Re: Mounce's first year grammar

From: Michael Burer (
Date: Tue Nov 30 1999 - 23:03:16 EST

Clayton wrote:

> Anyway, Greek grammars are a bad place to be doing theology either
> systematic, biblical or any other kind of theology. The temptation to
> use a proof text for your favorite hobby horse doctrine as an example of
> some point in Greek syntax should be resisted at all cost. It really
> muddles the grammatical issue and gets the student into bad habits right
> from the beginning.
> I don't have Mounce on hand but I could probably round up half a dozen
> quick examples from Wallace without too much trouble. Wallace is
> gathering dust up at the local library all I need to do is go check it
> out.

I disagree with your assertion in the first paragraph. A Greek grammar is a
fine place to wrestle with particular passages which are traditionally used
to teach various doctrines, especially since so many key passages hinge on
an aspect of Greek grammar. Why not wrestle with the grammatical and
syntactical issues to see why various doctrines have been taught from
various passages? If done in the right way, this can be very helpful to
students. It is certainly appropriate to use a well-known, theologically
freighted passage to illustrate an aspect of grammar or syntax as long as it
is a true illustration of the point under consideration.

I am not quite sure what you are asserting in your second paragraph. If you
think Wallace has used verses inappropriately, meaning the value of the
particular verse for illustrating the particular point of grammar or syntax
under consideration is little or none, and that he is only using these
verses to ride a "hobby horse doctrine," then your assertion requires some
evidence to support it. On the other hand, if you are asserting that Wallace
has used verses which have theological import to illustrate aspects of
grammar and syntax, then of course he has done that, as well as any grammar
which discusses any verse in the Greek NT. It is impossible to discuss Greek
grammar and syntax adequately and fully without discussing the meaning of
the text, and since the text is the NT, obviously the discussion will be
theological and doctrinal in nature.

Best regards,

Michael Burer
Ph.D. Student
Dallas Theological Seminary

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