Tenses

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Peng Huiguo
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Tenses

Post by Peng Huiguo » April 29th, 2019, 9:49 pm

(I've sent an email to Jonathan to change my name)

Can I regard tenses this way? Taking an action as an event that progresses from a beginning to an end, towards an aim,

Present would be it in progress.
Aorist would be it well completed, having reached its aim.
Imperfect would be it in beginning.
Perfect would be it smack at the end.
Pluperfect would be an ancillary action.
Future would be before it begins.

Thus in Mark 14:72, Peter in an expressive flashback ἐπιβαλὼν ἔκλαιεν.

In Mark 1:11, God said ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

In John 19:30, Jesus said τετέλεσται.

And so on. Also the tendency of verbs of speaking and walking to be in present tense, because such actions are depicted as in progress.

John 17 unrolls and breathes when I read its tenses this way.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Tenses

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » April 30th, 2019, 3:19 am

No.
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: Tenses

Post by Peng Huiguo » April 30th, 2019, 6:00 am

Not at all? I'm thinking in terms of an action life cycle, like

Someone says (present) he's going to do something (future), and then he does it (imperfect), and while he's doing it (present) he does something else (pluperfect), and then it's done (perfect), and all look (present) upon his doing (aorist) with approval.

Could you run it thru some verses to see if it holds up?
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: Tenses

Post by Peng Huiguo » April 30th, 2019, 12:58 pm

Verses quoted by Constantine Campbell in Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek could throw some light here (but not quite in the way he explained them). Two striking examples:

2 Tim 4:7 — τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι, τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα, τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα

Campbell in forcing an imperfective aspect on the perfect tense, translated this to "I am fighting the good fight, I am finishing the race, I am keeping the faith", but I don't think that's correct. Paul was saying he had done those tasks (in the sense of accomplishment), not that he's still doing them (in temporal sense).

Mark 9:13 — Ἠλίας ἐλήλυθεν, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἤθελον

Campbell construed ἐλήλυθεν as "historical perfect", but I don't think time needs to be considered here — Elijah has indeed come, and they've done to him what they set out to do. Btw there's a little ambiguity in who that αὐτῷ refers to. The parallel passage in Matthew 17 as well as Mark 9:12 direct the ending clause to the "son of man", and interestingly Mat 17:12 has ἠθέλησαν, an aorist directed at Elijah. I think the imperfect ἤθελον in Mark 9:13 "bleeds into" the unspecified son of man.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Tenses

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 30th, 2019, 2:08 pm

dimi wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 12:58 pm
Verses quoted by Constantine Campbell in Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek could throw some light here (but not quite in the way he explained them).
There is more than one school of thought among people applying modern linguistics to biblical Greek.

Many here on B-Greek are more inclined to follow an approach more like Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition.

Here's a summary table:

Image

And a few more tables:

Image

Image

If you want a longer read with a wider range of perspectives, many of us have also been influenced by The Greek Verb Revisited: A French Approach for Biblical Exegesis.
dimi wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 12:58 pm
Two striking examples:

2 Tim 4:7 — τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι, τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα, τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα

Campbell in forcing an imperfective aspect on the perfect tense, translated this to "I am fighting the good fight, I am finishing the race, I am keeping the faith", but I don't think that's correct. Paul was saying he had done those tasks (in the sense of accomplishment), not that he's still doing them (in temporal sense).
So how would you apply Rijksbaron's model to the same passage?

While we're at it, what does the context tell us? What time does verse 6 seem to refer to in context? Verse 7? Verse 8? What tenses are used in these verses?
dimi wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 12:58 pm
Mark 9:13 — Ἠλίας ἐλήλυθεν, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἤθελον

Campbell construed ἐλήλυθεν as "historical perfect", but I don't think time needs to be considered here — Elijah has indeed come, and they've done to him what they set out to do. Btw there's a little ambiguity in who that αὐτῷ refers to. The parallel passage in Matthew 17 as well as Mark 9:12 direct the ending clause to the "son of man", and interestingly Mat 17:12 has ἠθέλησαν, an aorist directed at Elijah. I think the imperfect ἤθελον in Mark 9:13 "bleeds into" the unspecified son of man.
And how would you apply Rijksbaron's model to this one?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Tenses

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 30th, 2019, 2:30 pm

Campbell's view of the perfect is quite unfortunate.
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Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Tenses

Post by Bruce McKinnon » April 30th, 2019, 3:41 pm

Jonathan, thank you for the reference to Rijksbaron's book.

I was also intrigued by the book you mention about a French Approach but subsequently realized it was a typo for Runge's Fresh Approach, which already sits in my library!
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Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Tenses

Post by Bruce McKinnon » April 30th, 2019, 3:59 pm

Hopefully without wandering too far off topic: I've discovered that Rijksbaron is one of the editors of the very recently published Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek. It's advertised as shedding light from modern linguistics on all aspects of classical Greek grammar, not just verbs. My training in classical Greek and Latin philology was long before any influence from linguistics so I'm tempted to acquire the book and, as a bonus, it may also shed light on NT Greek.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Tenses

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 30th, 2019, 4:47 pm

Bruce McKinnon wrote:
April 30th, 2019, 3:59 pm
I've discovered that Rijksbaron is one of the editors of the very recently published Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek. It's advertised as shedding light from modern linguistics on all aspects of classical Greek grammar ...
I recommend reading some of it first before laying out the cash. My experience has been "shedding light from modern linguistics" doesn't amount to much in a grammar reference work. You will need to read monographs to seriously engage with linguistics. Haven't bothered to look at this book so I am not commenting on it.
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: Tenses

Post by Peng Huiguo » April 30th, 2019, 6:01 pm

Jonathan,

I haven't read Rijksbaron, but I guess from the tables you posted that he laid out the usual explanation of the tenses ie. temporals in the indicative, state after a perfect, etc. Here's the thing about stativity after an action though, and one of the writers in Greek Verb Revisited mentioned this too — every done action has a state, if just of "has consequences", so it's not worth mentioning. Also, an aspect-only verb can still have temporal connotation, just that the connotation isn't in the verb; so an aorist or a perfect fits right into the past (only not necessarily) because they're completed actions. That's what Porter & co. were getting at, and I think they're on the right track because with a little adjustment their theory can have great explanatory power. The adjustment is to look at the action from the pov of its task instead of the writer's utterance. (Campbell tried to get rid of stativity in his postulation of the imperfective perfect, and somehow got back a temporal tense!)

Let's look at 2 Tim 4:6-8.

Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι, καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἀναλύσεώς μου ἐφέστηκεν.
I'm being poured out (present, fitting ἤδη), and the time for my departure is here (perfect).
Note the tone of finality. There's no state after the perfect.

τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι, τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα, τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα:
Perfect, perfect, perfect, dangling...

λοιπὸν ἀπόκειταί μοι ὁ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος, ὃν ἀποδώσει μοι ὁ κύριος ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ δίκαιος κριτής,
The rest of my rewards are being laid up (present) by the Lord, the righteous judge, for that day (of judgement)

οὐ μόνον δὲ ἐμοὶ ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἠγαπηκόσι τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ.
not just for me, but also for all who love/affiliate-with (final perfect completing the ἠγώνισμαι, τετέλεκα, and τετήρηκα) Him. There's no after-state. This is the τέλος.

Now, Mark 9:13. In Rijksbaron's scheme, that last ἤθελον would be in the past and would lose the connection with Jesus. Look at vv. 12 & 13

Ἠλίας μὲν ἐλθὼν πρῶτον ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα, καὶ πῶς γέγραπται ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ καὶ ἐξουδενηθῇ;
ἀλλὰ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι καὶ Ἠλίας ἐλήλυθεν, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἤθελον, καθὼς γέγραπται ἐπ’ αὐτόν.
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