Re: Mounce's first year grammar

Date: Tue Nov 30 1999 - 16:50:46 EST

With respect to the vignettes at the beginning of each chapter, I think it is
an excellent presentation of how Greek exegesis can and does work in a very
practical manner. However, my complaint with Mounce's grammar has to do with
the overall "attitude" expressed in the book, which is one of patronization.

I have been teaching Greek for over twelve years, and I have primarily used
Summers' grammar. The arrogance and patronizing attitude expressed in
Mounce's book is the first thing that struck me. It was as though every
grammar before his has been woefully deficient, and he has finally come along
to correct all the wrongs (it reminds me somewhat of the Corinthians'
attitude that Paul addressed: "Was it from you that the word of God first
went forth? Or has it come to you only?" I get the distinct impression that
he believes the "true" Greek grammar "has come to him only!) As I looked
through his grammar in a cursory manner, I found not only numerous typo
errors and entries, but I also found some major contradictions (e.g., the
middle voice is not reflexive but only intensive, and yet he gives paradigms
of the middle with a reflexive translation, etc.).

>From a positive perspective, I did find his chapter on Infinitives one of the
best I have ever seen (in using Summers over the years, I supplemented a
number of areas, and the chapter on infinitives was one such
supplementation). There were also some other positive areas of his grammar,
including the vignettes. However, his grammar is not the sunum bonum of
Greek grammars, and, quite frankly, I still like Summers' Revised edition
because there is room for the teacher to supplement where he/she feels it is
appropriate. And, I might add, I have used some of Mounce's material to
supplement with (in particular the chapter on infinitives).

"Pride comes before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction," and
this is also true for writers of Greek grammars!


Justin T. Alfred

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