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The Perfect Storm

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

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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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7. Defining the Greek Perfect Tense-Form as Stative: A Response to Buist M. Fanning: STANLEY E. PORTER

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7. Defining the Greek Perfect Tense-Form as Stative: A Response to Buist M. Fanning

STANLEY E. PORTER

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond once more to the work of my longtime colleague Buist Fanning. More particularly, we are discussing—or at least are meant to be discussing—the verbal semantics of the perfect tense-form, which I interpret to mean, at the least, its aspectual semantics. This is not the first time that Buist and I have engaged in debate over Greek, and perhaps it will not be the last.

In his constructive proposal, Fanning makes a robust case for what he envisions as the meaning of the perfect tense-form. In fact, I think that this is the most robust case that he has ever made for it, and probably one of the most robust cases for what amounts to what he calls the “traditional consensus” (62) that I have seen.1 For this, he is certainly to be thanked. As a result, I have a much clearer idea what the “traditional consensus” seems to think that the perfect tense-form means and how it is used in the Greek of the New Testament, as well as in some other ancient Greek—or at least what one proponent of what he calls the “traditional consensus” means by it. Or do I?

Before I answer that question, I wish simply to say that I do not believe that calling any view simply the...

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