first and second aorist confusion

Mike Sangrey mike at
Thu Jul 15 09:19:25 EDT 1999

chtrimm at said:
> In Matthew 4:11 it is PROSHLQON, the second aorist ending, as it is
> usually found.

> But in Matthew 5:1 and Luke 13:31, it is PROSHLQAN, the first aorist
> ending. Anyone know why in these two cases the first aorist endings
> are used? 

I wonder if one possible explanation is that it simply sounded better.
In Matthew 4:11 we have PROSHLQOV KAI.  The 'O' is formed in the back
of the mouth as in 'bought'; the 'K' is also formed in the back of the
mouth by pushing the back of tongue up against the roof of the mouth.
The last syllable flows somewhat more naturally into the next word.
Whereas in Mat. 5:1 and Luke 13:31 we have PROSHLQAV AUTWi and PROSHLQAN
TINES, respectively.  The 'A' is formed in the middle of the mouth
and transitions into the 'A' or 'T' of the following word, again, much
more naturally.

I completed reading Black's "Linguistics for students of New Testament
Greek" recently and it has an excellent explanation of phonology.  So,
it may be that I see a phonological effect everywhere; and therefore,
I may be finding an explanation where there is none.  I suppose one
could do some statistical analysis to determine whether the phenomenon
can be explained with phonology.  But, specific authors might choose
first or second aorist endings based on their own ear or the muscular
structure of their own tongue.  And, even this may change over time as
the author ages or the language evolves the phonemes.

Someone has asked for a thesis topic to study.  Maybe this is one.
There's a lot of interesting twists here.

Mike Sangrey
mike at

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