Some Comments On Professor Caragounis’s Response -- By: Moisés Silva

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 067:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Some Comments On Professor Caragounis’s Response
Author: Moisés Silva


Some Comments On Professor Caragounis’s Response

Moisés Silva

Attentive readers will no doubt be able to tell that, in most respects, my rejoinders to Professor Caragounis’s criticisms are, as it were, built into the original review article itself (to mention but one trivial example, compare his statement that “Blaiklock was active in the second part of the twentieth century” with what I actually said, namely, that the quotation from Blaiklock is “reminiscent of. .. nineteenth-century classicists”). Moreover, any attempt on my part to have the last word on the many disputed points would serve no useful purpose, and so, for almost all of them, I am content simply to refer readers back to the review. My remarks here thus can be limited to a few brief items.

I accept Caragounis’s argument that his use of evidence from the ancient period is not inconsistent with the aims of the book because it is his knowledge of Neohellenic that has alerted him to the value of the earlier evidence. In looking back at this point, I acknowledge that my assessment sounds hypercritical.

With regard to Caragounis’s complaint that I have misrepresented his position, it is of course incumbent upon me to accept his word when he claims that he meant something different from what I interpreted him to be saying. I would urge readers, however, to examine the relevant sections of his book before determining whether my interpretations were unreasonable. Aside from what he intended to say, his actual statements still strike me as quite misleading.

As for the importance of modern linguistics for the study of Biblical Greek, it is evident that the two of us have a fundamental disagreement. In my view, the attempt to give a scientific description of any language without taking into account two or three generations of work in the very discipline that has language as its subject of specialization is akin to describing Second Temple Judaism while ignoring the data and debates related to the discoveries in Qumran. Professor Caragounis sees the matter differently, and we are not likely to change each other’s minds. I might add, however, that my concerns have nothing to do with the use of confusing “jargon” or controversial theories: an adequate appropriation of the basic, undisputed, established principles and methods of general descriptive linguistics (though it might require, for the sake of precision, a few technical terms such as are present in any discipline) need not involve esoteric terminology and “arcane categories.”

With regard to the use of pratto (as the rendering of ancient poieo) in the Neo-hellenic version of 1 John 3 quoted by Caragounis, interested readers w...

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