b-greek-digest V1 #879

b-greek-digest          Thursday, 28 September 1995    Volume 01 : Number 879

In this issue:

        Re: Romans 2:27
        sci.astro.archaeo: Proposed Newsgroup/Mailing List 
        Classical Greek, etc. 
        Romans 2:27 
        Re: What is the PURPOSE of Life? 
        Re: Romans 2:27
        Re: A TC Question
        Re: Calling Jesus God in... (Granville Sharp) 
        Re: Romans 2:2
        Trilingual Jesus 
        Analytical Lexica 
        Re: Trilingual Jesus
        Re: Analytical Lexica 
        Re: Classical Greek, etc. 
        RE: Analytical Lexicon 
        Re: Classical Greek, etc. (long)


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 06:40:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Romans 2:27

At 10:57 PM 9/27/95, JClar100@aol.com wrote:
>Would someone help me with Romans 2:27:
>"kai  krinei hH ek phusews akrobustia ton nomon telousa se ton dia grammatos
>kai peritomHs parabatHn nomou"?
>1)  Is the writer saying that "the one who is physically uncircumcised and
>yet fulfills the law will judge you who are a transgressor of the law through
>'letter' and circumcision"?

(1) Yes, and KRINEI here probably should even be rendered "will condemn."

>2)  If so, what is the justification for using the "ton" which is found
>before "dia"?

See (4)below.

>3)   As a definite article what noun or pronoun does it stand in relation to?
> If it has a substantive use, how is it identified grammatically?  Does it
>link with "parabatHn"?  If so, why isn't it "tHn"? The other three nouns
>following it are genitives, if I'm not mistaken?

(3) PARABATHN (the only accusative m. sg. noun that really could go with
TON appropriately).

>4)  Is there a simple rule governing the use of the article which I have

(4) Yes: the distinction between ATTRIBUTIVE and PREDICATIVE use of the
article; items sandwiched between the article and the substantive which it
governs function like attributive adjectives. e.g., TON AGAQON ANQRWPON,
"the good man"; hOI TOTE ANQRWPOI, "the men of that time"; hOI EN hUDATI
BAPTISQENTES, "those who have been baptized with water"

>5)  Also, would making this verse a question as the UBS 4th ed. apparatus
>suggests some manuscripts have done have any bearing on the use of "ton" or
>the overall meaning of the verse?

No, not on the use of TON. As I read the UBS4, it is not, in fact, any MS
that puts a question-mark there, but rather the 1889 printed version of the
Textus Receptus and the 1978 "La Nouvelle Version Segond[e?) Revise'e."
That is, it's an editor suggesting it be read as a question; it's not
something found in the MSS. And it has no bearing on the use of TON here
which is nothing extraordinary at all.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: Will Wagers <wagers@computek.net>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 07:37:02 -0600
Subject: sci.astro.archaeo: Proposed Newsgroup/Mailing List 

*This is not a call for discussion or votes.* This query will be posted to
selected other mailing lists and newsgroups. Please forgive the
inconvenience if you receive it more than once.

I am in the planning stages of a proposal to create a mailing list
(oldstar) and/or newsgroup (sci.astro.archaeo) dedicated to the discussion
of archaeoastronomy -- the study of ancient astronomy and its impact upon
culture, philosophy, religion, and science. Please e-mail me at
wagers@computek.net if you:

        1. Would be interested in such a mailing list or newsgroup (which?),
        2. Have suggestions of any kind regarding the advisibility or
feasability, e.g.,
                conflicts or overlaps with existing lists or groups.
        3. Would like to help in the planning stages,
        4. Would like to see the topic broadened to include all ancient

Thank you for your comments,

(proposal follows)
- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
- -----

                              Preliminary Proposal for sci.astro.archaeo

Archaeoastronomy is an unusual discipline in that it is both scientific and
scholarly. While its concerns overlap those of astronomy, archaeoastronomy
is seldom concerned with particle physics or grand unified theories -
except as they might relate to ancient astronomy (theoretical cosmology)
and astrology (the ancient applied science of the calendar).
Archaeoastronomy is devoted to discovering and understanding ancient
astronomical observations and theories and their manifestations in ancient

The field has gained momentum over the past ten years to the point where
researchers are in the field all over the world. The primary cultures
currently under active  investigation include: the Aztec, Mayan, and other
American Indian, the Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian, Chinese, Hebraic, and
early Christian cultures.

Among a diverse group of individuals, sci.astro.archaeo will facilitate the
secular discussion of interdisciplinary and intercultural topics related to
archaeoastronomy, which include anthropology, architecture, natural
philosophy (science), ancient cultures, ancient philosophies, ancient
religions, and the archaeology of ancient sites with an eye toward
astronomical alignments. Archaeoastronomy is a plexus where all these
disciplines intersect; yet its primary focus is of little interest in the
mainstreams of the other disciplines with the possible exception of

Amateurs are welcome both because amateurs sometimes contribute to this
field - as they do in astronomy - and because interested high school and
college and graduate students will enjoy exposure to a high level of
scholarship in a young field. However, the discourse in sci.astro.archaeo
assumes a familiarity with one or more fields, such as archaeology, history
of art or literature, philosophy, religion, or science, or  bearing upon
the subjects discussed. This is not a forum for propounding non-scientific
theories of human culture, e.g alien or divine intervention.

 I propose the creation of a separate, unmoderated newsgroup -
sci.astro.archaeo - to address the communication needs of
archaeoastronomers, colleagues, students, and devotees (many of whom are
amateurs, as in astronomy). sci.astro.archaeo will serve the following

        1.  electronic conference services - a way for people to discuss
new developments in the field; to debate alternate approaches to
interpretation; to plan and arrange academic conferences, seminars, and
publications; to discuss public initiatives affecting the field; and to
solicit assistance and advice from their peers;
        2.  electronic notification services - post job, conference,
specialized computer hardware and software and other technical equipment,
and publication announcements;
        3.  electronic publication services - exchange data (text, numbers,
graphics), facilitate the use of computers and networks to produce
articles, papers, bibliographies, books, etc.

Will wagers@computer.net


From: Eric Weiss <eweiss@acf.dhhs.gov>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 95 9:37:18 -24000
Subject: Classical Greek, etc. 

I took/am taking (this is my 2nd year) NT Greek because I want to read the 
Greek New Testament.  Various posts in the past have indicated that it is 
good to precede Hellenistic/NT Greek with a year of Classical and/or Attic 
Greek, though I don't think all seminaries do this.
  - How crucial is knowing these earlier forms of Greek to understanding the 
Greek New Testament?
  - What have those of us who have only taken NT Greek missed by not taking 
these earlier forms of Greek?
  - Should we somewhere down the road take a course in these other forms of 
Greek even though our main interest is in reading and understanding the New 
Testament, not Homer, et al?
  - Are there good grammar books on Classical/Attic Greek that would be easy 
for someone with 1-2 years of NT Greek to pick up and read that would fill in 
the gaps we supposedly missed by not learning these forms of Greek?
  - What "gaps" do we have (i.e., what areas of understanding are we ignorant 
of) because all we have learned is NT Greek?


From: JClar100@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 10:16:04 -0400
Subject: Romans 2:27 

Dr. Conrad,

If I understand you, then "DIA GRAMMATOS KAI PERITOMHN" would in effect
function as an adjective modifying "nomou" with "ton" as the definite article
preceding "nomou."  It would be like saying "the (...white and blue and
yellow...) house."

The only other question is regarding the genitive use of "nomou."  Is that
because "dia" takes the genitive?

I was also confusing the gender of "PARABATHN."

Finally, would you agree that "EPAINOS" in 2:29 is the author's "play" on the
Hebrew word for "Judah.?"  If so, it would seem to fit the argument being
made in this chapter and the first chapter. I'm translating "epainos" simply
as "praise."




From: BBezdek@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 10:30:53 -0400
Subject: Re: What is the PURPOSE of Life? 

In a message dated 95-09-28 08:04:30 EDT, Neil124@aol.com writes:

>     The question of why we are living on this earth and what our purpose is
>here is perhaps the most profound question one can ask.  In an article I
>in The  Living Pulpit entitled, "What is the Purpose of Life?", John
>provides an interesting answer. 
>     Macquarrie points out that we all have purposes we work at day by day.
>We may even have an overall purpose that embraces and coordinates all the
>little purposes.   But Macquarrie shows there is an even vaster purpose
>behind human aspirations and states that "God has a purpose for the whole
>creation, a purpose that gathers up, purifies and deepens all of our finite
>purposes.  Jesus Christ believed that there is such a purpose and called it
>the `Kingdom of God.'"
>     He also makes clear that God is not a mathematician whose intention was
>to create a mechanized universe or an overwhelming esthetic creation.  On
>contrary, Macquarrie says, "God is a God of love, whose purpose in creation
>was not to bring into being a fascinatingly beautiful universe, but to be
>confronted with an `other' who could respond to love with love, who could
>live in communion."
>     Does anyone have any thoughts about Macquarrie's view on the purpose of
>Life?   I should mention that you can get an electronic summary of this
>article or information about The Living Pulpit by sending e-mail to
>"Livpulpit@AOL.com"  Any ideas on the subject?

This is not a new view, I think it is correct, but what has this to do with
the purpose of this list?



From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 10:10:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Romans 2:27

At 9:16 AM 9/28/95, JClar100@aol.com wrote:
>Dr. Conrad,
>If I understand you, then "DIA GRAMMATOS KAI PERITOMHN" would in effect
>function as an adjective modifying "nomou" with "ton" as the definite article
>preceding "nomou."  It would be like saying "the (...white and blue and
>yellow...) house."

"transgressor of (the) Law"; I would understand the prepositional phrase
DIA GRAMMATOS KAI PERITOMHS as "in terms of the letter and of circumcision"
or, if you want to turn that into adjectives, "the literal and circumcised
transgressor of the law."

>The only other question is regarding the genitive use of "nomou."  Is that
>because "dia" takes the genitive?

No, DIA can take genitive or accusative; NOMOU here is an objective
genitive construed with PARABATHN: "transgressor of (the) Law."

>I was also confusing the gender of "PARABATHN."

Yes, this is in the category (that is really fairly common) of masculine
1st declension agent nouns in -THS.

>Finally, would you agree that "EPAINOS" in 2:29 is the author's "play" on the
>Hebrew word for "Judah.?"  If so, it would seem to fit the argument being
>made in this chapter and the first chapter. I'm translating "epainos" simply
>as "praise."

No, I really don't quite see how this could be: there's an R in that name,
isn't there? So that, even if the P is is the sibilant in the Hebrew name,
the R following it wouldn't be reproduced in the Greek EPAINOS;
furthermore, the syllable AI is a diphthong in the Greek, not 2 vowels in
diaeresis. I honestly don't think there's any relationship.

Hope this helps. cwc

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: Mark O'Brien <Mark_O'Brien@dts.edu>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 95 11:12:29 CST
Subject: Re: A TC Question

Original message sent on Wed, Sep 27  3:22 PM by broman@np.nosc.mil (Vincent
Broman) :

> mark_o'brien@dts.edu asked about Sturz:
>>                                                     I am curious
>> as to exactly what he does with internal evidence in his evaluations.
>> How does he deal with conflations...?

> Your curiosity will be rewarded by reading Sturz's book on the Byzantine
> text type yourself.  There he gives evidence that no text type is immune
> to conflation and that the Byzantines are not specially prone to it.
> He also deals with other types of internal evidences in general terms.

I have read selected parts of his book, and I think I understand his 
basic argument.  However, if (and maybe I'm wrong on this) he is
arguing that the early forms of the text-types were independent and 
unmixed, how does he adequately explain what appear to be relatively 
early conflations?

Also, I would be interested in knowing your opinion on how well you
think that Sturz proved his argument that the Byzantine text-type
was as early as any of the others.  Dan Wallace mentioned to us the 
other day that he felt that Sturz did not adequately show clear 
genealogical relationship with later Byzantine MSS to any significant
number of papyri, although he certainly claimed to have done so.
Any comments?

Mark O'Brien


From: BibAnsMan@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 12:47:53 -0400
Subject: Re: Calling Jesus God in... (Granville Sharp) 

On 09-28, Larry Swain writes:

<<On the Granville Sharp rule, I am wondering what the rule is for clauses, 
is there anything beyond how one reads the context to determine if 2 
subordinate, predicate clauses joined by kai/ are referrents to the same, 
or stand independantly.>>

I should have sent this to everyone, I just sent it to Conrad alone.  But if
you wish to study the Granville Sharp rule further, here are some places to
see it.

You can study the Granville-Sharp rule in Dana & Mantey's volume called "A
Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament" published by Macmillan, the latest
printing I have is 1990.  See page 147 where he says:

(1) With Nouns connected by 'kai'    The following rule by Granville Sharp of
a century back still proves to be true: "When the copulative kai connects two
nouns of the same case, if the article 'ho' or any of its cases precedes the
first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second
noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is
expressed or described by the first noun or participle; i.e., it denotes a
farther description of the first-named person."

A.T. Robertson discusses this practice in his "Grammar of the Greek New
Testament in the Light of Historical Research," pp. 785-786.  When the
persons are to be distinguished, the article is repeated before the second
noun or participle (pp. 786-787).

Dana and Mantey give the example of 2 Peter 2:20:    " tou kuriou kai soteros
Iesou Christou."   where Lord and Saviour refer to the same person.  See
Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 where it is significant in identifying Jesus
Christ Christ with God.  Jesus is our great God and Savior.

Grace to you,

Jim McGuire
Professor at
Logos Bible Institute
13248 Roscoe Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA  91352


From: Mike Adams <mikadams@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 09:44:57 -0700
Subject: Re: Romans 2:2

Hello. I couldn't help but notice with interest you correspondences 
back and forth with Dr. Conrad. It seems you have a great deal of 
ambition, but I suspect you might be lacking in the way of tools. Do 
you have a good intermediate Grammar? Dana and Mantey is a standard. 
Vaughan and Gideon also have a good one. Dr. Mounce who posts regularly 
here most likely has one as well. Any of these would help satisfy your 
curiosity as to the subtler nuances of syntax.

Also, does your lexicon include Grammatical Analysis? Edward Hobbs and 
others recently posted some terrific information concerning such 
references. It may cost a bit of money to buy a sharper ax, but if you 
plan on chopping many trees, you ought to invest.

Ellen Adams


From: DDDJ@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 13:24:49 -0400
Subject: Trilingual Jesus 

<< My own suspicions are that Jesus was intelligent enough to be 
bi or even tri lingual, as is not uncommon in areas with a native, 
trade and official language>>
I understand taht Certain word aspects of John are only understandable in
Greek. THis where Jesus is "speaking" If John is accurate then Jesus must
have spoken Greek.

Positive Dennis


From: Eric Weiss <eweiss@acf.dhhs.gov>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 95 13:02:28 -24000
Subject: Analytical Lexica 

In the recent lengthy posting on lexica, mention was made of Perschbacher's 
recent revision to the Analytical Lexicon.  No mention was made, however, of 
Mounce's revised volume of the Analytical Lexicon, one volume in the series 
Zondervan is doing on NT Greek using Mounce's BASICS OF BIBLICAL GREEK (there 
is also a lexicon on Septuagint Greek in this series).  I've briefly compared 
the two, and find these differences:

Price:  Through CBD, Perschbacher is available for $16.95.  Mounce is $24.95 
or so (I think the retail prices are:  $29.95 Perschbacher, $34.95 Mounce).

  - Definitions appear to be identical for the words I checked.
  - Mounce codes his entries to the Kohlenberger numbering system, which 
differs from Strong's numbering system (which is what Perschbacher uses, if I 
remember).  Mounce has a Kohlenberger-Strong cross-reference chart in the 
  - Mounce also codes his entries to his morphology numbering, which would be 
useful if you use his MORPHOLOGY book or grammar book.
  - Mounce only parses words from the UBS/N-A edition of the GNT.  
Perschbacher appears to also include words from the TR (there may be only a 
few of these, but if I recall correctly, I tried to find the word in 
Philippians 2:5 the KJV translates "Let this mind be in you" (vs. UBS 
phroneite--"think")--I think it is phroneisthe--and only found it in 
Perschbacher's).  I think Perschbacher also includes all UBS/N-A words in 
addition to TR words.

It seems to me that Perschbacher would be the better buy, simply because it's 
cheaper and has the same information (plus parsings for TR words), unless you 
need or want Mounce's Morphology keys (which is sufficient reason to get it 
if you use Mounce much or want the complete Zondervan series, which will 
include Daniel Wallace's book and later a graded reader--though I don't know 
if these will be keyed to Mounce's Morphology numbering system--does anyone 
know?).  I haven't found anything else out there using the Kohlenberger 
numbering system yet--is anyone adopting it, or is this just a Zondervan 
thing?  Also, Pershbacher's volume seems to be printed on better, easier-to-
read paper.

If anyone has any additional or more correct comments on these volumes, 
please post them.  Thanks.


From: Mike Adams <mikadams@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 14:25:20 -0700
Subject: Re: Trilingual Jesus

You wrote: 

>I understand taht Certain word aspects of John are only understandable 
>Greek. THis where Jesus is "speaking" If John is accurate then Jesus 
>have spoken Greek.
>Positive Dennis
Like, for instance, the discourse between Jesus and Peter in John 21??
I agree, it makes more sense if at that time Jesus were speaking in 



From: Cierpke@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 18:12:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Analytical Lexica 

It is my understanding that the Goodrick/Kohlenberger numbering system is to
be used in the upcoming Dictionary of Old Testament Theology that is due out
late in 1996. It is now used in the The NIV Exhaustive Concordance


From: Cierpke@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 18:16:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Classical Greek, etc. 

As far as a Classical Greek Grammar, "Greek Grammar" by Herbert Weir Smyth,
Harvard university Press, 1920. is still considered to be the best students
grammar from what I can glean


From: Bill Mounce <billm@teknia.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 16:19:23 -0700
Subject: RE: Analytical Lexicon 

Hmmm. I can't let this one get past.

1. The definitions are definitely not the same in my lexicon and
Perschbaker's. We found literally hundreds of mistakes, especially in
biblical references. I have the stacks of paper where students double
checked every single reference. (They volunteered to do it.) My text also
has many more verse references. I think that if the word occurs less than
10 times that we included every reference, but I don't remember the actual
number. Pretty dumb, huh?

I don't remember for sure but did Perschbaker still list cognates together
in the lexicon entries? If it does, like the old one, it is very
frustrating. Mine lists each lexical form alphabetically.

2. My entries also tell you the number of times each inflectional form
occurs, and if it occurs only once, the reference. This is really helpful
for teachers who are trying to find the more commonforms to quiz on.

3. I am working on the next edition that lists forms that occur in the TR
and not UBS text. There are not that many, but they are there. It will
_NOT_ be out for a while, like years.

4. Dan Wallace's grammar will not be keyed to the morphology tags since it
deals with syntax. But my Graded Reader will be heavily keyed to it. By the
way, a xerox copy will be shown at SBL. My deadline is January and Iwill
hit it.

5. Kohlenberger's numbering system is better if you use the UBS text.
Strong's messed some words up, and several words were never coded. As time
progresses, you will see Zondervan's stuff use these numbers more and more.

6. The paper in the two volumes is an interesting debate, which I have
carried on with Zondervan. Actually the paper in mine is costlier than the
high gloss stuff. Go figure. They purposely use the type they do because of
its quality, its acid-free, etc. I tend to like pure white too, but in
terms of use I don't see much difference, although the paper in my text
doesn't glare at all.

7. The introduction to mine is totally different, and is really a subset of
my morphology grammar. Obviously, I prefer it, and it is the same format as
my grammar.

Dr. Perschbaker did a good job cleaning up the older analytical and I
enjoyed using it for a while, but it does carry some of the problems of the
old one over. I didn't check the parsings since I did my own, but the
dictionary articles did need some work. His is less expensive too, which is

Is this a fair evaluation?

Bill Mounce

- -------------------------------

Teknia Software, Inc.
1306 W. Bellwood Drive
Spokane, WA  99218-2911

Internet: billm@teknia.com (preferred)
AOL: Mounce
CIS: 71540,2140 (please, only if necessary)

"It may be Greek to you, but it is life to me."


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 21:21:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Classical Greek, etc. (long)

At 4:37 AM 10/8/95, Eric Weiss wrote:
>I took/am taking (this is my 2nd year) NT Greek because I want to read the
>Greek New Testament.  Various posts in the past have indicated that it is
>good to precede Hellenistic/NT Greek with a year of Classical and/or Attic
>Greek, though I don't think all seminaries do this.

Is there any seminary that does this at all? And are there not still
seminaries that offer a 3-week crash course Koine for incoming students who
have never studied it before? Has anyone on the list started Greek that way
and continued on?

>  - How crucial is knowing these earlier forms of Greek to understanding the
>Greek New Testament?

Crucial is a loaded word. Can you understand the Greek NT without knowing
any earlier Greek? Certainly, and I'll venture to say that there are many
participants in this list who have never studied earlier Greek. The real
question is: how much better would you understand the Greek NT if you DID
know earlier Greek? and then: how much earlier Greek would you have to
study for it to make a real difference in how well you understand the Greek
NT. I don't know if this could be measured in quantitative terms, but maybe
that's why I'm very definitely a philologist and very definitely NOT a
linguist. I love words and their histories and nuances--their distinctive
personalities, and the distinctive ways in which the different crafters of
Greek literature have stamped them with unforgettable overtones by means of
the metaphors they've used them in and the contorted syntactic structures
they've wrenched them into. So mine is a philologist's answer rather than a
linguist's: the more of the Greek language and the ways in which it has
been used between the era of Homer and today you come to know, the better
you'll understand the Greek NT. Again the quantitative question is
unavoidable: what's the critical mass? One year, two years, more? To which
I can only answer that one year of earlier Greek is better than none, two
are better than one, and so on. Of course this is true not only of the
Greek language; the more you know about antiquity the more you'll
understand about the Greek NT. Is it obvious that I'm a philosophical

>  - What have those of us who have only taken NT Greek missed by not taking
>these earlier forms of Greek?

Chiefly the best years of the Greek language's life. That is an
exaggeration and a grossly unfair statement--but I have never ceased to
admire a gutsy colleague's course description for his class on 'Mycenean
Society': "The student will come away from this class with a taste of what
it was like to live in the last great age of Western Civilization." Let's
say, then, SOME of the best years of the Greek language's life. And it's
not just a matter of a richer and more flexible instrument of
expression--something that you could learn (as I don't really think was
intended to be an adequate answer to the question raised) by having a copy
of H. Weir Smyth's _Greek Grammar_. Rather it's a matter of coming to
appreciate how the language has been wielded by Homer and Aeschylus and
Pindar and Sophocles and Herodotus and Thucydides and Plato and Demosthenes
and Theocritus and others.

If you want this put in a more practical formulation, then I think you
should be aware that if you want to read patristic Greek of the second and
third centuries, you will be reading works that are consciously and
deliberately written in the idiom of classical Attic Greek, even if with a
somewhat different vocabulary. And if you want to have a sense of how the
style of Luke is different from (and, strictly in terms of stylistic
excellence) far superior to that of Mark, you're going to need to have a
standard against which to measure good style. Where do you go for that?
Well, it wouldn't hurt to read some Philo, who is roughly contemporary with
the earlier NT documents, but I guarantee that Philo will be very difficult
if the only Greek you've had previously is the Koine of Paul and John and
the Synoptic gospels. That means that you probably ought to have read some
Plato--at least the Apology and one or more of the longer dialogues.

>  - Should we somewhere down the road take a course in these other forms of
>Greek even though our main interest is in reading and understanding the New
>Testament, not Homer, et al?

Yes! Yes! And Yes indeed! Read some Homer (I'm doing it now with a
third-year class of eight, more than half of whom are students at Concordia
Seminary here, and pretty good ones--of course, the classical curriculum is
one of the best things going for Missouri Synod Lutheran colleges); probe
the archaeology of the Greek language with old genitives in -OIO, -AO, and
- -EW, old infinitives in -EMEN, -EMENAI, duals in -W and -OIN and -TON,
- -THN, -SQON, -SQHN, short-vowel aorist subjunctives functioning as futures,
etc., etc. Along the way you might just discover that Homer (whoever he may
have been or how many generations of minstrels he may represent) is by no
means so primitive in his view of the human condition as you might have
supposed. Read some Herodotus and you'll find that it won't take very long
to master his Ionic dialect (that it's akin to Koine in some ways, even),
and moreover that he's fun to read--you'll go on reading him because you
can't stop.

>  - Are there good grammar books on Classical/Attic Greek that would be easy
>for someone with 1-2 years of NT Greek to pick up and read that would fill in
>the gaps we supposedly missed by not learning these forms of Greek?

Other teachers of classical Attic might not agree with me, but I honestly
believe that a person with one or two years of Koine will be able to move
along readily through either of two courses that are constructed similarly:
the Cambridge (also called JACT, "Joint Association of Classical
Teachers"--a British institution) Greek Course in two volumes entitled
_Reading Greek_ and another course that's pitched at a somewhat lower
student level (I think) but still quite good, the Oxford Greek Course,
entitled _Athenaze_ ("To Athens"). The thesis on which these texts is based
is that continuous discourse -- paragraphs of continued narrative in which
constructions recur again and again and cumulatively build up until one is
reading almost unaltered original Attic texts.  If you're willing to read
lots of Xenophon's Anabasis, as late Victorian students both British and
American were doing about the same time they were excelling in
Bulwer-Lytton's Boy Scouts, Crosby and Sheaffer can still be found in
second-hand stores and may even still be in print--but I and most readers
nowadays don't find the Anabasis the most exciting subject matter one could
cut one's Greek teeth on. A still simpler work is that of Melluish and
Kinchin-Smith in the [British University?] "Teach Yourself" series, _Teach
Yourself Ancient Greek_ (but be careful, there's also a _Teach Yourself
Greek_ which deals with Modern Greek--still, eventually you'll want that
too!). And there are other good books too. These are just a few that seem
to me worth mentioning.

>  - What "gaps" do we have (i.e., what areas of understanding are we ignorant
>of) because all we have learned is NT Greek?

When Moses asked how he could be sure that the mission on which he was
being sent was really a divine mandate, he was told that, after he had led
the children of Israel out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, he would
worship YHWH "at this mountain." That is, he wouldn't know for sure until
he had completed the task with which he had been entrusted. However
irrelevant that may seem, I think there's a meaningful analogy in the
answer to your question: you won't know what you're ignorant of until after
you've learned it. I can mention a few things, but they are only
illustrations:(1) how did the optative function before it became Paul's way
of saying (MH GENOITO), "Hell, No!"? (2) why are there so many pesky types
of hINA-subjunctive clauses, and how are they genetically related to each
other? (3) why are second-aorists sometimes conjugated with O/E-endings and
sometimes with A-endings? (4) why can't articular infinitives fall into
neat, easily-comprehensible categories? (5) why can't I read the Letter to
the Hebrews even though I know Machen backwards and forwards? (6) how is it
that Paul can interpret the sentence, hO DE DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI to
mean something that could only legitimately mean what he wants it to mean
if it were written, hO DE EK PISTEWS DIKAIOS ZHSETAI? i.e. why doesn't the
Greek of OT quotations and much of NT narrative follow the rules of Greek
syntax that you have learned?

But the best thing of all: you'll start reading classical Greek with an
ulterior motive of understanding the Greek NT -- that's the only thing you
really want to understand, after all -- and you'll end up being hooked on a
literature and a culture that can stand up all by itself and sing its
bewitching siren song to you. Be careful! In the course of some thirty +
years of teaching Concordia Seminary students who just wanted to continue
with classical Greek while taking their B.D., I've seen a few get so hooked
on it that they've not pursued a ministerial career after all. One of those
was the late John Hollar of Fortress Press, who did a Ph.D. dissertation
with me; another who got a Ph.D. in Greek at Washington U. not long before
I got there is Edgar Krentz, who can speak for himself to this list. I can
say all this because I myself was an undergraduate at Tulane once with
every intention of going into the ministry, but before I got that far I was
hooked on Classical Greek.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


End of b-greek-digest V1 #879


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