Greek according to Luke

Greek according to Luke

Postby Leonard Isaksson » September 19th, 2013, 3:18 pm

While I was reading about lesser known Greek grammars(introductions) to NT Greek, I came across one called "Greek according to Luke", by a Michael Harstad. He deided to present an initial course using Luke's Gospel.

Has anyone seen this book, and what did you think about it?
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Stephen Hughes » September 19th, 2013, 7:50 pm

A similar question was asked (and apparently left unanswered) in 1999.

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-arch ... 30841.html
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Louis L Sorenson » September 20th, 2013, 12:24 am

I ordered the book (2nd ed.) and will give a review of it when I am able. You can find copies of this book in libraries by looking at Worldcat: http://www.worldcat.org/title/greek-according-to-luke-a-first-year-grammar/oclc/32627044&referer=brief_results. (1st edition 1994; 2nd edition 2004).

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Kendall Hunt Pub Co; Second Edition edition (April 1994) (sic! 2004?)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0840395434
ISBN-13: 978-0840395436

I've toyed with the idea over the last several years of creating a beginning grammar based on Luke, Acts, and Hebrews. These are the NT books which are closest to secular literary Koine (such as Epictetus' works). I think beginning and intermediate students are often afraid to tackle these works because they are primed by teachers to be intimidated by them. I know I was. Luke's works have a more complex and technical vocabulary, more subordination, many genitive absolutes, more complex sentence order, etc. than the other gospels and Johannine works. Luke, in my opinion, still is not free from Semitic phraseology, but it is much more like secular Koine Greek texts which are not influenced by the author's native language being Hebrew/Aramaic than Mark and Matthew.

I'm currently co-teaching a class on Acts using Culy and Parsons book. The students have a wide range of Greek instruction experience. Almost everyone seems to be able to read Acts without too much trouble (at least up through chapter 12). I think prose texts are much easier to read than many of the epistles, in part, because they tell an intriguing story. I wonder if the book is based off of passages, or a collection of unrelated sentences based off similar structures. I'll give my review in a couple of weeks, Lord willing.

All I can find about Michael J. Harstad is that he has a PhD and wrote this book and another one based on Xenephon's Anabasis. Three of the five books are in Kentucky libraries, so he may have been a regional player/teacher at one of those institutions (Southern Baptist Seminary, Asbury (2x), Moody Bible Institute (IL).)
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 20th, 2013, 1:37 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:All I can find about Michael J. Harstad is that he has a PhD and wrote this book and another one based on Xenephon's Anabasis. Three of the five books are in Kentucky libraries, so he may have been a regional player/teacher at one of those institutions (Southern Baptist Seminary, Asbury (2x), Moody Bible Institute (IL).)


Poking around on the net, it appears that Michael Harstad used to be a tenured professor of ancient languages at Asbury College.
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby RandallButh » September 20th, 2013, 5:53 am

Louis egrapsen
Luke's works have a more complex and technical vocabulary, more subordination, many genitive absolutes, more complex sentence order, etc. than the other gospels and Johannine works. Luke, in my opinion, still is not free from Semitic phraseology, but it is much more like secular Koine Greek texts which are not influenced by the author's native language being Hebrew/Aramaic than Mark and Matthew.


Louis, if you want texts that are 'cleaner', I would recommend the second half of Acts. See my article on Lukan style in the Levinson Festschrift. The gospel has had a large dose of Hebrew influence even though Luke is pretty good, but not great, at smoothing things out, especially letting his own word order spill out.Gospel scholars trained in Greek or classics don't often see all of the Hebrew influence because it is NOT coming from Mark. We've got to call it like it is.
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 20th, 2013, 6:31 am

RandallButh wrote:See my article on Lukan style in the Levinson Festschrift.

This book was mentioned on B-Greek here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=369
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Greek according to Luke

Postby Leonard Isaksson » September 20th, 2013, 9:35 am

Thanks to all of you who wrote in to answer. I wondered how this Harstad book compared to other books. It was unclear to me if the author taught mostly Biblical Greek, or if he also taught classical Greek and/or Latin.

I am quite curious about the semitic flavour of the Gospels or other New Testament books, especially as my chief(and limited) exposure has been to NT Greek, so I am not much able to see the differences between it and classical Greek. Well, I can see that the Greek dramatists certainly write differently than the Bible. I can see that in Luke's prologue that we have something different than John or Mark or Matthew or Thessalonians.

I did do some looking and I found that Mr. Harstad was formerly a tenured professor of ancient languages at Asbury University. He was terminated from employment there.

Thanks for the answers.
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Wes Wood » September 21st, 2013, 9:22 am

RandallButh wrote:
Louis egrapsen
Luke's works have a more complex and technical vocabulary, more subordination, many genitive absolutes, more complex sentence order, etc. than the other gospels and Johannine works. Luke, in my opinion, still is not free from Semitic phraseology, but it is much more like secular Koine Greek texts which are not influenced by the author's native language being Hebrew/Aramaic than Mark and Matthew.


Louis, if you want texts that are 'cleaner', I would recommend the second half of Acts. See my article on Lukan style in the Levinson Festschrift. The gospel has had a large dose of Hebrew influence even though Luke is pretty good, but not great, at smoothing things out, especially letting his own word order spill out.Gospel scholars trained in Greek or classics don't often see all of the Hebrew influence because it is NOT coming from Mark. We've got to call it like it is.


Randall, will you please elaborate on this statement? Specifically, are you implying that "Luke" did not use "Mark" as a source, or do you mean that "Luke's" greek has its own distinct Semitic flavor? I know you may not be commenting on either of these, but I am attempting to clarify my question.
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby RandallButh » September 21st, 2013, 11:26 am

Randall, will you please elaborate on this statement? Specifically, are you implying that "Luke" did not use "Mark" as a source, or do you mean that "Luke's" greek has its own distinct Semitic flavor? I know you may not be commenting on either of these, but I am attempting to clarify my question.

Wes Wood


What I was saying is that there are many semitisms in the gospel of Luke. In addition, in general, those Semitisms are not found in the parallel accounts in Mark, should a parallel exist. The parade example is the impersonal ἐγένετο structure. HFD Sparks, back in 1943 and 1950, assumed that Luke's structures must be artificially added by Luke because they were not in Mark. He, Dalman, Howard, Turner, Fitzmyer, and many others echoed in commentaries, have also assumed that that Semitic structure was found in Acts and specifically Acts 16-28. But the alleged examples were all simple mistakes of scholars seeing what they assumed must be. There is no Hebraic ἐγένετο structure in Acts, no not one, unless one counts codex Bezae at Acts 4:5. I don't since I don't think that Luke wrote Bezae Acts 4:5.

Anyway, I recommend starting with the article mentioned above on Lukan connectors. The broad statistics show that Luke had an unnatural style in the gospel when compared to Acts and careful analysis shows that sources are the best explanation rather than 'imitiation of the LXX', or time difference between the writing of Acts and the Gospel. As for the origin of those sources, since the same Semitisms are not in Mark where they show up in Luke, then Luke must have had a different source for these Semitisms than Mark.

If you ask whether or not Luke also saw Mark, that is a different question. Personally, I cannot find a clear 'Markanism' in Luke, so I assume that Luke did not see or use Mark, though I assume that Luke and Mark shared a non-canonical Semitized Greek source. But to go beyond the linguistic data is to go beyond the discussions on Greek as Greek for "BGreek".

If anyone wants to suggest a Greek stylistic Markanism in Luke I think that that would be a valid discussion point. The closest such point is the excessive use of καί in Mark. But Luke seems to have an unnatural καί/δέ ratio in unique Lukan material and material shared with Matthew, too, so it is certainly not clear that unnatural καί/δέ ratios in parallel passages with Mark are coming from Mark. Some other diagnostic tags are needed. A classic litmus test has been Mark's (καὶ) εὐθύς. Careful cross-gospel comparison shows that this Markanism shows up in Matthew but not in Luke. Again, this is in the above article, as well as in other published sources in the footnotes.
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Re: Greek according to Luke

Postby Wes Wood » September 21st, 2013, 11:59 am

Thank you for your quick reply. You have more than answered my question. I am going to try to find the article you mentioned, but I fear I won't be able to make much sense of it. I cannot read Hebrew.
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