(gnomic) These two positions don't even seem close

CWestf5155 at aol.com CWestf5155 at aol.com
Mon Aug 28 16:37:09 EDT 2000

In a message dated 08/28/2000 10:26:32 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 
c.s.bartholomew at worldnet.att.net writes:

 Having spent more time and effort than I would like to think about trying to
 make use Porter's model in actual exegesis I have essentially abandoned this
 quest. After nine years of messing around with aspect theory I have parted
 ways with the several promoters of "grand theory" models from the late 80's
 and 1990's.>>


You are one of the people who has made an effort to understand the 
linguistics system behind Porter's theories, and in my opinion, you have 
benefitted from the journey considerably.  People on the list who respect 
your contributions as I do, respect them largely because you are more 
linguistically informed than most (though you downplay your knowledge).

I'm always aware that for you the bottom-line of any theory is applicability 
in actual exegesis, and I agree with you.  I remember wondering where all 
this esoteric theory on aspect and linguistics would lead and how it would 
benefit, and thinking that if it didn't reap any significant exegetical 
rewards then it wasn't worth its salt.

Now for me, the theories on aspect are paying off as I look at language above 
the sentence level.  I don't think that aspect is worth as much when studying 
at the sentence level, except that it explains the semantic overlap in how 
tenses work in given contexts.  And after all, on the list people regularly 
ask for explanations of how a given aorist is functioning unexpectedly--and I 
silently scream each time "It's aspect!  What are they teaching in the 

There is one other benefit from the aspect discussions--it has freed us from 
the exegetical manipulations that base an important theological point on a 
punctilliar aorist.  You know what I'm talking about. 

Besides my DA model, I had an unexpected benefit from my aspect studies.  I 
was  "trying" to teach second year Spanish and had to teach the difference 
between the preterite and the imperfect, and found considerable (really 
amazing) parallels with the issues surrounding the aorist and imperfect.  I 
understood the difference which had never been clarified when I took Spanish 
and was able to lead the students through some literature analysis that made 
sense of the changes in tense.  And I have subsequently spoken with teachers 
who were native speakers and teachers who learned Spanish as a second 
language in childhood who didn't have a clue.
 Thank you Randall. You have save a lot of people a lot of time and trouble
 if the will simply take your analysis of this and live with it rather than
 get side tracked by endless "brush busting" through the jungles of verb
 aspect theory. 
 For any new student of NT Greek this is one journey you do not need to take.


At least I can say that there is still work to be done in developing a model 
that is teachable for beginning and intermediate Greek, and in working 
through/convincing why anyone should give a rip.

Cindy Westfall
PhD Student, Roehampton

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