Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 03:17:24 EDT
I would advise anyone trying to fit the Greek tenses into English to
recognise that the idea of tense is not the same. In English tense relates
primarilly with time, (past - present - future) . In Greek it seems that
tense includes a thought to time but duration and effect is more important.
The present generally refers to continous action or state, usually occuring
The aorist generally refers to a single event of undefined (aorist=undefined
or invisible) duration, and sometimes (usually?) speaks of an event which
occured only once.
The perfect (I kmow you did not ask) speaks of an event which has continuing
consequences. Sometimes (often with Paul) the aorist is used where the
context implies that the meaning could be perfect.
THe imperfect shows continuing action in the past; and the future shows
continuous action in the future.
This is all generally true for the indicative. The subjunctive, imperative,
and other moods indicate even less temporal implication. The aorist
pariciple is often used to show sequence of events or conditions.
I figured this out after learning the nature of the Hebrew tenses which have
even less (no?) relation to time. It appears to me that Greek tense's sense
of time is somewhere between that and English's strict adherence to time.
If I am misunderstanding this I hope someone will streighten me out, but I
think that as you continue reading and translating you will see where this
understanding of tense in duration and time becomes important.
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