FW: Ex nihilo? Was Raqiyah

Richard Burks rwburks at flash.net
Thu Jul 25 09:55:25 EDT 2002


Your are probably correct ... Another seminary language class myth has been
shattered.  It sounded logical at the time I heard it.  I personally have
always been a Hebrew geek and took Greek classes only so I could get to the
Hebrew ones :)

Bill Burks

------ Forwarded Message
From: Rolf Furuli <furuli at online.no>
Reply-To: Rolf Furuli <furuli at online.no>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 09:52:31 +0200
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Subject: re: Ex nihilo? Was  Raqiyah

Dear Dave,

There is evidence that the aorist does not signal past tense, but only the
perfective aspect, even though it has in most cases past reference. Two
recent dissertations have argued for that. One example of an aorist with
future reference is Jude 1:14 in the NT. As far as I am aware, there is no
example of Greek imperfect with non-past reference, so I conclude that it
signals both past tense and the imperfective aspect.



Rolf Furuli

University of Oslo

> Bill,
> When I was studying advanced Greek grammar, we called these
> principles "first-year lies."  Which is to say, in the first year profs
> often over-simplify things, then have to go back and explain what's
> really going on later.  I don't know of a single case of the type you
> describe in the NT; there are some of the reverse, such as Mark's
> omnipresent "historic present," but that seems to be more a case of
> one writer's idiolect than anything else.  Outside the indicative mode,
> it's possible that the "tenses" were aspect-based, though even this
> can be questioned.  In the indicative, however, as in Gen 1:1, the
> present tense was not an option.  Had the translator understood
> some sort of "linear" aspect in addition to the past tense, s/he would
> likely have used an imperfect.  In the indicative, the aorist (as its
> name suggests) is the simple past tense.  In English I can say "I
> went to the kitchen" or "I went to Paris" and only the context -
> specifically the pragmatic fact that I live in Boise, Idaho, can tell a
> listener that the latter event took much longer than the former.
> Again, I recommend reading Stagg before making too many
> sweeping comments about the aorist.
>> > Dave,
>> >
>> > Since the discussion is really about Gen. 1:1 I won't dwell on the finer
>> > points of Greek.  And some real Greek scholar might correct me. And this
>> > comment does not really deal with the use of aorist in Gen. 1:1.  However
>> as
>> > far as Greek tenses are concerned they are less time specific than aspect
>> > specific.  In other words the Greek writter used aorist in some cases
>> > because it was "punctiliar" rather than because it represented a "past"
>> > event.  The use of the present tense in Greek more often meant an act in >>
>> > present time that is in process. I believe there are cases in the New
>> > Testament at least where the writer used the aorist to express an event in
>> > "present time (at least to the mind of the English speaker)" with
>> > "punctilar" action.
>> >
>> > Bill Burks

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