RE: Task of Translation (was Wallace: Beyond the Basics)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Aug 09 1999 - 11:19:54 EDT

At 9:57 AM -0500 8/9/99, Jefferson, Robert C. wrote:
>Carl's comment did spark my question.
>That like most of his article was beneficial for us little greeks.
>Along with others who say that Greek for them is not an end in itself to
>them but rather a means to an end.
>The end being usually defined as NT exegesis.
>As for the "mind of God" I would never presume such a thing.
>I too see the struggle that you say you deal with and my question is
>therefore valid.
>There is great variety in the current grammars on the market.
>What should a little greek do? Buy Kittle? Robertson? Who?
>I know nothing of Wallace's book except what is said here
>In other words it is a valid question seeking a valid response.
>You know should grammar:
>Get into the head of the author (only) or
>Help the modern exegetical method.
>Another is how to balance these two.

This is really a very fair question. I would say in the first place that
you need to hear more answers to this question than just Carlton's and
mine. Carlton is a scholar in the area of NT Greek, I am myself primarily a
laborer in the Classical Greek vineyard.

What to acquire in the way of a grammar really depends upon what your needs
and your commitment to Biblical Greek might be. My personal sense is that
one ought to have BDF (Blass-Debrunner-Funk) available for consultation and
that the BIG A.T.Robertson is worth having, especially if you can pick up a
second-hand or discounted one such as is often available. A serious student
of Biblical Greek will find Weir Smyth's grammar invaluable (IMHO), even
though it is fundamentally concerned with Attic Greek grammar--and others
whose field of expertise is strictly Biblical Greek have said the same of
Smyth; it is just simply foolish (IMHO) to imagine that Koine grammar is
isolated from the traditions of classical Attic grammar.

There is in the works a new grammar of Hellenistic Greek with a focus on
Biblical Greek that Micheal Palmer can say more about; it is under the
editorship of Daryl Schmidt and is ultimately intended to update and
replace BDF, but who knows how long it will be before it is ready? Those
who know the publishing history of works like Liddell-Scott-Jones,
Pauly-Wissowa, ANRW (Aufstieg u. Niedergang der Roemischen Welt) and other
such essential reference works of importance to the study of the ancient
world are aware that this sort of labor transcends the personal lifetime of
any individual. I hope to live to see the work of Schmidt, Palmer, et al.
come to fruition, but I can only pray for that as I do to see in print in
my lifetime Danker's latest revision of the BAGD
(Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker) NT Greek lexicon.

>I can conceive of a grammar based on what the ancients thought they were
>doing. I can also image a grammar based on 20th century catagories.
>Something in the summer to chew on,

Aye, and beyond that ...

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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