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INTRODUCTORY

1. FORM AND FUNCTION. The following pages deal with the various functions of the various verb-forms of the Greek of the New Testament, so far as respects their mood and tense. It is important that the nature of the relation between form and function be clearly held in mind. It is by no means the case that each form has but one function, and that each function can be discharged by but one form. Forms of various origin may be associated together under one name and perform the same function, or group of functions. Compare, e.g., the Aorist Active Infinitives,lu/sai and eivpe/n: these forms are of quite diverse origin; in function they have become entirely assimilated. The same is true of the Aorist Active Indicatives, e;deixa and e;sthn. Forms also which still have different names, and usually perform different functions, may have certain functions in common. Compare the Aorist Subjunctive and the Future Indicative in clauses of purpose (197, 198). On the other hand, and to an even greater extent, we find that a given form, or a given group of forms bearing a common name, performs various distinct functions. Observe, e.g., the various functions of the Aorist Indicative (38-48).

The name of a given form, or group of forms, is usually derived from some prominent function of the form or group. Thus the term Aorist reflects the fact that the forms thus designated most frequently represent an action indefinitely without reference to its progress. The name Present suggests that the forms thus designated denote present time, which is true, however, of the smaller part only of those that bear the name, and of none of them invariably. The name Optative again reminds us that one function of the forms so named is to express a wish. While, therefore, the names of the forms were originally intended to designate their respective functions, they cannot now be regarded as descriptive of the actual functions, but must be taken as conventional, and to a considerable extent arbitrary, names of the forms. The functions must be learned, not from the names, but from observation of the actual usage.

2. THE INTERPRETER'S RELATION TO GRAMMAR. Both the grammarian as such and the interpreter deal with grammar, but from very different points of view. The distinction between these points of view should be clearly recognized by the interpreter. It may be conveniently represented by the terms historical grammar and exegetical grammar. Historical grammar deals with the development of both form and function through the various periods of the history of the language, and does this in purely objective fashion. Exegetical grammar, on the other hand, takes the forms as it finds them, and defines the functions which at a given period each form discharged, and does this from the point of view of the interpreter, for the purpose of enabling him to reproduce the thought conveyed by the form. To investigate the process. by which the several forms were built up, to determine the earliest function of each such form, to show how out of this earliest function others were developed, and how forms of different origin, and presumably at first of different function, became associated, discharging the same function and eventually coming to bear the same name -- all this belongs to historical grammar. To reproduce in the mind of the interpreter, and to express as nearly as may be in his own tongue, the exact thought which a given form was in the period in question capable of expressing -- this is the task of exegetical grammar. Historical grammar views its problem wholly from the point of view of the language under investigation, without reference to the language of the grammarian. Exegetical grammar is necessarily concerned both with the language under investigation and with that in which the interpreter thinks and speaks, since its problem is to aid in reproducing in the latter tongue thought expressed in the former.

The results of historical grammar are of the greatest interest and value to exegetical grammar. Our interpretation of the phenomena of language in its later periods can hardly fail to be affected by a knowledge of the earlier history. Strictly speaking, however, it is with the results only of the processes of historical grammar that the interpreter is concerned. If the paradigm has been rightly constructed, so that forms of diverse origin perhaps, but completely assimilated in function, bear a common name, exegetical grammar is concerned only to know what are the functions which each group of forms bearing a common name is capable of discharging. Thus, the diversity of origin of the two Aorists, e;lusa and e;lipon, does not immediately concern the interpreter, if it is an assured result of historical grammar that these two forms are completely assimilated in function. Nor does it concern him that the ai at the end of the Infinitives, dei/xai and ive,nai, is the mark of the Dative case, and that the earliest use of such infinitives was as a verbal noun in the Dative case, except as this fact of historical grammar aids him in the interpretation of the phenomena of that period of the language with which he is dealing. The one question of exegetical grammar to which all other questions are subsidiary is, What function did this form, or group of forms, discharge at the period with which we are dealing? What, e.g., in the New Testament, are the functions of the Present Indicative? What are the uses of the Aorist Subjunctive?

For practical convenience forms are grouped together, and the significance of each of the distinctions made by inflection discussed by itself. The present work confines itself to the discussion of mood and tense, and discusses these as far as possible separately. Its question therefore is, What in the New Testament are the functions of each tense and of each mood? These various functions must be defined first of all from the point of view of the Greek language itself. Since, however, the interpreter whom in the present instance it is sought to serve thinks in English, and seeks to express in English the thought of the Greek, reference must be had also to the functions of the English forms as related to those of the Greek forms. Since, moreover, distinctions of function in the two languages do not always correspond, that is, since what in Greek is one function of a given form may be in English subdivided into several functions performed by several forms, it becomes necessary not only to enumerate and define the functions of a given form purely from the point of view of Greek, but to subdivide the one Greek function into those several functions which in English are recognized and marked by the employment of different forms. An enumeration of the uses of a given Greek tense made for the use of an English interpreter may therefore properly include certain titles which would not occur in a list made for one to whom Greek was the language of ordinary speech and thought. The Aorist for the English Perfect, and the Aorist for the English Pluperfect (46, 48) furnish a pertinent illustration. The interests of the English interpreter require that they be clearly recognized. Fidelity to Greek usage requires that they be recognized as, strictly speaking, true Historical Aorists.

3. The Greek verb has four moods, -- the Indicative, the Subjunctive, the Optative, and the Imperative. With these are associated in the study of Syntax the Infinitive, which is, strictly speaking, a verbal noun, and the Participle, which is a verbal adjective.

The Subjunctive, Optative, Imperative, and Infinitive are often called dependent moods.

REM. The term dependent is not strictly applicable to these moods, and least of all to the Imperative, which almost always stands as a principal verb. It has, however, become an established term, and is retained as a matter of convenience.

4. There are seven tenses in the Greek, -- the Present, Imperfect, Aorist, Future, Perfect, Pluperfect, and Future Perfect.

Those tenses which denote present or future time are called Primary tenses. Those tenses which denote past time are called Secondary tenses. Since the time denoted by a tense varies with the particular use of the tense, no fixed line of division can be drawn between the two classes of tenses. In the Indicative the Present and Perfect are usually, and the Future and Future Perfect are always, Primary tenses; the Imperfect, Aorist, and Pluperfect are usually Secondary tenses.

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