[B-Greek] Is understanding Greek verbal aspect crucial for understanding the Greek of the New Testament?
cwconrad2 at mac.com
Mon Nov 22 12:43:57 EST 2010
I don't think there was any discussion among grammarians about aspect as such until the
20th century; I think it was first termed "Aktionsart" -- which word is now used as a
subcategory of aspect. I would also agree with Nikos implicitly that one doesn't need to
know anything about aspect in order to READ Greek -- although it may well be useful
for those who wish to TRANSLATE Greek into another language correctly.
Con Campbell's book has been widely reviewed; Zondervan had a blog page with all
the URLs of several of them.
Here's a message of mine from the archives on the subject:
On May 27, 2009, at 7:11 AM, Eric S. Weiss wrote:
> My apologies if this has been asked already (I've been away from the
> list for months). Any thoughts on Constantine Campbell's BASICS OF
> VERBAL ASPECT IN BIBLICAL GREEK (Zondervan 2008)? What he says about
> aspect and the Perfect "Tense" is very different from what most are
> taught in first and even 2nd-year Greek, but I think I like what I'm
> reading (though it's making me have to unlearn and relearn a lot).
> If this has been discussed on B-Greek, can someone point me to the
> archived discussion? Thanks!
There has, in fact, been considerable discussion of the book. There
was a thread beginning March 31 and extending into April of this year
with subject-header: "[B-Greek] Constantine Campbell / Basics of
Verbal Aspect", "[B-Greek] Campbell and Aktionsart".
My own fuller comments on the book, with reference to other on-line
reviews, may be found as an entry in James Spinti's blog at:
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
On Nov 22, 2010, at 7:01 AM, nikolaos kadamou wrote:
> As a native Greek this period I read all Greek Grammars up to the 15 c. A.D.
> I did not see the concept of ASPECT in any of them, and I think I understand
> NT and Greek Literature.
> On Sun, Nov 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM, Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com>wrote:
>> I finished reading Constantine R. Campbell's "Basics of Verbal Aspect in
>> Biblical Greek" a few days ago. One of the endorsements of the book that
>> appears on the back cover is by Stanley E. Porter:
>> Campbell and I agree on at least one major point regarding verbal
>> aspect--understanding Greek verbal aspect is crucial for understanding the
>> Greek of the New Testament. For too long such knowledge has been woefully
>> lacking among commentators and other students. One cannot exegete the text
>> responsibly without applying an accurate understanding of Greek verbal
>> aspect. ...
>> LJ: This is the first book I have read on this subject--I have also read
>> some chapters from Porter's "Idioms of the Greek New Testament," in which he
>> touches on verbal aspect--so I am not sure whether I am qualified to express
>> an opinion on it yet, but the impression I have got is that there still so
>> much substantial disagreement among those who work in this area that the
>> value of verbal aspect, at least in its present state of development, to the
>> exegesis of the Greek New Testament seems questionable. At any rate the
>> claim that "[o]ne cannot exegete the text responsibly without applying an
>> accurate understanding of Greek verbal aspect" seems to be an overstatement.
>> Whose verbal aspect? Porter's or Campbell's or any other's? Even Porter's
>> statement that "Campbell and I agree on at least one major point regarding
>> verbal aspect--understanding Greek verbal aspect is crucial for
>> understanding the Greek of the New Testament" seems to imply that basically
>> the only major area of agr
>> eement between Porter and Campbell is that "understanding Greek verbal
>> aspect is crucial for understanding the Greek of the New Testament"!
>> There are many good translations of the NT available and the agreement
>> between them far exceeds the differences. There are many verses in which the
>> translations differ in the way they render them. Some of these are
>> doctrinally important verses, but differences in understanding verbal aspect
>> between translators are not the reason for these differences.
>> I am not saying that the study of verbal aspect is not important. Any
>> study, even if its contribution to exegesis of a Greek text is minimal, is
>> profitable, but is there really any basis to the claim "that understanding
>> Greek verbal aspect is crucial for understanding the Greek of the New
>> Leonard Jayawardena
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