Thursday, December 15, 2016

Students of New Testament Greek and pastors should keep up to date with latest Greek scholarship

Back in April 2016, I read the little book, "Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People" (Kindle Edition), written by Constantine R. Campbell (also see this).

I immensely enjoyed this book and it is this book that led me to Con Campbell's book, "Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament" (Kindle Edition).

Even though some of the discussions were slightly over my head, I pressed on, and as I did, I gained some perspective of several of the latest Greek scholarly studies and debates. It gave me a fresh view of how limiting my own Greek studies were back in 1986. So many things I learnt back then have now been skewered by updated Greek studies. Yet, it also encouraged me to start "updating" my Greek, so to speak (write?). One area where I lack due to my studies in the 80's is in the area of verbal aspect, and as a result, I have ordered Con's book, "Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek" (paperback).

For those that are studying, or have already studied Greek, and also those that should be studying New Testament Greek (e.g pastors), "Advances" is an invaluable book that will help you in choosing what and how to study.

I'm not doing a whole review of the book at all. It simply would be too involved. I would like to give you a quote or two, though!

"[...] there is no such thing as Greek exegesis that does not involve Greek. And whenever Greek is involved, our understanding of the language determines how well we will handle Greek text. Thus, Greek cannot be regarded a peripheral issue for New Testament studies, since the entire New Testament is written in Greek. This means that New Testament studies can no longer afford to hold Greek scholarship at arm’s length, for there is no area of New Testament interest that does not involve Greek in some capacity. It affects the entire guild. This is fact; the only question is whether or not we will be responsible with that fact. For bad Greek is like a poisoned water stream in a village; its ill effects touch everyone." (Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, ePub Edition, 2015, p225)

As part of his conclusion to his book, the author hopes that he had accomplished 8 things, which I believe he achieved admirably! Those 8 things are in the quote below.

"Before concluding, I reiterate my several hopes for this book. First, I hope the reader will be properly introduced to the issues of greatest importance for current Greek studies. Second, I hope the reader will become better equipped to handle Greek text with linguistic sophistication, both on a methodological and practical level. Third, I hope the reader will feel competent to engage further with Greek scholarship. Fourth, I hope the reader will engage further with Greek scholarship. Fifth, I hope that the teaching of Greek will be well informed of current issues. Sixth, I hope that the wider world of New Testament scholarship will become more engaged with Greek scholarship. Seventh, I hope that some readers will be inspired to become Greek scholars themselves. Eighth, I hope that future editions of this book will need to include the contributions of some of those aforementioned readers." (Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, ePub Edition, 2015, p225-226. Bold text bolded by me)

I hope this helps you in terms of at least improving your Greek, or to start it for the first time.

1 comment:

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