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The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis Paperback – November 2, 2016
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The Greek verb is the engine of the language, driving the direction in which clauses, sentences, paragraphs and whole works go. The editors of this fine book have brought together an impressive international group of scholars to assess and expand the state of our knowledge of the Greek verb in antiquity. This is no mere "academic" (read, irrelevant) enquiry: they do this in order to illuminate reading of key Greek texts, especially the New Testament and the Greek Old Testament, and achieve that aim very well with lots of examples and ideas to use. Scholars and students of the New Testament and the Greek Old Testament will find their reading of these important texts deepened, strengthened and (in places) corrected by this fine book. These scholars bring together expertise in classics, linguistics and New Testament studies in highly fruitful cross-disciplinary interaction and together move this conversation about the Greek verb forward much more quickly than might have happened through each working alone. I hope it receives the wide use it deserves as the conversation continues.
--Steve Walton, professorial research fellow in New Testament, St Mary's University, Twickenham (London), UK
A collection of essays from the 2015 Cambridge Verb Conference, The Greek Verb Revisited is the most significant book on the Koine Greek verb to be published in over a quarter century. The essays in this volume are well-informed by up-to-date research in linguistics and present a good mix of theoretical and practical treatments of the Greek verb. Comprehensive, correct, and current, this book ought to be mandatory reading for anyone serious about the grammar of the verb in the Greek New Testament, for both students and seasoned scholars alike.
--Stephen C. Carlson, post-doctoral research fellow, Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University
Steve Runge and Chris Fresch are to be congratulated for bringing together such important contributions to our understanding of the verb in Koine Greek. This volume reflects the cutting edge of the ongoing discussion. It should now be the starting point for students and scholars, as most previous discussions must now be considered outdated. Contributors do not agree on all the details, but we can see a clear consensus forming and these very capable scholars have left us all in their debt. This will certainly be required reading for my course on advanced Greek as I cannot recommend it highly enough!
--Roy E. Ciampa, PhD, Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
This inter-disciplinary collection of studies will now provide a basis for any further work on the Greek verb, and it is clear that refining our understanding of Greek verbs is crucial for an accurate grasp of any Greek sentence.
--Larry Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature & theology, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh
The Greek Verb Revisited (ed. Runge and Fresch) is an exceptional and ground-breaking volume which opens new vistas of interpretation for our understanding of the diachronic development of ancient Greek and its interpretation.
--Michael P. Theophilos, senior lecturer, Biblical Studies and Ancient Languages, Australian Catholic University
The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis offers a coherent and compelling account of the Greek verb through the combined efforts of a diverse, multidisciplinary team of linguists and scholars. Crucially, this notable volume also demonstrates the incomparable fruitfulness of long-term multidisciplinary collaborative scholarship. It is hoped that this exemplary collegial collaboration will help inspire a new wave of similar projects in biblical studies to move the discussion forward on any and all issues of consequence.
--Randall K. J. Tan, PhD, vice president, biblical research, Global Bible Initiative
This book is fascinating and hard to put down despite some of the technicality of the treatments. I particularly appreciated the multidisciplinary representation (classical, biblical, linguistic) and diachronic perspective from Homer to modern Greek. Helpful frameworks are provided to understand the Greek verb such as semantics, pragmatics, and discourse information structure. Through all of this, particular conclusions continue to reverberate in my thinking: Certainly, the augment in the indicative marks past time (allowing for pragmatic uses); most likely the Greek verb system is primarily aspectual (as opposed to tense-based); and clearly the choice of verbal aspect is exegetically significant (amplifying our need to properly understand it). I am already incorporating insights gleaned from The Greek Verb Revisited in my pedagogy and research.
--Fredrick J. Long, professor of New Testament and director of Greek instruction, Asbury Theological Seminary; international coordinator of ΓΡΚ Greek Honor Society, GlossaHouse
This is an important volume that deserves careful consideration. It will no doubt occupy a significant position within modern discussions of the Greek verbal system, and rightly so.
--Constantine R. Campbell, PhD, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
About the Author
Steven E. Runge (LittD, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) serves as a research associate in the Department of Ancient Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, as director of the Lexham Research Institute, and as scholar-in-residence at Faithlife Corporation.
Christopher J. Fresch (PhD, University of Cambridge) teaches biblical languages and Old Testament at Bible College of South Australia, an affiliated college of the Australian College of Theology. His research focuses on Greek and Hebrew languages, linguistics, and the Septuagint.
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Although there is one critic of the theory (Amalia Moser), the majority of those in this volume espouse a Cognitive Linguistic framework. Cognitive Linguistics seems to do a better job of dealing with how language actually functions in reality, how people learn, and how they conceive of and express the world around them. But regardless of the frameworks used, the focus on typology, that is how languages tend to function cross-linguistically, is a breath of fresh air.
Overall, the contributions seem a lot less isolated and idiosyncratic than monographs on the subject have in the past. Nonetheless, this relief, however, is somewhat mitigated when you read all the articles and find that each author approaches things from a different point of view, making it hard, sometimes, to keep track of theoretical frameworks. The volume is massive (635 pages) and can be daunting at times. The read, however, is worth it.
The topics covered include verbal aspect, the perfect tense, aorist passive morphology and semantics, grounding status, prohibitions, and participles. These are dealt with quite well. Each chapter will be reviewed in more depth below.
The following are some topics that still need research and clarification: What does the future indicate? Is it always perfective? Can it be used to indicate a future progressive action? What about the perfect and the pluperfect? Can they be progressive? If not, what tenses would a Greek use when we use such? e.g. the present of εἰμί for the perfect progressive "I have been ___ing".
Critiques: The book is divided somewhat arbitrarily into three sections. The rationale for the order of the chapters is sometimes difficult to discern. After the Foreword and Introduction, I suggest reading the first full paragraph on p.628, then ch.1, 4, and 2 would have been a better order, with 3 following that. Other chapters are harder to determine a good order. Typos and mistakes will be listed at the end of the review.
Ch.1: Porter and Fanning on New Testament Greek Verbal Aspect: Retrospect and Prospect
by Buist Fanning
* Great to READ FIRST as an introduction to the subject
* Describes the ways in which recent research on aspect has shown agreement.
1) verbal aspect is central to the Greek verb
2) aspect is different than aktionsart
3) the aorist is perfective and the present/imperfect is imperfective
4) aspect affects discourse structuring
* Excellent reminder that: "there is a great need for . . . packaging these concepts in ways that students . . . can readily understand and then use in New Testament exegesis." (p.11)
Ch.2: What is Aspect?
by Christopher J. Thompson
* Worth the price of the book
* Great introduction to aspect and Aktionsart
* Defines aspect carefully and offers a corrective to Comrie.
* Thompson correctly reaffirms the temporal nature of aspect (contra Porter and Constantine, but per Comrie), but does not limit it to the internal temporal constituency; instead he follows Johnson's analysis (cf. pp.34ff.) - this is too difficult to explain in a review.
* Helpfully points out that Constantine misrepresents the majority scholarly opinion of what aspect is.
* Importantly orients the reader towards trends in general linguistics; reminds the reader that at certain key points, modern scholarly work on the subject of aspect and Aktionsart uses terminology in ways non-standard to linguistics (cf. p.63, ftnt 218: "this reflects a use of the terminology which is misleading and unconventional.")
* Describes aspect as being less subjective than other authors have; enables us to know why the author may use a particular verb-form (the term subjective can be misleading because it seems to suggest arbitrary. What is actually meant is that aspect reflects not the nature of an action (objectively), but the author's choice to present a certain approach to the verb (subjectively) for the sake of communication. This is certainly not arbitrary.)
* Rightly moves the discussion of aspect away from the visual and towards temporal presentation. Visual metaphors may misrepresent what is being discussed.
* Emphasizes the contextual realization of aspectual verb forms (claiming that Porter leaves no room for contextual factors)
* Suggests (correctly) that Porter and Campbell are to rigid in their understanding of the uncancelability of semantics.
* Is an essay that should be revisited and reread, since it has much corrective to the recent debates.
* READ THIRD
Ch.3: Tense and Aspect in Classical Greek
by Rutger J. Allan
* Difficult to see major connections at first
* Augment; augment showing distance (in time and in realization: tense and mood)
* Perfect; proposes multiple side-by-side realizations of the perfect's meaning; suggests that current relevance is the meaning that best encapsulates the most frequent semantics of the perfect.
* Worth reading, because of its Cognitive Linguistic approach (for a good introduction look up Martin Hilpert on youtube)
* Reinforces the idea that semantics are not uncancelable.
* Some great nuggets
* Best Quote: "[W]hat happens if we would accept that the Greek perfect does not have a core meaning?"
Ch.4: A Cognitive Linguistic Framework for the Greek Verb
by Nicholas J. Ellis
* Because of its focus on morphology, it might best be READ SECOND.
* Especially good for those whose Greek morphology is weak.
* Does not say much that hasn't been said in earlier debates.
* Takes for granted some things that seem patently wrong.
* Particularly seeing past linked with vividness! (as opposed to the author of the previous chapter and others!)
* Though a "cognitive linguistic" framework, seems to lack the "usage" based approach that helps us understand clusters of meanings that may not be directly related to the prototypical meaning - though this may because of space. For a more deeply cognitive approach, see the previous essay.
* However, his choice of an example passage, Matthew 2:20 is excellent and one would gain a lot just reading the introduction (pp.122-123) and how he resolves the problem (p.158), if one is already familiar with aspect studies.
Ch.5: Verb Forms and Grounding in Narrative
by Stephen H. Levinsohn
* Recommend reading pp.221-226 from ch.7 for background terminology
* Good introduction to online - offline material in narrative.
* Rightly emphasizes the interactive nature of aspect with context to produce foregrounding or backgrounding (rather than saying that each aspect necessarily always correlates with either foreground or background)
* Makes some important observations about the Historical Present and its function via John Callow (p.171; contra Porter), namely that it points forward to something prominent rather than being prominent itself.
* Does a great job of summarizing conclusions.
* Although he makes some great comments on subordinate clauses, he only really treats participles and "ἐγένετο", it would have been nice to have him deal with or at least give some examples of other subordinate clause types as well as "time relative".
* Finally, he concludes with some suggestions for what to do with speech introductions in Mark.
* Difficulty arises for those unfamiliar with terminology. He uses background in a different sense from backgrounding and backgrounded, such that foreground is contrasted to background and prominent to backgrounded. His terminology needs to be explained more clearly.
* A minor critique is footnote 42 on p.173 which seems to have little-to-no relevance to the argument in question.
* Finally, one printing error in this error is difficult to figure out (p.180) "and the combination of ἐthe comand a temporal expression" should read "and the combination of ἐγένετο and a temporal expression".
Ch.6: Imperfects, Aorists, Historic Presents, and Perfects in John 11
by Patrick James
* Good case study
* Read ch.5 first
* James sets the stage well for his analysis of John 11
* However, more minimal pairs could have been introduced
* His contrast of the imperfective of μένω and the perfective was unclear => perhaps because he says that "we may not be able . .. to determine or to express why" a particular tense-form was chosen (p.191).
* His digression on how textual tradition can muddy waters involving aspectual analysis was helpful (pp.200-203)
* What remains to be seen is how a case study using the discourse linguistics of Runge and Levinsohn can utilize more formal analysis tools such as found in Chapter 1 to explain the interaction between aspect and discourse more carefully.
* Like previous scholars in this volume, James does a good job emphasizing the role of context and collocation in explaining how aspect can express mainline and offline actions.
* Two helpful thoughts that were tangential to his thesis were the difference between how the aorist and pluperfect express actions anterior to that of the main discourse (p.208), and a mention of verb-subject-object as the unmarked word order in Koine Greek. These are topics one might want to pursue (the latter of which I myself have seen in my reading of gospel narratives).
* Also helpful was his challenge of the 'traditional' explanation of the historical present (HP), which clearly aligns with Runge and Levinsohn (pp.210 ff.).
* The actual function of HP as he analyzes it (p.216) requires some investigation, but it does give one a line of inquiry.
* Humble scholar.
* One frustration with the editing of the book was the mislabeling of two footnotes in the chart on p.187 (7 should be 8, 8 should be 9, and the parentheses "(not: μέλλει θανεῖν "He is about to die")" should probably belong to the box below it. It can be frustrating to read a footnote that seems quite out of place.
Ch.7: Grounding Status in Nonnarrative Discourse
by Stephen E. Runge
* Runge gives a good (and thorough!) introduction to narrative discourse analysis considerations => a worthy sequel to chapter 5.
* Runge does a better job introducing the terminology of discourse analysis than Levinsohn did, so should be read in close conjunction with it. [Perhaps reading pp.221-226 would be advisable to "ground" one's understanding before reading chapter 5.]
* While this chapter does mention verbs, it is mostly about the fact that other factors ground discourse in nonnarrative discourse (particularly particles). This fact is important, but probably does not warrant a chapter this long in a book about the Greek verb . . . I, on the other hand, am grateful that an extensive introduction to the non-verbal aspects of discourse flow was included, since it is an area with which I am not completely familiar.
* Great expression of how mood foregrounds or backgrounds (pp.233ff.)
* Use of the perfect in grounding requires re-evaluation (236ff.)
* Connectors (p.239-248) was very helpful (with some exceptions)
* Assyndeton (p.249-253) was interesting, but somewhat questionable (examples used could be analyzed in other ways).
* Dependence and Participles: This was an excellent section that helped not only explain grounding and prominence in nonnarrative context, but in narrative as well (pp.253-265). It is particularly true of participles that the choice to use a non-finite, dependent form expresses backgrounding. As for other subordinate constructions, Runge does claim that research is still needed (p.265ff.)
* Runge ends the chapter nicely with an excellent summary.
* Representative of this volume as a whole, Runge shows the humility and honesty necessary to make further collaborative efforts in research possible.
Ch.8: Participles as a Pragmatic Choice
by Randall Buth
* Buth adds little to the previous chapter in terms of the function of participles
* If the only article on the topic, it would be more helpful.
* He DOES challenge the prominence of grounding in Greek (seemingly contrary to Runge. cf. p.281 ftnt.9).
* Buth's explanations tend to be less formal (and therefore less convincing) than Runge.
* He discusses the historical present extensively and claims that its primary purpose is not to reverse aspectual expectations, but rather tense expectations. I find his examples far too many to be necessary and I did not see any real evidence that tense takes primacy over aspect, though (in line with most of the contributors of this volume) I think that tense is encoded (contra Porter, Campbell, and Decker et al.) This excursus on the historical present takes too much space for a point tangential to his main point (pp.290-305!) and yet needs much further development to be convincing. This argument would have been stronger if Buth had brought in the Imperfect as unable to substitute for the aorist in narrative. This suggests that both tense and aspect are non-functional in the historical present, but that because the language uses the present rather than the imperfect, the cancelation of tense rather than aspect receives prominence. Nonetheless, I would argue that it is impossible to tell whether aspect or tense receives prominence due to the fact that there is only one "present tense" in Greek (with no simple vs. progressive opposition such as in English).
* Overall, a disappointing chapter.
Ch.9:Functions of Copula-Participle Combinations ("Periphrastics")
by Stephen H. Levinsohn
* Levinsohn is difficult to read
* His claims, especially in summary are quite easy to follow, though.
* His use of cross-linguistic material is the most relevant of his evidence, but the sparsity of the data makes his claims difficult to substantiate.
* The function of the "periphrastics" in Greek needs much more research, particularly with reference to non-canonical texts.
* Another somewhat disappointing chapter.
Ch.10: The Historical Present in NT Greek
by Elizabeth Robar
* This is a case study in the book of Matthew.
* Leads the reader through the process the author went through in trying to discover the use of the historical present.
* Very interesting with regards to seeing the ways in which grammarians can run up against a wall when trying to understand linguistic phenomena.
* Has some interesting proposals as to the function of the Historical Present (HP), but much more research needs to be done to confirm the conclusions
* Conclusions: The historical present introduces a discourse unit and emphasizes what the reader should be paying attention to. The discourse unit can be as large as a whole pericope or as small as one sentence. The size of the discourse unit depends on and must be determined by context. If such is true, the HP could aide in exegesis greatly.
Ch.11: The Function of the Augment in Hellenistic Greek
by Peter J. Gentry
* Gentry gives a diachronic account of the Greek augment and the tense-forms in general.
* His conclusion is that in Hellenistic Greek, the augment was beginning to fade because of its redundancy.
* This erosion leads him to conclude contra Porter and Campbell that the augment did not have a distinct function of its own besides indicating tense.
* Like many in this compilation, he is skeptical of those who place too much emphasis on aspect with no admission of tense. He does not expect semantics to be something quite so rigid as an author such as Campbell (except in one place in which he seems to say the opposite ("One cannot have both spatial and temporal meaning at the same linguistic stage.", p.359); yet this is precisely how language changes => there must be overlap before one stage disappears, cf.the chart on p.371).
* Gentry gives a great over view of the history of the augment: most interesting to me is the development of the tenses => the present by adding a deictic iota to the verb endings and the past by adding the augment. Thus both present and past are distinguished by an addition of a deictic particle.
* In view of diachronicity, he mentions along the way that periphrastics are starting to be used interchangeably with the regular non-periphrastic forms (p.371). This is quite opposite to Levinsohn's conclusion in ch.9. It seems clear that, as has been said before, more research needs to be done to decide this issue.
Ch.12: Typology, Polysemy, and Prototypes: Situating Nonpast Aorist Indicatives
by Christopher J. Fresch
* A very tightly argued thesis, Fresch uses cross-linguistic data on perfective aspect to conclude that the aorist prototypically does encode both Perfective aspect and Past tense.
* Since his focus is so tight, he is able to fully deal with what others in the volume have only hinted at.
* His section on Polysemy (pp.397ff.) affirms that linguistic categories often have multiple meanings (one is not surprised with Fresch's references to Cognitive Linguistics).
* Not only is his data cross-linguistic, his examples of English non-temporal referencing past tense uses helps the English speaker understand (p.402)
* Fresch confirms that Greek is an aspect-prominent language, but uses typological data to explain how that plays in favor of viewing the aorist indicative as tensed.
* His emphasis on polysemy can also be used to consider how the HP fits into a scheme in which the Present is prototypically an imperfective aspect and a present tense.
* Overall, one of the best chapters in the book.
Ch.13: Perfect Greek Morphology and Pedagogy
by Randall Buth
* Buth begins by explaining how the morphology of the perfect can be related to its meaning.
* His description of the meaning of the perfect ends up being the same as the traditional view with a linguistic theoretical basis.
* He ends with a plea for teachers to internalize and get their students to internalize irregular verbs and how they are regularly used.
* This is based on the Cognitive Linguistic viewpoint that people speak a certain way because they see their parents and others do it that way.
* In other words, there is a shift away from the mathematical precision of the "German" view of language to a usage based understanding.
* While I agree that perhaps it is time to move away from a strict mathematical view of language, I am not sure of Buth's conclusion as to how to do it. He seems to think that to internalize, we need second-language proficiency. While this would be ideal, at this point it is unrealistic. We don't have enough(!) teachers who can speak Greek well. It is a good long-term goal, but I would suggest that teaching the idiosyncracies of the language early on will be a good hold-over. As one who has taught Greek for nine years, I have been teaching students these idiosyncracies rather than giving them only a theory of aspect. That way, to use Buth's example, they will know that the perfect of ἵστημι is "stand", that the present is "cause to stand", that the present middle is "stand up" (or more accurately ἀνίσταμαι).
* This article of Buth's is quite helpful, but it would have been helpful if the two halves of the article fit together better.
* In addition, while he concludes that the perfect is (+PERFECTIVE) (+IMPERFECTIVE), he does not touch on the issue of the diachronic situation in which the perfect begins to be bleached of its uniqueness and is merging with the aorist.
Ch.14: The Semantics of the Perfect in the Greek of the New Testament
by Robert Crellin
* Crellin's chapter on the Perfect is a fitting chapter to read in conjunction with chapter 1, What is Aspect. Together they have the potential to form a theoretical framework for interpreting aspect across the spectrum.
* Most interestingly, Crellin's interpretation seems to account for the various difficulties found with the perfect . . . and predict when a particular interpretation will hold.
* Crellin ends well with a nod to the merging taking place between the aorist and perfect.
* The chapter is good, but dense and may need to be read multiple times.
Ch. 15: Discourse Function of the Greek Perfect
by Steven E. Runge
* Runge shows how much complexity there is in describing the perfect.
* He also demonstrates the background nature of the perfect tense and calls into question the prominence suggested by Porter and Campbell.
* In general, then, the perfect acts as offline material in narrative and epistolary genres.
* The only weakness I see in Runge (as well as Campbell, among others) is the insistence that forms such as οἶδα and ἕστηκα are true perfects. I would suggest that they are used idiomatically as presents: ἕστηκα "I stand" rather than "I have come to stand" and οἶδα as "I know" rather than "I have perceived" He seems to succumb to the etymological fallacy. (See Amalia Moser's chapter for a different approach to these verbs.)
Ch.16: Greek Prohibitions
by Michael Aubrey
* Aubrey explores the relationship between prohibitions and "do not start" "stop" interpretations.
* A nice change from the focus of the rest of the book.
* His greatest contribution is his analysis of the interactions of aspect with the types of predicates.
* His conclusion that "stop x-ing" is imperfective, though specific because you can only stop doing something specific is on target.
* His ambivalence on the "don't start x-ing" in the perfective (aorist), seems to come from an overly narrow definition of "start". For instance, he says it does not hold for states. It could be argued that rather than "don't start x-ing" the aorist realizes as "do not begin to" as it does with stative verbs in the indicative: (e.g. ἐδάκρυσα "burst into tears").
* Aubrey's main argument seems to be regarding three levels of negation: Nuclear, Core, and Clausal. This, in my opinion, is his weakest point, since there is no morphological or syntactical indicator for this. It is up to the interpreter. He also suggests that nuclear scope negation is only possible with derivational morphology (e.g. ἀ- privative) in both Greek and English. If this were true, he would have some traction. While he may be correct (though I suspect that it is more correct to say that derivational morphology on a verb results in nuclear negation), his English example suggests that English does not behave this way (p.497 ex.4.c). "John was unable to eat lunch." He suggests that this can only be expressed morphologically, but it is clear that the same can be expressed lexically: "John was not able to eat lunch." This is akin to what is known as the adherescent οὐ in some literature, which suggests that identification of nuclear scope is not quite so easy.
* An additional critique would be that some of Aubrey's language and examples are imprecise. This weakened his argument.
* Overall, Aubrey brings some interesting ideas to the table. Further refinement and expansion would be welcome.
by Amalia Moser
* Moser brings us a fresh perspective on the topic of aspect.
* She cogently argues that the subsequent history of Greek can shed light on the function of verb morphology during the NT period.
* She traces the history as the perf., pres., and aor. originally aligning with aktionsart categories and arriving at tense & aspectual oppositions. The binary oppositions between perfective/imperfective left no room for the perfect from, which is why it dropped out of use (as Horrocks also later concludes). When the future tense and perfect tenses were reintroduced, the binary aspectual opposition was able to assert itself in the former, while the perfect allowed for time prior to each tense distinction.
* Moser's contribuition is particularly valuable inasmuch as she gives a way out of the aspectual/aktionsart assertions required by theories such as Porter's. To be accurate, she maintaimes the distinction, but allows that the language did not necessarily hold a rigid morphological distinction between the two, since the language was in transition (as language always is). Her article certainly gave food for thought.
* Finally, it was refreshing to have an author who acknowledges that some forms of the language are relics that cannot be analyzed with the rest of the language (e.g. πέφυκα, δέδια, οἶδα p.552).
* My one critique of Moser was how hard she was on Cognitive Linguistics. Perhaps some cognitive linguists have misunderstood Aktionsart as 'lexical aspect' and thus done away with the difference because of an emphasis on construal (as Moser suggests). From my perspective, a cognitive approach does not rule out treating Aktionsart and aspect as separate because they are actually different categories whether expressed syntactically or lexically.
Ch. 18: Motivated Categories, Middle Voice, and Passive Morphology
by Rachel Aubrey
* Aubrey's article was one of the most helpful of all. This may be partly because the function of the 'passive' -(θ)η- morphology is easier to get one's mind around than aspect.
* Nonetheless, Aubrey's argument was very well made, her examples copious, and her explanations thorough.
* To summarize, Aubrey argues that as one looks at Greek diachronically (through its historical development), the marker -(θ)η- never acts like a passive marker in the same way as the English passive. Instead, the sigmatic middle and the -(θ)η- marker divide up various semantic domains which encompass many middle meanings as well as the passive. The -(θ)η- marker by the Hellenistic (Biblical) period has started to encroach more and more on what has traditionally been thought to be middle definitions, leaving only the indirect reflexive entirely to the sigmatic middle.
* Her observations are reinforced by the limited application of -(θ)η- in Homer and the almost complete replacement of the sigmatic aorist with -(θ)η- morphology in Modern Greek.
* A very useful chart is attached (p.613) showing the semantic mappings of the different morphology.
* Aubrey not only extensively employs Cognitive Linguistics, but does an excellent job of explaining her terms. Of course justification for this framework is found in introductions to Cognitive Linguistics (such as that given by Martin Hilpert on youtube)..
* Employed pedagogically, this description of the middle/passive category in Greek is quite helpful and will certainly inform the introductory textbooks on Greek that I am working on.
* In terms of critique, there are similar typos to those found elsewhere throughout the book, and Aubrey could have fleshed out a couple of concepts in more detail (e.g. p.609 "Speech Act" and p.615 para. 1).
Ch. 19: Envoi
by Geoffrey Horrocks
* It is quite a treat that someone as distinguished and well-versed in the history of the Greek language as Horrocks should conclude the book.
* His chapter was quite short, but he managed to make some good insights nonetheless.
* Re-emphasizes the need to see not only the semantics of a given morphology, but also its conventional usage.
* Commends the cross-disciplinary nature of the volume, re-emphasizing one of its strengths (p.628 para.1 could be read before the rest of the book, to put it into perspective).
* Though a conclusion, Horrocks makes some incisive comments re: aspect. He notes that grammaticalized binary opposition such as we see in Greek is more general and abstract than the English. Pragmatic realization varies based on context. While this requires us to research what types of realizations are appropriate to which aspects, it also frees us to interpret according to context. In this vein and in line with his mention of convention, he shows why gnomic present is just as arbitrary a choice as gnomic aorist (p.631). His short analysis of the English uses of the present tense is instructive.
* Finally, Horrocks makes some comments about the perfect and suggests (in line with Moser) that the perfect does not fit naturally with the perfective/imperfective opposition in the rest of the Greek system. This may be why the perfect dropped out of Greek.
* Finally, a word to the wise "[D]isagreement and discussion among those who seek to advance knowledge rather than promote dogma is, of course, at the heart of all good research[.]" Some other scholars' strident or at least self-assured attitude has made discussion and progress difficult.
p.134, "perfective aspect marker (σ)" should read "perfective aspect marker (κ)"
p.180, "and the combination of ἐthe comand a temporal expression" should read "and the combination of ἐγένετο and a temporal expression
p.187, footnote 7 should be 8, 8 should be 9, and the parentheses "(not: μέλλει θανεῖν "He is about to die")" should probably belong to the box below it.
p.241, The end of the chart should not have the word "Support"
p.293, In Mark 14:41 at the bottom of the page, the translation should be "is going" rather than "is saying"
p.309, "WAIting" should probably read "WAITing"
p.313, bottom of the page "ἡ_οἰκία" should read "ἡ οἰκία"
p.361, should "γλῶσση" should read "γλῶσσα"
p.508, "70" in the middle of the page should read "22" (perhaps referring to example 22)
p.585, "Indonensia" should read "Indonesia"
p.606, The translation for Mark 9:34 at the top should read "They were silent because they had argued with each other on the way about who was the greatest" instead of "They were silent with each other because they had argued on the way about who was the greatest."
p.611, It seems ἅπτω should read ἅπτομαι.
As expected, Greek Verb Revisited is academically oriented and probably best situated for intermediate or advance students of New Testament Greek. The volume opens with an excellent forward from Andreas J. Köstenberger, recounting his personal journey and adoration for the work presented. Runge and Fresch have divided the essays into three major sections: (1) Overview, (2) Application, and (3) Linguistic Investigations. The organization of the volume seems somewhat random, but the content therein is magnificent. The first section aims to position the overall conversation, past and present, within the larger framework of the volume. There are four chapters focusing on tense and/or aspect, with no obvious organizational intent, which looks to move the conversation towards new ground. While each of the essays has strengths, the essay by Nicholas J. Ellis, that establishes a cognitive-linguistic framework, is outstanding and Ellis’ use of Matt. 2:20 is appropriate. The second and third sections are where the bulk of the volume is spent. There is much that could be said about the chapters in these sections, but most of which is beyond space here. Runge’s chapter on nonnarrative discourse was fascinating. Runge is easy to follow and he does a great job bringing the reader into his discussion while remaining humble and honest about the need for further research (p. 265). Again, much more could be said about each essay individually, but as a collection of essays this volume is sure to be a staple for further engagement in the years to come.
It is both exciting and encouraging to see an unfolding of new movement in research regarding the function and application of the Greek language, especially the Greek verb. Greek Verb Revisited is both up-to-date and academically stimulating. The contributors include, Peter Gentry, Stephen Levinsohn, Buist Fanning, Rutger Allan, and many more names of equal caliber. At nearly 650 pages, this volume is not for the faint of heart. But, those who specialize in or enjoy linguistics will find this volume to be a goldmine of rich discovery. Some essays are more difficult to follow than others, and this varies from topic and author. But, overall those with a preexisting knowledge of the language and a familiarity with the ongoing dialog on Greek verbs will be pleasantly surprised by the tone of this volume. Additionally, for those who love to explore bibliographies for their next research project or “rabbit trail” read, each of the essays include a sizable list of referenced resources that will come in handy. For future exploration, Runge and Fresch have included a detailed subject/author index and an index of ancient sources. This will allow for relevant information to be retrieved as the need arises—an appropriate and welcomed addition.
Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis edited by Steven E. Runge and Christopher J. Fresch is nothing short of groundbreaking. The essays included are forward-looking and up-to-date with the latest conversations, and, in fact, push those conversations towards a much-needed end. If you are looking for a volume that presents the most recent advances in the Greek language, while remaining academically practical for exegesis and textual analysis, then nothing should stand in the way of this book finding space on your shelf. It comes highly recommended for those engaged or looking to engage in the conversation.