Next month, Beeson Divinity School is hosting the ETS Southeast Meeting. I’m looking forward to this conference for two reasons. First, Daniel Treier is speaking on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Second, my paper was recently accepted.
Interpretation of Scripture”
Daniel Treier, Plenary Speaker
March 21-22, 2014
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
Steven Runge (Discourse Grammar of the Greek NT; blog) was very formidable in the shaping of this paper. Greek syntax and linguistic theory is of great interest to me (ultimately, not enough to pursue PhD studies). His model has satisfied the majority of my questions surrounding the Historical Present. So, I decided to provide a brief history of research surrounding the Historical Present and use John 13 as a test case for Levinsohn/Runge’s model.
Here is my abstract:
Revisiting the Historical Present: John 13 as a Test Case for the Prominence of Discourse Features
Shawn J. Wilhite
Southern Seminary, Kentucky
ABSTRACT: Even though multiple theories exist regarding the function of the HP, they are nearly unanimous on defining past referring Present verbs as Historical Presents. Traditional grammars and recent monographs define the Historical Present (HP) in different ways. Many (including Wallace and Fanning) argue for vivid narration. Others (Kiparsky and Reynolds) contend the HP reduces the verbal aspect to zero and adjusts the tense to past time. Aspect-only proponents argue the HP as unmarked-remote imperfectivity (Porter, Decker) or imperfective-proximity spill-over from the discourse (Campbell). Using John 13 as a test case, I demonstrate how the HP is a pragmatic function of Present verb. This study will show how the HP helps readers process the discourse (cataphorically highlights speeches or actions, and introduces new characters) or has pragmatic functions in the discourse (builds tension and crescendos the narrative). Discourse features, then, take prominence leaving semantic features in the background.