Re: aorist.indicative.forms

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Sat May 31 1997 - 10:08:24 EDT wrote:
> 'types of aorists' (e.g. complexive, epistolary, gnomic &c.) serve only as
> analyses from an english language mindset. they correspond nil to what was
> going on in ancient greek brains that used the forms. therefore such lists mean
> absolutely nothing with regard to what the forms themselves truly implied in
> the minds of the users. they have utility only as offering suggestions of the
> contradictory ways in which aorists may be translated. (1923-44 parr. in smyth
> constitutes a clear statement of variety.)


Sometimes even weak minds like mine think thoughts like great ones like
yours! ;^> I was just pondering this same type question yesterday as I
was driving from North Carolina down to the Space Coast of Florida. (I
really think that it was something you said in the past couple days that
put my mind onto this subject.)

Actually, I was thinking a bit more generally than just the aorist
indicative. We can really extend this influence of our English mindset
throughout the entire field of interpretation, can we not? If this is
the case, then how dare we do any translation work that attempts to
bring out meaning? How can we do anything more than describe form, even
more limited than the stated purpose of the NASB?

I am not being facetious here. But neither am I ready to throw up my
hands (Carl, is this another use of XEIROTONEW?) and quit the
translation work that I do in the Philippines.

It appears to me that most of these classifications of the aorist
indicative and other forms are *not* based on the verb. Rather, they
seem to be based on the cases where there are modifying prepositional
phrases which set time, tenor, and whatever. The classifications, with
their accompanying nuances, seem to be describing the *verb phrase*, not
just the verb itself.

I agree, Bill, that the aorist indicatives by themselves all seem to
have the same sense. I think that they are used in phrases that have
differing senses, and that these phrases give us an indication as to
what was probably in the mind of the Greeks.


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