why use the aorist

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Allan Rumsch
Posts: 11
Joined: February 12th, 2013, 1:20 pm

why use the aorist

Post by Allan Rumsch » May 10th, 2013, 7:44 am

I thought I had a good understanding of this weeks gospel selection, but when I checked my translation of John 17: 25 I seem to have missed something: πάτερ δίκαιε, καὶ ὁ κόσμος σε οὐκ ἔγνω, ἐγὼ δέ σε ἔγνων, καὶ οὗτοι ἔγνωσαν ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας, Most translations translate ἔγνω and ἔγνων and ἔγνωσαν as present tense verbs. Now I understand that the aorist may not be in the past, but that it reflects a singular occurence. But even so, it seems that this is a continuing state of knowing and not knowing. What about the aorist am I missing here?
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Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3009
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: why use the aorist

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 10th, 2013, 8:13 am

The verb γνῶναι (aorist active infinitive of γίνωσκω) is more like "get to know" than just plain "know." It does not designate a state of knowing so much as a change into a state of knowing. And that meaning is very appropriate for an aorist.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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