Beginning Grammars

Has anyone used A. K. M. Adam’s A Grammar for New Testament Greek?

I’m perusing it right now. And while its short on examples (a teacher would have to fill in a lot of examples following the grammar explanations), its discussions of Aspect are excellent:

“The aorist tense indicates perfective or aoristic aspect, which means that it depicts tht action as a unified whole or a complete event rather than as an extended process” (22).

Probably the best I’ve seen in a beginning grammar thus far.

The author also has a blog.

9 thoughts on “Beginning Grammars

  1. Unless it’s been revised, the edition I used had numerous typographical errors in it. Usually with accentuation but often word-forms as well. I would probably rate it a B/B-. Black’s grammar was a bit more accessible to students on the whole from my experience.

  2. Yes, I taught one of those wretched one-month pre-term crash courses using it because I have a high regard for AKMA and because I was greatly dissatisfied with (NTGreek) textbooks better known to me. But the textbook was disappointing on the whole; the worst feature is made-up and sometimes questionable Greek sentences — I don’t think one should ever use made-up Greek unless one speaks it or thinks in it (and I only know one person who does that).

  3. Dr. Conrad, how were you convinced to teach a crash course?

    And I know what you mean by made up sentences. I first learned on Clayton Croy’s grammar, which is good for a number of things – particularly its use LXX texts, but it also had made up sentences. My professor never had us use them.

  4. For the first 8-10 chapters most of the sentences are “made up”, perhaps based on a biblical nugget but for the most part, just devised to reinforce grammar. A lot of memorable sentences about “the slaves of death” if I remember correctly. Adam’s book surely isn’t alone in this respect of “made up” sentences however. Even a reading course like Athenaze, is based on “made up” readings. So I don’t know that that alone discounts the book unless Dr. Conrad has a sharper point to his criticism.

  5. If I may participate without transgressing propriety, I’d say first that I wholeheartedly affirm the criticisms of the typesetting/composition/copyediting. I have been urging, nagging, badgering, pleading, and exhorting Abingdon to produce a corrected edition — to no avail. It’s now in print-on-demand status, which suggests to me that they may be producing a successor.

    I also sympathize with the criticism of the made-up sentences. The exercises too were affected negatively by the copy-production process — but even apart from erratic typography, I was very reluctant to undertake that aspect of the enterprise. My Greek composition should not be shown in public, much less inflicted on beginning Greek students.

    What I did as a teacher was to use the textbook to teach the grammar and vocabulary, but to use the New Testament itself as the reading matter for the course. We would learn reading inductively while we learned grammar deductively. I’ll say that Clayton’s alternative textbook does much better with the exercise sentences, though mine would be vastly improved by a corrected edition.

    Lastly, I thank you, Mike, for your kind words on my treatment of verbal aspect. I was proud of that, and of my treatment of the middle voice. In voicing my satisfaction with these features, though, I should say that I learned a great deal about them from Carl Conrad; back when I was a regular reader of B-GREEK, Carl offered generous instruction that helped shape my own understanding of these phenomena (my own misapprehensions are my own fault, of course).

    I wish I had had the chance to run the raw manuscript past Carl before it went to press; alas, the publication process unfolded in ways I had not anticipated, and the resulting book is weaker for that.

  6. I do very much regret commenting on only one feature of AKMA’s grammar (the made-up Greek sentences in early chapters). Most of my problems had more to do with a teaching format (4 weeks, 5 days a week, 2.5 hours of class each day). What’s needed is a lot more time in class with greater intervals — and so much else. I would never want to teach that kind of a course again.

  7. Oh, Carl, I had some of my best teaching experiences ever teaching summer Greek at Princeton Seminary (for eight weeks). We had no other courses to distract us, beautiful summer weather, delightful students (most of them pre-first-years), and near-immersion in Greek. What a joy!

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