[B-Greek] Aorist as Verbal Aspect

Dr. Don Wilkins drdwilkins at verizon.net
Tue May 13 16:16:57 EDT 2008

Remarks below.

On May 12, 2008, at 7:49 PM, Mitch Larramore wrote:
> --- "Dr. Don Wilkins" <drdwilkins at verizon.net> wrote:
>> 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.
> Dr. Wilkins:
> But the non-Indicative mood would not portray an
> actual event, right? So how could such an event be
> called "present or future"? It seems to me that events
> would be possible or potential, but not actual, with
> reference to time.

Mitch, I took another look at your original email, and I may be  
misunderstanding what you mean by "actual". There you used the  
phrase, "how an event ACTUALLY occurs/occurred," and I focused on  
"how". Here, by "actual" you evidently mean *whether* an event  
occurs. In that sense your objection is well taken. Only past- and  
present-time tenses of the indicative fit this category. When I was  
speaking of the aorist in the present or future, I was referring to  
potential events.
> Also...
> 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.
> I'm assuming this does not take into consideration
> narratives and didactic sections, which seem to cover
> most of the NT. I am really not sure why "all" tenses
> and moods are "necessarily" subjective. I would
> suspect that much of the NT is Gospel writers
> recalling what they saw or heard, and the epistles are
> basically providing instruction.
> Mitch Larramore
> Sugar Land, Texas
Again, if you are thinking in terms of whether events actually occur,  
then you would make a distinction between the reporting of actual  
events and all other non-event statements. But I was referring to the  
speaker/writer's point of view in making statements of any kind.  
Describing an event in the indicative does not make the event true,  
any more than painting a realistic picture of a fictional event would  
make that event true. In forensic contexts, the truth of an ordinary  
indicative statement depends in part on the credibility of the  
witness. If the witness is credible, you then have the problem of  
determining whether his/her description is an "objective" portrayal  
of an event. We've all seen examples of eyewitness testimony that are  
incorrect even though the witness is credible and true to his/her own  
observations. That's what I had in mind when I said that all  
statements are necessarily subjective.

Don Wilkins

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