Common-sense aorist

Date: Sun Apr 05 1998 - 13:04:23 EDT

Ward Powers wrote:

> In terms of linguistic analysis, this situation can be described thus:
> 1. The "aorist marker" (what, in linguistic terminology, can be described
> as the "punctiliar morph") is SA, and not S alone.
> 2. The sigma in the punctiliar morph is not the future morph, and is not in
> any way to be interpreted as conveying future meaning.
> 3. The punctiliar morph remains SA unchanged in all verb forms in which
> this morph is form final or is followed by a morph which consists of or
> commences with a consonant.
> 4. The punctiliar morph is S in all verb forms in which this morph is
> followed by a morph which consists of or commences with a vowel; that is to
> say, the SA morph elides its vowel in front of any following vowel [in the
> same way as do prepositions ending with a vowel, other than PRO or PERI].
> This same feature of the language can be observed with the perfective
> active morph, which is KA when form final or when followed by a morph which
> consists of or commences with a consonant, and K (with the A elided) when
> followed by a morph wich consists of or commences with a vowel.

Thank-you, Ward ~

I apologise for my linguistics illiteracy. My grasp of the technical
language is terrible, and I'm misusing a lot of terms. I'll try to
just speak plainly.

When Greek wants to indicate past action, it prefixes an E to the verb
root. KALEW, I am calling, becomes EKALON, I called. When it wants
to indicate future action, it suffixes a S to the root, becoming
KALESW, I will be calling. When the word EKALESA then shows up, it is
hard for me, from a simple commonsensical perspective, not to see past
and future indicators in the E and the S. The root, KAL(E) [root =
____ ] is augmented by them. [I hope 'augment' is not a technical
term that will stumble me here!]

E____ON ____SW E____SA Shows the progression: past, future,
aorist, where the aorist has both E and S augments.

This is, to my poor man's myopic eyes, a blaring feature of the
E____SA form of the aorist. So what is that A then indicating? It
does seem to be a connecting vowel, sometimes absorbed in vowel
endings, yes? And when we wish to give a noun an abstract quality, it
is given an A. BASIL is given an A to become the abstract BASILEIA.
[King becomes Kingdom] Likewise the effect of an action is given an
abstract quality by provicing it with an A. DOULEIA is slavery, an
abstract of the verm 'to slave', and denotes the fact of slavery
without pointing to any particular instance of it.

So these three little single letter augments, E____SA simply
transliterate into Past-Future-Abstract.

Now the word 'Aorist' itself carries the meaning 'without horizon'.
If a horizon were in sight, then there would be a boundary, and if a
boundary, then a definiteness. There is no horizon, hence no
difiniteness, hence the 'indefinite' or 'abstract' meaning.

Having no W ending [1st person] nor K in the suffix, it is neither
incomplete nor complete. So it simply has to occupy an indefinite
present that includes past and future, abstractly. A 'timeless'
present, so to speak. When I say "I write" as such an indefinite, I
include ALL instances of writing, past, present and future, plus both
completed and incompleted states of those instances. eg I wrote
yesterday, I was writing yesterday, I am writing right now, I will be
writing tomorrow, I will have written tomorrow, etc. 'I write' does
not select any one of them, yet includes them all... Abstractly...
Indefinitely... It's about as close as English gets to the E____SA
Greek form.

This is, admittedly, a simplified understanding for the intellectually
impoverished, yet it seems to work very well in practice. The Rom
8:30 [AV] reads "Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them he also
called; and whom he also clled, them he also justified; and whom he
justified, them them he also glorified." I don't think anyone takes
this translation as it stands in the past tense in all the verms
[aorist]. How much more smoothly it reads as 'whom He
predistinates...He calls...whom He calls...He glorifies.' Other
examples abound....

Thank-you again for your response, my friend. My focus here is to
make the Greek more easily accessible, and less arcane, you see, to
'common' readership... Like me. God knows I err in huge chunks, [my
1st 'read' of 1 John1 was a blaring error!!] so that I can 'see' my
errors with my myopic eyes. I am willing to admit that I could be
hugely in error here... But this just makes so much simple sense to


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