Re: Meaning of case

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Fri May 16 1997 - 17:10:34 EDT

At 1:15 PM 5/16/97, Edward Hobbs wrote:
> In the midst of final exams and final papers and the like,
>I hardly have time to read my email, much less respond to it. But when I
>read Micheal Palmer's response about the Greek of the Apocalypse, I felt
>compelled to make a brief statement.
> Micheal is exactly correct. The Apocalypse to John is VERY easy to
>read. That doesn't mean it uses Greek well or grammatically, it only means
>that it has a very narrow range of vocabulary and grammatical forms, and
>the errors pose few problems in seeing what was intended. The analogy to
>papers by ESL students is quite apt; and if that isn't the explanation for
>its Greek, at least it explains why it LOOKS that way.
> May I add that my training was entirely classical; at the
>University of Chicago (at least in my days, half a century ago +), no
>course in NT Greek was offered, though I did have a graduate course in
>Hellenistic Greek grammar (which did not include the NT). Being easy to
>read and easy to translate in no way guarantees that the Greek is any good.
> I have been very sorry to see repeated statements on this List that
>this or that non-NT Greek author uses bad grammar, or invents his own
>grammar, when in fact the problem is with the would-be reader. Much Greek
>is difficult for moderns to handle, unless they have much, much experience
>with Greek (Thucydides for example is not the easiest Greek to read--but
>that is NOT because his Greek is bad!). American high school students of
>today often find that Shakespeare is difficult for them to understand; but
>the explanation is not that Shakespeare wrote bad English. Perhaps in the
>future, relative novices in reading non-NT texts could refrain from
>pronouncing on the quality of the authors they are struggling with?--and
>admit that they simply don't know enough Greek to grasp the Greek readily?
>Thanks again to Micheal for putting it in a nutshell (which I haven't
>managed to do).

*Very* well said, Edward!

Don Wilkins

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