Book Review -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 06:3 (Jul 2000)
Article: Book Review
Author: Anonymous

Book Review

The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar: The Abridgement of “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,” by Daniel B. Wallace (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000). 334 pages. $29.99. Reviewed by Dr. John Niemelä, Professor of Greek and Hebrew at Chafer Theological Seminary.

Chafer Seminary welcomed Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics [GGBB]1 with a book review by Dr. George Meisinger.2 The reason is that students should acquire exegetical and theological skills in seminary. They should then hone those skills through a lifetime of diagramming, analyzing, and outlining (exegetically) the text from its original language. Since that is the goal, every student should own the unabridged version [GGBB]. Chafer Seminary will continue to use the fuller version for intermediate Greek classes.

Now, it is true that grammatical concepts appearing only in the unabridged version occur less frequently than those common to both GGBB and BNTS (Basics of New Testament Syntax). It is also true that expositors tend to forget categories that they do not often encounter in their ongoing exegetical studies. However, is it not the teaching pastor’s responsibility to expound the whole counsel of God? Many passages do not restrict themselves to the common grammatical categories. Thus, the teaching pastor’s reference library should contain various reference grammars (e.g., Robertson, Blass-Debrunner, Moulton-Howard-Turner, and Wallace, GGBB). The first three are advanced grammars, because they treat unusual grammar more extensively than GGBB. However, GGBB offers some insights from more recent linguistic studies than the first three. Hence, it is another reference work. However, the expositor’s need for reference-grammars is not a reason for buying Wallace’s abridgement.

Perhaps the perceived need for BNTS arose from a school whose tight budget tempts it to substitute less-costly counseling and other content-deficient classes for exegesis courses.3 While one lecturer can entertain masses of tuition-paying students in fluff-courses, the teacher-student ratio in exegetical-methods classes can be costly. A shorter grammar translates into fewer required hours of intermediate Greek courses in a curriculum.

Furthermore, seminarians often complain that exegesis is difficult. One renowned language professor confided to the present author that he found it depressing to teach resentful students. Thus, he happily moved to a seminary...

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