Re: Wenham

From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Wed Jun 04 1997 - 05:42:16 EDT

I am most grateful to all for their comments on Wenham. It is
something of a relief to discover that it is still regarded as a
useful introduction by others. It is always easier to use what one
is familiar with, for one's own sake as well as for the students.

I realise that the issue over accents causes some anxiety. My own
feeling, though, is that the general lack of accents helps beginners
to focus on the relatively few cases where they are used and
are really important - the distinctions between TIS (interrog.) and
TIS (indef. pronoun), and KRINW (pres. indic. active) and KRINW
(future indic. active), etc. Also, the general lack of accents helps
to focus attention on iota subscripts and rough breathings, so easily
missed in the early stages.

I agree too with Paul Dixon about the English grammar at the
beginning of Wenham. For a generation (at least in the UK) that goes
throught school without much basic knowledge of English grammar,
Wenham's introduction is most helpful.

I agree with Paul too about the usefulness of the charts at the back
of the book. I tell my students that everything they need to know
about the Greek noun is contained in one page of Wenham (p. 229)
which they can photocopy and put up next to their shaving mirror (or
make-up mirror?) at home.

Jonathan - if you want to look at my review of Wenham with ref. to
your comments on your web page, I would happily send
you a copy.

I enjoyed Carlton Winbery's comments on 'eating' tea with John Wenham
in Oxford. I too used to go to see him on the Banbury Road where
towards the end of his life he was living with his son David. He
made excellent tea. He was never one to talk much about Greek or his
own *Elements*, always preferring to discuss his Christianity. He
was an evangelical of the evangelicals, and I rather enjoyed his
red-blooded, uncompromising (though very gently expressed) views -
one knew exactly where one stood!

It is nice to hear Carl talking about Oxford via Colin Dexter and
Dorothy L. Sayers. It was an enormous privilege to study there
for a decade, punting, having tea with dons, going to examinations in
'subfusc' etc. And a 'Gaudy Night' really is something special, and
a good thing that they are only every ten years!

I too like Wenham's book on the synoptic problem, though I think he
is quite wrong. It is a great deal more astute than Linnemann, I

Finally, I don't think that I ever 'eat' tea or 'take' tea but rather
I 'have' tea. To 'take' tea is a little old-fashioned - I seem to
remember Lewis Carroll 'takes' tea in the mid to late nineteenth
century. I had a friend in Oxford who 'took' tea, but this was an

Kind wishes


Dr Mark Goodacre
Department of Theology
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

Tel.: 0121 414 7512 Email:
Fax.: 0121 414 6866

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