Mathewson, Intermediate Greek Grammar

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Michael Sharpnack
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Mathewson, Intermediate Greek Grammar

Post by Michael Sharpnack » May 24th, 2017, 10:24 am

What do you guys think of Mathewson's Intermediate Greek Grammar (2016)?

I read the first chapter on cases in the Amazon preview and learned more than I have in the first 6 chapters of Black so far. In his description of the genitive case as "restrictive" there were several "aha!" moments for me.

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Mathewson, Intermediate Greek Grammar

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 24th, 2017, 11:48 am

Michael Sharpnack wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:24 am
What do you guys think of Mathewson's Intermediate Greek Grammar (2016)?

I read the first chapter on cases in the Amazon preview and learned more than I have in the first 6 chapters of Black so far. In his description of the genitive case as "restrictive" there were several "aha!" moments for me.
I haven't read the book. I did a quick browse on Amazon, and the first thing that caught my eye was this discussion of aspect, which I find problematic whether or not you agree with Porter's account of aspect (as Matthewson does). Some obvious issues with the following description:
  • The debate is not about whether verbs have aspect. The debate is whether verbs in the indicative also convey time.
  • "According to aspect theory" here seems to mean "according to Porter's account of time and aspect for the Greek verb". Most modern approaches to Greek grammar have a theory of aspect. I think Rijksbaron's book and last year's conference on The Greek Verb have a better accounting of aspect and time for the Greek verb.
  • The description implies that our understanding of the Greek verb "is being replaced" by Porter's view. Clearly, there is a scholarly community that subscribes to Porter's view, especially in New Testament studies. If the goal is to introduce students to modern linguistic understandings, I think neglecting Rijksbaron and the conference on The Greek Verb is a real problem. I think there are now clearer and more accurate ways to describe things. I also do not know how much Porter's own understanding has evolved over time. The description here seems to match what Porter was writing in the early 1990s. I haven't kept up.
  • If it's going to bring up older descriptions of punctiliar versus continuous, it should do a better job of explaining the relationship between these older terms and aspect. Older grammars describe aspect too, going way back. They just use different terms.
So on the whole, I find this misleading. Maybe he corrects this later in the chapter, I could only read an excerpt in the Amazon preview.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Mathewson, Intermediate Greek Grammar

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 24th, 2017, 12:19 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:
May 24th, 2017, 10:24 am
What do you guys think of Mathewson's Intermediate Greek Grammar (2016)?

I read the first chapter on cases in the Amazon preview and learned more than I have in the first 6 chapters of Black so far. In his description of the genitive case as "restrictive" there were several "aha!" moments for me.
From what I was able to read online, it looks like a revision of Porter Idioms 1992-94. Looks well written. The minimalist approach has nothing to do with the way that term was used by Chomsky & Co. Rather, it is a parring down wallace GGBB. There are other ways to do minimalism. Reducing the number of categories is a good plan and to some extent the authors are also thinking differently about how we understand the grammar labels. All of that is move in the right direction. Porter's asepctology is somewhat more controversial.

It looks to me like an introduction to greek syntax not an intermediate. I assume that no syntax is taught in the first term so this would be your second course.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Mathewson, Intermediate Greek Grammar

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 24th, 2017, 11:39 pm

Not sure that Mathewson could be expected to have read The Greek Verb Revisited as they were published about the same time, but what he wrote is what I would expect from a student of Porter.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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