The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Thomas Dolhanty
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The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 4th, 2015, 1:59 pm

We're thinking about the best intermediate Koine Greek grammar text to use with a second year course to be taught next year (2015/2016 academic year). The course will be seminar style with the main focus on reading New Testament text - likely the Gospel of Mark. Intermediate grammar will be taught as the text demands, and also as a backdrop to the reading activity.

This second year class will have completed Mounce and have will have spent quite a few hours reading NT Greek text aloud in class and privately. I have a reasonably good collection of intermediate grammars (or pseudo grammars) which are, in no particular order: Wallace, Porter, Funk, Young, Black, Robertson, Decker's Reader, Winer, BDF, Porter's Idioms, and maybe two or three others. I have also heard rumours about a new edition of Wallace, and about a new book in the works as follows:
Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament Hardcover – May 1 2015
by Andreas J. Kostenberger (Author), Benjamin Merkle (Author)
What textbook(s) for intermediate Koine Greek grammar have you found most helpful and why? What would you recommend?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 4th, 2015, 7:07 pm

I've been souring on intermediate grammars. Most don't even have observational adequacy, i.e., they only give broad categories and often ignore the problem cases. I think the sooner you acquire the reference materials to read any kind of Greek (NT and various classical), the better.

Thus, I would recommend Smyth + BDF. Smyth itself an intermediate grammar from the old days when more was expected of Greek learners and BDF ought to point out the relevant differences between NT and classical, as well as give preliminary guidance for problem passages. Don't forget that BDAG has a lot of grammatical material in it too. That should be part of the program as well.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 4th, 2015, 10:21 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I've been souring on intermediate grammars. Most don't even have observational adequacy, i.e., they only give broad categories and often ignore the problem cases. I think the sooner you acquire the reference materials to read any kind of Greek (NT and various classical), the better.

Thus, I would recommend Smyth + BDF. Smyth itself an intermediate grammar from the old days when more was expected of Greek learners and BDF ought to point out the relevant differences between NT and classical, as well as give preliminary guidance for problem passages. Don't forget that BDAG has a lot of grammatical material in it too. That should be part of the program as well.
Interesting! I keep hearing good things about Smyth, and while I have occasionally consulted the pdf copy of the original, it is one of the few I don't have in hardcopy (I've now ordered one).

I would have thought that a publication so old which doesn't reflect the more recent work of the linguists would be of limited value. Your comment concerning getting to the reference materials early resonates with me, and I have actually wondered about not assigning any one particular textbook. I don't think I could do that in Intro unless I spent an awful lot of time assembling presentation material, but intermediate is a different story. My thought has been that because it is primarily a reading course, there will be endless opportunities to pick up issues from the text in front of us, and point students to various sources to explore beyond-the-basics topics.

Incidentally, thank you again for pointing me to Runge which I am still mulling over. Now that I'm reading him, I see his name everywhere in materials I use regularly, and kind of wonder where I've been. I guess that even though I've been doing Greek for a few years, it's only recently that I have begun to give more serious attention to the language. I spent most of my language time on Hebrew earlier on. Keeping both languages current is a real challenge. Oh to have learned them both in one's teens with Jonathan Edwards!
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 5th, 2015, 4:05 pm

For the verb, I would recommend Rijksbaron. And that's a lot of what you need to learn at the intermediate level.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 5th, 2015, 6:15 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:The project is to establish a community of brethren reading the Greek Bible together in Greek - and hopefully also, the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew at some point. There are lots of competing pressures, and no guarantee of ongoing support. Thus, visible success at this stage is almost more important than anything else. I think we have achieved that so far, which has allowed the next phase of the program to be put in place.
Can you say more about that? I have been running a Sunday School class where we study the text together in Greek (and only in Greek). I'd love to compare notes with anyone else doing something similar.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 5th, 2015, 6:50 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:The project is to establish a community of brethren reading the Greek Bible together in Greek - and hopefully also, the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew at some point. There are lots of competing pressures, and no guarantee of ongoing support. Thus, visible success at this stage is almost more important than anything else. I think we have achieved that so far, which has allowed the next phase of the program to be put in place.
Can you say more about that? I have been running a Sunday School class where we study the text together in Greek (and only in Greek). I'd love to compare notes with anyone else doing something similar.
The program I teach for is a Bible School program primarily for lay people, in a church of +-5,000 adherents. Although we are not formally accredited, nor are we interested in seeking accreditation, students graduating from our program often receive credit for much of their work in other schools. Also, it is very normal for a class to include pastors, pastoral interns, missionaries on furlough, etc.

I teach a couple of courses there, but the languages have always been seen as beyond the scope of our mandate. Thus, in the past I taught Intro Hebrew to a small group, and I'm teaching Koine Greek to a group this year - under the aegis of the Church, but not as a formal part of the Bible School. Seeing the success of this year's Greek class (which includes a former elder), a decision was made to incorporate Koine Greek into our Bible School program, to recognize this year's class, and to add 2nd year next year. Because of the size of our Church, we serve students from many other churches in the area. When we started Greek this year, I think 5 different churches were represented in our small group.

it would be great to compare notes with you on what you're doing Jonathan, with whom (typical student), expected outcomes, and how it is going.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 9th, 2015, 4:03 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I've been souring on intermediate grammars. Most don't even have observational adequacy, i.e., they only give broad categories and often ignore the problem cases. I think the sooner you acquire the reference materials to read any kind of Greek (NT and various classical), the better.

Thus, I would recommend Smyth + BDF. Smyth itself an intermediate grammar from the old days when more was expected of Greek learners and BDF ought to point out the relevant differences between NT and classical, as well as give preliminary guidance for problem passages. Don't forget that BDAG has a lot of grammatical material in it too. That should be part of the program as well.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote: Interesting! I keep hearing good things about Smyth, and while I have occasionally consulted the pdf copy of the original, it is one of the few I don't have in hardcopy (I've now ordered one).

I would have thought that a publication so old which doesn't reflect the more recent work of the linguists would be of limited value. Your comment concerning getting to the reference materials early resonates with me, and I have actually wondered about not assigning any one particular textbook. I don't think I could do that in Intro unless I spent an awful lot of time assembling presentation material, but intermediate is a different story. My thought has been that because it is primarily a reading course, there will be endless opportunities to pick up issues from the text in front of us, and point students to various sources to explore beyond-the-basics topics.

This thread seems to have gone off the rails. Didn't you ask a question about the Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

I have also become a sceptic about Intermediate Grammar Texts. Smyth by the way is indispensable. You may be working with half a dozen frameworks which didn't exist when H. W. Smyth published but that is immaterial. In English Smyth is without any serious competion. Guy Cooper is not a text book. Hard to get started with Cooper, takes a few years to figure out how to find things and his style of presentation is vastly different from Smyth who is far more accesable to people schooled in the grammar translation framework. Then there is the size and the cost.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 9th, 2015, 7:25 pm

Mod note: I have split off all the posts relating to reading Greek aloud into its own thread here: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =15&t=3038
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 9th, 2015, 8:15 pm

C. Stirling Bartholomew wrote:I have also become a sceptic about Intermediate Grammar Texts. Smyth by the way is indispensable. You may be working with half a dozen frameworks which didn't exist when H. W. Smyth published but that is immaterial. In English Smyth is without any serious competion. Guy Cooper is not a text book. Hard to get started with Cooper, takes a few years to figure out how to find things and his style of presentation is vastly different from Smyth who is far more accesable to people schooled in the grammar translation framework. Then there is the size and the cost.
Thank you for this, Clay. I have ordered a hardcopy of Smyth, and I'm quite looking forward to ploughing into it over the summer, in light of Stephen's recommendation and yours. My great hope with this group is that they will become frequent 'readers' (in the real sense) of the Greek text. Thus, the focus will definitely be the text, but grammar and real language experience, I know, has to have a place for them to get there. I would much rather introduce grammar topics than have a grammar "book" as a focus for this stage of their learning, and Smyth sounds like an important source for ME in that plan. For those who are building their own reference libraries, too, it is good to know what the "indispensable" titles are.
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Danny Zacharias
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Danny Zacharias » December 9th, 2015, 10:25 am

The B&H Kostenberger text was asked about in the initial post, and I haven't found online any reviews. Any thoughts on that text?
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