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Verbal Aspect, the Indicative Mood, and Narrative

Soundings in the Greek of the New Testament


Constantine R. Campbell

Verbal aspect in Ancient Greek has been a topic of significant debate in recent scholarship. In this book, Constantine R. Campbell investigates the function of verbal aspect within New Testament Greek narrative. He argues that the primary role of verbal aspect in narrative is to delineate and shape the various ‘discourse strands’ of which it is constructed, such as mainline, offline, and direct discourse. Campbell accounts for this function in terms of the semantic value of each tense-form. Consequently, in the search for more effective conclusions and explanations, he challenges and reassesses some of the conclusions reached in previous scholarship. One such reassessment involves a boldly innovative approach to the perfect tense-form.


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Author’s Preface xv


AUTHOR’S PREFACE My interest in Greek verbal aspect began while I was a student at Moore Theological College. As part of the Greek program, verbal aspect was introduced as a topic of scholarly debate that was yet to settle. The positions of Porter, Fanning, and Olsen were presented, and the major distinctions between their positions were defined and discussed. As students, we struggled with the complexity of the debate and how to apply the insights that verbal aspect offered to exegesis of Greek text. Suffice to say, my interest was sparked. I chose to explore verbal aspect for my honours thesis, which in turn led to doctoral research. I will always be grateful that faculty members at Moore were so willing to engage with cutting edge research, even when it was notoriously difficult and as yet unresolved. This book is a lightly revised version of my doctoral thesis, which was submitted to Macquarie University in July 2006. I am grateful to Professor D. A. Carson, Dr Moisés Silva, and Dr Anssi Voitila, who examined the thesis, for their suggestions that have improved the work. Professor Carson was also kind enough to invite me to publish the thesis in this series. I am indebted to Dr Trevor Evans for his invaluable contribution to this book as my doctoral supervisor. His superb scholarship, critical thinking, open-mindedness, and genuine support were matched only by his many kindnesses to me. For their generous encouragement, suggestions and comments, I wish to thank Professor Alanna...

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