Additions to the Bibliography

greekverbrevisitedI have added The Greek Verb Revisited to the bibliography here at Each of the papers contained in the book now also has its own entry in the bibliography.

I just found out today that the book is available for Kindle. You can read it on any device with the Kindle app.

The Greek Verbal System and Aspect Prominence

A new article by Nicholas J. Ellis, Michael G. Aubrey, and Mark Dubis has recently appeared in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society discussing the need for revising the terms we use to discuss the Greek verbal system. You can download the article from

Their proposals have grown out of the work they have done with BibleMesh and are influenced by the work of other scholars such as Stephen H. Levinsohn and Randall Buth as well as conversations with Christopher Fresch and Steve Runge.

Here is the abstract:

Verbal systems can give prominence to tense, aspect, or mood. The morphology of the verbal system within biblical Greek provides important evidence to suggest that Greek is an aspect-prominent language, though one that also incorporates tense within the indicative mood. Certain traditional grammatical labels inappropriately treat Greek as though it were instead a tense-prominent language like English (e.g. the use of “present” or “tense formative” outside of the indicative mood). We need to reform our descriptive labels and general conception of Greek accordingly. In doing so, the simplicity and beauty of the Greek verbal system emerges, offering pedagogical advantages for teachers of Greek and challenging exegetes to properly account for Greek’s particular configuration of tense, aspect, and mood.

The well-informed discussion Ellis, Aubrey, and Dubis provide is long overdue. The terminology we use to label particular forms and their usage play a large role in informing interpretation of those forms. More accurate nomenclature will lead to better understanding and greater efficiency in describing the language.

I have added this article to the bibliography here at with notes to the names of each of the authors.

Article on the Greek Perfect in the New Testament

Have any of you read the following article in the current issue of the Journal of Greek Linguistics? It sounds interesting, but it costs $30 to download. Is it worth the money?

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

Post a comment if you have read it.

The Verb in Koine Greek

There’s a wonderful discussion of Albert Rijksbaron’s book, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction, going on over at the B-Greek Forum. The participants are discussing the book one section at a time, comparing it’s observations on Classical Greek to the available data for the Hellenistic Period. While the discussion is focussed largely on the New Testament, there is some attempt to reach beyond that corpus to the wider early Christian literature, and perhaps even the wider Hellenistic Koiné.

Rijksbaron’s book gives a very good overview of the verb in the Classical Period. It would be great to see a parallel treatment for Hellenistic Greek. Perhaps this discussion, with participation from advanced students as well as seasoned professors, will lead to the eventual production of such a treatment.

Take a look.

Topical Index updated (voice, imperfective aspect)

I have updated the topical index for my online grammar to include the topics raised in lessons 22 (Present Middle and Passive) and 23 (Imperfect Middle and Passive). These deal mostly with voice and aspect, but also include the formation of the relevant verbs.

Reading the Future Middle and Passive

Today I finished reading all of the instances in the New Testament of what has traditionally been called the future passive (296 instances) and started reading the 485 instances of the future middle. I hope to have something insightful to say about them when I finish, but it’s a daunting task.

Updates to lessons 22 and 23

I have updated lessons 22 and 23 (Present and Imperfect Middle/Passive). The changes to lesson 22 are very minor—just a few wording changes. The main change to lesson 23, though, is the deletion of the discussion on transitivity. I will introduce that topic in a later lesson with much better examples. This change helps unnecessary complication, tightening the focus on the issue of voice.

I also made a few changes to the course lexicon (cumulative vocabulary list) to improve entries for some of the verbs presented in these lessons.

Lesson 23: Imperfect Middle and Passive

I’ve uploaded lesson 23: “Imperfect Middle and Passive” to my online grammar. It has six vocabulary exercises, but is still missing a couple of practice exercises for recognizing imperfect middle/passive forms that I will add over the next few days.

The vocabulary exercises consist of a flashcard set, four brief drag and drop vocabulary games, and a practice vocabulary quiz.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you notice any typographical error or other problem.

Rutger Allan: The Middle Voice in Ancient Greek: A Study of Polysemy

Thanks to Mike Aubrey for making me aware of the free download of Rutger J. Allan’s dissertation on the Middle Voice in Ancient Greek. You can download the whole dissertation or individual chapters here.

While Dr. Allan was dealing with Homeric and Classical Greek, many of his observations and conclusions appear to be very applicable to the hellenistic period as well.

I have added the published version as well as the dissertation to my online bibliography.

Rijksbaron: Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek

On March 1, Mike Aubrey commented about Rijksbaron’s book, “And this is just one book that should be on the shelf of every student of Ancient Greek.” It wasn’t on mine. So I bought a copy.

What a nice overview of the Classical Greek verbal system! I will have more to say about it later, but for now I’d just like to comment that I really like Rijksbaron’s integration of syntax and semantics, his clear discussion of how the semantic content of individual verbs influences the way such issues as verbal aspect play out in given contexts. He is conversant with current theory in both semantics, discourse theory, and syntax. He also has a very solid grasp of more traditional Greek grammar.

I second Mike’s recommendation.

See the book at Barnes and Noble.