Re: Machen's grammar

Why this antipathy toward Machen's grammar?   I somehow doubt that if Machen 
were really so bad it would have remained in print for over 70 years (how many 
textbooks do you know that have lasted that long?). 

 Lest this list become unanimously anti-Machen I'd like to put in a moderately
favorable word.  I agree that its exorbitant price (the publisher's greed at
work) and its age work against it, but I still like it for the following

1)  Its units are bite-sized and simple.
2)  It avoids detailed grammatical exactitude which would confuse students
3)  Its exercises are not NT quotations, which avoids the use of the students
memory of the New Testament as a clue to sentences.
4)  I at least think that its organization is not at all illogical.  The only
thing in terms of order I think I would alter is to move contract verbs
forward, since they are simple and frequent in the NT.
5)  Recent asseverations on this discussion forum notwithstanding, there is
little in Machen which conflicts with recent linguistic developments.  This is
largely due to the fact that Machen does not deal with NT syntax in detail. 
Again, he over-simplifies for the sake of pedagogy.  I suppose if you want to
be pedantic, Machen's very over-simplification conflicts with recent
linguistics, but that's always a factor in pedagogy, is it not?  But Machen
entitled his work, NT Greek for *BEGINNERS*, which assumes that an instructor
would take students beyond his grammar. 

But all these bring up a caveat with regard to Machen.  That is, it needs a
knowledgeable teacher to be used effectively.  Precisely because Machen
over-simplifies, a teacher must be available to further explain.  If a student
studied Machen and then stopped, he would be left with some misleading notions.

I rather wish that Machen could be up-dated -- preserving the essential
structure and simplicity, but giving a bit more grammatical background
(assuming less knowledge of grammatical terms) and perhaps fleshing out the
syntactical description. 

**  Dan G. McCartney                   |        I'net: DMCCARTNEY@HSLC.ORG  **
**  Assoc. Prof. of NT                 |          WTS: 215 887 5511         **
**  Westminster Theol Seminary         |       Office: 215 572 3818         **
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