cwconrad wrote:As to the surprise I must chime in: "Me too!" I've voiced my amusement in many an "ad nauseam" comment on Wallace's penchant for practicing the fine art of hair-splitting on the adnominal genitive. It certainly does require chutzpah to invent an "aporetic genitive" -- to confess that one has multiplied silliness to the nth degree. On the other hand, I really have my doubts about the usefulness of any effort to construct a semantic map of the adnominal genitive in Greek, inasmuch as it seems to me a structural configuration rather than a semantic one. I really wonder whether such a “map” or “catalog” could be constructed without developing or employing some existing metalinguistic framework for this purpose. That might be a useful question to explore under “Grammar and Syntax.”
I'm not I'm getting the distinction between semantics and structure, as I think there are important elements of both. "Semantic maps" are also called "conceptual maps," so I don't think they are as narrow as you are suggesting. Like any tool, some people find them helpful, but others don't. I am not one to prejudge their usefulness until I see the product. I also take the view that observations don't make sense without a theoretical framework, pretty much regardless of what field one is in. There is no such thing as theory-free observation.
That said, Wallace is definitely a "splitter" -- and those who fall on the "lumper" side of the divide (which permeates many fields beyond Greek grammar) will be exasperated by it. But these are the basic options: (1) one can split up all the meanings of the genitive into a bunch of different categories, (2) one can lump them all together into one, or (3) one can do some kind of a hybrid, hopefully in a principled way. No matter which option one picks, there is a theoretical framework.
cwconrad wrote:But there’s a real pedagogical question here too. For years I've been inclined to think that there was something wrong-headed about GGBB but that it was nevertheless good to have among reference works on Biblical Greek grammar. Now I wonder whether that judgment wasn't really too generous. This second-year or intermediate grammar is the epitome of the grammar-translation pedagogical method, predicated on the proposition that understanding the structure of a Biblical Greek construction is essentially equivalent to converting the construction into English and thereby formulating English terminology and English structures as handles for the recurrent patterns of Greek usage. Am I wrong to describe the methodology of this grammar like that? I really don't want to be unfair, but unless one thinks that is the right way to go about understanding Greek grammatical constructions, is there any reason to recommend this reference grammar?
Mike's post on the different levels of adequacy
may be a helpful way to look at this.
The lowest level is "observational adequacy" and it looks at whether he has exhaustively and discretely enumerated all the recognizably distinct usages of the genitive and placed them correctly among his categories. If one would like to fault Wallace in terms of observational adequacy one should be able to point to uses of the genitive that either he's overlooked or don't fall into his categories. Also, miscategorized examples would be a problem.
The next level is "descriptive adequacy" and we can look to see if Wallace has articulated rules for making a principled choice among his categories. To this end, he offers Engilsh glosses for each category, and asks the student to translate the various options into different English sentences using the glosses. Once they are all in English, the student is to use their linguistic intuition within their native English and come up with the choice. To some extent, the proliferation of categories helps to reduce the mismatch between Greek and English in teasing out the semantics but it then leaves the student with little basis for deciding among the very many viable options.
The highest level is "explanatory adequacy" and this gets into more theoretical concerns, such as the whole splitter-lumper debate, as well as which linguistic theory one subscribes to.
In my personal experience, I did not learn Greek from GGBB, so I cannot say how helpful that is. For my own exegesis over the years, I have usually found BDF more helpful than Wallace in addressing the particular questions I've had of the text. When I got into my doctoral work, even BDF stopped being adequate and I needed the Runge, Levinsohn stuff to make sense of what I need to understand in the text.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.