Idioms of the Greek New Testament is a ground-breaking grammar written with Stanley E. Porter’s unmatched understanding of New Testament Greek. The work aids the student of New Testament Greek in a number of ways. It can be used as an instructive handbook, as an intermediate level textbook, and as a basic reference work. The major topics of Greek grammar are treated in a helpful pedagogical sequence. Substantial discussions are provided on Greek verb structure, the case system, the use of prepositions, particles, and various types of clauses. The book also includes visual illustrations, references to other Greek grammars, a glossary of terms and full indexes.
Throughout Idioms, Porter keeps in mind the traditional categories of Greek grammar. However, he bases his analysis upon principles of modern linguistics. This foundation is translated and adapted for students and teachers who may not have had any exposure to its technical language and method. Among the innovative treatments found in the work are those on tense and aspect, mood and attitude, conditional clauses, word order and clause structure, and discourse analysis. Idioms of the Greek New Testament will be a welcome work for students needing a tool to guide them from elementary textbooks to fully fledged reference grammars...and for scholars seeking a useful NT Greek reference.
Stanley E. Porter wrote Idioms of the Greek New Testament for students who would like an intermediate handbook to help them make a transition to using advanced grammars. With Logos Bible Software, this transition is easier than ever! As you progress through Idioms, you can cross-reference the text with any number of Greek grammars Logos offers, deepening your understanding of the words and terms being analyzed.
“In other words, elements other than verbal aspect (context, for example) are the primary conveyors of temporal information in Greek.” (Page 25)
“In Greek, verbal aspect is defined as a semantic (meaning) category by which a speaker or writer grammaticalizes (i.e. represents a meaning by choice of a word-form) a perspective on an action by the selection of a particular tense-form in the verbal system.” (Pages 20–21)
“The perfective (aorist) aspect is the least heavily weighted of the Greek verbal aspects, and hence carries the least significant meaning attached to use of the form. In Greek the aorist is what some have called the ‘default’ tense; that is, it is the tense chosen when there is no reason to choose another. The imperfective (present/imperfect) aspect is more heavily weighted, and to use it in opposition to the perfective (aorist) implies greater semantic significance. The stative (perfect/pluperfect) aspect is most heavily weighted, and to use it in opposition to the perfective (aorist) and imperfective (present/imperfect) aspects implies the greatest semantic significance.” (Page 22)
“The present and imperfect tense-forms occur in contexts where the user of Greek wishes to depict the action as in progress, regardless of whether this is an objective characterization.” (Page 29)
“Recent work by linguists in the analysis of discourse differentiates the planes of discourse into three (see Chapter 21): background, foreground and frontground. These three planes are depicted below as a case of books (background), against which one shelf is featured (foreground), and a single book is selected (frontground). The aorist is the background tense, which forms the basis for the discourse; the present is the foreground tense, which introduces significant characters or makes appropriate climactic references to concrete situations; and the perfect is the frontground tense, which introduces elements in an even more discrete, defined, contoured and complex way.” (Page 23)
The Greek of the New Testament provides an eminently worthwhile and worthy body of literature for serious academic study, and my hope is that this grammar will enable many to take further steps towards its mastery.
—Stanley E. Porter, from the introduction