Greek Help?

From: Michael A. Ferrando (
Date: Tue Aug 26 1997 - 14:21:39 EDT

I am a student of Greek, self taught. My library is
the for study is the Library of Congress shelves
and some seminary friends. But I have a question
that I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer.

I could use a little help.

My question is concerning the use of edoken
in the Gospel of John 5.26.

edoken is 3p. 1 aor. act. ind.

Robertson's Word Pictures state "timeless aorist" concerning
this verse.

Calvin and Pink and Abbott (_Johannine Grammar_) state it
refers to the incarnation (the Logos coming into the
human being in Mary's womb).

Augustine, Westcott, and others denote
that it speaks of the "begotteness" of the Son,
generated from the Father but not exculsive of the
incarnation which is in sight as well.

And also concerning the verse, of what degree are the
adverbs "hosper" and "houtos" giving the verbs "ekia"
and "ekain" dominate force in this sentence?

Please excuse my rude attempt to communicate this
to you, but I am wondering how the aorist can be
related to the "Just as the Father... has life in himself"?

Certainly, the Manner adverbs give some weight to the
"timelessness" of the aorist in this case, yet it seems
to me that what is being stressed is "how life is IN the Father"
by the Adverbs "hosper" and "houtos". The emphasis from the
many Greek commentaries I have read lies upon the Father.
"having life in himself".

Am I right in thinking that only the aorist could give the
proper sense of the completeness of the event without implying
anything about its nature or duration?

I did come upon this from Burton:

Burton _Moods and Tenses_ p.20 no.40

An Historical Aorist, whatever the nature of the fact affirmed, affirms it
simply as a past fact. The writer may or may not have in mind that the
act was single and momentary, or extended, or a series of acts, but the
tense does not express or suggest the distinction. The purpose of the
subdivision into monentary, comprehensive, and collective is not to define
the force of the tense-form, but to discriminate more precisely the nature
of the facts to which it is applied as shown by the context or the

Hope to hear from you.

In Christ,
Mike Ferrando
Library of Congress
Library Technician

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