From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Sun Jun 01 1997 - 05:19:12 EDT

Bill Thruman wrote:
. . . the formal implication had to be such that it would function in any one of these totally
different settings. i mean that nuances falsely attributed to aorist forms arise, nil from
the form, but only from what the setting shows about it. you cannot tell at all from the
form the timing of it relative to other parts of the sentence -- anything from pluperfect
to future may fly.


Preach it Bill!

The following is not intended as an exposition of what Bill is saying, he will probably take
strong exception to both the wording and the implications of what I am saying. I think
there are some points of contact however.


I attempted several weeks ago to suggest that confusion in discussions about
grammatical *functions* in NT Greek arise because there is no clear understanding about
how the *function* is related to the *form*.

Arguments about the meaning of a word (lexeme) in the abstract (outside of a particular
context) are pointless. I would suggest that arguments about the meaning of a
*grammatical form* in the abstract (outside of a particular context) are equally
pointless and for exactly the same reason.

The *grammatical form* functions like the *signifier* in Saussure's model of the
linguistic sign. The *grammatical function* is like the *signified* in the same model. The
relationship is *arbitrary* according to the sense that term is used in structuralist

This diagram may clarify some what:

form (LOGOS) --------> lexical functions (word, thing, . . . account)

form (accus. case) -----> grammatical functions (dir-obj . . . sub-inf)

Now to get in a big fight about what the word LOGOS *really* means is about as pointless
as getting into a big argument about what the accusative case *really means*. There is no
answer to the question since the function of each is determined *entirely* by how it is
used in a particular context.

This all applies as well to the aorist.indicitive.

 Clay Bartholomew
 Three Tree Point

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