Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Function of the Greek Imperfect

Dr. Rod Decker has an interesting post on the function of the Greek imperfect at his blog, which can be found here. Building off of Stanley Porter's and Constantine Campbell's work on verbal aspect, Decker summarizes his understanding of the imperfect tense with these words, "The substantive difference between the present and imperfect forms is remoteness. The imperfect is a more remote form than the present. The imperfect may be logically, temporally, physically, focally, etc. remote compared with the present form." This understanding of the imperfect does not undo the "classic" understand of the imperfect (translating ἐλυον as “I was loosing”), but rather makes it fuller and more flexible. Decker's post is worth a look, especially his examples, which help illustrate his point.

(As an aside, I have a review of Constantine Campbell's book Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.)


  1. Con Campbell has a blog ( in case you didn't know.

  2. Adam,

    Thanks for the info. I was aware of his blog, but now some of our other readers are aware of it as well. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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