Re: Aorist and Present tense verbs

From: Larry & Beth Hartman (
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 23:21:13 EDT

Marty Brownfield wrote:
> > From: Larry & Beth Hartman <>, on 5/1/97 4:46 PM:
> > Folks:
> >
> > I saw the discussion concerning aorist and present tense verbs.
> > I had the pleasure of reading a book called, "Life in the Son", by
> > Robert Shank. He proposed some points concerning present tense verbs
> > taking an aorist type emeaning (snap shot past tense action), and aorist
> > verbs taking the continual or repetitive meaning of the present tense.
> >
> > I have grave concerns for his audience as much of his theology appears
> > to proofed by the exceptions to normal Koine Grammatical rule rather
> > than well founded facts. This is just one of the suggestions he
> > proposes. In my library is the N.T. Greek in Light of Historical
> > Research by AT Robertson, and Smyth's Greek Grammmar published by
> > Harvard. I dont see any such exceptions listed in the sections I looked
> > at concerning these tenses.
> >
> > Is there anyone out there who may know of such a thing and provide some
> > Scripture references and Linguistic Grammars which point to it. Also am
> > I too much off the mark concerning this book by Robert Shank?
> >
> >
> > Larry A. Hartman
> > Defense Language Institute Alumnus
> One might get the idea that Shank's thesis hangs on the idea that the aorist
> has a linear or continual sense and the present a punctiliar. Actually, he
> merely points out that the aorist simply presents the action as occurring at
> one point without reference to whether or not the action was actually
> continual, and he quotes Robertson, p. 832 to back this idea up (see Shank, p.
> 77). On page 833 Robertson provides John 2:20 as an example of an aorist that
> is used for activity over a period of time: "It took 46 years to build (aorist
> passive indicative) this temple..."
> Robertson again (I am using him since you say you have his grammar) gives Mt.
> 5:22 (EGW DE LEGW) as an example of present indicatives representing single
> actions rather than continual action (what Robertson calls the "aoristic
> present"; see p. 866).
> Actually, Shank almost always emphasizes the continual action of the present
> tense and the point-action of the aorist (see his discussions on pp. 42, 64,
> 92, for example). I cannot agree that "much of his theology appears to proofed
> by the exceptions to normal Koine Grammatical rule," because the VAST majority
> of the time Shank most definitely presents the aorist as point and the present
> as continual or durative.
> Finally, let me say that while I may take exception to a few of Shank's
> exegetical points, on the whole I do agree with his thesis. (I just thought I'd
> throw that in.) However, I do not want to get into a discussion about his
> theology -- that's not the purpose of this list; I tried to confine myself to
> the Greek question. (If you like, we can discuss his ideas off-list.)
> Marty Brownfield
> or

        I do appreciate your comments, it has been a while since I read it, and
unfortunately I dont have the book available as I am packing for a move
att. I will most certainly save your e-mail and try to muddle through
his book again, and you have probably corrected a bad generalization on
my part. I'll leave it rest at that for now.

Larry A. Hartman
Defense Language Institute Alumnus

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