present to 'epistolary' aorist

Date: Wed Apr 30 1997 - 07:48:28 EDT

e.g. gpafw = grapho > egpaya = egrapsa

Somebody asked last week for papyrological epistolary aorists and I cited
several legal papyri. This should have seem very secific and to the point.

Then comes a message whose poster seems to speak for everyone on the list:
<<we try to stay pretty close to real examples of biblical language>> -- a
response to my submitting a half dozen or so very specific examples of
so-called epistolary aorists in legal papyri?

Now what's really happening here with epistolaries? Has this category been
reserved by some tacit consensus for forms of gpafw = grapho? Does that explain
reluctance to accept my several citations of legal terms used 'epistolarily' in
papyrus instruments? If so, why not just think of it as a sense of gpafw =
grapho? I don't recommend that.

FYI: Many papyrus legal instruments can be adduced, wherein the body of the
text contains present tense verbs relevant to the force of the instrument, but
the conclusion recapitulates the whole thing with an aorist. For example, it'll
say "I affirm on oath" = omologw = homologo = spondeo and at the end refer to
the whole of what is still being written in fine: "you can see now I have
finished affirming on oath" =wmologhca = homologesa = spopondi.

POxy 6,907 is a last wishes disposition involving legacy and putting the
typical Latin do lego (not 'read') into greek & ending with voluntatem feci as
it would be in Greek.
It runs thus: didwmi = didomi kataleinw = catal[e]ipo present forms, but ends
with reference to the entire instrument boulhma enoihca = bulema ep[o]eesa,
scil. "I give & institute a legacy/ bequeath" ending with "now, see, my will
has been expressed" which differs not a whit in aspect or tense from egpaya =
egrapsa epistolary.

Of course, my view of it tells me that I could with as good conscience and
cogent rationale call such forms upshot as epistolary. Maybe my mind's too

There has been recent discussion of Paul's either "wrote, but now i write" or
"had written, but just now wrote". That leaves me with one comment (tongue in
cheek): don't you wish greek were as precise as english? Ancient grammarians
applied a word referring to a lack of precision of time in these forms: xpovoc
aopictoc = chronus ahoristus. Too bad they were so dumb about their own
language, even back when "everybody was using it every day."

Final note: The document cited would be typical of probably by now hundreds of
legal papyri.
bearded bill of asheville <>
unca not having approved either whom or thereof.

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