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Open Access The Greek Perfect through Gothic Eyes: Evidence for the Existence of a Unitary Semantic for the Greek Perfect in New Testament Greek

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The Greek Perfect through Gothic Eyes: Evidence for the Existence of a Unitary Semantic for the Greek Perfect in New Testament Greek

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The semantics of the later Koine Greek perfect have been the subject of considerable debate in recent years. For the immediately post-Classical language Haug (2004) has suggested that the perfect combines resultant state and XN semantics, unifiable under the framework of event realisation (Bohnemeyer & Swift 2004). The present article presents a modified unitary semantic in terms of participant property (Smith 1997), and assesses its validity with reference to the translation of the perfect indicative active into Gothic. It is found that, while non-state verbs are translated only with past-tense forms in Gothic, contrary to traditional and even many modern views of the Greek perfect, the perfect of both pure state and change-of-state verbs are compatible with both past and non-past tense readings. The fact that this is the case regardless of the diachronic pedigree of the perfect forms concerned is taken as evidence consistent with the existence of the proposed unitary semantic for the Greek perfect in the New Testament in the eyes of the Gothic translator.

Affiliations: 1: Greek Bible College, Athens robertcrellin@cantab.net

10.1163/15699846-01401002
/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01401002
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The semantics of the later Koine Greek perfect have been the subject of considerable debate in recent years. For the immediately post-Classical language Haug (2004) has suggested that the perfect combines resultant state and XN semantics, unifiable under the framework of event realisation (Bohnemeyer & Swift 2004). The present article presents a modified unitary semantic in terms of participant property (Smith 1997), and assesses its validity with reference to the translation of the perfect indicative active into Gothic. It is found that, while non-state verbs are translated only with past-tense forms in Gothic, contrary to traditional and even many modern views of the Greek perfect, the perfect of both pure state and change-of-state verbs are compatible with both past and non-past tense readings. The fact that this is the case regardless of the diachronic pedigree of the perfect forms concerned is taken as evidence consistent with the existence of the proposed unitary semantic for the Greek perfect in the New Testament in the eyes of the Gothic translator.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01401002
2014-01-01
2016-12-04

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