RE: Attention aspect geeks

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sat Apr 12 1997 - 09:22:26 EDT

Rolf Furuli (
Fri, 11 Apr 1997 23:29:51 +0000

>Must we conclude that a state realized
>as an aorist objectively is terminated, or is it possible
>that the state objectively continues, but the aorist covers
>just a part of the state before it objectively ends? To use
>the example with the rule of death: When Paul said that
>`death reigned from Adam until Moses`, can we on linguistic
>grounds (because an aorist is used) say that the only
>possible conclusion is that death stopped to reign at the
>time of Moses? Or is it on linguistic grounds possible to
>say that the aorist just covers a part of the state `the
>reign of death` and that the reign also continued after

Well, this passage is one data point. So far, I'm not
familiar with aorists that are used to describe activities
that are still in process.

>The answers to these questions are extremely important
>because they reveal whether we view aspects as objective or
>subjective entities.

Well, the very existence of the imperfect argues strongly that they should
be seen as subjective. Any time the imperfect is used, the activity is in
the past, but the portrayal is from within the activity. If aspect were
objective, you couldn't portray an activity from within once the activity is
>Let me give a few examples of aorists covering situations that
>continued after the space covered by the aorist: (active
>aorist; Josh 6:25; Judg 1:21), passive aorist: 1 Sam 27:6;
>Deut 2:22 (Cf imperfect 2 Sam 4:3 and present Jos 4:9).

I'll have to look at these examples when I get time. Actually, you could
save me some time by telling me how the aorist is used in these examples,
since you have probably already processed them.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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