Re: (longish) The Mysterious Disappearance of Verb Aspect

Date: Tue Apr 14 1998 - 11:29:30 EDT

Rolf Furuli wrote:
> writes:
> <Is there a direct and simple differentiation you might provide between
> <'complete' and 'completed'?
> Dear George,
> A short note: The word "complete" indicates that both the beginning and end
> of an event or state is included in our viewpoint, the word "completed"
> includes in addition past time. What is completed is past, either in
> relation to speech time or to another point. Therefore, those working with
> aspect use "complete" rather than "completed" as a description of the
> perfective aspect. While most perfective situations in Greek include the
> end, not all do (aorists with stative verbs often have an ingressive
> (non-complete) force) so I will neither use "complete" for the Greek
> perfective aspect.

Thank-you, Rolf ~

I thought it might be a perspective issue relating to wholeness with
the aorist involved, and you seem to be confirming that it is.

In terms of linear time, the Greek tenses that are NOT aorist seem
indeed to cover past, present and future inclusively. They are fully
capable of pinpointing any action[s] in linear [historical] time,
past, present or future.

Starting from the ongoing [imperfective] present, [a fine 'point'
indeed!], the past fades ane the future impends. Both past and
future, in terms of the ongoing present, are ongoing.

Past [ongoing] ----> Present [ongoing] ----> Future [ongoing]

The past goes back to way before Adam, and the future goes to the end
of time. LINEAR.

Now particular actions, being taken from the ongoing present, always
have an ongoing aspect, even if they have been completed, because
before they COULD be completed, they HAD to be ongoing, if only for a
Completedness, in terms of LINEAR time, is thus a cessation of an
ongoing particular action, and thus of necessity a past action, even
when it anticipates the future. This is because the future
completedness is seen from the perspective of the ongoing 'present' of
the future. [Future perfect]

Past completedness, seen from the ongoing present, is the Perfect, and
when seen from the 'present' of the ongoing past, then becomes the
Pluperfect. Any and all actions, on this LINEAR understanding, are
either in progress [imperfective ~ present, past or future] or no
longer in progress [perfective ~ past or future]. There are no other
possibilities. There is no perfective present, because of the simple
fact that the present is always ongoing. The only 'time' an action
CAN start or stop, is in the ongoing present, hence the onset of an
action puts it perfectively in the future, and the stoppage of the
action puts it perfectively in the past. All linear time is only
understandable from the ongoing present. This is really dirt

[Time] Imperfect Perfect Pluperfect [Aspect]

Present yes no no

Future yes yes no

Past yes yes yes


Linear time assignments are ALL accounted for already.

And we are finding ourselves putting it in the present, in the past,
in the future, depending on context, grammar and syntax, and we find
the same verb form 'denoting' all three times!! So we boldly go forth
where 'no man hath gone before' into aspect theory and aktionsart ~
Yes?? All in an effort to track down this pesky roadrunner named Mr.
Aorist IN time. It won't happen... The only place for an Mr. Aorist,
when ALL linear time is fully accounted for, is in the FACT of an
action, without any time designation at all. It is the aorist that
gives 'time' a timeless dimension. Therein lies its power.

The 'tense' verbs are the talons on the text, keeping the reader in
the grip of the ongoing narrative, whereas the aorist is the wings,
giving the horizonless perspective of timelessness. It can be as
mundane as the street vernacular, "I GO to this bar last night
and...", and as sumlime as "God so LOVES the world..." And YES, it is
true, that God DID love [loved] the world, but the text does NOT use
the Perfect Tense here. It uses the wings of the aorist. And it can
be as subtle as the interplay between it and the ongoing present of
Acts 10, where Paul takes the reader right into the mind of Peter.
The aorist EVOKES memories and imagination[s]. Such is its power,
range, subtlety and complexity... And its SIMPLICITY.

It is NOT understood this way by today's scholarship. It should be.

Grace to you...


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