Re: Definitions- help!

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Fri Aug 20 1999 - 23:12:13 EDT

--- Mike Sangrey <> wrote:

>This is off the B-Greek charter, but I am hoping
Carl will allow it since we little ones are seeking some understanding
of the definitions and it isn't a
'point of view' 'let's take sides' discussion.<

>Thanks Edgar. I realize these questions are like
asking a physicist to explain the modern, mathematical, cosmology
model's depiction of the creation
of time and to do so in two sentences or less if you don't mind :-);
however, your excellent explanation has helped, I just need some

>How does what you've said above relate to 'Discourse
Analysis' and to Transformational Grammar (a.k.a Chomsky)? (Now you
know why I mentioned
Cosmology :-) Pointers to articles and/or books
will be most welcome. Will Eagleton's book address this? At least
address TG?<

Eagleton's book mainly deals with literary criticism: it helps the
reader to understand semiotics, deconstruction, structuralism,
phenomenology, and psychoanalysis as they relate to the examination of
"literature." Subsequently his book will give you a nice introduction
to the (in)famous Jacques Derrida and the deconstructionist ideas he

Conversely discourse analysis and transformational grammar differ in
their fundamental aims from structuralism (as defined in a literary
sense) and post-structuralism. Generally speaking discourse analysis
deals with the macrostructure of texts, while transformational grammar
"is concerned with the underlying deep structure from which surface
structure forms are generated" (Young 205). Richard A. Young further
writes that "Transformational grammar consists of rules that can
generate every possible sentence in a language from the deep structure"
(205). For an excellent treatment of Greek grammar, discourse analysis
and transformational grammar--I suggest Richard Young's grammar. I
think it will greatly broaden your linguistic horizon of understanding
vis-a'-vis these areas. Now if you want to know what Chomsky has to say
about TG, I suggest you consult the bibliography at the end of this
message. His ideas gradually developed through the years and his
thoughts about deep structure may differ from what you read elsewhere.
Another excellent publication is also Sydney Lamb's book on
stratificational grammar.

Before recommending some books you can read, let me just say that I am
presently on a similar linguistic path. For the last two years, I have
tried to employ various linguistic tools while analyzing the Greek
text. One project that I'm still working on is the application of
Gestalt psychology to Greek grammar. It is a very difficult project
that I won't get into now. Suffice it to say that I see an interesting
connection between Gestalt psychology, discourse analysis and TG.

Best regards,


Brief Bibliography for Discourse Analysis and TG

Black, David Alan. _Linguistics and New Testament Interpretation:
Essays on Discourse Analysis_. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1992.

______ _Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of
Basic Concepts and Applications_. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1995.

Chomsky, Noam. _Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of
Rationalist Thought_. New York: Harper and Row.

Longacre, Robert E. _The Grammar of Discourse_. New York: Plenum, 1983.

Pinker, Stephen. _The Language instinct_. New York: Morrow, 1984.

Silva, Moises. _Explorations in Exegetical Method: Galatians As a Test
Case_. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996.

Young, Richard A. _Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and
Exegetical Approach_. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1994.

Yule, George. _The Study of Language_. New York: Cambridge, 1996.

Edgar Foster
Classics Major
Lenoir-Rhyne College

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