Review: Greek Verb Revisited

31861996Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis edited by Steven E. Runge and Christopher J. Fresch is a collection of scholarly essays presented at the Tyndale Fellowship 2015 meeting, sponsored by the University of Cambridge School of Arts and Humanities and Lexham Research Institute. Runge and Fresch have brought together a fascinating presentation of forward-moving linguistic research that frames a longstanding conversation around the function and application of the Greek verb. Runge and Fresch help to push the conversation past an aspect-only dialog and into new space with more room for a new paradigm to flourish.

As expected, Greek Verb Revisited is academically oriented and probably best situated for intermediate or advance students of New Testament Greek. The volume opens with an excellent forward from Andreas J. Köstenberger, recounting his personal journey and adoration for the work presented. Runge and Fresch have divided the essays into three major sections: (1) Overview, (2) Application, and (3) Linguistic Investigations. The organization of the volume seems somewhat random, but the content therein is magnificent. The first section aims to position the overall conversation, past and present, within the larger framework of the volume. There are four chapters focusing on tense and/or aspect, with no obvious organizational intent, which looks to move the conversation towards new ground. While each of the essays has strengths, the essay by Nicholas J. Ellis, that establishes a cognitive-linguistic framework, is outstanding and Ellis’ use of Matt. 2:20 is appropriate. The second and third sections are where the bulk of the volume is spent. There is much that could be said about the chapters in these sections, but most of which is beyond space here. Runge’s chapter on nonnarrative discourse was fascinating. Runge is easy to follow and he does a great job bringing the reader into his discussion while remaining humble and honest about the need for further research (p. 265). Again, much more could be said about each essay individually, but as a collection of essays this volume is sure to be a staple for further engagement in the years to come.

It is both exciting and encouraging to see an unfolding of new movement in research regarding the function and application of the Greek language, especially the Greek verb. Greek Verb Revisited is both up-to-date and academically stimulating. The contributors include, Peter Gentry, Stephen Levinsohn, Buist Fanning, Rutger Allan, and many more names of equal caliber. At nearly 650 pages, this volume is not for the faint of heart. But, those who specialize in or enjoy linguistics will find this volume to be a goldmine of rich discovery. Some essays are more difficult to follow than others, and this varies from topic and author. But, overall those with a preexisting knowledge of the language and a familiarity with the ongoing dialog on Greek verbs will be pleasantly surprised by the tone of this volume. Additionally, for those who love to explore bibliographies for their next research project or “rabbit trail” read, each of the essays include a sizable list of referenced resources that will come in handy. For future exploration, Runge and Fresch have included a detailed subject/author index and an index of ancient sources. This will allow for relevant information to be retrieved as the need arises—an appropriate and welcomed addition.

Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis edited by Steven E. Runge and Christopher J. Fresch is nothing short of groundbreaking. The essays included are forward-looking and up-to-date with the latest conversations, and, in fact, push those conversations towards a much-needed end. If you are looking for a volume that presents the most recent advances in the Greek language, while remaining academically practical for exegesis and textual analysis, then nothing should stand in the way of this book finding space on your shelf. It comes highly recommended for those engaged or looking to engage in the conversation.

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