Controlling Greek syntax (was Jonah 1:3 TOU FUGEIN)

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Jan 13 1997 - 11:45:17 EST

At 10:21 PM 1/12/97 -0500, Edgar M. Krentz wrote:

>A practical suggestion, Jonathan. One way to control Greek syntax, as time
>goes on, is to review things systematically--as you consult your grammar to
>solve syntactical problems.

>For example, you might want to recall the many different ways of expressing
>purpose in the NT when you meet that articular infinitive in the genitive
>1. infinitive after verbs such as ERCOMAI or PEMPW.
>2. future participle [rare in the NT]
>3. final [telic, purpose] clause introduced by hINA, hOPWS, or hWS
>4. PROS TO + infinitive
>5. EIS TO + ionfinitive
>6. TOU + infinitive


I'm looking for good summaries like this. The grammars I have list the
function within each grammatical form, e.g., they might give me all the uses
of the articular infinitive, with and without prepositions, but they don't
list the 6 ways to express purpose. Does the Nunn book have this kind of

Another thing I'm missing is help in distinguishing forms. The grammars I
have help you reconstruct the tables for, say, first and second aorists, but
they don't give you recognition hints to help distinguish similar forms, e.g.:

  Recognizing aorist passive: look for QH with the augment. Future passive
also has QH,
     but it has no augment, and is followed by S.

>A number of intermediate grammars are very helpful for this. My own
>favorite is an old one: H.P.V Nunn, A SHORT SYNTAX OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK.
>(Cambridge University Press, oft reprinted). But almost any intermediate
>grammar will do.

I'm currently using Zerwick, Wallace, Hewitt, Robertson, and
Blass-Debrunner-Funk. Do these books do the trick, or should I consider
investing in Yet Another Greek Book?

>If yo follow this out consistently, you will soon have basic syntax at your
>mind's edge and will save yourself many hours of puzzlement.

I *am* finding that improving my parsing skills is very helpful. Even if the
programs tell you the parse codes, I just read a lot better when I don't
have to look these things up. I'm really looking forward to the time that I
can identify all the forms reliably. (Is there a special ceremony for those
that reach that point?)


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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