From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Sep 06 1996 - 13:22:08 EDT

I'm feeling a little slow today...but working through this should be good
practice for me. I'll try to work out the implications of your examples.
Please feel free to correct me bluntly -- I only learn by making mistakes.
Warning: this message contains much speculation by a "little Greek", who takes
no responsibility for any heresies or confusion spawned by taking it too
seriously ;->

> hESTHKA is exactly what the Risen Christ says in Rev. 3:20.

"I am standing", meaning that he has reached the state of standing, or being
risen, with the emphasis on the state which has been reached. Am I understanding
this correctly?

> (1John 1:1,3)

Thanks for choosing this passage, which I love, but I've clearly missed out on
some of its richness...let's try digging into this...

> "That which was (impf) from beginning,

In discussing imperfect, BDR #327 gives the example of Acts 21:20:
EDOXAZON TON QEON, EIPAN TE, translating it, "they praised over a
longer period of time and in various ways, until they finally said".
My goodness, that seems like an awful lot to hang onto one poor verb!
Is all of this really implied? (I notice that the translations are much
sparser, e.g. NIV says: "they praised God. Then they said...")

But if we *can* attribute that much significance to the imperfect, then
I assume "That which was (impf) from beginning" stresses that it has been
there ever since the beginning, and we see it there before us, waiting to
be discovered, giving us a feeling of suspense...

> that which we heard (perf),
> that which we saw (perf) with our eyes,

Ah, now we have discovered it, both be hearing it and seeing it. The state
of having discovered is stressed by the use of the perfect, not the process
of hearing or seeing.

> that which we gazed upon (aor) and our hands handled (aor)

Several different interpretations seem possible here. And that's a problem for
me. As I understand it, terms like "culminative aorist" combine an objective
statement, "aorist", with a subjective judgement about the interpretation of
this particular aorist. I'm surprised that this is not stated clearly in any of
my books. And it looks as though the process people use is to examine each
possible interpretation of the aorist, and see which ones make sense in the
given context. My problem is that almost every possibility seems plausible to

Ingressive aorist stresses the entrance into an action. Examples given in BDR
include Acts 15:12, ESIGHSEN PAN TO TLHQOS, "became still", Mt 17:6, EFOBHQHSAN
SFODRA, "they began to be very afraid", Romans 14:9, EZHSEN, "came to life", and
2 Cor 8:9, where Jesus EPTWXEUSEN, "became poor". So let's try applying this to
"that which we gazed upon (aor) and our hands handled (aor)". EQEASAMEQA comes
from QEAOMAI, which have several senses that are intriguing in this context.
BAGD sense 1.b. is "come to see" as in EISELQWN O BASILEUS QEASASQAI T.
ANAKEIMENOUS Mt 22:11. With the ingressive aorist, this could mean that we have
come into his presence, and come into contact with him. BAGD sense 2 means to
see or behold in such a way that a supernatural impression is gained, e.g. John
1:14 EQEASAMEQA T. DOXAN AUTOU, "we beheld his glory", or came to perceive his

Carlton mentions the culminative aorist: according to Young, "the completion of
an action which issues into another action or state". My Robertson (the short
grammar) does not seem to use the term. Is the other state the state of
proclamation given below? It seems reasonable.

Or could this be what BDR calls a complexive aorist, emphasizing that "we
repeatedly beheld him and touched him with our hands over a period of time"?

Or perhaps even a gnomic aorist, saying that the beholding and touching him is
beyond time, not fixed in time.

> we are declaring (present) also to you...

Ah, this part at least is clear, and emphasizes the present process of declaring
to "you".

Well, I guess it is time to step back and wait for some responses to see how
much of this makes sense...


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