Re: Blackwelder...and aspect/Aktionsart, etc.

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Mon Mar 16 1998 - 15:13:54 EST

Rod Decker wrote:

>I'm not sure what you mean when you say:
> >Greek only has one "present tense" form
>That's true of *any* form in Greek--i.e., there is only one aorist, one
>perfect, etc. On the other side, there is no time reference that has only
>one form with which to express itself; i.e., present can be expressed with
>both aorist, present, and perfect forms; past time can be expressed with
>aorist, imperfect, present, etc. As to aspect, one has only one form
>(perfective aspect > aorist), others have two (imperfective aspect >
>present and imperfect, etc.). But no verb form (traditionally "tense")
>expresses more than one *aspect* (but note that is not true of
>Aktionsart!). And if we want to further complicate the question, we might
>ask if we are talking about L-tense or M-tense? (Language tense = the
>morphological category specifying a verb's *form* [aorist, present,
>imperfect, etc.]; Metalinguistic tense = past/present/future/temporally
>unrestricted [in Greek], but this is a contextual/deictic category, not a
>morphological one.)

Sorry...I guess I should have said that, if we assume that Greek verbs
are grammaticalized for time, then Greek has only one present *time* form,
the present tense, which bears all aspectual nuances in present time
communications. Thus, I'm still not convinced that calling the Present
tense form "imperfective" is correct (this is why I'm also not totally
convinced of Fanning's reference that the present always portrays an
"inner viewpoint"). The Imperfect is imperfective, but the present is,
as I see it, everything in present time.

Thus, as I see it, the reason that the present appears to portray
different time frames is not because it has no grammaticalization for
time, but rather because it bears every single aspectual nuance, and
some of those portray action in non-imperfective ways which leads to
the sense that the action is not taking place in a "present" time
frame (I think this is metalingual ?). Thus the "aoristic" present
feels like it is portraying a past action simply because of the
aspectual nuance, not because there is not temporal grammaticalization;
its almost a Past Instans (ala the Future Instans).

Is that clearer ?? Sometimes it gets real difficult to discuss this
stuff because of the shifting sands of terminology... (-;


BTW, has Buist been reading drafts of your chapters up to this point ?
If so, what has reaction been ??

Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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