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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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10. Response to Porter’s Stative View of the Greek Perfect: BUIST M. FANNING


10. Response to Porter’s Stative View of the Greek Perfect


I want to record my appreciation for Porter’s essay in this book and his reminders of the wider importance of linguistic studies of ancient Greek for competent biblical interpretation. I am grateful also for the attention he pays to the areas of agreement between the three contributors because there is a lot that we have in common. This response will center on four areas of discussion stimulated by his essay, somewhat in the order in which he brings them up. These move from more general to more specific issues, and they are interrelated topics as will be seen. I hope that these will promote further dialogue and lead to progress in understanding.

1. Conflicted Relationships

The first area concerns Porter’s conflicted relationship with contemporary biblical studies as well as contemporary linguistics. This is an awkward and broad topic to start with, but this is where Porter’s essay starts, the “much larger issue” he mentions in his opening line.

This conflicted relationship surfaces in his self-absorbed claim to be the ground-breaking figure in bringing linguistic studies of Greek language to bear on the world of biblical scholarship. Porter can take justifiable pride for what he has contributed personally and through his wider influence to the efforts in recent decades to aid biblical study through careful linguistic work. His personal output of books, articles, essays, and editorial...

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