Monosemy and Polysemy in Biblical Studies: A Minimalist Basis for Empirical Analysis of the Biblical Languages

Ryder Wishart has completed a masters thesis that fits very well into the category of works applying concepts from the field of Linguistics to the study of Ancient Greek. His theses has a broader focus on the biblical languages more generally, but the application to Greek is of direct relevance for the community here at

I have added Wishart’s thesis to the bibliography where you will find a link to download a copy from if you would like.

Congratulations to Ryder for completing this work!

A Linguistic Analysis of the Articular Infinitive in New Testament Greek

Dennis Ray Burk DissertationI have added Dennis Ray Burk’s doctoral dissertation “A linguistic analysis of the articular infinitive in New Testament Greek” to the bibliography.

Dr. Burk wrote this dissertation in 2004, and the data he compiled has contributed positively to the ongoing development of open data resources.

If you have other works that you would like to see included in A Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics, you can check the criteria for inclusion and make a suggestion by clicking the bibliography link at the top of any page on this blog.

Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart : a corpus approach to Koine Greek event typology

PangAspectAndAktionsartBrill is publishing a revised version of Francis G.H. Pang’s doctoral dissertation, Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart: a corpus approach to Koine Greek event typology. Pang completed the dissertation at McMaster Divinity College in May of 2014.

As with all things Brill, the projected price puts the book out of reach for most biblical scholars and seems more directed at library collections: $142 (110).

Here’s what the abstract says at Brill’s website:

In Revisiting Aspect and Aktionsart, Francis G.H. Pang employs a corpus approach to analyze the relationship between Greek aspect and Aktionsart. Recent works have tried to predict the meanings that emerge when a certain set of clausal factors and lexical features combine with one of the grammatical aspects. Most of these works rely heavily on Zeno Vendler’s telicity distinction. Based on empirical evidence, Pang argues that telicity and perfectivity are not related in a systematic manner in Koine Greek. As a corollary, Aktionsart should be considered an interpretive category, meaning that its different values emerge, not from the interaction of only one or two linguistic parameters, but from the process of interpreting language in context.

The Library of Congress entry for the book indicates that there is an online version, but I have been unable to find it.

I will have an entry prepared for the bibliography here at later in the day today.

Marking thought and talk in New Testament Greek: new light from linguistics on the particles ἵνα and ὅτι

SimMarkingThoughtAndTalkI have just added Margaret Sim’s 2011 book, Marking Thought and Talk in New Testament Greek: New Light from Linguistics on the Particles ἵνα and ὅτι to the online bibliography.

She presents a new analysis of ἵνα and ὅτι using Relevance Theory. The book is a further development of her doctoral dissertation completed in 2006 at the University of Edinburgh under the title “A relevance theoretic approach to the particle ʻína in Koine Greek.”

It’s wonderful that Wipf & Stock Pub can offer this volume for only $27!

Robert Crellin on the Hellenistic Greek Perfect

Robert Crellin, writer of the entries on prepositions for the Greek Lexicon Project in Cambridge, has recently published   The syntax and semantics of the perfect active in literary Koine Greek, (Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell), 2016.

The book is not yet available in the Wiley catalogue, but it is projected to cost $45.00. Not bad for a 264 page book by a competent linguist! According to the abstract at the Library of Congress, Crellin

Offers a comprehensive and unified account of the Greek perfect that considers its behaviour in terms of tense and aspect, as well as voice (or diathesis)…

I have not yet been able to get a copy of the book, but according to the abstract, Crellin discusses the syntax and semantics of the Greek perfect using a large corpus of Hellenistic Greek texts that has not previously been discussed in the linguistics literature about the perfect. The book is targeted primarily at linguists and researchers specializing in (Hellenistic) Koine Greek.

Crellin has also recently uploaded his 307 page PhD thesis on the Koine Greek perfect to The Greek Perfect Active System: 200 BC – AD 150. The thesis was completed in 2012 under the supervision of Geoffrey Horrocks at the University of Cambridge. I’m not certain of the relationship between the book discussed above and the PhD thesis, but here’s what Crellin says of his aim’s and the scope of his corpus in the uploaded thesis:

It is the aim of the present investigation to establish under what circumstances the various senses, past and present, active and medio-passive, may be attributed to the perfect active stem in this period, and from this to seek to provide an account of the semantics and function of the form which most readily accounts for the observed distribution. At the heart of the investigation is a very large corpus, approximately 800,000 words, containing work of the historians Polybius, Plutarch, Josephus and Appian. A combination of close contextual analysis and quantitative statistical methods is then used to analyse this. The investigation is primarily synchronic, but seeks to use findings made on a synchronic level to inform discussion of diachronic developments (p. 3).

I’ve added both the book and the thesis to the bibliography here at

New Dissertation on Koine Word Order

In November Allison Kirk (Leiden University) completed a doctoral thesis with the title, Word order and information structure in New Testament Greek.

I have added her dissertation to the bibliography here at With the entry I included a slightly shortened version of the abstract that appears in the entry for the dissertation at the Leiden Repository. Here’s the shortened abstract:

The dissertation examines word order variation in the Koine Greek of the New Testament in declarative clauses, questions and relative clauses. Kirk examines the way word order corresponds to information structure. She argues that although New Testament Greek shows a variety of possible permutations of the sentence elements subject (S), verb (V) and object (O), in declarative clauses, questions and relative clauses; the word order is not free. Rather, it is partly governed by phrase structure and partly by information structural considerations such as Topic and Focus. The basic word order is described as VSO with an SVO alternative. Marked clauses, such as SOV, OVS, OSV, and some SVO clauses, involve topicalization or focus movement of the arguments.

You can download the entire text from the Leiden Repository.

Two new items for the bibliography

I’ve added the following two works by Christina Sevdali to my Comprehensive Bibliography of Hellenistic Greek Linguistics. Both address Classical Greek, but I have been unable to find similar works addressing the Hellenistic period. If you know of works that use a similar method to address control and infinitival constructions in the Hellenistic period, I would love to hear about them.

Sevdali, Christina. ‘Control into CPs: when finiteness does not matter’. In C. Halpert, J. Hartman and D. Hill (eds.) Proceedings of the 2007 Workshop in Greek syntax and semantics at MIT. MIT Working Papers in linguistics 57 (2009), 251 – 266.

Sevdali, Christina. ‘‘Infinitival clauses in Ancient Greek: overt and null subjects, the role of Case and Focus’’ Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge University, supervised by Professor Ian Roberts, 2007.

If you are interested in following Dr. Sevdali’s work, you can find more information here: University of Ulster – Linguistics Research.

Shain, Rachel M., The Preverb Eis- and Koine Greek Aktionsart (Again)

Over a year ago I mentioned Rachel M. Shain’s thesis on the preverb εἰς, but I did not at that time mention that it can be downloaded for free. To get a copy, go to the OhioLINK ETD Center. Thanks to Mike Aubrey (ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ) for pointing out this link back in 2010. I’m not sure why I didn’t include it at that time.

For my earlier comment about adding this thesis to the Special Topics page at, click here.

Recent Posts on Clitic Placement in Other Blogs

I would like to recommend Stephen Carlson’s recent discussion of clitic placement over at Hypotyposeis. He has posted four discussions of key implications of David Goldstein’s dissertation.

A little over a year ago, Mike Aubrey had a good bit to say about clitic placement in the New Testament that is also very worthwhile reading (ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ). If you want a refresher on the data, take a look at these posts in particular:

I would like to thank both Mike and Stephen for the work they have dedicated to this topic.