A couple of points.
In linguistics, texts are viewed as having a mainline structure and in narrative this is typically a past-tense perfective aspect providing the basic skeleton/framework of events, other tenses are used for filling in the picture as background. Porter turns that inside out, where his aorist is called "background", the imperfective (imperfect, too?!) is called foreground, and then the perfect is called frontground and most prominent. That is not a system of discourse analysis used by anyone and it is definitely not the way that Greek works.
I am reading a recent (2011) book on hermeneutics. The authors appear to have read most of the 1990s stuff on verb aspect and NT pragmatics. They include a short passage on the Greek verb which starts out sounding like vintage 1992 Porter. They cite 1992 Porter (Idioms) in the footnotes. It appears that they have also read some of "Discourse Features" S. Levinsohn since their treatment of the historical present in John seems to be dependant on that book but may not be. Vintage '92 Porter seems to be entrenched and it is being served up to unsuspecting seminary students in Hermeneutics. This is what I find scary about NT Studies and linguistics. The acceptance of some idea seems to be a matter of marketing. The buyer isn't able to evaluate the quality of the work so the blurbs from "authorities" become the basis for credibility.
Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology Kostenberger, Andreas J.; Patterson, Richard 9780825430473
On verbs, this reminds me of a Duck Dynasty TV situation:
Sy comes up to Jason: "I've been trying to understand the Greek verb and wonder if I should try reading this here book?"
Jason: "Let me explain it to you in Spanish: ¡ No ! "
(for the purposes of "getting the joke" it should be known that Jason's line is a quote from a Duck Dynasty attribution seen on a T-shirt.)
Put simply, the problem in the 80-90's was that by and large NT departments were out of touch with linguistics.so they had a difficult time explaining why Porter was wrong, though most people recognized that something was wrong with aspect-only Greek. Hey, they were having a hard enough time deciding whether NT was an 8-case system (confusing form and meaning) or a 5-case system, and were confusing semantic meaning of lexical items ("Aktionsart") with aspect. My first encounter with Porter's system was in Africa via a neutral summary of things going on in biblical studies. My first reaction on the Porter item was that the abstracter or typist had made a mistake. Later, on fuller acquaintance, my reaction was that the whole discussion in NT studies was surreal and unbelievable.
Think about the big picture and what this says about the field of NT studies. If Porter were right, then no one has been reading Greek correctly, ever, including the ancient Greeks. If Porter is wrong, then NT studies is in a mess by not being able to clarify this for students. Either way, NT studies comes out limping along pretty weakly on the language side. One way to fix this is to have people learn the language to point of communicating in the language. Our Greek profs need to be presenting papers to each other in Greek.
And they won't be saying things like *αὔριον ἐποίησεν. Let's hear it from Jason on aspect-only Greek verbs: No. And clarified in Spanish: No.
You made a comment about pragmatic analysis earlier. In terms of the greek verb aspect, Levinsohn warns us against treating imperfective aspect as a marker of backgrounded material. There are indicators other than verb aspect to identify a constituent as "in the background" which argue against linking this directly to verb aspect. You think this is part of Porterism, making aspect the principal issue in foreground and background.
C. Stirling Bartholomew