Re: hEURISKEI in Acts 10:27 - Present Tense?

Date: Sat Apr 11 1998 - 11:24:06 EDT

Rolf Furuli wrote: [snipped]

> Your explanation of hEURISKEI correctly addresses my questions... although > I do not see why the author should want to
> convey to the reader that Peter "found" one member after another in the
> crowd.

Dear Rolf ~

Thank you for your kind letter ~ I think I am finally starting to see
a little bit more clearly what is both your focus and Aktionsart's.
[And Peter most definitely did NOT find one member after another...
He found the crowd.]

The interplay in this passage between the non-sigmatic aorist and the
[imperfective] on-going real time present has been a real eye-opener
for me. I am only about 2 months or so into this 'timeless'
understanding of the aorist, and I really had not looked much at this
form of it. Without the sigma, this aorist clearly has no 'timeless
future' designation, and appears therefore to indicate the quality of
an action in terms of its 'timelessly repeated' past. KATELABEN in
John 1, which sets up the 'problem' that the incarnation of the Logos
is to solve, would concur with this approach. The darkness 'receives
not' the Light, with the understanding that it endlessly and
repetitiously has not received It, and is not receiving it. So it
seems that this aorist form inclusively evokes the past in the ongoing
present, thus giving it the force of a state-of-being that is impelled
by the past, but not necessarily into the future, as the sigmatic
aorist does.

When this understanding is applied to Acts 10:26ff, amazing things
happen. The overarching context of this narrative is the divinely
assisted movement of Peter's 'attitude' from its Jewish traditions
into a Christ perspective, and it is being narrated by Paul, himself a
Jew, in the Greek language. The interplay between [nonsigmatic]
aorist and real-time present tense verbs gives this passage a
surrealist sense of the inwardness of Peter's movement from his
traditional 'state of being' as a Jew into a new understanding. This
is the event [narrated by Paul] as seen through Peter's eyes. Watch!

O DE PETROS HGEIREN AUTON ~ "But Peter raises him" ~ Aorist
[historical, non-sigmatic] ~ Peter is venerated greatly ~ This has
happened before ~ many times ~ He raises him as he always does those
who worship at his feet, out of the habitual virtue that is imbedded
in his character.

LEGWN ANASTHQI ~ "Saying 'Be arisen...'" The present [ever habitual]
participle followed by the aorist imperative passive. In real ongoing
time, Peter 'is saying', as he has so many times before. But WHAT he
says is aoristic ~ meaning 'make this a habit'.

KAI EGO AUTOS ANQRWPOS EIMI ~ "Even I myself am a man" ~ Back to the
present tense, obligatory, habitual giving of the reason, again, as

KAI SUNOMEILWM AUTW ~ "And talking with him" ~ You always talk with
someone who has just worshipped at your feet who needs to know not to
do so... A process that Peter himself is in the middle of!! Thus
foreshadowing the outcome of this passage.

EISHLQEN KAI EURISKEI ~ "He enters and is finding" Yes, he enters ~
How many times has he 'entered' to find? This is the crucial aorist ~
He enters through his habit of entering. His 'entering' is a quality
of his soul. The text does not say that he 'entered the house', which
would be a past perfect with 'house' in the acc. It just says 'He
enters...', and is brought back to the real-time ongoing present...
'and is finding', just like he always does.

SUNELHLUQOTAS POLLOS. "Many having gathered together." They are
always gathered together for him.

This interplay between the historical aorist and the ongoing present
dominates this account, evoking Peter's habitual past experience with
each current and ongoing instanciation of it ~ A deja-vu surrealism ~
Yet seen through eyes that are themselves in transition from
traditional [Jewish] into new 'seeing'. The grammatical breakout
occurs in 10:28 ~

O QEOS EDEIKSE ~ "God shows..." Finally! A full, sigmatic aorist,
timelessly past, present and future, that bursts past the constraints
of the historical aorists into new understanding, coming straight from
God, as one would expect, on this understanding of the aorist.

Now this is my first reading of this passage, and I am truly blind to
theological implications that may or may not attend to this accounting
of it, so I pray that in my blindness I have not stepped on any toes.
I just wanted to illustrate the subtle power that the aorist is
capable of achieving when timelessly understood. I believe it can do
much on the 'interiors' that aktionsart is trying to do, you see...
It has clarity, power, subtlety, complexity and range.

 I cannot, so far at least, come up with a viable way to translate the
'historic' [non-sigmatic] aorist into English.

This whole 'timeless' approach is in development for me ~ I am too
unschooled to defend it properly, and could easily end up drowning in
the swamp... I can only give it here as I have been graced to receive
it... And I pray that it may prove helpful to our understanding... I
do not have the last word... And if I have only opened up room for
the first ones, my joy will be full.

Grace to you, Rolf, and to all as this Sacred Time of Remembrance...


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