Here’s the abstract for Dr. Green’s work on periphrastics that I mentioned last week.
This dissertation addresses two issues related to the Greek periphrastic construction in the New Testament: (1) identifying the periphrastics and (2) understanding the meaning associated with the periphrastic construction. Chapter 2 discusses the ways scholars have identified and understood periphrastics, concluding that there is no consensus on either issue.
In order to address these two issues, a data set of 506 NT passages broad enough to include all εἰμί periphrastics in the NT was created. Chapter 3 evaluates the data and eliminates the passages that do not contain a periphrastic with the result that 211 passages containing 243 periphrastics occur in the NT. Chapter 4 uses this list of 211 passages to discover the various syntactical arrangements of the periphrastic as well as the types of words that serve as adjuncts separating the auxiliary and the participle. On this basis a preliminary definition of the εἰμί periphrastic is offered.
Chapter 5 evaluates all 243 εἰμί periphrastics using Aerts‖ categories of suppletive, substitute, and expressive in order to describe the meaning of the construction. This study demonstrates that 76 periphrastics are suppletive forms, forms that occur because the equivalent monolectic form is either not used or is fading from use in the Koine period. Additionally, 142 periphrastics are substitute periphrastics and thus have no meaning beyond the meaning of the equivalent monolectic form. The remaining 25 NT periphrastics are expressive. Each of these expressive periphrastics satisfies the criterion that the periphrastic communicates something more or beyond the finite form equivalent. In addition, chapter 5 demonstrates that periphrastics using a present participle are often continuous in pragmatic force, but this is not an absolute rule. In addition, periphrastics using a perfect participle emphasize the state or condition of the action in keeping with their aspectual value.
The final chapter offers a refined definition of the εἰμί periphrastic based on both the syntactical and semantic qualities of the construction. This dissertation encourages interpreters not to overinterpret the periphrastic construction by assuming that syntactical markedness is equal to semantic markedness. Finally, it urges commentators and grammarians to discuss periphrastics in a more nuanced fashion.
Green, Robert E. “Understanding ΕΙΜΙ Periphrastics in the Greek of the New Testament.” Ph.D. dissertation, Baptist Bible Seminary, 2012.