These two positions don't even seem close

Mike Sangrey mike at
Mon Aug 28 12:30:11 EDT 2000

Thank you Rolf!!!

Rolf Furuli <furuli at> said:
> Porter, Fanning, and Wallace have been mentioned in the discussion,
> but not Mari Broman Olsen. The strength of her work, is that she uses
> a clearly defined methodology and textual examples. When I read her
> book, my opinion was that the aorist was a combination of past tense
> and the perfective aspect. After using her methodology and working
> with the texts, I changed my view to the point where I take the aorist
> to signal the perfective aspect but not past tense. 

Not having immediate access to Mari Broman Olsen's book, I went to the web. :-)

Those who have not sludged your way through this in-tense quagmire in all its 
various aspects may find Olsen's short article, cited below, beneficial.

For the rest of us who are pre-sludged, it is in postscript format, however.  
I have rendered it into PDF; there was an error and the Greek is ugly, but I 
can view it.  Since it is available on the web, and therefore freely 
available, I'll send the PDF version to whomever asks.

Scroll down about 4/5ths of the way.  The article is called 
    Olsen, Mari Broman. 1994c. The Koine Greek Verb: Tense and Aspect. 

Olsen cites Grice and his/her cancelability model.  She uses two versions of 
the following statement to help the reader visualize her premise:
   Paul was working...
     ...,and still is.
     ...,but is no longer.   

And she notes that the author has thus canceled in the one case, an 
imperfective tense, and in the other, the perfective tense.  She then proposes 
that Grice's cancelability is diagnostic of whether a verb form conveys tense 
or is purely aspectual in nature.  She states: "If the Koine indicative verb 
forms all lack tense, as Porter claims, they should all permit a range of 
cancellable temporal reference; in fact only the present and aorist forms do.  
If the Koine forms encode tense, as the traditional accounts claim, they 
should all have a consistent temporal reference; in fact only imperfect, 
pluperfect, perfect and future forms do."  The rest of the 14 page article 
gives examples, support and clarification to this statement as well as 
addressing some of the implications.

I, for one, would be very interested in Wallace's (Wayne, is this possible) 
response to Olsen as well as Porter's (Cindy, can you ask Porter?).
Mike Sangrey
mike at
Landisburg, Pa.
       Every Christian library should have a plaque which states:
              "There is one book which explains all these."

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