[B-Greek] Translation of Aorist Indicative Verbs in 1 John 2:12-14
stevehulme at stevehulme.com
Sun Jun 4 08:18:32 EDT 2006
Thanks for your tip about the need to send messages in plain text format to this list. Indeed, I had sent the blank message in MIME format.
Here's the original question:
1 John 2:12 and 2:13 use the present tense of the indicative three times:
"GRAFW hUMIN, TEKNIA...GRAFW hUMIN, PATERES...GRAFW hUMIN, NEANISKOI"
In 1 John 2:14, the author switches to the aorist indicative "EGRAYA hUMIN",
again repeated three times.
I have two questions: first, the New Jerusalem Bible translates these verses as
I would have, assigning the action of the present tense indicativeGRAFW to the
present time, and the action of EGRAYA to the past:
"12 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven through
his name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the
One who has existed since the beginning. I am writing to you, young people,
because you have overcome the Evil One. 14 I have written to you, children,
because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, parents,
because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I
have written to you, young people, because you are strong, and God's word
remains in you, and you have overcome the Evil One. "
However, the Revised Standard and the New Revised Standard Version translate
both forms, present and aorist, with the English present tense, but
differentiating the "aspect" of the action:
"12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his
sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the
beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil
one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you,
fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young
men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have
overcome the evil one. "
Certainly, the Greek *perfect *tense can often have a present meaning, since it
denotes a state that started in the past and is still true now. OIDA is an
example. But I can't think of an example of the Greek aorist in the indicative
mood denoting anything other than "the simple occurence of an action in past
time; as in EGRAYA, I wrote." (Godwin's Moods and Tenses, p. 16).
However, the RSV and NRSV translators surely knew Greek better than I, so
perhaps there is some point that I've overlooked. Can someone help me out here?
And the greater question is "why is John repeating himself in verse 14? what
point is he trying to make?"
thanks in advance
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