Re.: Default aorist

Date: Thu Oct 31 1996 - 15:47:59 EST

While I'm glad that Rod agrees with me that, in effect, we can't read be-
tween the lines (only what the writer chooses to write), I would have to
take exception to the notion of the aorist as occasionally future-referring.
I've already argued that the sequence of events is the important factor and
that evaluating the actual timing of an event can be tricky. If a case is
really going to made for futurity of some aorist indicatives, then I would
like to see some convincing examples. Jude 14--a prophetic context?--hardly
serves the purpose. John 13:31 is more interesting with the NUN, but this
can be understood as events that are in the immediate past (one of a few ex-
planations possible that do not require a reference to the future). In v. 32
moreover, we find the future used twice, the second with EUQUS, which not
only suggests a distinction to the aorists in question but also reveals
the fine distinctions possible in the immediate past, present and future.
And unless I am missing something important (my grasp of the obvious is not
always astute), citing a few debatable examples of odd uses of this or that
grammatical feature as proof that the feature on the whole can not be under-
stood as we understand it the vast majority of the time is like arguing that
we shouldn't assume frogs have two eyes and four legs, since we have recently
found frogs with different numbers of eyes and legs for no clear reason. I
do think this is an interesting issue and well worth discussing, but I am
not ready to reinvent the wheel or change it to an oval or square shape
without overwhelming reasons.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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