Re: Common-sense aorist

Date: Tue Apr 07 1998 - 20:02:18 EDT

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> At 5:15 PM -0500 4/7/98, wrote:
> >Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> >> What
> >> distinguishes the fundamental meaning of the aorist from the fundamental
> >> meaning of the two other major aspect stems is that the aorist lacks the
> >> durative, repetitive, unfinished character that is the central feature of
> >> the present as it also lacks the completed or state-of-being that is the
> >> central feature of the perfect. I'd draw the comparison thus:
> >> Present: APOQNHiSKEI "he is dying"
> >> Aorist: APEQANEN "he died"
> >> Perfect: APOTEQNHKEN "he is dead"
> >> To this you could add the "past" tense of the present:
> >> Imperfect: APEQNHiSKEN "he was dying"
> >> and the "past" tense of the perfect:
> >> Pluperfect: APETEQNHKEI "he was dead"
> >>
> >
> >Another non-sigmatic aorist is found in John 1:6, KATELABEN. This
> >usage would as well seem to indicate the state-of-being of TH SKOTIA.
> >It's not just a past, where the darkness simply 'missed the train'
> >once upon a time, but is a Truth about the darkness. It ALWAYS
> >'misses that train' ~ Yes?? And in it's subtlety, it calls to mind
> >the original sin of Adam. 'In Adam we all are dying...' [Acts? I
> >forget...] If John had meant the simple historical fact that the
> >darkness had 'missed the train' at some time past, he would have used
> >the perfect...
> The perfect? is now the tense of indefinite past action? I stand in total
> awe before this new vision of the Greek verb. EGW DE EN THi SKOTIAi MENW;

Sorry Carl ~

I wrote that in a hurry ~ Should have said 'at some particular time in
the past', [say last Tuesday at 3:18PM.] a very definite time indeed.
It seemed clear by context, at the time I wrote it.

There is some truth in the idea that you seem to want to use the
Perfect in the way that I want to use the non'sigmatic [past] aorist.
The thrust in 1:6, above, [KATELABEN] is that in the past up till now,
the darkness has not 'caught the train' that is the Light, but in a
way that makes this a timeless state-of-being, which is my
understanding of the aorist tense, of darkness. It is an enduring and
qualitative state of being that characterizes darkness. Only the
aorist can convey this. Had KATELABEN been written in the perfect, it
could not carry this permanence. The aorist, being timeless, carries
the power to evoke our understanding of the sin of Adam, as well as
the enduring quality of darkness. [That train is ALWAYS in the
station, and the darkness is ALWAYS missing it!!]


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