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The Perfect Storm

Critical Discussion of the Semantics of the Greek Perfect Tense Under Aspect Theory


Constantine R. Campbell, Buist M. Fanning and Stanley E. Porter

Nowhere are the chaotic debates surrounding contemporary aspect theory more heated than in discussions of the theory’s application to Hellenistic Greek, and especially its understanding of the semantics of the Greek perfect tense. This book is a distilled academic debate among three of the best-known scholars on the subject, each defending his own unique interpretation while engaging the other two. The Perfect Storm will prove an indispensable resource for any scholar seeking to write convincingly on the Greek perfect in the future.

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1. An Introduction to the Debate: D. A. CARSON


1. An Introduction to the Debate


In November 2010, Constantine R. Campbell, Buist M. Fanning, and Stanley

E. Porter engaged each other in a spirited debate on the Greek perfect. The setting was the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics section of SBL. The section is normally well attended, but that day something over 600 scholars were packed into the room. (I know; from where I was standing at the back of the room, I had a good view as I counted them.) The time constraints being what they are on these occasions, there was little time for detailed interaction among the three presenters, and still less for questions from the floor. There was just enough time for interaction that all of us who attended could glimpse the sparks among the three presenters and the interest of the audience.

After that session, I suggested that the three might consider collecting their respective contributions into a book for the Studies in Biblical Greek series, and they readily concurred. Discussion yielded two further decisions: (1) Instead of briefly revising the material they had just presented, they would engage in extensive revision, including reflections prompted by what they had heard from the other two participants. In other words, the core papers would be ratcheted up to a higher level. And then each scholar would respond to the other two. The aim was to make the level of interaction more detailed and...

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