Porter and the Greek Verb, Part I

Since I was rather critical of Porter a couple days ago, I suppose I should provide a clarifying post regarding what I actually think of his view of Koine Greek. I’m also doing this to expand my discussion of Moulton’s view of the verb and because James Spinti was interested in my opinion after I wrote a post critical of Caragounis. For those of you who aren’t interested in long detailed posts, here’s the quick list:

  1. His thesis that Greek verbs are not temporal is far from being as extreme and as revolutionary as many think (probably including Porter).
  2. If Porter had formed and articulated his thesis in a different manner, more people would have accepted it.
  3. I think Porter’s major monograph is incredibly inconsistent in its use of terminology such as Aspect and Aktionsart.
  4. I think that he’s wrong about the aspectual vagueness of the “Future tense-form.” It should be viewed as Perfective.

What does this mean? It basically means that while there is more to be said for old grammars than Porter appears to suggest, there is also still much to do and Koine Linguistics still must get past Comparative Philology as its linguistic model. Porter and Moulton have much in common, particularly that they are/were both linguists. 100 years ago, nearly everyone who wrote Greek grammar had studied linguistics we need to get back to that point today. Not all the questions have been answered and some of them need to be asked again.

What follows either later today or tomorrow will be an elaboration of the points above and will probably include this little introduction too – and I might add a fifth point.

Part II is HERE

Part III is HERE

Part IV is HERE

11 thoughts on “Porter and the Greek Verb, Part I

  1. Seumas: I’ve read his first book Verbal Aspect in the Indicative Mood and Narrative. It was good. He was much clearer than Porter in general and I found his use of (and in particuarl presentation) the evidence to be better than Porter. But I’m not yet convinced that the Perfect encodes “heighten proximity.” But I haven’t made any sort of definitive decision on that…just yet.

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