[B-Greek] Fwd: Aorist Indicative Example

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Tue May 13 06:01:19 EDT 2008

 Webb egrapse
>I suppose I've been influenced by Porter's views on aspect, so I submit this
example for consideration.


>And God gives it a body just as he wishes (1 Cor. 15:38).

>I've translated it the way it looks to me-the aorist expressing a general
principle, and not implying any focus whatever on the notion that God's
choice (HQELHSEN, aorist indicative) precedes the giving (DIDWSIN, present
indicative). Am I wrong about that? Also, what is the difference in nuance
between what we have above, and the following?


>Is there a reason why Paul mightn't have said this latter if he meant more
or less exactly what I've said in English? To me, the aorist just looks

It is good that you did not label the meaning "present" but a "general
priniciple". In that sense your aorist is not being used for  a semantic
present tense no matter how you read.

btw, some people [which includes everyone I know who
communicates in Greek] think that Porter's position on time
vis-a-vis aspect is simply wrong. Greek is one of the most
aspectually sensitive languages in the world. NAI. And contact
with Hebrew in the Second Temple period caused
post-biblical Hebrew to expand its use of aspectual structures
like 'be + participle'. But time was included in the verb systems of
both Greek and Hebrew.

Coming back to the reading, God's wish may have been encoded
in the aorist to imply priority and purposefulness.
the Net translated
"God gives it a body just as he planned."
the giving is omnitemporal, the planning completed past.

That isn't bad in English.
The change from ENESTWS to AORISTOS should be accounted for
beyond saying that the sentence is a general principle. The opposite
direction of change occurs in 1 Pet 1:24, following Hebrew/LXX where
the aorist is a proverbial example 'the grass dried the flower fell off
[as they always do] and the word of the Lord remains forever [which
goes far beyond any specific example]. One does not say in this
example that the grass is semantically a 'present' time. It is an
omnitemporal example, habitual, potentially present, but not
actually present.

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easier - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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