Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
DBSJ 22 (2017) p. 105
Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the Greek New Testament, by Constantine R. Campbell. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015. 253 pp. $34.99.
For a “dead language,” Koine Greek is getting a lot of attention. Current research and discussion is occupied mainly with linguistic issues, many of which hold promise of informing exegesis and interpretation of the New Testament. Yet, many students, pastors, and even some teachers and scholars do not appear to have fully benefited from the recent advances in the conversation. The world of linguistic studies is notoriously difficult to break into. Not every serious student, and certainly not every pastor, can simply pull up stakes and relocate to study under one of the shining lights of NT Greek linguistics. Yet anyone peering into this world of potential insights realizes he needs a guide, at least at the beginning of the journey. Enter Con Campbell’s latest book, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the Greek New Testament.
Campbell is no outsider when it comes to advances in NT Greek studies. Those who have been following the developing conversation about verbal aspect, in particular, recognize him as a key player and major contributor. Campbell’s book provides an accessible way for serious students of NT Greek to become better acquainted with cutting-edge research in Greek language and linguistics. And as Campbell points out, becoming acquainting with these discussions is important for two reasons. First, “genuine advances in Greek linguistics can lead to new insights into text” (23). Second, “advances in Greek linguistics can correct long-held errors” (23).
Campbell opens with a selective historical survey of advances in the study of Greek, followed by a chapter providing a concise treatment of linguistic theory and its connection to the study of the NT. Readers who desire another perspective or who want to come to a more comprehensive grasp of the linguistic field and its development may have to dig deeper, but Campbell’s book provides a point of entry and a sufficient introduction for understanding linguistic concepts that he references throughout the book.
In chapter 3, Campbell discusses lexical semantics and lexicography. This chapter, heavily dependent on Moisés Silva’s landmark publication, Biblical Words & Their Meaning, provides a concise overview of lexical semantics, covering symbol-sense-referent, synonymy, context, lexical choice, lexical fields, ambiguity, and implications of lexical semantics. Campbell then moves to a discussion of NT lexicography (heavily dependent on John Lee’s 2003 monograph A History of New Testament
DBSJ 22 (2017) p. 106
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