For the past 25 years, debate regarding the nature of tense and aspect in the Koine Greek verb has held New Testament studies at an impasse. The Greek Verb Revisited examines recent developments from the field of linguistics, which may dramatically shift the direction of this discussion. Readers will find an accessible introduction to the foundational issues, and more importantly, they will discover a way forward through the debate.
Originally presented during a conference on the Greek verb supported by and held at Tyndale House and sponsored by the Faculty of Divinity of Cambridge University, the papers included in this collection represent the culmination of scholarly collaboration. The outcome is a practical and accessible overview of the Greek verb that moves beyond the current impasse by taking into account the latest scholarship from the fields of linguistics, Classics, and New Testament studies.
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[Excerpted from the concluding essay] "Another crucial issue is the long-term disinclination of those who study Greek in different institutional environments to communicate effectively with one another, or indeed with linguists who have a more general interest in grammatical and semantic categories that happen to have instantiations in Greek. It is still not unusual, for example, for Classicists to have no real sense of the evolution of the language in postclassical periods (whether ancient, medieval, or modern), or for New Testament scholars largely to ignore what was happening more generally to Greek in the Roman period, or for Hellenists collectively to lack any clear theoretical or typological perspective when framing their analyses of specifically Greek phenomena. This volume, by contrast, is characterized throughout by the openness of its contributors to the value of information and insights derived from work in linguistic theory and linguistic typology, and to the importance of scholarship conducted right across the spectrum of Greek studies. As a consequence, the argumentation in its different chapters is more incisive, and the analyses more grounded and more compelling, than would otherwise ever have been possible. Nothing, after all, breeds cant and gibberish more rapidly than a closed circle of devotees who are certain they have all the answers."
—Professor Geoff Horrocks, Professor of Comparative Philology, Faculty of Classics, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge University
It is rare that I attend a conference as well-focused and helpful as this. Combine that with high-quality scholarship from a mixture of people with expertise in Classics, Linguistics and New Testament Studies, and you have a delightful two days which was educative, stretching, engaging and stimulating. As a New Testament exegete, I learned much about the Greek verb from this conference, and have gained angles and perspectives which will inform my reading of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. I’m enormously grateful—and looking forward to seeing the book!
—Professor Steve Walton, Professorial Research Fellow in New Testament, St Mary’s University, Twickenham (London)
This insightful and clearly-written volume of essays truly advances the discussion of verbal aspect and tense in Koine Greek. I plan to use The Greek Verb Revisited as a textbook in an upper-level Greek seminar.
—Robert L. Plummer, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Host of www.DailyDoseOfGreek.com
“Four of these points of consensus are: (1) verbal aspect as central to understanding ancient Greek verbal meaning; (2) aspect as a matter of viewpoint, that is, the speaker’s perspective on an action or state, a category semantically different from procedural or actional characteristics often called Aktionsarten or kinds of action; (3) the Greek aorist as perfective aspect and the present/imperfect as imperfective aspect; (4) Greek verbal aspect as important to some kinds of discourse structuring.” (Page 11)
“But there is considerable agreement between these two scholars as to the essential nature of aspect. In particular, both see aspect as a matter of the speaker or author’s choice of ‘viewpoint’ on the situation to which the verb relates,7 although differing as to the extent to which this choice is a subjective one.8 Moreover, both deny that aspect is a temporal category,9 seeing the expression of a situation’s temporal structure as at most a secondary effect of the choice of aspect in combination with other elements of a clause and its context.” (Page 15)
“It would be preferable to define aspect more literally, as the temporal phase or phases about which the speaker or writer is speaking, rather than the phases they have ‘in view.’” (Page 35)
“Aspect, on the other hand, is usually said to be nondeictic, meaning that it does not indicate when the situation occurred in relation to a particular deictic center.65 But to say that aspect is nondeictic is not to say that it is nontemporal, as can be seen from the examples discussed above.” (Page 28)
Steven E Runge has a Master of Theological Studies degree in Biblical Languages from Trinity Western Seminary in Langley, B.C., Canada, a BA in Speech Communication from Western Washington University, and a Doctor of Literature degree in Biblical Languages from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, which was supervised by Christo Van der Merwe. In preparation for his doctoral research, Steve completed several years of study in the linguistic fields of pragmatics and discourse grammar. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Northwest Baptist Theological College, Trinity Western University, and Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS) while completing his education. He is also very active in the church. He and his wife were married in 1990. They have two daughters, and live in Bellingham, Washington. Steve presently serves as a Scholar-in-Residence at Logos Bible Software, and where, along with Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis, he has developed the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and the Lexham High Definition New Testament.
Christopher J Fresch has a PhD in Divinity from the University of Cambridge, which was supervised by James Aitken. The focus of his research was on Biblical Languages, Linguistics, and Septuagint Translation Technique. Prior to his PhD studies, Chris earned a MA in Biblical Languages and BA in Philosophy and Christianity (double major) at Houston Baptist University. He taught New Testament Greek at the University of Cambridge as an affiliated lecturer and is currently Lecturer in Biblical Languages and Old Testament at Bible College of South Australia.