[B-Greek] Criteria for evaluating NT Greek Intro Grammars
j.weaks at tcu.edu
Thu Feb 19 00:07:05 EST 2004
Carl et al,
I know this comes up alot, the which-is-the-best-intro-grammar
question, but I wonder if it is worth folks offering not simply which
grammars are good, but which criteria make for a good grammar. For
instance, Carl is most helpful by citing difficulties with Machen or
Mounce. He did not say what makes Funk's so good.
For instance, the big deal behind Mounce (in addition to incredible
promotional support) is that is saves verbs till all else is done.
Would folks be willing to offer their list of criteria perhaps in order
of importance, which I'd love to hear, since I'm gearing up to teach
graduate level intro Greek again in the Fall and must revisit the "what
text to use" question once more. I suppose negative criteria are
Here are the kinds of criteria I'm talking about. I pull these out of
my head, and each one probably describes either Mounce or Machen, those
two being the only NT Greek texts I've taught from.
Each section has practice sentences. How many?
Not have practice sentences, and leave those to 3rd party workbook or
Include both Greek to English and English to Greek practice sentences.
All practice sentences and examples are drawn as nearly from actual
texts as possible.
All practice sentences are "Dick and Jane" simple ("DICK BLEPEI JANE"),
for the sake of clarity in example.
Close to no grammatical issues/vocabulary are encountered in the
examples before they're covered in the text itself.
The correct amount of "chapters", say for 2 lessons a week in a typical
Complete nouns and all other forms before beginning nouns.
Introduce participles ASAP.
What should each chapter include.
Heavy in graphs and charts.
Heavy in "Additional information" such as background, history,
Issues regarding physical layout.
Vocabulary lists include English (or whichever language)
transliterations as memory aids.
How large the total vocabulary learned should be. (Every word occurring
of 60, 50, 40, etc.?)
What blend of inductive and deductive method.
Several other criteria that I've now grown too tired to come up with.
Emphasis on meaning at morphological, syntactical, discourse level.
If we together worked towards an exhaustive list, we'd do a great
service to the discipline if we'd compile a descriptive list of NT
Grammars in a comparative spreadsheet. It'd be a tremendous reference.
P.S. An aside on Machen. I agree, it's really bad in some ways. The
practice sentence sometimes are horrible to Greek. But, they also
reinforce the lesson in superior ways. IIRC, the sentences strongly
reinforce the grammar and vocab one has just learned. This type of
bonus reinforcement is virtually impossible with actual NT Greek
sentences. Plus, ask a student whether they'd like Machen (that little
black book) or Mounce (that large, horribly laid out thing where
paragraphs are broken between pages) and they will have some
appreciation for the brevity of the text. In some ways, this lack of a
full description of grammar in Machen encourages an inductive/later
learning of more specific grammatical issues. Don't get me wrong...
there's no way I'm choosing Machen as my text this Fall.
On Feb 18, 2004, at 7:09 AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> I really was NOT being facetious in my comments about Machen. I have
> out of it myself and think I'm familiar enough with its qualities: its
> grammatical explanations are too brief and for that reason less than
> adequate or accurate; its sentences, both Greek-to-English and
> English-to-Greek are "made-up" and many of them display bad grammar and
> idiom (this is a pet peeve of mine; the best introductory grammars use
> exclusively or almost exclusively texts drawn directly from ancient
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