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Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications Paperback – August 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Alan Black (D.Theol., University of Basel) is professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Testament editor of the International Standard Version of the Bible.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 2 edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801020166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801020162
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 1996
Format: Paperback
New Testament (Koine) Greek has long been taught as just another dead language. Black, an experienced teacher of Greek, changes the paradigm.
Applying modern linguistic theory, Black shows how many of the so-called irregularities of Greek are actually normal and regular.
The book covers the gamut: phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, etc.
each section concludes with a short bibliography which can help students and teachers learn even more about linguistics and Koine Greek.
An important text for newcomers and a useful review of Greek to sharpen rusty skills.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Jordan on February 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Black invites the reader to apply the techniques of modern linguistics to the analysis of New Testament Greek. This excellent general introduction covers the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and historical linguistics of koine Greek. It assumes no Greek or linguistics background.

I give the chapter headings and some subheadings:

1. Introducing Linguistics: The Landscape and the Quest
2. Phonology: The Sound of Greek (Phonetics and Phonemics)
3. Morphology: The Anatomy of Greek Words
4. Syntax: The Architecture of the Greek Sentence
5. Semantics: Determining Meaning (The real jewel in this work--Word and Concept, Semantic Classes, Ambiguity, Denotation/Connotation, Idioms, Rhetorical Language, Semantic Change, Discourse Analysis)
6. Historical and Comparative Linguistics: The Biography of Greek

In a Greek course I taught 2004/2005 based upon the Gospel of John (Beginning Greek: A Functional Approach) the class at one point wrestled with the disambiguation of a problematic participial phrase in John 1:9. ["That was the true light, which lighteneth every man that 'commeth into the world.'"]. Should the phrase "cometh into the word" go with "man" or "light"? Both are grammatically possible: the participle could be (1) accusative masculine singular or (2) nominative neuter singular. Do we use the proximity of "man" and "coming" to resolve the issue? Black explains (in discourse analysis) that the context with its emphasis upon the incarnation of Christ (see 1:14) settles the issue (2--"light commeth into the world"). However, I'm not convinced.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Tim Winters on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
For any serious NT Greek student, this book is very insightful to the many phonemic changes in the language. It is not a definitive book on lingustics, which the author himself claims, but, it does get you started in the area of linguistics that might give you some insight into the English language. Black writes in a way that doesn't overwhelm the student with his scholarship, which he definitely has, but he writes in a way that even someone who is a beginner in the study of the language can understand. I recommend it for any beginner or intermedeate student who would like to get a better handle on why some things change in the Greek language that may have confused you before.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jean Pond on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a student of both modern and koine Greek, and approached this book with hope for some new insights into the language.

I still have hope. But I was brought up short by chapter 2, where Black discusses phonology. Something strange happens here. He begins giving descriptions, charts and diagrams for `the' sound of each Greek letter, all without offering any clue that their pronunciation has evolved during the history of this language. An unwary reader might conclude that there is, and has been, only one way to pronounce Greek.

Since the book is intended `for students of New Testament Greek', one could assume he is talking about the pronunciation of that period. But he is not, as we learn fifteen pages later. He has described the assumed classical Attic sounds, and now offers changes for the koine.

He also dismisses modern Greek pronunciation (which some, including Machen, consider closer to the koine than classical Attic), saying that it is "much more difficult for English-speaking students", a statement I consider highly debatable.

Black's sources for this chapter include nothing more recent than 1975; he does not mention Allen's Vox Graeca, for example, with its revised 1987 edition.

I have another quibble with Black's later discussion of modern Greek. He greatly exaggerates the current importance of katharevousa, stating that it is `standard for virtually all written communication' in Greece (p. 154). This was not true even at the time this book was first published (1988). Katharevousa has certainly left its mark on the language, but its use by the hated military junta (1967-1974) left it discredited, and dimotiki has been the official language of Greece since 1976.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Chamberlain VINE VOICE on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have any interest in understanding how language develops you should read this book. It's been fun to apply what I learned here as I listen to my four year-old daughter struggle with how to pronounce certain words and come up with the proper conjugations of irregular English verbs. Dr. Black makes an otherwise dry subject interesting.
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