Re: Nonexistent forms?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Oct 07 1997 - 08:41:57 EDT

At 6:08 AM -0500 10/7/97, Rod Decker wrote:
>As I've poked around a bit in this dept., I have two specific queries.
>1, I've noted the perfect subjunctive forms (3 in the NT, all
>periphrastics), but what about perfect optatives? Do such exist in the NT?
>I couldn't find any, but Bowne's *Paradigms & Principal Parts for the Greek
>NT* lists the (periphrastic) forms (LELUMENOS EIHN, etc.). What about
>extra-biblical use, which I assume must exist?

I'll check on this as I find the time, but as I said yesterday, my guess is
that you'd find such in well-educated writers; I'm pretty sure I've seen
them in Philo, who writes contemporaneously with NT writers. I think they'd
show up in official documents--imperial decrees, formal letters, etc. (such
as ought to appear in some of the papyri and inscriptions).

>2. Does the pluperfect ever occur outside the indicative in extra-biblical
>Greek? I haven't been able to locate any refs. to such, but I'd appreciate
>any confirmation or denial of that.

The pluperfect, like the imperfect, exists ONLY as a past tense of what is
basically an aspect-morph (how's THAT for a term? Not very good, huh)
referring most fundamentally to the present time, i.e. imperfective
(present), and stative (perfect). By definition then, these cannot ever
have modal forms. Of course it is true that present and perfect
(respectively) infinitives and participles can represent those indicatives
in indirect discourse, but you won't see subjunctives, optatives, or
imperatives of the imperfect or pluperfect.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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