Re: Greek Grammarians and Aspect

From: Rod Decker (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 07:55:53 EST

>Wes Williams, seconded by Rich Lindeman, asks whether there were
>Greek grammarians of Classical and Koine times, and if so, what
>did they say about aspect, time, and tense.
>While this is an impossibly busy time for me, and I have no time for a
>serious answer, I see that no one has responded to the main question, as to
>grammarians of that era.

I prob. have no more time than Ed at the moment, but I offer some secondary
references where this question is discussed at considerable length:

R. Binnick, *Time and the Verb* (Oxford, 1991), 3-26.
S. Porter, *Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the NT* (Lang, 1989; 2d ed.,
1993), 18-22.

The Stoics did have an aspectual approach to the verb, though obviously not
as sophisticated as modern theories of that matter. I think it could be
said generally that the ancient grammarians were not sophisticated in their
explanations of grammar, seldom if ever progressing beyond a discussion of
individual words. The accuracy of their theoretical conclusions was
probably not much greater than "popular" English grammar today that assumes
that there are three tenses in English (past, present, future).


 Rodney J. Decker Baptist Bible Seminary
 Asst. Prof./NT P O Box 800 Clarks Summit PA 18411

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