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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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Conclusions and Implications 239


CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS 1. Introduction In this chapter the overall conclusions of the entire study are brought together and summarized. The importance of the recursive methodology that utilizes the relationship between narrative structure and Greek tense-forms is highlighted. A summary of this relationship between narrative structure and tense-forms is then provided. Following that, a summary of the semantic qualities of each tense-form is given and my model of the verbal system is presented alongside other models. Finally, my arguments regarding the way in which the indicative tense-forms function to delineate the structure of a narrative are illustrated with two excerpts from Luke. 2. Discourse analysis and recursive methodology 2.1 Patterns of discourse In terms of discourse analysis, several strands of discourse may be delineated within the narrative genre. The most basic distinction within the narrative genre is that between narrative proper and discourse proper; that is, those parts of the narrative that are communicated through event-based story, and those parts that are communicated through the reporting of speech, thought, and so on. Within this basic distinction, further distinctions are possible. Narrative proper may be understood as the combination of mainline and offline strands. Mainline communicates the sequential events that form the skeletal structure of the entire narrative text, while offline material provides supplemental information that comments on, explains, and fills out the mainline action. VERBAL ASPECT, THE INDICATIVE MOOD, AND NARRATIVE 240 Discourse proper consists of direct discourse, which reports speech as though it is unfolding in real time; indirect discourse,...

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