Re: Attention aspect geeks: John 15:6 EBLHQH, EXHRANQH

From: Jonathan Robie (jwrobie@mindspring.com)
Date: Thu Apr 03 1997 - 09:10:42 EST


At 09:49 PM 4/2/97 -0700, Wes Williams wrote:

>I won't speak for myself, but I would like to volunteer Prof. Kenneth
>McKay (I regard him loosely in my mind as "Mr. Aspect") as a Greek Gnome
>along with the the other Scholar-Gnomes on the list.
>
>He writes in "A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek," p.47
>under the subheading "Timeless (Gnomic) Aorist:"
>The aorist tense is often used to express general truth in contexts with
>no particular time reference. The present is the tense most commonly
>found in timeless statements, as habitual activity is an imperfective
>realization, but when the completeness of an action is to be stressed in
>such a context the aorist is used. This aoristic completeness may in
>some contexts imply suddenness or decisive action, in others
>inevitability, but being a deviation from the norm in such contexts it
>always involves a degree of emphasis. A clause containing AN (including
>EAN, hOTAN, etc.) with a subjunctive depending on an aorist indicative
>is usually a clear indication that the context is timeless: see 20.3.1,
>20.6.3, 21.3.1. The timeless aorist is often called *gnomic* because it
>has been most readily recognized in proverbial sayings and maxims
>(GNWMAI), but is not confined to them. Some examples are:
>Jn 15:6 EAN╩MH╩TIS╩MENH╩EN╩EMOI, EBLHQH╩hWS TO╩KLHMA╩KAI EXHRANQH, if
>anyone does not remain in me he is cast out like a branch and withers
>(the present tenses which follow describe the less urgent tidying up
>process);
>Jas 1:11 ANETEILEN╩GAR╩hO hHLIOS SUN TWi KAUSWNI KAI EXHRANEN╩TON
>KORTON, once the sun rises with its scorching heat it withers the grass;
>
>Mt 5:28 PAS hO BLEPWN (<-- hOS AN BLEPH) GUNAIKA PROS╩TO╩EPIQUMHSAI
>AUTHN HDH EMOIKEUSEN╩AUTHN EN╩TH╩KARDIA AUTOU everyone who looks at a
>woman to the point of desiring her in his heart (has already committed
>... would more naturally represent the perfect in sich a context);
>1Co 7:28 EAN╩DE╩GAMHSHS, OUK hHMARTES, but if you do marry you do not
>commit a sin (that is not a sinful act)

Wes,

This is really helpful! I think you should get a Greek Gnome T-Shirt for
this. It really helps me understand the use of the aorist in this passage.

Jonathan

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Jonathan Robie
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