Greenwood professor of hellenistic greek and indo-european philology in the victoria university of manchester tutor in new testament language and literature



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former lays the stress on the labour of production, the latter

on the artist's name. When the difference is a matter of

emphasis, we naturally find it sometimes evanescent. @Efh,

imperfect in form, is aorist in meaning, because fa, is a

punctiliar root. But e@legen often differs very little from

ei#pen—its pictorial character is largely rubbed off by time,

and in MGr the two forms are mere equivalents. In words

less worn the distinction can hardly ever be ignored. The

categories to which we were alluding just now, in discussing

the participle, are everywhere conspicuous in the imperfect

indicative. Thus we have frequently the iterative, its graph

(......) instead of (_____), describing past action that was

repeated. Especially important, because more liable to be

missed, is the conative imperfect, for which we might give the

graph (______ ). Action going on implies the contingency

of its failure to reach an end : our linear graph may either

be produced beyond our vision, or reach a definite terminus

in view (kath

abruptly in vacuo. How important this is for the NT may

be seen from some of the passages in which the Revisers have

earned our gratitude by their careful treatment of the Tenses,

a specially strong point of their work. Ac 2611 is a notable

example: the AV commits Paul to the statement that he had

actually forced weak Christians to renounce their Master,

THE VERB: TENSES AND MODES OF ACTION. 129
Now in itself h]na

forced," the iterative imperfect just referred to. But the

sudden abandonment of the aorist, used up to this point, gives

a strong grammatical argument for the alternative "I tried to

force," which is made certain by the whole tone of the Apostle

in his retrospect: we cannot imagine him telling of such a

success so calmly!a Other typical exx. are Mt 314, Lk 159,

Ac 726, the RV being right in all: in Ac l.c. the AV curiously

blundered into the right meaning by mistranslating a wrong

text. (Their sunh

them to shake hands! Did the translators (Tyndale and

his successors) mistake this for sunh

consciously emend? The Vulgate reconciliabat may have

encouraged them.) In Mk 938 the Revisers unfortunately

corrected the text without altering the translation: it seems

clear that the imperfect is conative, the man refusing to be

stopped in his good work. So also in Heb 1117 prose

appears to be a conative imperfect, as the RV takes it: the

contrast between the ideally accomplished sacrifice, as per-

manently recorded in Scripture (prosenh

historic fact that the deed was not finished, makes an

extremely strong case for this treatment of the word. I

cannot therefore here agree with Thumb, who says that we

expect an aorist, and suggests that e@feron had already begun

to be felt as an aorist as in MGr e@fera, the aorist of fe

(ThLZ xxviii. 423). He cites no ancient parallel;1 and of

all NT writers the author of Heb is the least likely to start

an innovation of this kind.b (See p. 238.)


The Aorist:-- In the Aorist indicative, as in the Imper-

feet, we have past time brought in by the

use of the augment. To appreciate the essential character of

aorist action, therefore, we must start with the other moods.

The contrast of its point action with the linear of the present

stem is well seen in do>j sh11, against di

kaq ] h[me13: cf also Mt 542 t&? ai]tou?nti do

panti> ai]tou?nti di30; and (with respective parts

reversed) Mt 512 xai23

xa

trast so well that we may add another example:c Rom 613 gives

us present parista
1 Fe2. [abc See p. 247.

130 A GRAMMAR OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK.

gether in marked antithesis—the daily struggle, always ending

in surrender, and the once-for-all surrender to God which

brings deliverance. Note further the delicate nuance in Ac

1537f.: Barnabas, with easy forgetfulness of risk, wishes sun-

paralabei?n Mark—Paul refuses sunparalamba

with them: day by day one who had shown himself unreliable.

Examples are very numerous, and there are few of the finer

shades of meaning which are more important to grasp, just

because they usually defy translation. The three kinds of

point action, Ingressive, Effective, and Constative,1 are not


Classified. always easy to distinguish. Two or even

three of them may be combined in one verb,

as we saw above with balei?n (p. 109); for of course this may

be the summary of ba

"hit". In usage however nearly all verbs keep to one end

or other of the action; though the marked growth of the

constative enlarges the number of cases in which the whole

action is comprised in one view. Thus from basileu

have the ingressive aorist in basileu
come to his throne he shall rest" (Agraphon, OP 654 and

Clem. Al.), and the constative in Rev 204 "they reigned

a thousand years." The ingressive especially belongs to

verbs of state or condition (Goodwin MT 16).2 For the

effective aorist, we may compare durative telei?n "fulfil, bring

to perfection" (2 Co 129 "my power is being perfected in

weakness") with the aorist tele39 etc.): for

constative in Gal 516 see above, p. 118.



Aorist Participle The aorist participle raises various ques-

of Coincident tions of its own, which must be considered

Action. here in so far as they concern the nature of

aorist action. The connotation of past time

has largely fastened on this participle, through the idiomatic

use in which it stands before an aorist indicative to qualify

its action. As point action is always completed action, except

in the ingressive, the participle naturally came to involve

1 We may express them by the graph A-->--B, denoting motion from

A to B. A will be Ingressive, B Effective, and the Constative would be the

line reduced to a point by perspective. 2 Thus a]podhmei?n = live abroad;

a]pedh13, LI P 1 (iii/B.C.) with date of leaving.

THE VERB: TENSES AND MODES OF ACTION. 131

past time relative to that of the main verb. Presumably

this would happen less completely when the participle stood

second. The assumption of past time must not however be

regarded as a necessary or an accomplished process. In

many cases, especially in the NT, the participle and the

main verb denote coincident or identical action. So a]po-

kriqei>j ei#pen Mt 221 etc.,1 kalw?j e]poi




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