[B-Greek] aorist optative in Acts 5:24

Mark Eddy markeddy at att.net
Thu Apr 8 22:45:42 EDT 2010

Can a potential optative (or one expressing an indirect question) ever refer
to a past action? E.g. in Acts 5:24 why not translate TI AN GENOITO TOUTO in
the past this way: "how this might have happened"? All other optatives in
the NT appear to refer to the future or present, which would make this
phrase say something like: "what this might become" or "what might come of
this." Does the fact that this is aorist and not present have any bearing on
the answer to this question? 

I have looked at all the examples in Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the
Basics and in Robertson's Greek Grammar. But I cannot find any hint in them
about whether an optative can be used in a question about what might have
happened in the past.

If the optative cannot refer to a past action, what construction would Greek
use to express "how this might have happened"?


Mark Eddy

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