[b-greek] Fwd: Re: Past Time Morph and Aorist Forms (was John 3:3-5)

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sat May 12 2001 - 07:45:33 EDT

For some reason utterly incomprehensible to me and to B-Greek, Ward Powers'
messages to me are reaching me but are not reaching B-Greek; he has asked
that I forward to the list the following message for him.

>X-Sender: bwpowers@mail.optusnet.com.au
>Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 15:10:26 +1000
>To: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>,
> Biblical Greek <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu>
>From: B Ward Powers <bwpowers@optus.com.au>
>Subject: Re: Past Time Morph and Aorist Forms (was John 3:3-5)
>Cc: Biblical Greek <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu>,
> B Ward Powers <bwpowers@optusnet.com.au>
>Re the aorist tense and past time:
>Let me add further to what Alan and Carl have written:
>At 02:53 PM 010511 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>>At 12:24 PM -0700 5/11/01, Alan B. Thomas wrote:
>> >I hope it is not inappropriate to suggest the
>> >following concerning this statement:
>> >
>> >> (b) The repeated verb (GENNHQHi subj. 3d sg. in 3;
>> >> GENNHQHNAI (2x) inf. in
>> >> 4; GENNHQHi subj. 3d sg. in 5) is in every instance aorist, but the
>> >> reference of the aorist is not to time... <snip>
>> >
>> >I certainly am not in disagreement with this
>> >statement, but I would hate for someone to walk away
>> >from this comment and conclude that the "aorist is not
>> >to time..." (without understanding the context in
>> >which it was written).
>> >
>> >I would add that THESE PARTICULAR AORISTS are "not to
>> >time" because they are either in the Subjunctive Mood
>> >or used as an Infinitive. The "no time" aspect, as
>> >others would contend, is related to the Subjunctive
>> >and Infinitive usages, not to the Aorist tense.
>> >
>> >I bring this up only so that this inquirer may not
>> >take from this discussion that ALL Aorists are "not to
>> >time," in the sense that that is a grammatical rule. I
>> >would even hasten to add that I am not trying to imply
>> >that that is what Carl meant by his comment.
>>I appreciate your dotting the I's and crossing the T's on this, Alan.
>>However much I have my own hangups over voice, it is tense/aspect that is
>>perhaps the single most troublesome aspect of ordinary Greek grammar--and
>>it certainly does make a difference whether we're talking about the
>>indicative or the non-indicative verb-forms.
>>Carl W. Conrad
>These comments are helpful. However, a verb's morphological elements assist
>us further: we can note that aorist indicative verbs forms contain a past
>time morph, and THIS is why they are to be recognized as past. To the
>contrary, the non-indicative modes of the aorist do not have the past time
>morph - and thus are not past time.
>That is, there is a one-to-one relationship between the occurrence of the
>past time morph in a verb form, and that verb form being past time.
>The past time morph is the "syllabic augment" (a prefixed epsilon) when it
>is added to a consonant, and the "temporal augment" (lengthening of the
>initial vowel) when the simplex verb commences with a vowel. Thus LUW has
>the aorist ELUSA, and AKOUW has the aorist HKOUSA.
>Other relevant comments:
>1. It is best to avoid using the term "past tense" in relation to the
>aorist tense, as it can easily be interpreted to mean that all the forms of
>that tense are "past" - which of course is not true of the aorist. We must
>avoid generalizations that "the aorist is past tense" or anything like it,
>as this opens the door to endless future confusion.
>2. Rather, we need to recognize that a verb form is past time when it
>contains the past time morph: and this occurs in the indicative of the
>aorist, and also in the imperfect and pluperfect tenses (which can only be
>3. In use, an indicative aorist form may occasionally be used without past
>time significance (as in a gnomic aorist). This simply means that there are
>instances when a particular context overrides morphological significance:
>this does not negate the generality of the rule about the meaning of the
>past tense morph.
>4. Some verbs beginning with a diphthong may not lengthen the initial vowel
>as past time morph in past time forms. Thus for EUDOKEW we find both aorist
>hEURISKW rarely takes the temporal augment (but see Mark 14:55, where it
>does). Such past time forms without overt past time morph are described by
>linguisticians as having a zero past time morph.
>The correlation between the presence in a verb form of the past time morph
>and that form being past time - and conversely the absence of a past time
>morph in non-indicative aorist modes - is a very helpful feature of ancient
>Greek, and well worth the noting.
>Ward Powers
> http://www.netspace.net.au/~bwpowers
>Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
>259A Trafalgar Street Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
>PETERSHAM NSW 2049 email: bwpowers@optusnet.com.au
>AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:56 EDT