From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Fri Sep 06 1996 - 10:51:59 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote;
>As an aside, your concern about the pluperfect in John 20:11 may be laid to
>rest. Yes, hEISTHKEI is pluperfect--but it has the force of an imperfect.
>If you recall that the present tense, hISTAMAI, means "rise to a standing
>position," it's intelligible that the only way to say "I am standing" is to
>use the perfect tense, hESTHKA, and so also, the only way to say "was
>standing" is to use the pluperfect, hEISTHKEI.
hESTHKA is exactly what the Risen Christ says in Rev. 3:20. A slightly
differently emphasis is found in 1 John where the perfect/imperfect/aorist
is combined with the present as the language of witness.

"That which was (impf) from beginning, that which we heard (perf), that
which we saw (perf) with our eyes, that which we gazed upon (aor) and our
hands handled (aor) . . . we are declaring (present) also to you. . .
." (1John 1:1,3)

This combination of emphasis on completed action and existing result is
aptly suited to the language of testimony. The use of the verb in the
imperfect should be understood in light of Carl Conrads comments on the
verb EIMI in the discussion on John 1:1. The aorists seem to me to be what
we call culminative, i.e. emphasizing the completed action thus very close
to the perfect which can emphasize both action and result. Where the
emphasis falls must be determined from context.

Thanks for a good string of posts.

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. NT & Greek La College

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