years, but the aorist has nothing
>to do with the time of the event, since the aorist never has a relation to
>time. So Luke could be saying "Paul is staying in his own rented house. It's
>been two years so far". Is that a correct view of verbal aspect and does this
>interpretation hold water? Thanks.

If I understand the indicative aorist correctly, it is unmarked as regards
aspect and marked for past as regards time. That being the case, the
suggestion you give is a possibility. It is also quite possible that the
aorist tense here is doing nothing more than indicating that this action (or
state) is on the storyline (aorist is the foregrounding tense of narrative

Bruce Terry E-MAIL:
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769

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