Stephen Carlson wrote: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.
A few big-picture, more-or-less inchoate ideas:
(1) <i>Structure</i>: Instead of patterning the grammar around some ideal language system (e.g., the noun system, prepositions, the verbal system, discourse), the book should be student-centered. By that I mean, concepts should be introduced so as to help students who are actively reading Hellenistic Greek. I have typically had my Syntax students work through a chapter or so from Luke's Gospel during the semester, with the reading forming a syntactical sand-box. This time around, I'd like to include more reading, and focus more on reading than on the grammar. As everyone gets up-to-speed after the summer break, I plan to begin with conjunctions (drawing on Runge's chapter 2) because there is an immediate discourse pay-off. From there we might move to prepositions (cf. Nunn), since neither conjunctions nor prepositions change form. Once students have had a chance to review their rusty first-year morphology, we can return to nouns, etc.
(2) <i>Function</i>: As I read through Runge's <i>Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament</i> and Beckman's <i>Williams' Hebrew Syntax</i> at the same time this summer, I am more convinced than ever that a proliferation of categories is unhelpful. Again, the grammar should try to get at how the language works, avoiding categories that merely represent interpretive or translation options. Instead, the grammar should try to get at the "root" idea of, say, the genitive--what it is about the Greek, as Greek, that leads to the exegetical variety that we experience when we read. Students don't need to know 20 genitive categories; they do need to be able to consider the options. The grammar should also try to explain how a Greek-speaker would experience exegetical options.
(3) <i>Pay-off</i>: A grammar should emphasize substantive ways that knowledge of how the language works affects interpretation. I am finding Runge to be a stellar example of how this could be done.
As an aside, can anyone recommend a discussion of Hebrew grammar that explains how the language works at a level suitable for second-year students?