Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Paul-Nitz
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Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Paul-Nitz » August 7th, 2016, 9:50 am

This thread is for discussing Con Campbell's book, Advances in the Study of Greek (2015) Chapter Two:
“Linguistic Theories”

The chapter begins with by distinguishing:

Study of Language vv. Linguistics
General vv. Descriptive Linguistics
Diachronic vv. Synchronic Linguistics
Theoretical vv. Applied Linguistics
Micro- vv. Macrolinguistics

The chapter continues to distinguish between two linguistic theories: Generative and Functional.

The chapter then focuses on Systemic Function Linguistics.

As I read, I couldn’t help but think that linguistics is trying to analyze something so big and complex (language) that it will be inaccessible to most. I did understand and appreciate the distinction between diachronic and synchronic approaches. The distinction between Generative and Functional is interesting. I wonder what worldly good the Generative theories have produced. If Funk’s Grammar is a byproduct of Functional Linguistics, I can certainly see the good. I don’t want to learn how to translate a Greek construction. I want to learn what meaning it conveys.

But will linguistics be up to the task of analyzing such a complex thing such as language AND conveying that to a wider audience in a comprehensible way? It seems to me that they’ve laid themselves a task somewhat like the breaking down the act of riding a bike into itty bitty parts, theorizing over a system that will describe it all, and naming each micro action involved. Better to watch a little and jump on the bike.

So I wonder, couldn’t a person who has a good grasp and comprehension of a language end up with all the same benefits without appreciable help from linguists? If I understand language and communication, and if I understand Greek well, won’t I naturally maintain a nice balance between diachronic and synchronic approaches to reading/studying the text? If I am studying a language as language (not as code), learning how it communicates and learning how to comprehend it, won’t I naturally be thirsty to understand the function of a language structure?

I’m just approaching all of this and will keep my mind open. I can see how a study of linguistics, to a certain degree, might help to undo some of the damage of misguided approaches of the past. But at this point I would think that those who simply want to learn and understand Greek better would be better served by an emphasis on how to learn language as language, rather than getting deep into theoretical linguistics. Maybe it’s just my bias as a Greek instructor.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

MAubrey
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by MAubrey » August 7th, 2016, 11:49 am

I don't think you should decide what linguistics is ,what it does, or how effective it has been based on anything in this chapter.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 7th, 2016, 12:41 pm

If Funk’s Grammar is a byproduct of Functional Linguistics, I can certainly see the good.
Which Grammar?
Which Functional Linguistics?
Does Campbell claim Funk was some sort of Functionalist?

This is the first I have heard of this. Funk's introduction to Koine (2 vols) shows evidence of some influence from Structuralism. That could also be said of E. V. N. Goetchius. But Funk and Goetchius are not even remotely similar. Goetchius seems to have taken a peek at Chomsky '57 without mentioning him. Goetchius book is almost totally devoid of footnotes.

Reading Campbell on linguistics is like reading Jamie Wyeth on 20th Century Art.
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 7th, 2016, 1:33 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Reading Campbell on linguistics is like reading Jamie Wyeth on 20th Century Art.

I need to back off on that statement. Not sure I have the right fellow in mind here. Perhaps I am thinking of a Modern Greek author whose name also starts with C who has published a huge tome on the language.
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by MAubrey » August 7th, 2016, 2:21 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Reading Campbell on linguistics is like reading Jamie Wyeth on 20th Century Art.

I need to back off on that statement. Not sure I have the right fellow in mind here. Perhaps I am thinking of a Modern Greek author whose name also starts with C who has published a huge tome on the language.
Whether you are or not. Campbell doesn't know the history of linguistics and relies on dated sources that aren't accurate for his presentation.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 7th, 2016, 4:53 pm

MAubrey wrote:Whether you are or not. Campbell doesn't know the history of linguistics and relies on dated sources that aren't accurate for his presentation.
Is there an article of similar length to this chapter that you would recommend instead, with similar scope?
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 8th, 2016, 6:03 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:I’m just approaching all of this and will keep my mind open. I can see how a study of linguistics, to a certain degree, might help to undo some of the damage of misguided approaches of the past. But at this point I would think that those who simply want to learn and understand Greek better would be better served by an emphasis on how to learn language as language, rather than getting deep into theoretical linguistics. Maybe it’s just my bias as a Greek instructor.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. All I can say is that in my doctoral work on the text of Galatians, I was asking exegetical questions that the traditional approach didn't answer and so I needed to turn to something more (linguistically) informed. Needless to say, a lot of what passes for theoretical linguistics was useless for my needs, but not all of it. There was some stuff I could use.
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Ken M. Penner
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Ken M. Penner » August 8th, 2016, 7:54 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: I need to back off on that statement. Not sure I have the right fellow in mind here. Perhaps I am thinking of a Modern Greek author whose name also starts with C who has published a huge tome on the language.
Do you mean Caragounis? I remember discussion of his book here over a decade ago. http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-gr ... 35129.html
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 8th, 2016, 2:15 pm

Ken M. Penner wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote: I need to back off on that statement. Not sure I have the right fellow in mind here. Perhaps I am thinking of a Modern Greek author whose name also starts with C who has published a huge tome on the language.
Do you mean Caragounis? I remember discussion of his book here over a decade ago. http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-gr ... 35129.html
Yes, that's the guy. I haven't looked at him recently.
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 2

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 11th, 2016, 3:54 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
MAubrey wrote:Whether you are or not. Campbell doesn't know the history of linguistics and relies on dated sources that aren't accurate for his presentation.
Is there an article of similar length to this chapter that you would recommend instead, with similar scope?
If we were to compare the capacity to use Greek for exegetical purposes without actually knowing Greek - however that could be defined - to a knowledge of linguistics for exegetical purposes, I'm guessing that the tenor and substance of what Mike is saying could be said of either interchangably.

How accurate or extensive a knowledge of any given field does someone know to prove what they want to say? I remember in in the first Biblical Studies unit I took - the standard Overview of the Old Testament, History and culture, there was a overhead transparency flashed up with pictures of Flinders Petrie and Naville, then another with some examples of pottery, accompanied by the rather bold statement that Egyptology proved that the Hebrews went down into Egypt and lived there. We'd seen the face of famous Egyptologists and seen evidence, so I don't think anyone doubted the "proof". Of course later, over the course of further specialist study in Egyptology what I had seen became contextualised. While studying 3,000 years of pots in a semester, it is amazing how different - how un-Egyptian - some of the pots from Tell-el-Daba actually are. The works quoted for the Biblical studies were recent enough, but the ultimate basis for their information was Naville's 1885 work. That knowledge had entered Biblical references works in the nineteenth century, and had been quoted by subsequent authours with later dates. Recent findings from the 20th century at least were not mentioned. Again, it seemed that archeological evidence was enough in itself, but actually doing an in depth study of the Hyksos period including looking at the archeological evidence, and at some of the texts of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth dynasty allowed for a much broader appreciation of the period, and the context within which the Biblical narrative came about

The idea that other disciplines can be used to prove the Bible causes a degree of strain on the way that they are read. That strain comes not only from the ever increasing distance between the state of knowledge in the discipline at the moment of its incorporation in Biblical studies and the present (cutting-edge) knowledge in the field. The other way that strain occurs is because the field is not used in full (the discipline is not understood in itself), but a few points or aspects of it are used in so far as they seem to bolster a point of view or another in Biblical studies.

At a certain level, I don't think that is a bad state of affairs. Archeology, history, language studies, etc. may provide some points of information or a few ways of appreciating the text in ways we didn't know before, but ultimately Biblical studies or exegesis is a science in itself, not a collection of trinkets from linguistics, the Greek or Hebrew languages, archeology or other disciplines, removed from the conext they were found and arranged in a bower, to attract the eye of passers by.

Again, how much depth or accuracy of knowledge does one need in linguistics to make a point in exegesis?
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