RE: Are participles temporally unmarked? Mk 1:35

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Sat Mar 06 1999 - 17:42:27 EST

"Hultberg, Alan D" writes:

>Just to clarify some terminology.

>When aspect theorists talk about the Greek verb, they
>tend to use these conventions:

>TENSE = a morpholigical category; so the aorist TENSE means a
>particular form of the verb

>ASPECT = the kind of action that the tense-form stands for,
>whether perfective, imperfective, or stative. In this >sense
it is the equivalent of the old German label >*Aktionsart* (lit.
"kind of action").

>The difference between aspect and *Aktionsart* is that >the
latter is presumed to relate to the occurence of >the verb
as it happened in real time, while the
>former presumes no such NECESSARY relationship.

Thanks Alan ~

So if 'Tense' simply denotes a category of related spellings that refer
to the 'Aspects', which are the kinds of actions, then Aktionsart
denotes the real time nature of those actions.

[I still do not see why the 'Aspect' of a kind of action 'presumes no
such real-time necessary relationship' to the action. I can see how
someone might say that it is necessarily abstract... But definitely
related to the 'real time' occurrence SOMEHOW!!]

This terminology confuses me, because IF 'Aspect' indeed denotes a
'kind' of action, then it does NOT denote a WAY of viewing it. Yet that
is precisely what aspect theorists seem to assert. So it would seem to
follow that 'Aspect' is NOT in any way the KIND of action, as your above
definition of aspect asserts.

The aorist, for instance, in order for us to use it ~ We must first
observe in very real time an action from its inception through its
real-time ongoingness to its completion/cessation. We now have
experienced the whole of that action, perhaps many times! From this
vantage point, AFTER having seen the whole action, we can then use the
aorist, which conceptualizes it in its entirety, as seen in retrospect,
[hence the augment], but as projected conceptually outside that [past]
frame of reference [hence the name: Aorist!].

>I'm sympathetic to your dis-ease.

Me too! :-)

>I'm no card-carrying aspect theorist, but I have thought about the
>issue some, and it seems to me that there is a lot more going on in
>verb choice than meets the eye.

And I would not only agree, but agree enthusiatically! Greek is highly
abstract ~ So much so that Plato came up with his theory of Ideal
Forms!! And imo, the aorist is the abstract form of the verb par



George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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