Re: The aorist

From: Paul F. Evans (
Date: Tue Nov 24 1998 - 07:50:07 EST


This is precisely the "inconsistency" I was trying to nail down to my own
satisfaction. Cindy's statement about the aorist was helpful because it is
a clear way to approach the aorist. She said that the aorist speaks of an
action in the form of a snap shot without any reference to its duration (or
lack thereof), or repetition. To be able to make decisions about the nature
of the action in its original context, one must recover that original
context from other indicators in the text or from the nature of the verb
itself. More and more recently this is the sense that I get from the Big
Greeks about the aorist.

I do not want to get involved in the more theoretical and less useful (to
me), speculation about aspect, by which I think is meant the difference
between the action itself and the way it is conveyed in language. Having
said that, I realize that we are teetering on that very precipice!

I for one would like to hear from others on how they approach the aorist in
determining how it a particular action is to be conceived. What indicators
do you look for first and which ones hold the greatest weight for you?

Another mystery to me, and I suppose to an extent this is why I have these
questions, how does one really go about fixing an understanding to of aorist
participles? For instance the old adage that they represent action prior to
that of the main verb is now in question regularly. I was wondering about
how to approach these issues in a sensible way. I probably can figure it
out eventually, but my method is scatter-brained first here and then there,
and eventually to some commentary! I want to have some sort of "formula" to
follow that will enable me to apply an consistent approach to interpreting
the aorist.

Paul & Loala Evans
Wilmington First Pentecostal Holiness Church
-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin L. Barney <>
To: Biblical Greek <>
Date: Monday, November 23, 1998 6:16 PM
Subject: The aorist

>OK, now I'm confused. I was taught 20 years ago that the aorist was
>punctilear. More recently I have read material suggesting that that was an
>old fashioned, out-of-date notion, and that in fact the aorist is undefined
>in terms of time. So I assumed that our knowledge of the aspect of the
>aorist had progressed over the past 20 years. Now the current thread
>suggests that there may be something to the "point in time" view after all.
> What gives?
>Kevin L. Barney
>Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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