RE: Are participles temporally unmarked? Mk 1:35

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Sat Mar 06 1999 - 14:47:06 EST

"Hultberg, Alan D" writes

>"George Blaisdell" [wrote]

>And aspectually ANASTAS simply indicates the fact of the
>complete action of arising at this time

>From what I understand of aspect theory, George's above
>statement is technically incorrect....

>George's statement is one of
>*Aktionsart*, in that it posits a direct relationship >between
the action as it occurred in reality and the >verb tense
(as a morphological, not temporal
>category) used to describe the action. In other words,
>part [of] *Aktionsart* posits that the aorist "indicates >the
FACT of the complete action..."

Alan, you are doubtless correct, and I have no way of knowing because I
do not understand the distinction all that well. Aktionsart, to me,
refers to the 'sort' of action and thereby its morphological portrayal
in the Greek verb system. Thus a 'handclap', due to its brevity, would
be usually portrayed with an aorist [or other 'perfective'], and the
verb 'to be', due to its ongoing nature, would be portrayed with a
present [or other 'imperfective']. And the range of kinds of action in
between these two is vast.

ANASTAS, in terms of Aktionsart, is well into the middle of this range,
in that it can be seen as a slow and liesurely process [imperfective] or
as a sudden event [perfective]. The 'seeing' of it one way or the other
is a function of aspect, not Aktionsart, as I understand things. So
when ANASTAS [2nd aor] appears, it portrays the action as a complete
unit of thought, which is the whole action presented simply as the fact
of that action, without reference to the ongoingness [of arising] that
comprised it as it was occurring.

So the distinction remains elusive for me...

>...aspect theory says the choice of the morphological >verb
tense bears no necessary relationship to the actual
>performance of the action described; it
>only reflects the author's/speaker's PORTRAYAL of the action.

And this is where I find myself getting real dense. Does the author's
PORTRAYAL of the action bear no necessary relationship to the actual
performance of the action described??? I just flat out do not
understand how that can be...

>In this instance, Mark portrays the action of Jesus' >arising
as a complete act, or as simply having occurred, >if you
will--he gives us a snapshot of the action, not
>a movie.

Well, a snapshot freezes the action at some point during its commission,
and cannot possibly denote the whole [or complete] action, which is why
I have trouble with the 'snapshot' understanding of the aorist or any
other perfective 'aspect'.

Perfectivity is a conceptual term in that it regards _as a unit of
thought_ an action that takes place across time, and on this
understanding even our handclap occurs across time, you see...

Yet the aorist portrays this time involved action as a thought that
really has, of itself, no time whatsoever. A thought is the ultimate
perfective kind of Aktionsart, yes?

So I am still mucking about as I look at aspect theory, and doubtless am
mis-stating things horribly! And I still do not see how tense and
aspect can be separated in reality, any more than heads is separate from
tails on my coins.


George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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