Re: "Grammatical" Categories

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun Sep 19 1999 - 16:14:54 EDT

>From: "Kevin Smith" <>
>To: Biblical Greek <>
>Subject: "Grammatical" Categories
>Date: Sun, Sep 19, 1999, 1:25 AM

> Thirdly, the danger underlying the descriptive-classificatory approach is
> that Greek students (like myself) tend to get the impression that the
> categories are an inherent part of the Greek language rather than a
> functional description of how the language is used in different contexts.
> When I first read Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, I literally
> thought Greek had 43 different kinds of genitive and 7 different kinds of
> perfect tense (I don't know if it was Wallace's intent to create that
> impression; that's just how I interpreted him). Greek seemed to be a
> completely different and much richer language than English. The result of
> my erroneous understanding of the nature of Greek was that finding the
> correct label for a given construction became the goal of my study of the
> GNT. How foolish!


Thank you for confirming that there is indeed intelligent life on

Do all the smart people come from South Africa? :-)) It was the NT
Linguist J. P. Louw, from South Africa, in his book "The Semantics of
New Testament Greek" (Fortress 1982) who first started me thinking along
the lines which you are proceeding here. I have of course read a lot of
other works on related questions but Louw got the ball rolling.


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