Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

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Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby David M. Miller » June 13th, 2013, 1:54 pm

I can postpone a final decision on approach* until the end of the summer, but the textbook order deadline for the third semester Greek Syntax course I will be teaching this fall is approaching soon. Here are some options:

Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.
What I've used in the past. Its advantages include clear layout and copious examples. Weaknesses: Excessive length (i.e., students don't read it), death by categories that are more exegetical than syntactical.

Porter, Stanley. Idioms of the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.
The textbook when I took Greek syntax in seminary. Last time I considered it, I didn't see any reason to prefer it over Wallace.

Zerwick, Maximilian. Biblical Greek: Illustrated by Examples. 5th ed. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1963.
The textbook when I took Greek syntax in college. Wonderful clear examples. Dated.

Funk, Robert W. A Beginning-intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek. 3d ed. Polebridge, 2013.
I have the second edition and like it. My concern is that it is now rather dated even if it is still ahead of its time.

Young, Richard A. Intermediate New Testament Greek: a Linguistic and Exegetical Approach. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994.
At present, I am leaning toward Young, perhaps because I am least familiar with it. It is short enough for students to read, its descriptions seems clear, I like the promise of a linguistic approach even if it is now almost 20 years old. The fact that it is relatively succinct probably means that it will work better than Wallace if I switch to an inductive approach to syntax. I note, however, that Mike Aubrey says Young is built on a "horribly simplistic premise" (http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1858&hilit=Young#p10445).

Are there other better alternatives? I'd like something that is clear, accessible, and useful as a resource that at least points to more advanced discussions. What would you recommend?

*http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1887&start=10
David M. Miller
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 13th, 2013, 2:56 pm

There's an abridged edition of Wallace, if size is an issue. Another intermediate syntax is Brooks and Winbery (1979).
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » June 13th, 2013, 4:01 pm

David M. Miller wrote:I can postpone a final decision on approach* until the end of the summer, but the textbook order deadline for the third semester Greek Syntax course I will be teaching this fall is approaching soon. Here are some options:


Are there other better alternatives? I'd like something that is clear, accessible, and useful as a resource that at least points to more advanced discussions. What would you recommend?

*http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1887&start=10


Something like Zerwick.

New Testament Greek Syntax An Illustrated Manual
Perschbacher, Wesley J.
Published by Moody Press, Chicago , 1995
ISBN 10: 0802460445 / ISBN 13: 9780802460448

I gave my copy away over a decade ago and don't recall using it much.
It looks like it is out of print but there are plenty of them out there for sale.
I still have and use Zerwick.

For an "inductive" approach reading Acts you could use:
The Acts of the Apostles: A Handbook on the Greek Text by Martin M. Culy, Mikeal Carl Parsons.

There is some rather technical metalanguage in this book which might be a little bit obscure for an intermediate course. One thing which is lacking in Culy & Parsons is lexical semantics. I find it somewhat difficult to read Acts without a reference concerning Luke's vocabulary and Culy & Parsons by design doesn't treat lexical issues.
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby David M. Miller » June 24th, 2013, 5:05 pm

David M. Miller wrote:I can postpone a final decision on approach* until the end of the summer, but the textbook order deadline for the third semester Greek Syntax course I will be teaching this fall is approaching soon. ...Are there other better alternatives? I'd like something that is clear, accessible, and useful as a resource that at least points to more advanced discussions. What would you recommend?


After spending a little more time with Young's syntax, I decided in the end to stick with Wallace as a resource that I will expect students to use in conjunction with my own notes (which quote liberally from Wallace). Young follows Porter slavishly on the verbal system, so if one is persuaded by Porter's approach to verbal aspect they might as well use Porter’s Idioms instead.

It seems to me that there is a real need for an up-to-date intermediate grammar that gets at how Greek works, and that avoids categories based merely on English translation or on context. To be sure, we need a reference grammar as well http://hypotyposeis.org/weblog/2013/01/major-desideratum.html, but that sort of thing tends to be the work of a life-time; an intermediate level textbook is a more realistic option. Who is up for the challenge?
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2013, 5:11 am

David M. Miller wrote:It seems to me that there is a real need for an up-to-date intermediate grammar that gets at how Greek works, and that avoids categories based merely on English translation or on context. To be sure, we need a reference grammar as well http://hypotyposeis.org/weblog/2013/01/major-desideratum.html, but that sort of thing tends to be the work of a life-time; an intermediate level textbook is a more realistic option. Who is up for the challenge?


Well, the typical approach to making intermediate grammars is to abridge earlier reference grammars, so without any recent activity on the reference grammar front, I fear that new intermediate grammars are unlikely to be up-to-date. To make an up-to-date intermediate grammar, I think one would pretty much need to do the work for a real reference, so why not go for the big ring?

But while we're waiting for one to be produced, here we can at least speculate what should go into such a work.
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby Scott Lawson » July 6th, 2013, 1:17 pm

As for something in print and designed for 3rd semester Greek, how about David Alan Black's, It's Still Greek to Me? It has a silly name but I have been enjoying it as a student. It can be covered in a semester and also has suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter that included: Robertson, Dana and Mantey, BDF, Zerwick and Wallace.
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby cwconrad » July 9th, 2013, 9:10 am

It appears to me that we're really talking about two different things in this thread: (1) a reference grammar for Hellenistic Koine comparable in scope to Smyth (at least), and (2) a textbook that goes beyond the "basics" for use by students who've got past what they've learned in a primer or first-year classroom. Some of the discussion in this thread seems to me to have confounded the two.

It seems to me that the reference grammar in question is what Funk was originally promoting as a replacement for BDF to be produced by the unfortunately defunct commitee chaired by the late Daryl Schmidt. Preparation of anything seriously comparable to that would require major funding and assembling a new commitee of scholars. It ain't gonna happen in the immediately foreseeable future, and any stopgap effort toward compilation of the substance of Smyth, BDF, ATR, et al. would also require a considerable concentration of coordination and the efforts of many -- a sizable task.

If, on the other hand, what we're talking about really is a good "intermediate Greek Syntax," I think we might do worse than focus shared efforts on reformulating those chapters of Funk's BIGHG now on the eve of its publication in a revised 3rd edition. One matter on which Louis and I have exchanged notions while proofreading the draft versions is whether we should suggest improvements at points where we can readily discern where a more radical reformulation would pretty clearly be desirable (I could readily envision reformulating what is set forth about voice morphology and syntax). I think such a project would be much more feasible than alternatives suggested heretofore.

There really isn't much out there in the way of books really intended as second-year Koine Greek textbooks. There are defaults like Wallace's GGBB (to which many of us object because it seems more a strategic guide to translating the GNT into English), Porter's Idioms of the GNT (which seems to command lower regard than GGBB); Con Campbell's Basics of Biblical Greek Aspect (about which there's considerable difference of opinion), and some other works. Many of us have repeatedly urged that students who've advanced beyond the primer or the first-year classroom would do best to start reading widely and intensely with the best reference tools available. A deeper grasp of ancient Greek is ultimately not something that one learns from textbooks or teachers but from assiduous and attentive reading in quantity.
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Re: Best Intermediate Greek Syntax

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 11th, 2013, 7:25 am

Mod note: I split off the topic of writing our own syntax here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1927
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