Sunday, August 15, 2021

Schools of Greek Linguistics

As you know, in a week our Advanced Greek Grammar class will meet and I'm frantically getting caught up on all the reading that's required for day one. (What kind of teacher would possibly think that assigning so much work is a good idea??) This morning I finished reading Stan Porter's chapter "Linguistic Schools" in this book. 

See how I snuck in two of my books in this picture?

As expected, while he describes the various and sundry schools of thought out there, he prefers his own school (systemic functional linguistic) to all others. Here's my take in case anybody cares. There is too much truth in each of these approaches to allow us to ignore any of them. Call me an eclecticist if you like, but that's what I am. 

When I published my book Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek back in the Dark Ages, I was handily taken to task for not espousing any particular approach to Greek linguistics. Besides, what right does Dave Black have to write a book about linguistics? Well, the answer to that last question is: none. I wrote that book for one reason: I knew that studying the rudiments of linguistics could help my students become better at exegesis, and since nobody more qualified than little old moi was going to write a book on the subject, I would. 

As for the charge of not being an apologist for any particular school of thought: guilty in the first degree. Every field has something to offer us, from the South African School to the SIL School to the tagmemic folks. I hope we spend time in class discussing all this, but I don't want my students to over-think the problem or feel overwhelmed by the subject. Keeping it basic and simple is the key to progress. A few small things leads to a big thing over time. 

Please remember that you do not have to be an expert in linguistics to learn how to exegete your New Testament. But you do have to be willing to work hard -- and read a lot.