Re: intermediate/advanced grammar

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sat Sep 06 1997 - 17:49:53 EDT

At 11:19 PM 9/6/97 +1000, Dale & Emma Hamilton wrote:
> Can anyone advise me of a good intermediate and/or advanced grammer. I
>have studied one year of greek using Machen's grammer and I would like to do
>some more in depth study of the language.
I've addressed this on my "Little Greek Home Page" at
"", so I'll just quote
what I said there:

Greek Grammar, Herbert Weir Smyth, revised by Gordon M. Messing. Harvard
University Press, 1984. ISBN: 0-674-36250-0.

This is by far the easiest reference grammar to understand. It is incredibly
well organized, systematic, and contains lots of examples. However, it is
actually a classical Greek grammar, not a New Testament Greek grammar, which
means that some of his descriptions aren't quite accurate for the New
Testament. I generally look here first, then look to Robertson for New
Testament examples.

A Grammar of the New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, A. T.
Robertson, Broadman-Holmann, 1934. ISBN: 0-8054-1308-1.

This massive yellow tome contains lots of New Testament examples to
illustrate every grammatical principal, and the index of scripture citations
seems to list a citation for the majority of verses in the New Testament. I
strongly prefer this to any other New Testament grammar, but it is easier to
read if I look at the shorter, more systematic explanations in Smyth first.
Robertson is quirky at times, but very rich.

Robertson also wrote a verse-by-verse commentary on the New Testament called
Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament. In addition, he wrote a shorter
grammar, but I prefer to use Smyth when I need a shorter grammar, since the
explanations in Robertson's shorter grammar are sometimes oversimplified to
the extent that they seem to contradict his longer grammar, especially for
issues involving tense and aspect.

Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, Friedrich Blass, Albert
Debrunner, und Friedrich Rehkopf. 17. Auflage. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 1990. ISBN: 3-525-52106-5. The English translation is: A Greek
grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature Friedrich
Blass, Albert Debrunner, and Robert Funk. University of Chicago Press, 1961.
I don't know the ISBN.

This grammar is quite good, but it is less systematic than Smyth, and
presents fewer examples and less explanation than Robertson. I prefer the
combination of Smyth and Robertson, but if I had to settle for just one
grammar, it would be this one. I have never seen the English version edited
by Funk; I have only the German version.

Biblical Greek Illustrated By Examples, Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., translated
from the Latin by Joseph Smith, S.J.. Roma. Editrice Pontificio Istituto
Biblico, 1994.

This very slim book has extremely clear, simple explanations. Better yet, it
is keyed to a verse-by-verse grammatical analysis which tells you exactly
which article to turn to in the grammar when you are looking at a difficult
construction in the Bible. Highly recommended. I bought both books from
Loyola University Press: (800) 621-1008.

Edgar Krentz, whose opinion I value, suggested this: "Add to your grammars
the four volume grammar of NT by James Hope Moulton, W. F. Howard, and Nigel
Turner. It is one of the best." I have never used this grammar myself, so
I'm posting this as his recommendation.

Hope this helps!


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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