Re: List question...

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 08:01:04 -0600

At 2:00 AM -0600 1/23/97, Tom Launder wrote:

>Hello all,


>I was thinking about something and thought I would ask. . . :)

>Would it be outside the list boundaries to pick a day (like Friday)

>Theologians and Scholars in and out of the ministry would share

>exegetical insights into the Greek NT? A perfect example of this

>of idea is found in William Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek." At

>beginning of each chapter some scholar shares a really neat

>tidbit to the edification of the reader.


>Personally, I would love to see people share what they have learned

>their hours in study. I also think that it would be a benefit to all

>who love and read this list. Yes, it might take a little extra work

>some of the busy ones on the list, but the opportunity to share Greek

>exegetical insights would be a great blessing.


>So what do you all think?

I have a couple gut reactions to this, both tending to the negative,
and both based on the observation that this list is open to persons of
all faiths and to persons of no faith:

(1) I think that this kind of sharing is quite likely to become more a
means of expounding theological viewpoints together with the
interpretations of GNT proof texts underlying the theological
viewpoints, and I think that might very soon become an occasion for
theological squabbling RATHER than for argumentation really based upon
the text of the GNT. This seems to me to put the cart before the horse
in terms of what's most appropriate for this list. It's been said over
and over, and I agree wholeheartedly, that there are theological biases
(which word I am not using in any pejorative sense) in any reading of a
GNT text, and these are bound to have a bearing upon the reading of any
particular text which we as individuals may find most cogent; but our
argumentation is based, as far as we can sustain it, upon what we can
demonstrate as probable in terms of the known and understood principles
of Greek grammar. Moreover, I think that most of the discussion on this
list is, at its best, precisely the sort of valuable exploration of the
possibilities and limitations of diction, syntax, morphology, etc.
bearing upon particular passages of GNT text; I am thinking
particularly of the discussion that we had a couple weeks ago over
ZHLOUTE in 1 Cor 12, or the recurrent topics like John 1:1c. I really
think this is what most of our discussion does involve; theological
perspectives are generally evident in these discussions but they are at
the second level: we arguing the proper understanding of a Greek text
primarily--and this, I think, we are doing most of the time.

(2) In the light of what I've already said about what I think we are
doing all the time in terms of our everyday kind of exploration of
texts, I can't see a reason for devoting a special day to do something
different. What Mounce has at the outset of chapters of his
<underline>Basics of Biblical Greek</underline> tends to be citations
from scholars illustrating how application of that chapter's
grammatical theme bears upon theological interpretation of particular
texts. People can and do cite "authorities" to back up their viewpoints
upon particular passages in messages on this list all the time, but it
is the reference works of lexicology and grammar that are more weighty,
since "authorities" can be found (without a vast expense of effort) to
support most sides of most issues. What matters most here, I think, is
the cogency of a demonstration rather than the authority of someone who
happens to agree with the poster.

I'm sure there will be other views on this; let's see them.

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics, Washington University

One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130

(314) 935-4018 OR