Re: 'default' aorist

From: Mark OBrien (
Date: Tue Oct 29 1996 - 13:24:54 EST

Hi, Mari...

Original message sent on Tue, Oct 29 6:40 AM by (Mari
Broman Olsen) :

>> Let me ask a hypothetical question about the default aorist then.
>> If a NT writer wanted to say that someting happened in the past, and it
>> was important that it happened once in the past, what would one expect?
>> A Perfect? If NT authors use an aorist, does that mean we cannot say
>> that they "intend" (yes, I know all the problems about intention) to say
>> that the event took place completely in the past?
>> Ken Litwak
>> Graduate Theological Union
>> Berserkely, CA
>> (when not being a Java-enabled programmer)

> There are always ways of making the time explicit, even the default
> forms. FOr an English example, consider the unmarked present with
> yesterday and tomorrow:

Granted that the use of temporal markers is going to make it clear what time
frame the writer is referring to, but I think Ken's question still stands (at
least for me!)... does the aorist in the indicative not regularly (some say
usually) indicate the past time frame for the activity, and if this is a
consistent pattern, then can the tense be said to be truly unmarked?


Mark O'Brien
Grad. student, Dallas Theological Seminary

PS: I enjoyed your dissertation, Mari, and highly recommend it to others
interested in exposing themselves to some fresh thought in the area of verbal

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