Home - D2L - Syllabus | Calendar - Week 12 - Week 13 - Week 14 - Week 15 - Gallery | Perseus - UniGreek - laura-gibbs@ou.edu.

Croy Index: Vocabulary - Prosody - Verbs - Nouns - Adjectives - Nominals - Other Topics - Syntax List

13.84 Significance of the Aorist Tense

Make sure you read Croy section 84.

Croy points out that the aorist indicative is a past tense (or secondary tense). This means that it takes augment, which you can see in the third principal part.

Croy also says something about the "aspect" of the aorist verb, although he does not use this word. The term "aspect" is used to describe the quality of a verbal action. It is very convenient to divide the Greek verbal system into three aspectual systems: the present system, the aorist system, and the perfect system. The perfect system is much less important than the present system or the aorist system.

What is most confusing for English speakers, is the fact that verb aspect and verb tense are not the same thing at all! In English, we rely on verb tense as the main way to express the meaning of a verb. This is not true in Greek. In Greek, verb aspect is much more important than verb tense. Please read these notes about Aspect and Tense.

In this Lesson, you will see that the aorist is used to form a tense: the aorist past tense, with augment. You will also learn, however, that the aorist infinitive is not a tense. The aorist infinitive has nothing to do with past time. Instead, it is the infinitive expressing the aorist aspect of the verb. As a result, the aorist infinitive does not have augment, because it is not a past tense.

So please remember: aorist does not mean past...! Aorist means simply - aorist. There is no equivalent for this word in English. So even though the aorist past tense is a very common verb form, do not make the mistake of thinking that something in the aorist is something that takes place in the past. You will never be able to understand the other aorist verbs - the aorist infinitive, aorist participles, aorist imperative - if you make this mistake. The aorist is an aspect of the Greek verb - it is not a tense.

Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM

powered by FreeFind