Re: Test of The "Timeless" Aorist

Date: Tue May 05 1998 - 13:37:12 EDT

Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> I've never
> seen a semantic definition for the aorist of ancient Greek of any period
> that involves the notion of "timelessness." So where exactly did you get
> this? I would really like to know!

Carl ~

I've already posted you privately concerning the dubious pedigree of
this line of understanding, which is why I introduced it under the
heading of 'Common-Sense Aorist'. And like most of the mongrel dogs
that run the streets of my community, fatherhood can only be ascribed
to a 'good neighborhood', and not to a champion line of show-quality
breeders, or even to 'that dog over there!'.

I left academia some 25 years ago with unanswered, and indeed only
implicitly 'asked', questions about the Greek aorist 'tense' and the
'middle' voice. They were just muddy to me. No clarity, but fairly
workable. And when I finally re-entered the Greek Zone, about a year
ago, to read the book of John, as I had been inwardly led to do, I
still was muddy with these two grammatical ideas, but at least the
Greek approach allowed this book to 'open' to my understanding, again
with a great deal of inward help.

Then, some months later, I read a pamphlet on the aorist published by
the Concordant Bible Library Inc, which did not list the author's name
on it. This little pamphlet presented the idea that the aorist could
be simply understood, at least in the E____SA format as a
past-present-future abstractive ~ 'Timeless' ~ tense, which he[?]
calls the 'indefinite'. So I went to the GNT text and tried it out,
and found that it did indeed work very well, and seemed to clear up a
lot of passages that otherwise can vex.

So I got to thinking about it a lot, and joined b-greek, and watched
how the aorist was being understood and presented here, then put in my
two cents worth under the heading 'common-sense aorist' and found
myself backing up a lot in the face of this list's generous
erudition!! So I had then to get really down to the roots of language
construction in an effort to understand just what an aorist verb form
IS. That is all simply a thought process, that anyone can do, and
most do not.

AT Robertson, by the bye, does see the sigma in the E____SA
construction as a future marker, but that is not my authority. ATR
has been mostly helpful to me, in what little of him I am capable of
reading, in terms of his presentation of the origins of the Greek, of
how the earliest roots were either aorist or present, and how the
constructions developed from these two, of which he claims that the
aorist is 'logically' first, whether historically first or not. I
simply thought about that, a lot, and came up with the very
common-sensical idea that a word for an action expresses the idea of
the action, in origin, and that tense differentiations would then come
later. 'Tis simply the nature of concept formation.

I love the Greek... And I love the grammatical issues involved in
it... And I approach it originatively ~ Not scholastically...
Sometimes I feel that I AM Greek, just an English speaking one...
Hopelessly amok in trying to remember the vocabulary and
constructions. And I don't lie ~ And I don't duck issues ~ And I

I hope you can now see the 'exactly where' I 'got' this 'timeless
aorist notion'. I can't claim a show-dog pedigree, you see... I
can't even really claim a pedigree at all. All I can claim is the
logic of thought.

Blessings to you, my friend...

George Blaisdell

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