Re: Present Tense

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Wed Oct 20 1999 - 18:28:48 EDT

<x-flowed>At 03:01 PM 10/20/99 -0700, you wrote:

>On Wed, 20 Oct 1999 11:30:14 -0700 "Dale M. Wheeler"
><> writes:
> >
> > Fourthly, Paul Dixon accuses me of letting my theology rule my grammar.
> > That was a cheap shot, Paul; but since we are DTS brothers, I forgive
> > you... (-:
>Now, now, I didn't exactly accuse you of doing anything. I seriously
>was wondering out loud if the cart was pulling the horse or if the
>horse was pulling the cart. Someone has recently warned us against
>eiosgesis. I was just wondering if this 20th century grammatical
>insight (whether it is your's or not) was coming from an inductive
>study or if it is the result of looking for a way to harmonize certain
>passages with one's theology.
>Nevertheless, I did feel badly after sending the post, and your
>response only confirmed my suspicions. I am sorry. Thanks for
>the gracious brotherly forgiveness.

Well, my friend, I've thought outloud before and have regretted it as harm, no foul. I've found that, for me, in most cases, I have to
write a serious email and then let it sit a day and come back to it just to
make sure that I'm not opening my mouth and inserting both feet... (-; It
seems pretty easy with email to mean one thing, but say it in such a way
that it gets misunderstood by others.

> > As I said, I really don't care how you end up interpreting 1John
> > or any passage for that matter; I'm really just trying to have
> > a discussion about the pro's and con's of assigning a
> > progressive/linear/imperfective/internal aspectual nuance to the
> > Present form. BTW, unless I miss my guess, I. Howard Marshall did not
> > study under Zane Hodges--I suspect that he doesn't even know who Zane
> > is... (-;
>No, but he could have been laboring under the same theological

An interesting observation, and since I don't know his writings well enough
to tell, I can't say for sure, but I suspect not. I think what you'll find
in his commentary is an attempt to understand 1John 1 and 1John 3 in a way
where they aren't in contradiction with one another; I think that's the
only "theological" agenda at work there that I can see. There may be other
ways to resolve the tension between ch 1 and 3, but, it seems to me that
Marshall's qualms and his solution should be heard.

>Would you like to share your explanation of 1 Jn 3:6-10? I'd be

This is the kind of discussion that I've come to avoid on bgreek, aside
from the fact that I really don't have the time to invest in it. Its been
a while, but the best I can recollect, I would follow Marshall's line of
thought thru the passage for the most part; which is different than Zane's
at places. BTW, just because I suggested that the Present is a zero tense
form, doesn't mean that if the Lexis of the verbs involved and the
particulars of the context point in the direction of habitual behavior,
that such an interpretation is ruled out. Its just that basing the
interpretation *solely* on the present would be ruled out. Thus both a
habitual and a non-habitual interpretation are possible for the passage;
which of course they were anyway before I made the suggestion since one
could have argued that in this particular case the Presents were
progressives but were aoristics or perfectives.

>Paul Dixon

Be well... Hope you have been enjoying the sunshine down your way the way
we have here in the Rose City.


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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