Are Greek Verbs Not Marked Temporally Even In Indicative Clauses?

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 20:37:50 EST

Dear members,
I learned BG tense and aspect by reading M. Zerwick's "Biblical
Greek- illustrated by examples". I was impressed by the constant
emphasis that "present", "aorist", "imperfect", "perfect" refer to
aspect, not tense. It seems to say that even "future" has some volitional
element and would have been derived from subjunctive. Even in English,
"I will go" has some volitional element, while "he will go" may not.

But "aorist" and "present" aspects have temporal significance
when they are used in independent indicative sentences. But because
"present" verb forms can be used to describe future situations,
and "future" verb forms acquired future time value accidentally, only
aorist indicative has [+past] feature. Why would it be? Zerwick simply
says that it is exception.

Is it possible that "aorist"'s semantic meaning involves only aorist
aspect, but when used to describe historic situations it acquires temporal
significance pragmatically?


Moon-Ryul Jung, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept of Computer Science
Soongsil University,
Seoul, Korea

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