Aorist in John 5.26

From: Michael A. Ferrando (
Date: Wed Sep 03 1997 - 17:36:09 EDT

On Tue, 26 Aug 1997, Jonathan Robie wrote:

> At 04:26 PM 8/26/97 -0400, Michael A. Ferrando wrote:
> >On Tue, 26 Aug 1997, Jonathan Robie wrote:
> >
> >> >edoken is 3p. 1 aor. act. ind.
> >> >
> >> >Robertson's Word Pictures state "timeless aorist" concerning
> >> >this verse.
> Carl took this to be equivalent to the gnomic aorist. Robertson
> distinguishes the two in his grammar "this is not a gnomic aorist, but
> merely a timeless aorist", but it is not at all clear to me what he means by
> "timeless aorist".

Can you give me the citation for your quote?

My reading of Robertson's Grammar seems to see Gnomic and Timeless
as the same or in more than one catagory of the aorist indicative.

In Christ,

_A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical
     Research_ (Hodder & Stoughton, NY George H. Doran co.
     1914), p.836,7

b. Aorist Indicative
B. The Gnomic aorist.
the real "gnomic" aorist is a universal or timeless aorist and probably
represents the origianl timelessness of the aorist indicative. This aorist
is commone in Homer in comparisions and general sayings. The
difference between the gnomic aorist and the present is that the present
may be durative. But general truths may be expressd by the aoristic
present. Girdersleeve (_Syntax_, p.109) compares this use of the aorist
to the generic article.Winer denies that this idiom occurs in the NT, but
on insufficient grounds. Abboitt rahter needlessly appeals to the
"Hebrew influence on Johannine tense-construciton" to explain EBLHtion"
to explain EBLHQH KAI EXHRANQH (Jo 15.6) afdter EAN MH TIS
MENHi EN EMOI. It is a general construcion here and is followed by
three presents (aoristic). This is a mixed condition certainly, the
protasis being future (third class, undeteremined with some likelihood
of fulfillment). But EDOXASQH (Jo 15.8) is possibly also gnomic.
CF ...Ro 3.23. But in Jo 15.6,8, we may have merely the "timeless "
aorist, like hOTAN QELHiS, EXHLQES, in Epictetus, IV, 10, 27.
Radermacher (N.T. Gr., p.124) so thinks and adds, what I do not
admit: "The genuine gnomic aorist appears to be foreign to the
Hellenistic vernacular." It survives in modern Greek, according to
Jannaris, Hist. Gk. Gr., p.436. Moulton (Prol., pp. 135,139) admits it
in NT , but (p.134) considers Jo 15.6 the "timeless" aorist, like
APWLOMHN EI ME LEI[Psc]EIS in Eur., Alc., 386. There are other
examples... It is true that the timeless Hebrew perfect is much like this
gnomic aorist, but it is a common enough Greek idiom also... It is not
certain that EUDOKHSA (Mt. 3.17, etc... belongs here. It may be
merely an example of the timeless aorist used in the present, but not
gnomic. See under (E) [Relation to the Present]. Burton (NT Moods
and Tensese, p.29) finds it difficult and thinsk it originally "inceptive"

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