Wallace: Beyond the Basics
Jefferson, Robert C.
X2JEFFER at southernco.com
Mon Aug 9 09:53:25 EDT 1999
Should a modern grammar of a "2000" year old dead language reflect the needs
of the current audience or of the original writers?
And what is the methodology of determining either of theses?
From: Carl W. Conrad [SMTP:cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu]
Sent: Sunday, August 08, 1999 8:18 AM
To: Biblical Greek
Cc: Biblical Greek
Subject: Re: Wallace: Beyond the Basics
At 4:28 AM -0700 8/8/99, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>I keep getting asked off list "what don't you like about Wallace?"
>question has a certain dejavu quality to it.
>The best way understand this without a long lecture on Saussure,
>Semiotics and other obscure issues is to do a comparison between
>Porter's Idioms of NT Greek with Wallace. Take a look at how Porter
>handles the greek case system and then look at Wallace. Note how
>abstract Porter's treatment of the cases is. Note how Wallace gives
>or so types of genitives.
>You need to know some linguistics to understand why
>Porter is different from Wallace on the theoretical level but you
>see the difference without knowing any linguistics at all.
If I may add a relatively brief note to this discussion, I want to
I have had some disagreements myself with Wallace's presentation of
particular issues--in particular, it has seems to me on occasion
(like some others) has unnecessarily invented some grammatical
for analysis of case usage and verbal usage that traditional
didn't find necessary and whose usefulness I am inclined to
Nevertheless, I value the book and find it very much worth
significant grammatical issues in interpretation of NT texts arises.
view of the massive task it is to undertake a comprehensive
such a massive areas as Koine Greek Grammar, I don't much like to
bashing of such major efforts as this. The book is surely a useful
a major recent treatment of the subjects involved, and it is clearly
fruit of many years of successful and respected teaching. Any
and experienced student of a field like Biblical Greek ought to know
than either to stand in absolute awe of any "authoritative" work on
subject or to look cynically down his or her nose at it. Such a work
product of human effort and intelligence, and however one ultimately
to judge it critically, it deserves respect. We will all have our
grammatical "authorities," but we do well to have some sense of the
precariousness of our own received and even considered judgments on
grammatical matters and we do well also to be cognizant of the
scholarship and lore of unnamed men and women on whose shoulders the
edifice of understanding we now hold rests (I have a feeling that
mixed far too many metaphors here, but I hope what I mean may
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
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