Jesse Goulet wrote:I hear there is some debate or something about verbal aspect. Can anyone inform me about this?
I also hear that Bill Mounce didn't update his latest edition of BBG. So since I'm going through it, can anyone explain or point to a basic piece of introductory work with the updated info so I don't end up believing the wrong things about verbal aspect as I continue through Mounce? I already read Rod Decker's replacement paper (http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/document ... h15rev.pdf) but found only half of it useful and half of it difficult to understand.
Jonathan Robie wrote:I think you're trying to avoid getting into the details of the debate, and focus on what is most widely accepted. I'll try to give you a little guidance, the real experts will probably step in and say more.
If I were you, I might start with these two quotes from Rijksbaron's The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction: Third Edition, plus the table that appears on Page 5.
Jesse Goulet wrote:This looks really helpful, but this is for Classical Greek as the title says. But is it the same for Koine Greek?
In Greek a verb form carries only the grammatical meaning of aspect; it does not express time. For example, the aorist form refers only to the way the verb is formed/spelled (to be technical, we could say the “morphology”): the grammatical form that identifies perfective aspect. It tells us nothing about when the event occurred. An aorist form may describe an event in the past (it often does), the present, the future, or an “omnitemporal” event (one that is always true), as well as one that is timeless (i.e., one for which time is irrelevant: 1 + 1 is 2). The same principle is basically true of the other forms: present, imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Yes, what he says here is true of Koine Greek, certainly what he says in what I have excerpted.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Rijksbaron believes that a verb form expresses time, but it indicates absolute time only in the indicative. He also believes that the augment ε- indicates past time (note that it is used only in the indicative). Decker disagrees, as does Porter. We've spent a good 15 years debating this question.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Although not everyone likes Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, I'd say it's the best you can spend your money on, if you want to buy something..
Rijksbaron is more difficult (technical and academic) and will probably gather dust in your shelf. I own both. Wallace writes clearly, is easy and light to read and is still after 15 years unsurpassed in explaining aspect in a way which is accurate enough and still easy to understand.
And he's correct in his view on time/aspect debate, unlike Decker's paper (in my not-so-humble opinion).
I have also found Con Campbell's Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek useful. It's basically quite like Decker's paper in what it says (for example about time/aspect debate, aspect/Actionsart separation) but is more thorough and easy to read. But the name is misleading because it's actually "Basics of Campbell's view on Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek", so it's not the lowest common denominator for beginners. You can find some critique on Campbell's book by searching for "Campbell verbal aspect b-greek".
And for the whole time/aspect debate you should search for "verbal aspect b-greek", because there have been quite much discussion about the subject, mostly in the old mailing list. Much of the discussion may be above your level, but in any case you should read something easy and something difficult, and after learning something, read them again. There's no one perfect text or explanation. Rijksbaron, Wallace and Campbell are all good starters, and each has drawbacks. For good balance between easiness and technical correctness I recommend Wallace, while Rijksbaron may be linguistically the most correct but less readable
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