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Biblical Greek (Beginners): 08. Aorist I. a II. (active, middle, passive)

Aorist1 is perfective tense2, indicating simple, finished action in the past if we would like to define it in a simple manner. Aorist can express also another specific relation to time, depending on the given context (dealt in more advanced grammar).

First Aorist (weak)

The first aorist includes verbs that have regular root.

    Active Middle Passive
Indicative            
Sg 1  λυ σα I loosed3 λυ σάμην I loosed myself/for myself  λυ θην I was loosed
  2 λυ σας   λύ σω   λυ θης  
  3 λυ σε(ν)   λύ σατο   λυ θη  
               
Pl 1 λύ σαμεν   λυ σάμεθα   λυ θημεν  
  2 λύ σατε   λύ σασθε   λυ θητε  
  3 λυ σαν   λύ σαντο   λυ θησαν  
               
Infinitive λυ σαι to loose4 λυ σασθαι to loose myself/for myself λυ θηναι to be loosed
Imperative λυ σον! loose!5 λυ σαι! loose yoursel/for yourself! λυ θητι be loosed!
  λυ σατε!   λυ σασθε!   λυ θητε  

Caution:

  • : augment is present only in the indicative (not in imperative or infinitive)
  • ον: ending of active imperative sg is same as in imperfect 1sg a 3pl (discerning only on the account of letter sigma)
  • αι: active infinitive and middle imperative sg has same endings
  • second aorist passive imperative sg has ending ηθι instead of ητι

Examples

Rom 5:14 βασίλευσεν ὁ θάνατος ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ μέχρι Μωϋσέως
  death reigned from Adam until Moses.
John 1:32 καὶ μαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης
  and John witnessed 
Eph 4:30 ἐν ᾧ σφραγίσθητε εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως
  in him you are sealed to the day of redemption

Second Aorist (strong)

We were used to conjugate verbs based upon word root of present tense. In fact, there is something like an original root in Greek, which is not always corresponding to the form of the verb in the present. This fact is causing irregularities. Irregular forms of these verbs are needed to be learned.  We will encounter irregularities in aorist (for the most part), perfect and future tenses. Irregular forms of these tenses could be found in dictionaries (see for example word λεγω). 

Strong aorist is composed of a combination of irregular verb root and imperfect ending.

Characteristics

  • Indicative
    • augment + irregular root + endings of imperfect.
  • Infinitive and imperative:
    • without augment + irregular root + endings of present for infinitive and imperative
  • Passive
    • does not have letter θ
    • same endings as in first aorist

Irregular verbs table

Below you will find the most common forms of the second aorist, which you need to know by heart.

Aorist II Present  
ἐγένετο γίνομαι become
εἶδον ὁράω saw
εἶπον λέγω said
ἔφαγον ἐσθίω ate
ἤλθον ἔρχομαι came

You can learn them in the exercise in the assignments section.

Examples

Rev 1:19 γράψον οὖν ἃ εἶδες καὶ ἃ εἰσὶν καὶ ἃ μέλλει γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα.
  therefore write things you saw and things that are and are about to become after.

 


1 The word aorist means „unlimited“ or „undefined“, in order to express that action of the aorist does not have any corresponding relationship to time or its lengh.

2 Verb λυω would be thus transladed "loosed" not "was loosing".

3 Comp. with imperfect : I was loosing (imperfectness)

4 Comp. with present: to loose (imperfectness)

5 Comp. with present: loose! (imperfectness)

 


Assignments

Augment

3
Greek
441

Mystery of True Godliness (1 Timothy 3:16)

This short hymnic passage of 1 Timothy 3:16 interrupts Paul’s address to Timothy with an exposition of “the mystery of true godliness.” This break is apparent by the change of personal pronoun from the second person (you) to the third (he) as well as also pointed by relative pronoun “which (ὃς...

21
Greek
78

Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)

The Great Commission is the final moment of the gospel of Matthew before Jesus leaves His desciples. Disciples meet risen Lord at Galilee. They fall down on the ground in reverence, but "some had doubts" (Matt 28:17). Jesus is reacting on these doubts and assures disciples about his power, while...

48
Greek
190

Charts

Aorist

Greek

Augment

Greek

Theta

Greek