RE: tense & aspect / action & states of being

From: Jonathan Robie (74144.2360@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sun Sep 08 1996 - 13:27:28 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote:

> Oh, the shameless impudence of these "little Greeks"! ;-)

Can you imagine how bad I'd be if I were a "big Greek" ? ;->

Seriously, after reading Young's objections to the traditional approach to tense
and aspect, pointing out e.g. that aorist can be used for actions in the
present, the past, the future, etc., I notice that both Robertson and BDR seem
to say very similar things, and BDR even uses the term "aspect". If Robertson
and BDR represent the traditional approach, I would say that Young's depiction
of the traditional approach is a strawman.

However, I also feel that I'm reading a fairly abstract description of
tense/aspect, and I'm not sure how to apply it concretely. I always understand
theory better when I see it applied. I once attended a behaviorist kindergarten,
expecting to find headless kids in Pavlovian hammocks, but what I actually saw
at this particular kindergarten was not much different from the humanistic
kindergarten at which I was working at the time. Knowing how they used their
particular understanding of behaviorism was much more enlightening than trying
to understand behaviorism in the abstract. Which is why I'm asking all these
people giving theoretical explanations to please give me some examples to show
how their theory affects interpretation.

I believe that Young is trying to explain Fanning's approach. Is Fanning better
here? I haven't read Fanning. What are some cases where Robertson or BDR can not
adequately interpret the tense/aspect of a passage, but Fanning's approach is

Incidentally, does Modern Greek usage shed any light on the use of tense/aspect
in Hellenistic Greek?

"The Bible question box"

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