Raphael: Philosophers

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Lesson 12: Second Aorist Active Indicative

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The Lesson at a Glance

Second Aorist

In this lesson you will learn a second way of forming the aorist. Most verbs use the forms you learned in the last lesson, but many others use this second form. There is no difference in meaning between the two ways of forming the aorist.

Secondary Verb Endings

You will learn a set of verb endings that are used for both the second aorist and the imperfect tense.

Grammatical Discussion

Second Aorist Active Indicative

There is no difference between the functions of the first and second aorist. They are simply two different ways of forming the same tense. Some verbs use one way, others use the other.

This kind of difference is typical of many languages. In English most verbs have past tense forms that end with –ed such as closed, helped, and challenged. Many verbs, however, do not form their past tense in this way. The past tense form of teach is not teached, but taught. The past of go is not goed but went.

The personal endings for the Greek second aorist are attached to the second aorist stem, and that stem can vary significantly from the one used in the present tense of the same verb.

Second Aorist Stem

The second aorist stem is usually, but not always, shorter than the present stem. Compare λαμβάνω, for example, to its aorist form, ἔλαβον. The aorist stem is –λαβ- (discovered by removing the augment and the ending), whereas the present stem is λαμβαν-. The aorist εὗρον and present εὑρίσκω reveal a similar relationship. The second aorist stem of ἔβαλον is -βαλ-, whereas the present stem is βαλλ-. The second aorist stem of ἔγνων is –γνο-, whereas the present stem is γινωσκ-.

Another fairly common difference between a second aorist stem and the same verb’s present stem is that the present stem has a long stem vowel while the aorist does not. For example, the aorist root of ἔλιπον (-λιπ-) is lengthened to λειπ- in the present tense (λείπω).

Whenever you encounter a second aorist stem in the vocabulary list, you must always compare it to the present stem (lexical form). You will need to recognize both stems in order to read Greek effectively.

Exercise One: Recognize Second Aorist Stems

Take this brief quiz to see how well you can distinguish between present and second aorist verb forms. All of the verb forms shown in this practice quiz are 1st Singular.

Formation of the Second Aorist

Both the first and second aorist have an augment. They also have similar endings, but the second aorist uses ο or ε as the connecting letter (thematic vowel) rather than the α used in the first aorist forms. The second aorist does not add the sigma (σ) that you saw in the first aorist.

The personal endings used for the second aorist are also used for the imperfect, which we will study in the next lesson. You should learn them well. Compare the following lists of endings:

SINGULAR

First Aorist

English

Second Aorist

1st Person

-α

I

-ον

2nd Person

-ας

you (singular)

-ες

3rd Person

-ε(ν)

he, she, it

-ε(ν)

PLURAL

First Aorist

English

Second Aorist

1st Person

-αμεν

we

-ομεν

2nd Person

-ατε

you, y'all (plural)

-ετε

3rd Person

-αν

they

-ον

As you saw in the lesson on the first aorist, these endings are made up of two parts: a thematic vowel and a personal ending. The only difference between the two lists, other than the change of thematic vowel, is that the second aorist adds a ν to the first person singular.

The true distinguishing feature of the second aorist is the use of the second aorist stem (see above). Occasionally the α of the first aorist is used as the thematic vowel even for a verb that uses a second aorist stem, but this is relatively rare, and if you have learned the difference between the present and aorist stems, it will not interfere with your ability to recognize the aorist form.

Note that for verbs that use second aorist forms, the first person singular and the third person plural endings are the same. Context must be used to decide between the two.

Observe the forms of the verbs ἀποθνήσκω, λαμβάνω, ἔρχομαι, εὐρίσκω, and γινώσκω as examples of second aorist active indicative forms.

Lexical Form:

ἀποθνήσκω

λαμβάνω

ἔρχομαι

εὗρίσκω

γινώσκω

SINGULAR






1st Person

ἀπέθανον

ἔλαβον

ἦλθον

εὗρον

ἔγνων

2nd Person

ἀπέθανες

ἔλαβες

ἦλθες

εὗρες

ἔγνως

3rd Person

ἀπέθανε(ν)

ἔλαβε(ν)

ἦλθε(ν)

εὗρε(ν)

ἔγνω

PLURAL






1st Person

ἀπεθάνομεν

ἐλάβομεν

ἤλθομεν

εὕρομεν

ἐγνώσαμεν

2nd Person

ἀπεθάνετε

ἐλάβετε

ἤλθετε

εὕρετε

ἐγνώσετε

3rd Person

ἀπέθανον

ἔλαβον

ἦλθον

εὗρον

ἔγνωσαν


A Special Note About γινώσκω

Because the aorist stem of γινώσκω (-γνω-) ends in the long vowel ω, the thematic vowel of the singular endings is lost through contraction: ἔγνω + ον = ἔγνων, ἔγνω + ες = ἔγνως, and ἔγνω + ε = ἔγνω.

Notice that the plural forms of the aorist active indicative of γινώσκω use a second aorist stem, but first aorist endings.

Look at the chart above again and study the forms of γινώσκω. This verb appears 222 times in the New Testament alone, and many hundreds of times in other Hellenistic Greek literature. It is well worth your time to master it now.

Exercise Two: Practice with Second Aorist Forms

Take this practice quiz to practice your recognition of the forms you have just studied.

Vocabulary: Twenty-Three Words You Should Study Carefully

As you study this list, compare the present and aorist forms of each verb. Don't try to memorize the entire list yet. Just study it, then complete the Reading and Translation exercise below. Then review this list and take the vocabulary quiz.

Verbs indented from the left are compound verbs. They are grouped under the simple verb on which they are based.


Present

Aorist


69

ἄγω

ἤγαγον

I lead, bring

59

     συνάγω

συνήγαγον

I gather, get together

111

ἀποθνῄσκω

ἀπέθανον

I die

143

ἀφίημι

ἀφῆκα

I let go, give up, forgive


Notice that ἀφίημι is a mi conjugation verb like δίδωμι and τίθημι. It is a combination of the preposition ἀπό and the verb ἴημι. The second aorist (irregular) form is produced by adding a κ to the end of the stem, and replacing the present tense ending (-μι) with the aorist tense ending. The augment replaces ο on ἀπό and contracts with the stem vowel (hence the circumflex accent) to yield the form ἀφῆκα.

122

βάλλω

ἔβαλον

I throw

81

ἐκβάλλω

ἐξέβαλον

I cast out, throw out

222

γινώσκω

ἔγνων

I know


The plural endings of ἔγνων resemble those of the first aorist. See the paradigm (list of forms) above.

The aorist stem for ἔγνων is -γνω-. The  augment is added to produce ἔγνω—. When the second aorist active indicative first singular ending (–ον) is added (ἔγνω + ον), the ω from the stem and the ο from the ending contract to produce simply ω. Since the accent is not on either of these contracting vowels before the contraction, it does not change to circumflex: ἔγνων.

634

ἔρχομαι

ἤλθον (ἤλθα)

I go, come


Notice that the ending of the present tense form, ἔρχομαι is different from any you have studied so far. Do not let this worry you. You will learn this ending later.

In Hellenistic Greek ἤλθον sometimes appears with an alpha (α) as its thematic vowel (as in the first aorist endings). Its first singular aorist active indicative form is sometimes ἤλθα rather than ἤλθον. The second aorist stem is ἔλθ-. The lexical form to look under in most dictionaries is ἔρχομαι.

117

     ἀπέρχομαι

ἀπῆλθον

I go away, depart, leave

194

     εἰσέρχομαι

εἰσῆλθον

I go in, enter

218

     ἐξέρχομαι

έξῆλθον

I go out, leave

86

     προσέρχομαι

προσῆλθον

I go to, approach

158

ἐσθίω

ἔφαγον

I eat


The stem is φαγ- (not used in Greek outside of the aorist tense). The lexical form to look under in most dictionaries is ἐσθίω.

176

εὑρίσκω

εὗρον

I find, discover


Verbs that begin with εὐ- do not add an augment for the aorist or imperfect tenses.

708

ἔχω

ἔσχον

I have

208

θέλω

ἠθέλησα

I want, wish, intend


Notice that ἠθέλησα uses first aorist endings. It is still unusual in the way it forms its aorist, though. The augment is ἠ rather than ἐ, and there is an additional η before the first aorist σ (θέλησα). Thinking of the aorist stem as ἐθέλε- will help you remember this unusual spelling.

81

καταβαίνω

κατέβην

I come down


Note that the aorist stem of the compound verb καταβαίνω is κατα•βα-. The augment (ε) replaces the final α of the preposition κατά. When the first singular second aorist ending (ον) is added (κατέβα + ον), the final stem vowel (α) contracts with the ο to produce -ηv.

259

λαμβάνω

ἔλαβον

I take, receive

2354

λἐγω

εἶπον

I speak, say, talk


In Hellenistic Greek the second aorist stem of λέγω (εἶπ-) occasionally occurs with first aorist endings (εἶπα). The stem, εἶπ- is not used in Greek outside of the aorist. The lexical form to look under in most dictionaries is λἐγω.

454

ὁράω

εἶδον

I see


In Hellenistic Greek the second aorist stem of ὁράω (εἶδ-) sometimes occurs with first aorist endings (εἶδα). The stem εἶδ- is not used in Greek outside of the aorist. The lexical form to look under in most dictionaries is ὁράω.

90

πίπτω

ἔπεσον

I fall, collapse, perish

568

ποιέω

ἐποίησα

I do; I make


Notice that the aorist of ποιέω (ἐποίησα) is first aorist, not second.


Reading and Translation

1. εἰσῆλθεν = εἰς + ἤλθεν.

εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ

He went into the house of God

He entered the house of God (Luke 6:4)

Ἤλθεν is the 3rd singular aorist active indicative of what verb? If you can't remember, go back to the vocabulary list and find the aorist form ἤλθον, then look at its present tense form.

2. τοὺς ἄρτους. . . ἔφαγεν

He ate. . . the bread (Luke 6:4)

He ate. . . the pieces of bread.

[Notice that τοὺς ἄρτους is plural. The translation is still “bread” and not “breads” since the plural of bread is used in English only when talking about different kinds of bread while the plural in Greek simply meant more than one piece of bread. An accurate translation correctly reflects the meaning of the original text.]

3. εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους. . . ἔφαγεν

He entered the house of God and ate the bread. (Luke 6:4)

4. ἤλθον ἡμέρας ὁδόν

They went a day’s journey (Luke 2:44)

They went a journey of a day

What case and number is ἡμέρας in this sentence? ____________________

While the form ἡμέρας may be either genitive singular or accusative plural, in this context it can only function in one of these two ways.

5. Luke’s Gospel says that when Jesus was twelve years old, his parents took him to the temple. When they left, he stayed behind. When they realized he was missing, they began to look for him. Translate the following comment from Luke about what happened.

[μετά, followed by a noun in the accusative case, should be translated, “after.”  τρεῖς = three]

μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς εὗρον αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ

After three days they found him in the temple (Luke 2:46)

How can we tell that ἡμέρας is accusative and not genitive in the previous sentence?

6. ἤλθεν εἰς Ναζαρέθ

He went to Nazareth (Luke 2:51)

7. Luke 4:1-13 tells of a time when Jesus was tempted. Translate the following statement about his actions during that period. [οὐδέν = nothing; ἐκείναις = those]

οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδέν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις

He did not eat anything in those days

He ate nothing in those days (Luke 4:2)

Notice that double negatives are perfectly acceptable in Greek.

οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδέν should be translated as either “He did not eat anything,” or “He ate nothing,” but not as “He did not eat nothing.”

8. The following statement is from the same passage in Luke 4.

Ἤγαγεν δὲ αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰεροθσαλήμ

He led him to Jerusalem (Luke 4:9)

9. The stem στα- is from the verb ἵστημι, a μι conjugation verb. Μι conjugation verbs loose their first syllable to form the secondary tenses (aorist, imperfect). ἵστημι is usually translated “I put,” “I set,” or “I place.”

[τὸ πτερύγιον should be translated “the pinnacle.”]

αὐτὸν ἔστησεν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ

He set him upon the pinnacle of the temple (Luke 4:9)

10. [τὴν ὀδόν = the road, the path]

παρὰ τὴν ὀδόν

along the road
beside the road

11. In the sentence below, translate ἅ as "some." It refers to "some seed" in the parable of the sower.

ἅ. . . ἔπεσον παρὰ τὴν ὀδόν

Some fell along the road (Matthew 13:4)

12. [ἐπί = on]

ἄλλα. . . ἔπεσον ἐπὶ τὴν γὴν τὴν καλήν

Others. . . fell on good ground.

13. ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσον ἐπὶ τὴν γὴν τὴν καλήν

But others fell on good ground (Matthew 13:8)

The little word δέ can be translated as "and" or "but." It is postpositive. That is, it never comes first in a phrase. In English, though, the words "and" and "but" often have to come first in the phrase in which they appear. When you translate a phrase that contains δέ, the order of the words in your English translation must not be the same as the Greek word order.


Exercise Three: Vocabulary Practice

Now take the vocabulary practice quiz to see how well you have learned the vocabulary for lesson ten.



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