Re: First year grammar

From: Garland H. Shinn (
Date: Thu Nov 25 1999 - 11:00:18 EST

It is difficult advise you directly, but I would make a suggestion as to
your ultimate goal. If you will be teaching as much as four semesters of
koine, you might consider which "intermediate" text you plan to use
first. For example, if you plan to use an eight-case grammar such as
Brooks & Winbery or Dana & Mantey (my personal favorite, though both are
quite good) you may desire the first year grammar to be an eight-case
grammar. The general philosophical approach would therefore be somewhat

On the other hand, some prefer to expose their students to as many
different approaches as possible. While there is certainly benefit from
this from a "broadening" point of view, pedagogically it may be
difficult, especially for those students who are not as "grammatically
oriented" as others.

I have personally found that undergraduate students are often ill
equipped grammatically for entering even the most basic of Greek courses
(or Hebrew for that matter). Perhaps that's not a problem in your neck
of the woods, but here in So. Calif. (the land of "anything goes") we
have a serious problem.

All that to say, do not overlook the pedagogical aspects of any grammar
you choose. Some are much better in that area than others. The Southern
Baptist tradition (Summers, Drumwright, who tries to incorporate both
the 8 case and 5 case systems into his approach) has several pedagogical
strengths, though a few weaknesses as well.

Like you, I began with Machen, but have found that I prefer the 8 case
approach grammars. I have been considering Mounce, and it has some
wonderful elements. If I were approaching the subject from the 5 case
viewpoint, I would give it careful consideration. Pedagogically Mounce
is to be preferred over Machen, I think.

Hope this helps.

Garland Shinn
Professor (Biblical languages, theology)
Southern California Bible College & Seminary
El Cajon, Ca

Mark Gibbs wrote:
> Greetings folks,
> I (as it seems at this point) have been given the task of implementing
> 2
> semesters of elementary Greek (100 or 200 level, with the possibility of
> adding 2 more semesters later) here at SMC possibly by fall 2000. I am
> thrilled that this is the direction that may be taken and that the
> administration may see the value in this...
> Question: I would like to take a survey of the B-Greek participants as
> to the
> recommendation for first year Greek text...
> This will be biblically focused (NT) rather than classically (though not
> disregarded). I was brought up on Machen, but have had exposure to
> Mounce,
> Efird, and Wenham. It has been a while since I looked at the first year
> offerings. What thinks ye?
> If this has been addressed previously, please point me to the archives
> as not
> to bother.
> Sincerely,
> Mark W. Gibbs
> Professor of Religion
> Spartanburg Methodist College
> Spartanburg, SC
> ---
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