Re: NUN + Indicative Aorist = Perfect?

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Wed Apr 09 1997 - 11:38:57 EDT

>>I have found 5 examples of NUN + Indicative Aorist Verb in the New
>>Testament, and I've tentatively reached the conclusion that this combination
>>functions much like a perfect: it calls attention to a current state
>>resulting from a past action. However, I'd like to see if my interpretation
>>of these passages matches that of others. For those who missed it, yesterday
>>I also found two NUN+Aorist examples in Homer, cited by Smyth. Both were
>>inceptive aorist, and these seemed to be equivalent to perfects, but it was
>>difficult to conclude much from them. All in all, I still have only 7
>>examples, which is a small data set - does anybody know other examples worth
>>looking at?
>>Matt 26:65 tote o arciereus dierrhxen ta imatia autou legwn: eblasfhmhsen:
>>ti eti creian ecomen marturwn; ide *nun* *hkousate* thn blasfhmian:
>>Matt 26:65 (NASU) Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has
>>blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now
>>heard the blasphemy;
>>The current status: they have heard the blasphemy (and no longer need
>Possible -- but I would have been inclined to take NUN here as meaning
>"only just now": "you just now heard the blasphemy": i.e. they don't need
>witnesses because the accused has just repeated his crime in full view of
>the court. =) If this were true, the aorist would have normal rather than
>perfective force. But maybe that's hair splitting.
>>Roma 11:31 outws kai outoi *nun* *hpeiqhsan* tw umeterw eleei, ina kai autoi
>>(*nun*) *elehqwsin*.
>>Roma 11:31 (NASU) so these also now have been disobedient, that because of
>>the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
>>The current state: having been disobedient (and being capable of receiving
>>The second example of an aorist here, ELEHQWSIN, is passive subjunctive, not
>>indicative, but it is very interesting because of its parallelism to the
>>first aorist (especially if the second NUN is accepted as genuine), and
>>because it is almost impossible to give it a past referent.
>Here I would agree that the aorist seems to have perfect meaning when taken
>with NUN.
>What interests me about the subjunctive that follows is that, in classical
>Greek, I would have taken the subjunctive as illustrating Smyth's point
>about primary aorists and secondary aorists. In classical Greek a purpose
>clause after a primary tense (including true perfects) requires the
>subjunctive and is traslated "may": "They have been disobedient in order
>that they *may* be shown mercy." A purpose clause after a secondary tense
>(including, normally, the aorist) however normally requires the optative
>and is translated "might": "They were disobedient in order that they
>*might* be shown mercy." So in theory, in classical Greek, when an aorist
>is followed by primary sequence, using the subjunctive, you can immediately
>tell that that the aorist is being used with primary meaning, for instance
>with a perfect sense ("they have disobeyed"). BTW I think this is why
>Smyth's discussion of "primary" and "secondary" aorists is actually quite
>Alas, with the virtual disappearance of the optative in Koine, the absence
>of the optative probably can't be used to determine whether or not an
>aorist is being used with a primary sense...

I wonder whether NUN in the purpose clause has a different meanaing that
temporal. I reaalize that BAGD do not list such, but LSJ does: see no. 4:
sts. opp. to what might have been under other circumstances, <i>as it is
(or was), as the case stands, as a matter of fact <i/>

NUN can in some contexts be inferential. In the eprression NUN(I) DE it
often indicates the real state of affairs after an (un)expressed statement
of irreality before it.

Just a thought.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel: [773] 256-0752; (H) [773] 947-8105

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