Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Exploring Albert Rijksbaron's book, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction, to see how it would need to be adapted for Koine Greek. Much of the focus will be on finding Koine examples to illustrate the same points Rijksbaron illustrates with Classical examples, and places where Koine Greek diverges from Classical Greek.
Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 6th, 2019, 2:02 pm

RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:07 pm
To be simple and blunt
Randall isn't simple but he's blunt when aspect-only theory is discussed. And he knows that himself. But I understand the reasons. I'm not a linguist but I think I have chosen my side, as you can see.
RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:07 pm
Extra advice for free: talk to yourself in Greek, it's good for the soul.
Another extra advice for free: choose your company carefully before doing that, otherwise it may be bad for the reputation.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by RandallButh » August 6th, 2019, 3:46 pm

But I understand the reasons.
For clarity I can specify the reasons for warning about 'aspect-only' theories:

1. Students sometimes think that they must get a graduate degree in linguistics in order to properly learn Greek, because they don't quite understand the disagreements that they encounter on Greek aspect. I am a linguist, I approve of studying linguistics, but I do not believe for an iota of time that a person must be a linguist in order to learn a human language, and learn it well.

2. Students sometimes think that because the discussions keep continuing in NT Greek forums that there is reliable support for the aspect-only theory as a viable theory. Actually, that "support" is based on carefully picked starting hypotheses plus an echo-chamber effect (that has not adequately answered the three items listed, plus others). Students need to know that wide swaths of Greek scholars and linguists are unconvinced and even amused by the aspect-only phenomenon.

3. "Aspect-only" can easily becomes a diversion that blocks a student from fully learning Greek. After all, one may reason, how can I work at internalization of the language when I/they don't even know what the basic language is/should-be?

This last item is the most insidiuous, having negative effects on the field and the next generation. The next generation has the opportunity to be stronger with the tools and pedagogies now available, yet they will be weaker if students spend the majority of their time in secondary literature (literature about Greek) rather than primary literature (Greek texts themselves).

So I counter with sound-bytes, as the three items in the last post show, and as a reminder of the kinds of facts that refute aspect-only as a viable theory for the Greek verb. "Aspect-only" is properly framed as a historical anecdote in the field of NT studies and students should set a goal on a high-level of Greek competence generated from a wide acquaintance of Greek literature.

it is also true that Greek is one of the most highly aspectual languages in the world and aspect in Greek deserves continuing investigation (with the caveat that the time parameter is not deleted from the indicative). There are lots of interesting areas that could use more clarity.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 6th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 2:39 am
Here are Campbell's examples from Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek:
Future Aorist
More commonly, the aorist tense-form may be used in future-referring contexts.
Two of these are straightforward.
Mark 11:24
διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε, πιστεύετε ὅτι ἐλάβετε, καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν.
You know the traditional understanding. This verse falls kind of flat if you take out the past reference of the aorist, IMHO.
Revelation 10:7
ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἀγγέλου ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς εὐηγγέλισεν τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ δούλους τοὺς προφήτας
Prophetic.

This one is interesting:
Luke 17:6
εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος· Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ· Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.
The conditional structure is relevant here, and ἂν is important in both places. Εἰ ἔχετε ... ἐλέγετε ἂν ... ὑπήκουσεν ἂν. This involves conditionals and hypothetical scenarios, and there are rules that govern the use of tense in conditional structures.

Randall Tan and I took a look at this together just now, we think this probably involves the following structure:
εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος·
Protasis: Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως,
Apodosis:
Protasis: ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ· Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ·
Apodosis: καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.
Randall suggests this as a possible interpretation:
if you have faith, even if you had been saying ..., then it would have obeyed you.
At any rate, it is essential to consider the conditionals here when interpreting the use of tense.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 6th, 2019, 4:44 pm

RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:46 pm
2. Students sometimes think that because the discussions keep continuing in NT Greek forums that there is reliable support for the aspect-only theory as a viable theory. Actually, that "support" is based on carefully picked starting hypotheses plus an echo-chamber effect (that has not adequately answered the three items listed, plus others). Students need to know that wide swaths of Greek scholars and linguists are unconvinced and even amused by the aspect-only phenomenon.
To be fair, a lot of their impact comes from the fact that they are very prolific publishers and Stan has been a really good mentor to a lot of people who agree with him and have been touched by his positive presence in their lives. And they have a strong presence at SBL. If you judge by the number of published papers, they come out strong and they have a strong community.

But I also think that it's accurate to view them as one school, and I don't think they define the mainstream. And they aren't the only ones using modern linguistics.

I'm not in the Porter school, but I really do like and respect Stan, Chris, and Francis.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by RandallButh » August 6th, 2019, 5:11 pm

I'm not in the Porter school, but I really do like and respect
Yes, I really like the people, and respect for their publications and dedication. (Sorry if quips on theory may distract from this.)
And I am still waiting to hear a Constantine recital on the sax!

BUT the theory has a negative effect on students.

and
and I don't think they define the mainstream


an understatement, to be sure: In Classics, which is the broader Greek field that usually requires more Greek reading and Greek study than NT practitioners, they may define something closer to a zero stream.

One might add that in the Dutch-authored Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek [2017] time in the Greek indicative is presented matter-of-factly without doubt or quibble, 33:1-3. In the CGCC Bibliography, admittedly restricted rather than comprehensive and maximal, B. Fanning is listed with his 1990 work Verbal Aspect in NT Greek but Porter and friends are not listed. I cite this for those who may want to read between the lines.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 6th, 2019, 7:49 pm

RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:07 pm

PS: the ancients also rejected the theory, preemptively. The ancient grammarians were the ones who came up with the temporal definitions of indicative time, on their own, and as mother-tongue speakers.
A citation to that sources would be amazing, if available. Thanks!
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 7th, 2019, 5:14 am

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 7:49 pm
RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:07 pm

PS: the ancients also rejected the theory, preemptively. The ancient grammarians were the ones who came up with the temporal definitions of indicative time, on their own, and as mother-tongue speakers.
A citation to that sources would be amazing, if available. Thanks!
See here for a discussion of one of them: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... php?t=2369
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 7th, 2019, 8:54 am

RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 5:11 pm

an understatement, to be sure: In Classics, which is the broader Greek field that usually requires more Greek reading and Greek study than NT practitioners, they may define something closer to a zero stream.

One might add that in the Dutch-authored Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek [2017] time in the Greek indicative is presented matter-of-factly without doubt or quibble, 33:1-3. In the CGCC Bibliography, admittedly restricted rather than comprehensive and maximal, B. Fanning is listed with his 1990 work Verbal Aspect in NT Greek but Porter and friends are not listed. I cite this for those who may want to read between the lines.
Zero stream? The one or two classicists I know that are aware of the discussion are actively hostile to the proposition, and I'm in total agreement with them. My first thought when exposed to the theory (actually from discussions on B-Greek) was "They've got to be kidding! Have they actually read any Greek?" That is not an a-typical reaction of classicists when exposed to Biblical scholarship, because they all too often see people doing things with the language that nobody else ever does.
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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 7th, 2019, 12:31 pm

RandallButh wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 5:11 pm
One might add that in the Dutch-authored Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek [2017] time in the Greek indicative is presented matter-of-factly without doubt or quibble, 33:1-3. In the CGCC Bibliography, admittedly restricted rather than comprehensive and maximal, B. Fanning is listed with his 1990 work Verbal Aspect in NT Greek but Porter and friends are not listed. I cite this for those who may want to read between the lines.
Siebenthal does mention Porter and Campbell. He says that this is a recent theory found primarily among English-speaking New Testament scholars, which is accurate, and he explains why he does not follow Porter and Campbell in his grammar. He points out two weaknesses in their theory:
Die von Porter und Campbell vertretene These scheint u.a. folgende Hauptschwachpunkte aufzuweisen:

a) Man setzt offenbar ein Verständnis von »Kategorie« voraus, das als problematisch zu bezeichnen ist. Wie etwa der Linguist T. Givón (I S.29–34) nachweist, umfassen Kategorien in der Regel keine klar abgrenzbaren, homogenen Segmente der Wirklichkeit (offenbar anders als bei der obigen These angenommen). Dies trifft nicht zuletzt auch auf die linguistischen Kategorien zu: Die hier untersuchte und zu beschreibende Wirklichkeit besteht zu einem großen Teil aus einem Kontinuum. Die (kategoriellen) Grenzen zwischen unterscheidbaren Bereichen erweisen sich immer wieder als fließend. Im Kernbereich einer Kategorie findet sich das Typische, jene Phänomene nämlich, die sämtliche Kennzeichen dieser Kategorie aufweisen. An den Rändern trifft man jedoch auch auf atypische Erscheinungen, bei denen ein Teil der kategoriellen Kennzeichen fehlt. Einige Indikativformen mit problematischer Zeitbedeutungsfunktion sind von daher noch kein Grund, eine solche dem Indikativ überhaupt abzusprechen; sie lassen sich sinnvollerweise dem Randbereich zuordnen, der an die benachbarte Kategorie ohne typische Zeitbedeutungsfunktion grenzt.

b) Die Möglichkeit von Mehrdeutigkeit scheint zu wenig berücksichtigt. Sprachliche Zeichen können – im Unterschied zu nichtsprachlichen Zeichen – mehrdeutig, d.h. polysem bzw. multifunktional, sein: Einem Ausdruckselement entspricht häufig mehr als ein Inhalt oder eine Funktion, ein Umstand, der die Verstehbarkeit von Texten gewöhnlich nicht beeinträchtigt, da sich das jeweils Gemeinte meist anhand von weiteren Sprachsignalen oder einfach aufgrund des Kontextes leicht erschließen lässt. Wenn sich z.B. Imperfektformen manchmal nicht auf Vergangenes, sondern etwa auf Nichtwirkliches beziehen, braucht dies die Zeitbedeutungsfunktion dieser indikativischen Kategorie nicht in Frage zu stellen; der Bezug auf Nichtwirkliches wird ja typischerweise durch die Konjunktion εἰ, die Partikel ἄν oder dann durch die Verbbedeutung signalisiert (§198h/i; 284), eine Situation, die der der englischen past tense nicht unähnlich ist (vgl. z.B. He went. – If he went …).

von Siebenthal, Heinrich. Griechische Grammatik zum Neuen Testament: Neubearbeitung und Erweiterung der Grammatik Hoffmann / von Siebenthal (German Edition) (Page 310). Brunnen Verlag Gießen. Kindle Edition.
The first weakness is that their theory is based primarily on treating the traditional theory as completely black-and-white, then showing that there are examples that do not fit this black-and-white interpretation. Language is always fluid, and you will always find examples in the grey area that are harder to classify as clearly. A few examples of indicative forms that are hard to classify with respect to time does not prove that the indicative form does not encode time.

The second weakness is that the polysemy of forms is not adequately considered. For instance, the imperfect form is not only a past tense form, it is also used for irreal conditions in conditional sentences. We saw an example of this earlier in the discussion of Luke 17:6. Siebenthal points out that we see something similar in English: "if he went" is a conditional, not a reference to past time.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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Re: Aorist indicative with future temporal reference

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 7th, 2019, 3:59 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
August 7th, 2019, 12:31 pm
Siebenthal does mention Porter and Campbell. He says that this is a recent theory found primarily among English-speaking New Testament scholars, which is accurate, and he explains why he does not follow Porter and Campbell in his grammar. He points out two weaknesses in their theory:
More Siebenthal translated here: https://germanforneutestamentler.com/20 ... eburtstag/
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