[B-Greek] question about Matthew 17:5
George F Somsel
gfsomsel at juno.com
Thu Feb 3 02:52:41 EST 2005
On Thu, 3 Feb 2005 00:37:28 EST MPAymerNYC at aol.com writes:
If eudokew means: I AM content (in him/through him--dative of means) your
response still doesn't answer my question...
Why the aorist tense?
Does the voice mean to say "I WAS content (in/through him)" in that
punctiliar sense? This doesn't seem to make sense given the following
command--"listen to him: akouete autou."
If the best translation is not I WAS but rather I AM, how does one get
that with an aorist...
And if the answer reverts back to the matter of the punctiliar aorist,
then doesn't the same question hold: I AM pleased with him "right
now--but may not be later?" At the very least, I would expect an
imperfect or present tense verb--denoting continuous action--here...
Rev. Margaret Aymer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of New Testament
The Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA
I think what I wrote previously was the product of a sleep-deprived brain
and would like to retract much of what I said. It would appear, now that
I have had a little rest to clear my mind and bleery-eyed stare that
EUDOKEW + EN + dat. does indicate "to be pleased with" or "accept" (as an
offering). See, e.g. Additional Ps 151.5
hOI ADELFOI MOU KALOI KAI MEGALOI, KAI OUK EUDOKHSEN EN
I would nevertheless yet maintain and even shout
DON'T ENGAGE IN A "THEOLOGY OF THE TENSES!"
I'm not certain what your theological problem might be. Are you saying
that you think it is saying "I was pleased with him (but I no longer
am)"? It really doesn't matter what your specific problem might be since
this forum is not for the discussion of theology in any event. I do,
however, think that you are creating your own problem with such a view of
the aorist. Dan Wallace in _Greek_Grammar_Beyond_the_Basics_ states
"Second, many NT students see a particular category of usage (Aktionsart)
as underlying the entire tense usage (aspect). This is the error of
saying too much. Statements such as the aorist means once-for-all
action are of this sort. It is true that the aorist may, under certain
circumstances, describe an event that is, in reality, momentary. But we
run into danger when we say that this is the aorists unaffected meaning,
for then we force it on the text in an artificial way. We then tend to
ignore such aorists that disprove our view (and they can be found in
every chapter of the NT) and proclaim loudly the once-for-all aorists
when they suit us."
He notes a number of flavors of aorist in addition to the punctiliar use
which I'll not go into here but encourage you to look them up for
yourself. The important point to note that the aorist tense does not
necessarily indicate anything regarding the nature of reality but is
concerned with the manner in which the writer is portraying it.
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