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The Perfect Tense-Form and the Son of Man in John 3.13: Developments in Greek Grammar as a Viable Solution to the Timing of the Ascent and Descent*

  • Madison N. Pierce (a1) and Benjamin E. Reynolds (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 December 2013

The perfect tense-form verb ἀναβέβηκεν in John 3.13 is usually interpreted in light of traditional verb theory, as a ‘past action with present results’. This interpretation introduces an apparent problematic chronology in that the Son of Man ascends before descending; however, recent developments in Greek grammar, particularly verbal aspect theory, provide a viable solution to this grammatical ‘problem’ and indicate that the Son of Man's descent precedes his ascent.

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We are grateful to Joseph R. Dodson for commenting on an earlier draft of this note and for, in a certain sense, instigating its genesis.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (London: Sheffield Academic, 1994) 187–8

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New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
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