[B-Greek] Aorist as Verbal Aspect

Dr. Don Wilkins drdwilkins at verizon.net
Mon May 12 15:56:23 EDT 2008

I applaud Randall in his pointing out the significance of the  
augment, which aspect-only advocates must explain away to maintain  
their positions, though I think they have contributed something to  
our understanding of Greek grammar. When you remove the augment by  
employing a mood other than the indicative, you do find the aorist  
used of the present, and even of the future. But most statements are  
in the indicative, where the aorist is virtually confined to past  
time. I would also submit that all tenses and moods are necessarily  
subjective portrayals of events. You can see this in the fact that  
the indicative is the more neutral, "objective" mood, yet most lies  
are told in the indicative.

Don Wilkins

On May 11, 2008, at 2:06 AM, Randall Buth wrote:
> mitch hrwthse
>> I am reading a book by Dr. Campbell (Verbal Aspect,
> the Indicative Mood, and Narrative). It seems to me
> that I'm just not able to follow a certain line of
> reason. I've read it before in McKay (and Porter who
> expands on McKay's ideas).
> How can it be argued that Aspect is a subjective (how
> the writer chooses to portray the event) portrayal of
> an event, not how an event ACTUALLY occurs/occurred,
> and then not expect to see a much higher number of
> Aorists being used in Present and Future situations?
> In other words, why doesn't a Greek writer hardly ever
> want to portray a current event from an external
> viewpoint? If it is indeed a subjective means of
> portraying an event by a writer, who surely portrays
> events for literary effect at times, why do we not see
> far more Aorists used in present circumstances?
> The more I think about it, it would seem to me that we
> ought to see the Aorist as often as we see any other
> tense for present events. Why do writers almost always
> want to present Present events from an internal
> perspective? It almost sounds as if it is not a
> subjective choice based on the percent of Aorists used
> for present events.
> Mitch Larramore>
> Good observation, Mitch.
> though I don't know the book.
> It might be that the English authors you are reading are
> wrong,  if they are teaching you that there is no time
> component in the aorist indicative. The aorist indicative
> does contain the 'whole' aspect, but it also contains a
> 'past' component. Ancient and modern Greek authors
> agree on this.
> As we said on this list a few years back, the following is
> not said in Greek, (classical, koine, Byzantine, modern):
> *tomorrow he came (?)[sic]
> Theorists with a "timeless" Greek verb system have
> extrapolated from examples in omnitemporal contexts,
> and have also ignored the 'aoristic' aspect of the historical
> present, not to mention the most reasonable explanation of
> the AYKSHSIS (past-augment). I call this approach
> "aspect-only". We find it in biblical Hebrew studies, too,
> where it is equally wrong.
> I would challenge such people to start using their
> "language" because I think that sooner or later it will dawn
> on them that they are generating lots of structures that
> don't occur. Something like your observation above:
> If they could, why didn't they?
> What was restraining them, if it wasn't some sense of
> TIME? And after letting time constrain them for a few
> thousand times, TO FWS LAMPSEI.
> And students you like can proceed with acquiring
> Greek. You will find that Greek has a wonderfully
> wide aspect system, but it has some time, too, in
> the indicative verbs.
> Randall Buth
> -- 
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easier - Progress Further - Remember for Life
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