Acts 10:27+10:31 - Present Tense? Why not!

From: Kyrychenko (
Date: Sat Apr 11 1998 - 13:33:21 EDT

In a message dated 4/11/98 6:02:15AM, Ron Ross writes:

<< I think your query may have a much simpler answer. It is my definite
 impression that in biblical Greek it is not in the least uncommon to use what
 has often been called the "historical present". This is a present tense verb
 used with a past tense meaning, and is often used to lend vividness to a
 narration once the past tense has been established in the discourse. When
 happens, the present is "freed" from its imperfective aspect. Punctilliar
 situations are in no way at odds with present tense forms whose meaning is
 present. Consider, for example:
 "Last Saturday I *go* into a restaurant and this guy *walks* up and *hits*
 once right in the nose."
 None of these verbs is used imperfectively, despite their being in the
 tense FORM. In the Greek text of Acts 10.27, the past time is established
 before the historical present is used. My English example sounds extremely
 colloquial, but that is no reason to assume that the historical present in
 Greek sounded the same way. I cannot cite you references right now, but I am
 sure that I have come across historical presents in Greek on numerous
 occasions >>

Dear b-greekers,

I liked the response above and this is why. I speak Russian which is much much
closer to Greek grammatically than English and I would say the things exactly
the same way as it is written in Acts 10:27 and 10:31 because it is the most
natural way to say it for my Russian ear. Could it be just so natural for a
Greek ear too? Ron's example above is a good illustration of what I am trying
to say and sounds great for Russian me - that is the way we talk.

If it makes no sense - just ignore it.



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