I have to laud and simultaneously criticize Daniel B. Wallace's book Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1996). If I have ever written an ambivalent book review, this is it.
Wallace's grammar merits a five star rating in terms of what it teaches about biblical Greek. It is probably one of the best New Testament Greek grammars on the market. The author is to be commended for his scientific approach to Greek grammar and linguistics in general. For the most part, past decisions about what constitutes a subjective genitive or an objective gentive, an ablative of separation or a dative of reference in a particular Bible verse have been highly subjective. Wallace tries to improve the process and he should praised for his efforts.
A laudable aspect of Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics is Wallace's ability to implement recent works on aspect and Aktionsart. He also gives plenty of examples throughout his grammar that illustrate Greek voice, mood, and aspect. The author is generally level-headed in his approach and anyone reading this work cannot help but improve his or her proficiency in Greek. The professor's discussion on demonstrative and relative pronouns is excellent and the section concerning the Granville Sharp Rule is probably one of the most enlightening and lucid treatments of the subject, although I disagree with Wallace's conclusion on the famed rule. Overall, Wallace's work is a welcome addition to any scholar's library. The only drawback to this grammar is his failure to interact fully with the many possibilities of the New Testament Greek text.
At this point, I do not want to sound like a broken record, but I must object to Wallace's dogmatic assertions about the Witnesses' understanding of John 1:1c; 8:58 and Titus 2:13. Despite his "learned" protestations to the contrary, Jehovah's Witnesses are on solid ground regarding their understanding of the aforesaid passages.
For example, Margaret Davies poses the question: "Is Jesus' remark, 'Before Abraham was, I am he' a reminder that he is the eternal LOGOS?" (Davies 86). She concludes that this reading of Jn 8:58 "is neither an obvious nor a necessary reading" (86). She also writes: "We should conclude, therefore, that the Johannine Jesus' use of the 'I am' form draws on Wisdom declarations from its Scripture, and does not assert Jesus' divinity" (Davies 87).
Lastly, I think Wallace also overlooks some key information when he analyzes the demonstrative pronoun hOUTOS in 1 John 5:20. The bias appears to shine through clearly in this case: he dismisses the alternate view too hastily. While I do not necessarily fault Wallace for taking a doctrinal stand based on how he reads the Greek of the New Testament, I think he needs to let his readers know (more fully) that there are other ways to understand the text.
In A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament written by Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, they say regarding 1 John 5:20 and hOUTOS:
"the ref. is almost certainly to God the real, the true, op. paganism (v 21)."
Overall, despite the few shortcomings that I believe Wallace's grammar contains, I can still recommend it with a clear conscience. As with any work, I suggest reading it critically and trying to research the examples he gives, for yourself.