Philippians 3:7-8 and Aspect Theory

From: Dan Deckard (
Date: Tue Apr 29 1997 - 15:39:11 EDT

One of the challenges of Aspect Theory (for me at least) is how to bridge
the gap between theory and exegesis. The verb HGEOMAI in Philippians 3:7
and 8 seems to provide a good test case. The verb is used frequently in
this book (relatively) and appears mostly in the Present and Aorist tenses.
Here however, in verse 7, Paul switches to the perfect tense (stative)
followed by a present in verse 8. What is the significance of the perfect
in verse 7? According to aspect theory, the perfect (& PluP)
grammaticalizes the stative aspect. How does one understand the stative
aspect of Paul's "reckoning" or "considering" especially in light of the
present (i.e. imperfective) occurrence of the same verb in verse 8? In
short, what is the significance of Paul's use of the stative and the switch
to the imperfective??

Any help from you Aspect Scholars would be greatly appreciated!

Dan Deckard
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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