Re: Aspect, etc.

From: Rod Decker (
Date: Fri May 02 1997 - 17:02:42 EDT

Sara R. Johnson asked:
>summer. But could someone post, in very brief form, a short list of books
>that discuss recent theoretical developments in the discussion of aspect in
>Greek? I have seen several names fly by in the discussion but have lost
>track of who's who, and what might be appropriate reading for an aspect
>newbie such as myself. ;-)

The list is really quite short. The books, on the other hand, can be quite
long. I list the ff. in the order of complexity, which may be the order in
which they ought to be read.

The first three are by proponents of one approach or another currently
being advocated:

Stanley Porter, Idioms of the Greek NT, Sheffield, 1992 (pp. 20-25 surveys
the issue and summarizes his conclusions from his "big one"--see below)

K. L. McKay, A New Syntax of the Verb in NT Greek: An Aspectual Approach,
Peter Lang, 1994 (pp. 27-40)

Dan Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Zondervan, 1996 (pp. 494-512)

For overviews, consider these:

Porter, Stanley E. and D. A. Carson, ed. Biblical Greek Language and
Linguistics: Open Questions in Current Research. Journal for the Study of
the New Testament Supplement Series, vol. 80. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993.
(This contains the essays that record the 'famous'(?) Porter/Fanning Debate
at SBL in Kansas City in 1991 with responses, etc. by Carson, Silva, and

At the risk of sounding self-serving, I will also note that my article in
Trinity Journal has an overview of the discussion: "The Semantic Range of
NUN in the Gospels as Related to Temporal Deixis." Trinity Journal 16 ns
(1995): 187-217 (the overview runs through 193).

Then come the heavyweights: the published dissertations that have provided
the major impetus for recent discussion in NT circles. Well worth reading,
though not when you're sleepy or in a hurry!

Stanley Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with
Reference to Tense and Mood. Studies in Biblical Greek, vol. 1. 2d ed. New
York: Peter Lang, 1993. (582 pgs. in small print! set normally this would
probably run to over 1,000 pgs.)

Buist Fanning, Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek. Oxford Theological
Monographs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. (471 pgs. in normal type)

There are many more items worth reading, but you asked for a brief list...

Happy reading!


 Rodney J. Decker Asst. Prof./NT Baptist Bible Seminary Clarks Summit, PA

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