Augment on the Pluperfect

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat Feb 22 1997 - 08:58:13 EST

Carl Conrad wrote;

>Having seen, apart from the fairly frequent hEISTHKEI,
>"he was standing" fewer pluperfects in the NT than I can
>count on the fingers of one hand, I almost literally
>stumbled this morning upon GEGONEI in Acts 4:22. I asked
>my student, "what is that form," to which he replied, "I
>wasn't sure; it looks sort of like a perfect tense but also sort
>of like a pluperfect." That, I thought, was a very good
>description. After hunting around in NT grammars I
>finally found indications in a couple of them that the
>augment is "often" or "generally" omitted on pluperfects.
>(Machen on the pluperfect: "The pluperfect appears so
>rarely in the NT that you shouldn't bother to learn it.").
>This is a brand new fact to me, but I guess it's part and
>parcel of regularization taking place faster in the less-
>commonly-used forms. Modern Greek retains the
>augment on past tenses ONLY if the augmented form is
>three syllables long or less.

In doing research for the Morphology that James Brooks
and I did, I listed every instance of each separate form in
the NT on cards. So when I saw this post by Carl I pulled
out my cards on pluperfect active and middle/passive.
I noted GEGONEI as Carl did in Acts 4:22, but John 6:17
EGEGONEI. Indeed most of the pluperfects do not use
the augment in addition where you can descern such an
augment. In the case of verb stems that begin with a vowel
of dipthong, you cannot tell. Others in the NT that I noted
that _do_ use the augment are; Luke 11:22 EPEPOIQEI, Acts
and Luke 16:20 EBEBLHTO.

I think that the future perfect is also very rare Greek literature
of any time. The only one in the NT is EIDHSOUSI in
Heb. 8:11 and in a variant reading KEKRAXONTAI at
Luke 19:40. How often is the fut. perf. used in Greek

Carlton L. Winbery
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Pineville, LA 71360
Fax (318) 442-4996
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