In response to Johnson I wrote,First of all, Campbell begins his analysis of the perfect by demonstrating that the definitions of McKay, Porter, and Fanning are inadequate. The problem with this analysis is that he has misrepresented the definitions of each of these scholars. For example, Campbell states that “. . . McKay’s approach [concerning the perfect] mandates that it is the responsibility of the subject that is in view . . . ,” and he provides a number of examples from McKay’s work that produce awkward interpretations with this understanding. The problem with this analysis is that McKay simply does not “mandate” that the perfect tense-form indicates the responsibility of the subject.
And to this comment of my own, Mike responded,When reading Campbell's work, this was a significant doubt that I had about Con's argument at this point - I simply couldn't recall McKay saying what Campbell claimed at all.
Mike’s answer is helpful and balanced, and its full weight is not easily appreciated without referring to the McKay article which he cites, ‘The Use of the Ancient Greek Perfect down to the Second Century A.D.’; it’s from BICS 12 (1965), pp1-21. I read it a good while ago; it was well worth it, at the prompting of Mike’s note, to read again.McKay says it. It's definitely in his article, "The use of the Ancient Greek perfect down to the 2nd c. AD," and I'm sure it appears elsewhere, too. Granted, I'm not sure about Campbell's use of the word "responsibility" here. At the same time, McKay isn't so dogmatic as to say that the perfect must always refer to the subject and the transitive perfects referring to the state of the object are possible and represent a later usage.
Perhaps the clearest statement of McKay’s position – in this article, at any rate – is that found on page six:
At the end of his article, McKay gives “a summary of Greek perfect usage from Homer to the Roman period,” and the first point he notes isThe ancient Greek perfect essentially denotes a state or condition, originally and usually of the subject; possibly, at a later state, of the object; and usually (possibly always) a state which has arisen from a prior action.
So, yes, it’s there and McKay does write (p2) that1. State or condition, normally, if not always, of the subject ...
(the resultative perfect being that “in which the state or condition represented by the perfect is not that of the subject, but that of the object” p1).The resultative perfect was probably not as important as Wackernagel, Chantraine and others have suggested,
Nevertheless, what I find attractive about McKay’s writing, as exemplified by this article, is its nuanced nature and its dealing directly with so many examples from the Greek. With Johnson, I remain less than convinced that Campbell allows McKay’s position to be fully appreciated. As Mike notes,
But this brings me back to one of my original hesitations in recommending Johnson’s study, fine piece though it seems to be. The person who is really interested in this subject is well advised to read McKay. They will also, perhaps, wish to read Campbell. And in reading Campbell, they will read Campbell’s response to McKay’s response to the Greek. Now, with Johnson’s article, they can read Johnson’s response to Campbell’s response to McKay’s response ... to the Greek.McKay isn't so dogmatic as to say that the perfect must always refer to the subject and the transitive perfects referring to the state of the object are possible and represent a later usage.
It was probably inevitable that the on-going study of verbal aspect in Greek would start feeding upon itself, but I’d still argue that most readers interested in the topic will find it more profitable to work both with the Greek and with the seminal studies themselves which are the object of Johnson’s study. And if a reader should be of an inclination to read a thesis study of these seminal works, well and good, for we have different interests and different ways of learning; but a potential reader – I have in mind those who may read our BGreek musings – is well advised to understand what Stephen points out:
Alex HopkinsThe thesis hardly ever presents Greek examples and the very few examples that are mentioned are all derived from the authors he's analyzing. Perhaps he had to limit the Greek in the thesis because one or two of those on his committee are in the English department, but with hardly any interaction with the Greek it reads like a literature review.