[B-Greek] Robert Funk's Grammar (Corrected Edition)

cwconrad2 cwconrad2 at mac.com
Tue Dec 14 07:30:29 EST 2010

On Dec 13, 2010, at 10:31 PM, Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com> wrote:

> Message: 14
> Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 14:13:17 +0000 (GMT)
> From: cwconrad2 <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> To: Shirley Rollinson <rollinsondr at yahoo.com>
> Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Textbook for Beginning Greek
> Message-ID: <249d3178-101c-c6f3-b4b6-d8b04e8d3378 at me.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> This is a recurrent question and it is one upon which those B-Greekers who have an
> opinion have been repeatedly found to be at odds with each other. I thought that I
> had written a response to this covering a whole lot of possible choices, but can't find
> in the archives the particular one I'm looking for. Here's one of my older replies:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2006-May/038639.html
> but the URL for Funk's Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek has changed
> since then. Now it's: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/funk-grammar/pre-alpha/?
> Carl W. Conrad
> LJ: Please let me know whether Robert Funk's grammar is in the public domain. "The corrected edition" is dated 24 May 1977.
> Leonard Jayawardena 

There the "Great Scott" (LSJG -- the unabridged Liddell & Scott, the "little Liddell" (the shorter abridgment) and the "middle Liddell" (the intermediate abridgment) -- that's on the lexicographical side. Now on the grammatical side there's the "Big HG" -- the Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek of Robert Funk; I haven't seen or heard anyone else using that term, but it seems a useful term to refer to Funk's textbook by what is essentially its acronym.

The date offered for the "corrected edition" -- 24 May 1977 -- is the date of the last revised printed edition of a work that Bob Funk had prepared originally for students in his own Beginning Greek classes. Those of us who own copies were concerned about its cheap binding and pages falling apart from even very little use but some of us -- and I in particular urged it -- thought the work really deserved to be preserved in digital form and possibly republished. The scanning and production of the HTML version was the work of several dedicated B-Greekers headed up by Ken Penner. For some time it was accessible at Ken's website, but was later moved to our own B-Greek site at ibiblio.org and set up by our list-owner, Jonathan Robie in what he chose to term a "pre-alpha" edition. The fact is that the HTML version accessible at the above site reproduces the exact format of that May 1977 paperback edition. It would be far, far better and more useful if it were reformatted for easy access and carefully indexed; that's one of those greatly desirable projects requiring considerable labor by volunteers.

It is NOT in the public domain. Bob Funk, who held the copyright, died in 2005. The copyright belong to his estate which is controlled by his widow who knows all about the B-Greek edition and has told us that she has no desire to take down the web version or limit access to it. She has suggested a project of reformatting the book for better web access and even publishing it -- presumably through Polebridge Press -- as a textbook.

That's about all that I know about the web version at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/funk-grammar/pre-alpha/
But I personally thought when I first paged through it in the 1970's and I still think that, whatever flaws one may find in it, it remains
the single most valuable textbook for learning NT Koine Greek. Enough others have agreed with that judgment that we think it worth
keeping it accessible at our b-greek site.

So: it's not in the public domain but it is publicly accessible. I would guess that you could print the web text out for yourself, but I wouldn't attempt to reformat it or print copies for class use without getting express permission.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (ret)

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