Re: (longish) aktionsart and subjective

Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 12:04:27 EST

Rolf Furuli Writes ~

"Rom 12:14,17,21 are examples where "completed" is problematic as a
definition of the perfective aspect:
"but death *rule* (EBASILEUSEN, aorist) from Adam until Moses"
"death *rule* (EBASILEUSEN, aorist) through that one"
"just as the sin *rule* (EBASILEUSEN, aorist) in death"
While the context exhorts men to break free from the rule of sin and
that rule continues to this day (6:23), so how could the rule have
*completed* in the days of Paul?
 Heb 4:4 shows that "God *rest* (KATEPAUSEN) on the seventh day", and
argument of the chapter is that this rest still continued when the
was written. So how could the rest have been *completed*?
One example of the perfect where the end is not included is Heb 11:17
faith Abraham (..) *offer* (PROSENHVOCEN, perfect) Isaac" (The
conative aorist *offer* (PROSEFEREN) suggests that the perfect means
Abraham "as good as offered Isaac" but did not complete it.
Could someone defending the "completed/ongoing action"-definition
comment on these examples?"

Thank-you Rolf ~

Finally I think I am getting a small, tenuous grip on this thread. I
suspected that Aktionsart was somehow connected to difficulty with the
aorist, and your post brings that difficulty into some good light.

'Aorist' IS a 'tense', clearly, because it has tense markers, usually
E at the beginning of the root, placing it in the past, and an S
following the root, which places it in the future. The word 'aorist'
itself means 'boundary-less, horizonless, or unselected'. So that
when the aorist is used, it means all of these in terms of time
[tense]. It specifies a time of past through future non-selectively,
as regarding any particular instance of the action of the root. Thus
it is an abstract tense, in and of itself, specifying a horizonless
present, which can then be modified by context.

'I write' can be an 'English aorist' if it is not understood as 'I am
writing'. The fact that I happen to be presently writing is NOT what
I mean when I say 'I write'. 'I write' INCLUDES all instances of the
fact that I write, past, present, future, ongoing, completed and
pluperfect. It can be made more specific, timewise, by additional
qualifiers ~ "I write frequently today', 'I write on Tuesdays', and so

Thus the aorist, with past-future markers at least, is not a
'snapshot' or perfective tense at all, and seeing it as such will
engender all sorts of difficulty.

Death RULES from Adam through Abraham.

Just as sin RULES in death...

God RESTS on the seventh day...

For thus God LOVES the world that he GIVES his...

These are timeless actions, abstractly stated in the aorist. Has God
loved the world? Yes. Did god love the world? Yes. Is God now loving
the world? Yes. Will God have loved the world? Yes. The aorist
INCLUDES all the other tenses, past, present and future.

Now I'm not a good enough grammarian or scholar to know if there is a
Greek form that can say aoristically "In the past [or future] I walk
on Tuesdays" But just HEARING an aorist pronounced immediately puts
the listener first in the past [E], then the action [root], then the
future [S]. I doubt the Greeks had much trouble with it at all ~ They
were a pretty abstract bunch of thinkers!!

George Blaisdell

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:17 EDT