Re: Aorist presents and imperial attire

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Jun 26 1997 - 22:03:32 EDT

At 07:58 AM 5/26/97 -0700, Larry & Beth Hartman wrote:
> This is what I was trying to say earlier in a previous post concerning
>Roberston? I have been reading agood bi from him lately and would wish
>to know if the copulative verbs are Aoristic. I am hoping that most
>cases of Aoristic Presents can be determined either from root meaning of
>the verb or from context, I.E. "I say, I speak, etc." I haven't found a
>easily impelented principle for determining this however. Robertson
>say later in his grammar that a good portion of Present Indicatives are
>Aoristc, but doesn't give any illustration on how to determine such, and
>uses only one example, the EIMI in John 10:11.


Sorry this took so long, but I've been postponing emails that call for
thought over the holiday weekend.

Yes, you can determine it from the root meaning of the verb or from context.
Remember, this kind of category records the interpretation made by one
particular interpreter for the passage, it is not directly derived from the
syntax. Robertson looked at the tense, the verb, and the context, then
determined that he thought it was aorist present, wrote the example down on
a 3x5 card, and used it later in his book. You *can't* look at it, see that
it is an aorist present, and derive the basic meaning from this fact - until
you know the basic sense of the verb in this context, you can't know that it
is an aorist present.

Are you using his Short Grammar or his A Grammar of The GNT In Light of
Historical Research? If you use Robertson for tense, it is important to
realize that his systemization and terminology are sometimes a little
unique. This table attempts to summarize his system:

Aktionsart and tense in Robertson (1923), based on table of contents:

                        Past Present Future
Durative (linear) imperfect present future
Punctiliar aorist "aorist" present "aorist" future
Perfected state past perfect present perfect future perfect

Robertson doesn't really present all of this in any one place; I derived it
from his table of contents, and I find it helpful in understanding the
individual discussions in his text.

Hope this helps - if not, keep asking, and we'll get it eventually!


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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