Book Notice: Stanley E. Porter on Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Stanley E. Porter
Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament: Studies in Tools, Methods, and Practice
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015.
Available from Amazon.com

This is a volume of collected essays and presentations by biblical Greek guru Stanley Porter. It covers a variety of topics like lexicography, linguistics, discourse analysis, verbal aspect, with some specific examples of how a thick understanding of linguistics can illuminate a study of the Greek New Testament.

The theme of the book is perhaps best summed up by Porter’s own words in his introduction:

I firmly believe that matters of Greek language and linguistics are essential to understanding the Greek New Testament; in that sense, knowledge of Greek linguistics is a fundamental hermeneutical stance that should be pursued by every serious student of the New Testament.”

Porter’s chapter on the perfect-tense form and stative aspect (chapter 12) is necessary reading for anyone who wants to get into the “perfect storm” debates about the perfect-tense form.

On the whole, I liked most of all the analytical essays where Porter shows the application of linguistics to NT interpretation particularly on the Marcan Olivet Discourse, the Matthean Great Commission, a method for analysing Paul’s opponents,  and an intriguing piece on “Hyponymy and the Trinity.”

Not for beginners, but an important work for those interested in wrestling with the Greek New Testament at a sophisticated and scholarly level.

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