Mounce's first year grammar

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Tue Nov 30 17:05:35 EST 1999

At 2:58 PM -0600 11/30/99, Michael Burer wrote:
>Two list members, Jonathan and Carl, have recently made disparaging
>comments regarding the Exegetical Insights which Mounce includes at the
>front of most every chapter. I believe this deserves a response. It is
>very important to understand that these short vignettes serve a didactic
>purpose. Mounce's textbook is one of the few I have seen which has a
>clearly stated purpose and goal to help budding pastors, ministers, and
>exegetes learn the Greek of the New Testament (see the Rationale
>Statement, pp. xiii-xviii, and Chapter 2 "Learning Greek", p. 3-6). The
>Exegetical Insights obviously fit within that purpose, for they show the
>student that Greek pays dividends in understanding. It is also important
>to understand that he only wrote a few of them, so it is not accurate to
>infer that he is behind them all; other contributors include his father
>Robert Mounce, Daniel Wallace, Darrell Bock, I. Howard Marshall, Craig
>Keener, etc. I think it is an excellent feature to have such a variety of
>scholars contribute to these vignettes. Of course you may say that they
>are "irritating" or "distracting" because you do not agree with the
>overall theological stance Mounce has taken, but I may also say they are
>encouraging and helpful because I do agree with his stance and that helps
>me stay dedicated to the task of learning Greek. At the very least, the
>Exegetical Insights show Greek in action, and whether you agree or not
>with the resultant interpretation, seeing Greek in action is a helpful
>aspect of any grammar.

Let me simply say that I had no intention of "disparaging" the Exegetical
Insights in Mounce's textbook. I have no doubt that they are indeed welcome
to those whose theological inclination is inclined as Michael asserts his
own is. I was simply stating what is abundantly evident on B-Greek, that
there is often more than one way of construing a Greek text and
understanding its syntax, and also that the theological perspective that
one brings to bear upon a text has a significant bearing on the exegesis of
a text that one is likely to find most convincing on the not altogether
uncommon occasions when one finds more than one alternative way of
construing a text.

When one is asked about advantages and disadvantages of one textbook over
against another, there are a number of factors to consider, including the
suitability for the particular students one is likely to be teaching and
the method of teaching one intends to pursue. I think a teacher would be
wise to examine a NT Greek textbook (or any other textbook, for that
matter) before ordering it for use--and for some, the Exegetical Insights
might very well be a problem, while for others they might very well be
quite welcome.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at
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