Biblical Greek And Modern Greek: A Review Article -- By: Moisés Silva

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 67:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Biblical Greek And Modern Greek: A Review Article
Author: Moisés Silva


Biblical Greek And Modern Greek:
A Review Article

Moisés Silva

Moises Silva is a writer and editor who previously taught at Westminster Theological Seminary and served as editor of the Westminster Theological Journal. He is currently the revising editor of the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. This article reviews Chrys C. Caragounis, The Development of Greek and the New Testament: Morphology, Syntax, Phonology, and Textual Transmission. WUNT 167. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004. Pp. xix + 732. 129.00, cloth.

Chrys Caragounis, professor of NT exegesis at Lund University in Sweden, is well known to biblical scholars as the author of several important monographs1 and many useful articles. The work under review here, The Development of Greek and the New Testament, is his most impressive contribution to date. According to the preface, the book had a different working title, “A Diachronic and Acoustic Approach to the New Testament,” which accurately reflected its dual emphasis: “the historical development of the language morphologically and especially syntactically as well as the way the message sounded and the consequences of this for exegesis” (p. vii). The fact that Caragounis is both a native speaker of Modern Greek (Neohellenic) and a scholar with expertise in the ancient forms of the language makes him singularly qualified to write such a volume.

After an introductory chapter, the work is divided into three parts. The first one consists of two chapters: “The Unity and Evolution of the Greek Language” (an extremely useful summary of the whole history of Greek, with abundant sample texts) and “The Relevance of Later Greek for the New Testament.” The second part (chs. 3–5) includes a chapter on morphological developments from Attic to Neohellenic, another one on syntactical developments, and a third one on the significance of these developments for NT exegesis. The last major section focuses on pronunciation: ch. 6 explains in detail what he calls the Historical Greek Pronunciation or HGP;2 the next chapter discusses “The Acoustic Dimension in Communication”; and ch. 8 discusses the relevance of the HGP for NT textual criticism. The book ends with a concluding chapter, a 59-page bibliography, and 89 pages of indices.

I. Strengths

Because much of the present review will be critical in nature, I wish first of all to stress the positive qualities of this monograph. Caragounis displays an enviable breadth of knowledge, showing extensive familiarity not only with biblical and classical literature but also w...

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