Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Perfects in Hebrews 11

I've been working through Hebrews preparing to preach it later in the year, and I'm in the midst of chapter 11. At the same time, I've been following several discussions on B-Greek about Con Campbell's explanation of aspect. I get the impression that some are cautious about the theory of aspect in general and that most find his explanation of the perfect unsatisfying. Frankly, I've been fairly persuaded and have been moving more towards a temporal understanding of tense.

But then I've encountered 11:17 and 28. Here the perfect doesn't have a clear "past event with present consequences" meaning. Apparently Gundrie argues the perfect emphasises the events' abiding impact, but I just don't see that contributing anything to the broader argument. My best reading? The perfects emphasise the climactic events in the authors two most extensive accounts of lives of faith (Abraham and Moses). The perfects are emphatic, not temporal, and so Con's "heightened proximity" approach gives a good account at this point. I'll pull out Porter and think through what a stative account could mean, but it's not immediately obvious to me.

1 comment:

Con Campbell said...

I gave a paper at the international SBL conference in Rome in June, demonstrating that 58% of perfects in the NT are NOT translated as a past with present consequences. You found two of them here.