THE AORIST INDICATIVE.
35. The constant characteristic of the Aorist tense in all of its moods, including the participle, is that it represents the action denoted by it indefinitely; i.e. simply as an event, neither on the one hand picturing it in progress, nor on the other affirming the existence of its result. The name indefinite as thus understood is therefore applicable to the tense in all of its uses.
As respects the point of view from which the action is looked at, however, we may distinguish three functions of the tense common to all of its moods.
First, it may be used to describe an action or event in its entirety. This use of the tense, since it is by far the most frequent, may be called by preeminence the Indefinite Aorist. In the Indicative it may be called the Historical Aorist. The Aorist of any verb may be used in this sense; thus eivpei/n, to say; diakon/hsai, to serve.
Secondly, it may be used to denote the inception of a state. The Aorist thus used may be called the Inceptive Aorist. It belongs to verbs which in the Present and Imperfect denote the continuance of a state; thus siga|/n to be silent; sigh/sai, to become silent.
Thirdly, it may be used to denote the success of an effort. The Aorist thus used may be called the Resultative Aorist. It belongs to verbs which in the Present and Imperfect denote effort or attempt; thus kwlu,ein, to hinder, obstruct; kwlu/sai, to prevent.
The genetic relation of these three functions of the Aorist tense has not been satisfactorily defined. In the Greek, both of the classical and the New Testament periods, however, they appear side by side as coordinate uses. Br. 159; Del. IV., pp. 100 f.
REM. Respecting the force of the Indefinite Aorist, compare Brugmann's statement concerning the Aorist forms: "Am haufigsten wurden diese Formen so gebraucht, dass man sich die Handlung in einen ungeteilten Denkakt ganz und vollstandig, in sich abgeschlossen, absolut vorstellen sollte. Das Factum wurde einfach constatiert ohne Rucksicht auf Zeitdauer." Br. 159.
36. In addition to these uses which belong to the Aorist in all its moods, the Aorist Indicative has three uses, instances of which are comparatively infrequent. These are the Gnomic Aorist, the Epistolary Aorist, and the Dramatic Aorist.
The Aorist for the Perfect and the Aorist for the Pluperfect are, as explained below (52), not distinct functions of the Aorist, but merely special cases of the Historical, Inceptive, or Resultative Aorist.
37. The distinction between the Indefinite, the Inceptive, and the Resultative functions of the Aorist is often ignored, or its legitimacy denied. It is true that there are cases in which it is not possible to decide certainly whether a given verb refers to the inception of an action only, or to its entire extent, and others in which there is a similar difficulty in deciding whether the reference is to the action as a whole or to its result only. It is true also that the genetic relation of these three uses of the tense is not a matter of entire certainty, and that it is possible that, historically speaking, they are but varying types of one usage. Especially must it be regarded as doubtful whether the Resultative Aorist is anything else than the Indefinite Aorist of verbs denoting effort. The matter of importance to the interpreter, however, is that, whatever the genesis of the fact, of the Aorists of the New Testament some denote a past act in its undivided entirety, others denote merely or chiefly the inception of an action, and others still affirm as a past fact the accomplishment of an act attempted. These distinctions, which from the exegetical point of view it is often important to mark, are conveniently indicated by the terms indefinite, inceptive, and resultative. With reference to the validity of this distinction, see Br. 159.
The Inceptive Aorist is illustrated in Acts 15:13, and after they had become silent [Meta. de. to. sigh/sai] James answered. It is evident that the Infinitive must refer to the becoming silent, not to the whole period of silence, since in the latter case James must have been silent while the others were silent, and have begun to speak when their silence had ended. In 2 Cor. 8:9, we must read not being rich he was poor, but being rich he became poor; evptw,ceusen is manifestly inceptive. So also in Luke 2:44, supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, it was not the holding of the opinion that he was in the company that preceded the day's journey, but the forming of it, and the participle nomi,santej is inceptive. Contrast Acts 16:27. See other examples under 41.
Illustrations of the resultative sense are less numerous and less clear. In Acts 7:36, however, this man led them forth, having wrought wonders and signs in Egypt and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years, the verb evxh,gagen seems to refer only to the result, since the signs wrought in the Red Sea and the wilderness would otherwise have been represented as accompanying the bringing out, and instead of poih,saj we should have had poiw/n. See also 42.1
38. The Historical Aorist. The Aorist Indicative is most frequently used to express a past event viewed in its entirety, simply as an event or a single fact. It has no reference to the progress of the event, or to any existing result of it. HA. 836; G. 1250, 5.John 1:11; eivj ta. i;dia h=lqen( kai. oi` i;dioi auvto.n ouv pare,labon, he came unto his own and they that were his own received him not.39. Since any past event without reference to its duration or complexity may be conceived of as a single fact, the Historical Aorist may be used to describe
(a) A momentary action.Acts 5:5; evxe,yuxen, he gave up the ghost.(b) An extended act or state, however prolonged in time, if viewed as constituting a single fact without reference to its progress.
Matt. 8:3; kai. evktei,naj th.n cei/ra h[yato auvtou/, and having stretched forth his hand he touched him.Acts 28:30; VEne,meinen de. dieti,an o[lhn evn ivdi,w| misqw,mati, and he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling.(c) A series or aggregate of acts viewed as constituting a single fact.
Eph. 2:4; dia. th.n pollh.n avga,phn auvtou/ h]n hvga,phsen h`ma/j(, because of his great love wherewith he loved us.Matt. 22:28; pa,ntej ga.r e;scon auvth,n, for they all had her.40. These three uses of the Historical Aorist may for convenience be designated as the Momentary Aorist, the Comprehensive Aorist, and the Collective Aorist. But it should be clearly observed that these terms do not mark distinctions in the functions of the tense. An Historical Aorist, whatever the nature of the fact affirmed, affirms it simply as a past fact. The writer may or may not have in mind that the act was single and momentary, or extended, or a series of acts, but the tense does not express or suggest the distinction. The purpose of the subdivision into momentary, comprehensive, and collective is not to define the force of the tense-form, but to discriminate more precisely the nature of the facts to which it is applied as shown by the context or the circumstances. Cf. G.MT. 56.
2 Cor. 11:25; tri.j evnaua,ghsa, thrice I suffered shipwreck.
REM. The term Historical Aorist is applied to the use of the Aorist here described only by pre-eminence. In strictness the Inceptive and Resultative Aorists are also Historical. Compare what is said concerning the term Indefinite under 35.
41. The Inceptive Aorist. The Aorist of a verb whose Present denotes a state or condition, commonly denotes the beginning of that state. HA. 841; G. 1260.2 Cor. 8:9; diV u`ma/j evptw,ceusen plou,sioj w;n, though he was rich, for your sakes he became poor. See also Luke 15:32; John 4:52; Acts 7:60; Rom. 14:9.REM. The Aorist of such verbs is not, however, necessarily inceptive. The same form may be in one sentence inceptive and in another historical. Cf. Luke 9:36 with Acts 15:12, the verb , being in the former historical, in the latter probably inceptive.
42.The Resultative Aorist. The Aorist of a verb whose Present implies effort or intention, commonly denotes the success of the effort. Cf. 11, 23. Br. 159.Acts 27:43; o` de. e`katonta,rchj( boulo,menoj diasw/sai to.n Pau/lon( evkw,lusen auvtou.j tou/ boulh,matoj, but the centurion . . . prevented them from their purpose. See also Matt. 27:20; Acts 7:36.43. The Gnomic Aorist. The Aorist is used in proverbs and comparisons where the English commonly uses a General Present. HA. 840; a. 1292; G.MT. 154-161; B. pp. 201 ff.; WM. pp. 346 f.; WT. p. 277; Br. 160.1 Pet. 1:24; evxhra,nqh o` co,rtoj kai. to. a;nqoj evxe,pesen, the grass withereth and the flower falleth. See also Luke 7:35; John 15:6; Jas. 1:11, 24.REM. Winer's contention (WT. p. 277; WM. p. 346) that the Gnomic Aorist does not occur in the New Testament does not seem defensible. The passages cited above are entirely similar to the classical examples of this ancient and well-established idiom.
44. The Epistolary Aorist. The writer of a letter sometimes puts himself in the place of his reader and describes as past that which is to himself present, but which will be past to his reader. HA. 838.Eph. 6:22; o]n e;pemya pro.j u`ma/j eivj auvto. tou/to, whom I send to you for this very purpose. See also Acts 23:30; 1 Cor. 5:11; Phil. 2:28; Col. 4:8; Philem. 11.45. The Dramatic Aorist. The Aorist Indicative is sometimes used of a state of mind just reached, or of an act expressive of it. The effect is to give to the statement greater vividness than is given by the more usual Present. HA. 842; G.MT. 60; K 386, 9; Br. 160.Luke 16:4.; e;gnwn ti, poih,sw, I know [lit. I knew, or I perceived] what I shall do.REM. This usage is in classical Greek mainly poetical and is found chiefly in dialogue. It is sometimes called "Aoristus tragicus." Brugmann thus describes it: "Nicht selten wurde der Aorist von dem gebraucht, was soeben eingetreten ist, besonders von einer Stimmung, die soeben uber einen gekommen ist, oder von einem Urteil, das man sich soeben gebildet hat." See numerous examples in K. 386, 9.
46. THE AORIST FOR THE (ENGLISH) PERFECT. The Aorist is frequently used in Greek where the English idiom requires a Perfect. G.MT. 58; HA. 837; B. pp. 197, 198.Luke 19:9; sh,meron swthri,a tw/| oi;kw| tou,tw| evge,neto, to-day is salvationcome to this house.47. The Aorist Indicative of a few verbs is used in the New Testament to denote a present state, the result of a past act, hence with the proper force of a Greek Perfect. Cf. 75, 86. So the Aorists avpe,qanen (cf. Mark 5:35 with Luke 8:49, and see John 8:52 et al.), evxe,sthn (Mark 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:13), and possibly e;gnwn (John 7:26; cf. 1 Macc. 6:13). All these Aorists may also be used as simple historical Aorists.
Matt. 5:21; VHkou,sate o[ti evrre,qh toi/j avrcai,oij, ye have heard that it was said to them of old time.
Phil. 4:11; evgw. ga.r e;maqon evn oi-j eivmi auvta,rkhj ei=nai, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therein to be content. See also under 52.
48. THE AORIST FOR THE (ENGLISH) PLUPERFECT. The Aorist Indicative is frequently used in narrative passages of a past event which precedes another past event mentioned or implied in the context. In English it is common in such a case to indicate the real order of the events by the use of a Pluperfect for the earlier event. Cf. 52, 53. HA. 837; G.MT. 58; B. pp. 199 f.John 19:30; o[te ou=n e;laben to. o;xoj o` VIhsou/j ei=pen( Tete,lestai, when therefore Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.REM. It has been much disputed whether avpe,steilen in John 18:24 is to be assigned to this head. The valid objection to this is not in any inappropriateness of the Aorist tense to express an event antecedent to one already mentioned, -- the Aorist is the only form that can be used if the event is thought of simply as an event (cf. Mey. ad loc., contra), -- but in the presence of ou=n, which is, in John especially, so constantly continuative, and in the absence of any intimation in the context that the events are related out of their chronological order.
Matthew 14:3; o` ga.r Hrw,|dhj krath,saj to.n VIwa,nnhn e;dhsen auvto.n, for Herod having laid hold on John had bound him. See also Matt. 27:31; Mark 8:14; Luke 8:27; John 12:17; 13:12.
49. From the general principles of indirect discourse in English and in Greek it results that an Aorist Indicative in indirect discourse after a verb of past time must usually be rendered into English by a Pluperfect. Cf. 353. These cases form a class entirely distinct from those that are included above under the term Aorist for the English Pluperfect.
50. Both the Aorist and the Perfect are sometimes used proleptically, but this is rather a rhetorical figure than a grammatical idiom. WM. pp. 341, 345, 347; WT. pp. 273, 277, 278.1 Cor. 7:28; eva.n de. kai. gamh,sh|j( ouvc h[martej, but even if thou shalt marry, thou hast not sinned. See also John 15:8; Jas. 2:10.51. For the Aorist in a condition contrary to fact, see 248. For the Aorist expressing an unattained wish, see 27.
52. ENGLISH EQUIVALENTS OF THE GREEK AORIST INDICATIVE. It should be observed that the Aorist for the Perfect and the Aorist for the Pluperfect are not variations from the normal use of the Greek Aorist. Viewed strictly from the point of view of Greek Grammar, these Aorists are simply Historical, Inceptive, or Resultative Aorists. The necessity for mentioning them arises merely from the difference between the English and the Greek idiom.
The Greek Aorist corresponds to the English simple Past (or Imperfect or Preterite, loved, heard, etc.) more nearly than to any other English tense. But it is not the precise equivalent of the English Past; nor is the Greek Perfect the precise equivalent of the English Perfect; nor the Greek Pluperfect of the English Pluperfect. This will appear distinctly if we place side by side the definitions of the tenses which in general correspond in the two languages.
The English Perfect is used of any past action between which and the time of speaking the speaker does not intend distinctly to interpose an interval.2
The Greek Perfect is used to represent an action as standing complete, i.e. as having an existing result, at the time of speaking.
The English Pluperfect is used to mark the fact that the event expressed by it preceded another past event indicated by the context, and this whether the earlier event is thought of as completed at the time of the later event, or only indefinitely as a simple occurrence preceding the later event.2
The Greek Pluperfect is used to represent an action as standing complete, i.e. as having an existing result, at a point of past time indicated by the context.
The English Past is used of any past action between which and the moment of speaking an interval is thought of as existing. It affirms nothing respecting existing result.
The Greek Aorist is used of any past event which is conceived of simply as an event (or as entered upon, or as accomplished), regardless alike of the existence or non-existence of an interval between itself and the moment of speaking, and of the question whether it precedes or not some other past action. It affirms nothing respecting existing result.
It is evident from this comparison that the English Perfect has a larger range of use than the Greek Perfect.
Thus a past event between which and the time of speaking no interval is distinctly thought of may be expressed by the English Perfect, whether the result of the event is thought of as existing not; but it can be expressed by the Greek Perfect only in case such result is thought of. So also the English Pluperfect has a wider range than the Greek Pluperfect. For while the Greek can use its Pluperfect for an event which preceded another past event only in case the result of the earlier event is thought of as existing at the time of the later event, the English freely uses its Pluperfect for all such doubly past events, without reference to the existence of the result of the earlier event at the time of the later one.
On the other hand, the Greek Aorist has a wider range than the English Past, since it performs precisely those functions which the Greek Perfect and Pluperfect refuse, but which in modern English are performed not by the Past but by the Perfect and Pluperfect. The Greek Aorist, therefore, in its ordinary use not only covers the ground of the English Past, but overlaps in part upon that of the English Perfect and Pluperfect. Hence arise the so-called Aorist for Perfect and Aorist for Pluperfect.
If the attempt be made to define more exactly the extent of this overlapping, it will appear that a simple past event which is conceived of without reference to an existing result, and between which and the time of speaking the speaker does not wish distinctly to suggest an interval, -- the interval may be ever so long, in fact, -- will be expressed in Greek by the Aorist, because the result is not thought of, and in English by the Perfect, because the interval is not thought of. Cases of this kind arise, e.g., when the event is said to continue up to the time of speaking, so that there is actually no interval [Matt. 27:8; dio. evklh,qh o` avgro.j evkei/noj VAgro.j Ai[matoj e[wj th/j sh,meron, therefore that field has been called Field of Blood until this day. See also Matt. 28:15; John 16:24]; or when the event is so recent as to make the thought of an interval seem unnatural [Luke 5:26; Ei;damen para,doxa sh,meron, we have seen strange things to-day. See also Mark 14:41; Acts 7:52, nu/n . . . evge,nesqe]; or when the time of the event is entirely indefinite [Matt. 19:4; ouvk avne,gnwte, have ye not read? See also Rev. 17:12; exx. are frequent in the New Testament]; or when the verb refers to a series of events which extends approximately or quite to the time of speaking [Matt. 5:21; hvkou,sate o[ti evrre,qh toi/j avrcai,oij , ye have heard that it was said to the ancients; the reference is doubtless to the frequent occasions on which they had heard such teachings in the synagogue. See also 1 Esdr. 4:26, 27].
Instances of the Greek Aorist for the English Pluperfect arise when a past event which is conceived of simply as an event without reference to existing result is mentioned out of its chronological order, or is expressed in a subordinate clauses The Greek employs the Aorist, leaving the context to suggest the order; the English usually suggests the order by the use of a Pluperfect. See exx. under 48. Cf. Beet, The Greek Aorist as used in the New Testament, in Expositor, xi. 191-201, 296-308, 372-385; Weymouth, The Rendering into English of the Greek Aorist and Perfect, in Theological Monthly, iv. 33-47, 162-180.
53. In many cases in which the Greek Aorist is used of an event antecedent to another past event already referred to, English idiom permits a simple Past. A Pluperfect is strictly required only when the precedence in time is somewhat prominent. The Revisers of 1881 have used the Pluperfect sparingly in such cases. It might better have been used also in Matt. 9:25; Mark 8:14; John 12:18 (had heard).
54. An Aorist which is equivalent to an English Perfect or Pluperfect may be either an historical, or an inceptive, or a Resultative Aorist. If historical, it may be either momentary, comprehensive, or collective.
In Luke 15:32, e;zhsen, and in 1 Cor. 4:8, evplouth,sate, are inceptive Aorists which may be properly rendered by the English Perfect; probably also evbasi,leusaj, in Rev. 11:17, should be rendered, thou hast become king.
In Rom. 3:23, h[marton is evidently intended to sum up the aggregate of the evil deeds of men, of which the apostle has been speaking in the preceding paragraphs (1:18-3:20). It is therefore a collective historical Aorist. But since that series of evil deeds extends even to the moment of speaking, as is indeed directly affirmed in the pa,ntej, it is impossible to think of an interval between the fact stated and this statement of it. It must therefore be expressed in English by the Perfect tense, and be classed with Matt. 5:21 as a collective Aorist for (English) Perfect. Of similar force is the same form in Rom. 2:12. From the point of view from which the apostle is speaking, the sin of each offender is simply a past fact, and the sin of all a series or aggregate of facts together constituting a past fact. But inasmuch as this series is not separated from the time of speaking, we must, as in 3:23, employ an English Perfect in translation. This is upon the supposition that the verb h[marton takes its point of view from the time of speaking, and the apostle accordingly speaks here only of sin then past, leaving it to be inferred that the same principle would apply to subsequent sin. It is possible, however, that by a sort of prolepsis h[marton is uttered from the point of view of the future judgment [kriqh,sontai], and refers to all sin that will then be past. In this case the Future Perfect, shall have sinned, may be used in translation, or again the Perfect, common in subordinate clauses in English as an abbreviation of the Future Perfect. Whether the same form in Rom. 5:12 shall be rendered in the same way or by the English Past depends upon whether it is, like the other cases, a collective Aorist, representing a series of acts between which and the time of speaking no interval is interposed, or refers to a deed or deeds in the remote past in which the "all" in some way participated. So far as the tense-form is concerned there is no presumption in favor of one or the other of these interpretations, both uses of the tense being equally legitimate. The nature of the argument or the author's thought, as learned from sources outside the sentence itself, must furnish the main evidence by which to decide.
55. The Aorist euvdo,khsa in Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; 2 Pet. 1:17, may be explained -- (a) as a Historical Aorist having reference to a specific event as its basis. I was well pleased with thee, e.g. for receiving baptism. If all the instances were in connection with the baptism, this would be the most natural explanation. But for those that occur in connection with the account of the transfiguration this explanation falls, and is probably therefore not the true explanation of any of the instances. (b) as a comprehensive Historical Aorist covering the period of Christ's preincarnate existence. Cf. John 17:5, 24; see W. N. Clarke, Com. on Mark 1:11. If the passages were in the fourth gospel, and especially if they contained some such phrase pro. katabolh/j ko,smou, this explanation would have much in its favor. The absence of such limiting phrase, and the fact that the passages are in the synoptic gospels are opposed to this explanation. (c) as a comprehensive Historical Aorist, having the force of an English Perfect, and referring to the period of Christ's earthly existence up to the time of speaking. But against this is the absence of any adverbial phrase meaning up to this time, which usually accompanies an Aorist verb used in this sense. Cf. 18 and 52. (d) as an Aorist which has by usage come to have the meaning which is strictly appropriate to the Perfect, I became well pleased with thee, and l am [accordingly] well pleased with thee. Cf. 47. There are a few passages of the Septuagint that seem at first sight to favor this explanation. See Ps. 101:15; Jer. 2:19; Mal. 2:17. Cf. also Matt. 12:18; Luke 12:32. The force of this evidence is, however, greatly diminished by the fact that all these instances are capable of being explained without resort to so unusual a use of the Aorist, that both in the Septuagint and in the New Testament there is in use a regular Present form of this verb, and that the Aorist in the majority of cases clearly denotes past time. (e) as an Inceptive Aorist referring to some indefinite, imagined point of past time at which God is represented as becoming well pleased with Jesus. But since this point is not thought of as definitely fixed, English idiom requires a Perfect tense. Cf. 52, 54. It may be described, therefore, as an Inceptive Aorist equivalent to an English Perfect, and may be rendered, I have become well pleased. This, however, can only be a vivid way of saying, I am well pleased. If then this view is correct, the rendering of the English versions is a free but substantially correct paraphrase. A true Perfect would affirm the present state of pleasure and imply the past becoming pleased. The Aorist affirms the becoming pleased and leaves the present pleasure to be suggested. This explanation, therefore, differs from the preceding (d) in that it does not suppose the Aorist of this verb to have acquired the power of expressing an existing result, but judges the existing result to be only suggested by the affirmation of the past fact. This is rhetorical figure, on the way to become grammatical idiom, but not yet become such. Manifestly similar is the use of prosede,xato in Isa. 42:1, and of euvdo,khsen in Matt. 12:18. Indeed, if Matt. 12:18 represents a current translation of Isa. 42:1, our present passages were probably affected in form by this current rendering of the Isaiah passage. Similar also are evka,qisan in Matt. 23:2, and e;maqon in Phil. 4:11. In neither case is there any clearly established usage of the Aorist for Greek Perfect; in neither is there apparent any reference to a definite point of past time; in both the real fact intended to be suggested is the present state.
56.THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE AORIST AND THE IMPERFECT. The difference between an Historical Aorist and an Imperfect of action in progress or repeated being one not of the nature of the fact but of the speaker's conception of the fact, it is evident that the same fact may be expressed by either tense or by both. This is illustrated in Mark 12:41 and 44, where, with strict appropriateness in both cases, Mark writes in v. 41, polloi. plou,sioi e;ballon polla,, and in v. 44 records Jesus as stating the same fact in the words pa,ntej . . . e;balon. The former describes the scene in progress, the latter merely states the fact.
57. From the nature of the distinction between the Imperfect and Aorist, it also results that the difference in thought represented by the choice of one form rather than the other is sometimes almost imperceptible. Cf., e.g., Mark 3:7 and 5:24; Luke 2:18 and 4:22. Some verbs use one of the two tenses almost or quite to the exclusion of the other. The form e;legon is used in classical Greek without emphasis on the thought of the saying as in progress or repeated, and in the New Testament the Aorist of this verb does not occur. A distinction between the Imperfect e;legon and the Aorist ei=pon is scarcely to be drawn in the New Testament. Cf. G.MT. 56, 57, especially the following: "In all these cases the fundamental distinction of the tenses, which was inherent in the form, remained; only it happened that either of the two distinct forms expressed the meaning which was here needed equally well. It must not be thought, from these occasional examples, that the Greeks of any period were not fully alive to the distinction of the two tenses and could not use it with skill and nicety."
This approximation of the Aorist and Imperfect, it should be noted, occurs only in the case of the Historical Aorist (38). The Inceptive and Resultative Aorists are clearly distinguished in force from the Imperfect.
1Cf. Mart. Polyc. 8:2, 3, where both e;peqon; were persuading, and avpotuxo,ntej tou/ pei/sai, failing to persuade, refer to the same event.
2The English Perfect and Pluperfect by their auxiliaries have and had distinctly suggest completed action in the proper sense, viz, the possession of a thing in the condition indicated by the participle, and substantially this is the meaning often conveyed by these tenses. Thus, I have learned my lesson, differs but little in meaning from I have my lesson learned. But this is by no means the only use which may be made of these tenses in modern English. They have, in fact, ceased to be Perfect tenses in any proper sense of that word. Compare, e.g., the Pasts and Perfects in the following examples: The army arrived. The army has arrived. Many men fought for their country. Many men have fought for their country. He often visited Rome. He has often visited Rome. Only in the first example is existing result suggested by the Perfect tense. In each pair the distinguishing mark between the two sentences is that while the Perfect tense places the event in the past time without defining whether or not an interval has elapsed since the event, the Past tense places it in the past time and suggests an interval.
Similarly, the English Pluperfect affirms only the antecedence of its event to the other past event, leaving it to the context or the nature of the fact to show whether at the past time referred to there were existing results or not. Thus in the sentence, I showed him the work which I had done, it is implied that the results of the doing remained at the time of the showing. But in the sentence, He did not recognize the persons whom he had previously seen, it is not implied that any result of the seeing remained at the time of the non-recognition.