From: Edgar Krentz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jan 23 1997 - 11:57:21 EST
Mark O'Brien wrote:
>Some of this discussion raises in my mind a question which I have been
>pondering a little for the last few after a conversation with a very
>experienced Greek professor. He commented that he saw a recent trend,
>especially with some of Mounce's materials, towards a focus on
>introducing beginning students to more morphology than syntax, whereas he
>thought that more emphasis on syntactical competence might be more
>beneficial for the beginner. I'm curious to see if any of you other
>experienced teachers out there have some comments on this.
I think this is a false antithesis. In the introductory, basic Greek course
one must spend time on morphology, the ability to recognize and parse Greek
words carefully. Alongside that one must begin the study of syntax as need
After morphology is somewhat under control, then a more systematic study of
syntax is necessary--along with the control of the principal parts of verbs
that show, to use Smyth's phraseology, some "formal peculiaritey of tense."
He gives a long list of these on pp. 684-722.
Beck in the middle ages of the 1940s for three years (HS and college),
regular as clockwork, we were tested on five of these verbs each period.
(The instructor selected the ones he regarded as most significant.) When we
finished the last, we did it all over again. The second and subsequent
times through the list, 90% was the minimum for a passing grade. While I
thought it a form of Chinese water torture at the time, I have now been
grateful for over 40 years!
One should evaluate Mounce on the basis of the entire proposed course
sequence, not on the basis of the introductory grammar alone. The GRADED
READER OF BILICAL GREEK assumes the use of the GREEK GRAMMAR BEYOND THE
BASICS, pays constant attention to syntax in the notes, and provides the
"cheat sheet" summary of grammatical usage.
A teacher concerned about developing syntactical competence should be able
to supplement whatever text he or she uses with syntactical instruction.
The second year, if one is fortunate enought to have the luxury, should
systematically review systax. I used to use H.V. P. Nunn's A SHORT SYNTAX
OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK FOR THAT.
Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 EAST 55TH STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60615
Tel:  256-0752; (H)  947-8105
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