[B-Greek] Aorist imperative
jfs at jfsanders.com
Wed Mar 28 01:10:54 EDT 2007
I apologize for making my comments on this posting so late and probably no
longer of any interest; but I have been rather busy these last few weeks, so
again, my apology.
First, my bias-I consider all this talk about perfective, imperfective, and
Second, my experience with languages, rather limited perhaps, and not
professionally based from modern linguistic theory, indicates to me that
many constructions and forms used in a language are not nuanced at all, they
are just used, perhaps for a thousand or two thousand years (40 to 100
generations) and there is no philosophical nuanced meaning behind the use by
the speakers or writers using the term (perhaps there was way back when, but
no ones recognizes such anymore). In other words, it is idiom.
More useful, in my opinion, is this excerpt from Funks Grammar (see
8090. Precision regarding tense-aspect in the imperative/subjunctive, as
well as in the indicative, is impossible apart from the study of individual
verbs. For example, in the sequence of injunctions in Mt. 5:39ff., all
injunctive verbs are aorist (five examples), except for ὕðáãå (5:41),
which is present imperative. This verb is often used in the imperative in
the New Testament and always in the present tense (Bl-D §101, s.v.
ἄãåéí). In fact, it occurs only in the present (and imperfect) in any
mood. It would therefore be a serious error to attach special significance
to this present imperative occurring among a series of aorists in Mt 5:39ff.
On Mar 23, 2007, at 12:36 AM, Melvin Bradford wrote:
>Can someone give the information concerning a good modern day Greek
>Grammar book to define the Aorist imperative and it's usage. The statment
>"imperative mood is regularly mishandled by exegetes" refers to me because
>I learned early in my studies the the aorist imperative meant "start/don't
>start doing" an action.
With certain reservations (see R.Buth's comments on future aorist),
one could say that S.Porter Idioms of NT Greek is a good place to start.
Take a look at how the present imperative is use with the aorist
imperative in the same immediate context. The question probably
should be framed "why is the present imperative used" since the
aorist is the unmarked aspect.
One very common combination is a present (imperfective aspect)
imperative of motion (e.g. go, get up) followed by an aorist imperative.
JOHN 4:16 LEGEI AUTHi: hUPAGE FWNHSON TON ANDRA SOU KAI ELQE ENQADE.
Here we have the present (imperfective) hUPAGE followed by two
aorists FWNHSON and ELQE. The now somewhat standard approach would
say that hUPAGE is presented as a process whereas FWNHSON and ELQE
are simple undefined events viewed as a whole. That's ok as far as it
goes but it seems that the present (imperfective) is also being used
as a means to demote the significance of the action "going" in
relation to the actions in the aorist imperative. I would suggest
that the imperfective here is used somewhat like a participle of
motion before a finite verb. However, the participle is not used
since there is a need to express in hUPAGE the imperatival idea
This is just one use of the aorist/present imperative.
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