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Ephesians 2:8

I have a question about how to understand the significance in Ephesians 2:8 of using the periphrastic phrase ESTE SESWSMENOI rather than SESWSQE. What I remember from my teachers was that these were roughly equivalent; the only difference might be in emphasis. In both statements, we are to understand a perfect (or stative) aspect: you are in a state of having been saved, of being safe, you are right now saved.

But I recently read in Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar that using the periphrastic form alters the aspect from perfect to continuous, so the meaning of the statement is not *you have been saved*, but *you are in the process of being saved*. I don’t have my copy here, so I can’t quote the passage exactly; it was in one of the theological introductions that the book includes for each chapter, in this case the introduction by Paul Johnson to the chapter on Perfect Participles and the Genitive Absolute. Reading this completely surprised me!

So, I did some searching of the B-Greek archives, to see if I could find an answer there. Although I will admit that my searching of the archives was somewhat incompetent, I turned up nothing definitive. I found some support for my understanding of perfect periphrasis and some indication of disagreement about it, too, and I wasn’t sure what to conclude. So I decided to write to the list to ask my questions directly. Is this a disagreement amongst Greek scholars about how to interpret periphrastic phrases? Does this reflect an evolution in Greek between Attic and other older dialects and the Koine dialect, or over some other time span? Did I just forget what my teachers taught me? (I recall covering perfect participles in an exceedingly short amount of time!) I would appreciate any help that anyone can provide on these points.

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