Porter's Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament

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Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Porter's Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 3rd, 2014, 6:37 pm

RandallButh wrote: Another angle on all of this that Porter got wrong from the beginning is the historical present. Porter claimed to "explain" it by claiming that it was only an imperfective aspect and did not carry present time marking. What he didn't understand and what those listening to him didn't understand is that the historical present is a rhetorical device that plays both time and ASPECT against itsself for rhetorical effect. The historical present is typically used for events that would normally be encoded as perfective in a narrative. Yes, the present is prototypically an imperfective. That is the mismatch. The author introduces a series of perfective events with an imperfective for an event that is complete and completed before the next narrative event. And not only is the aspect violated, but the time is likewise violated, by using the present in a past situation. That is why it has always been called a historical present, pitting both aspect and time against itself for rhetorical effect. Rijksbaren got that right in his little syntax. NT profs didn't and they didn't see that Porter's "positive evidence" was actually counterevidence to Porter's theory.
Thank you Randall.

"... in the cold distance A wild cat did growl Two riders were approaching And the wind begin to howl" Jimi Hendrix[1] take on Bob Dylan All Along The Watchtower


[1]I heard this in concert Sept. 6, 1968.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 617
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Porter's Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 4th, 2014, 5:58 pm

RandallButh wrote:The problem with Porterism on aspect and discourse is that he gets things backwards.

Perfectives primarily form a foregrounded framework of narrative and imperfectives primarily provide the background. That is standard linguistic fare and Levinsohn would agree with it, as do I. Linking two aspects primarily with foreground and background in narrative is not a problem, though it cannot be made absolute. For one there are various kinds of subordinations and parentheses. And different genre have different structural needs.

The aorist (perfective) is not in every case used for bounded temporal succession[1] which forms the "backbone" of narrative, aka foreground. This accounts for some exceptions.





[1] Cook, John A. 2004. “The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of wayyiqtol and weqatal in Biblical Hebrew Prose.” Journal of Semitic Studies 49: 247-273.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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