Thursday, May 04, 2017

My Amazon Review of "Linguistics and New Testament Interpretation" (book edited by D.A. Black)

This book contains selected papers from a 1991 conference sponsored by Wycliffe Bible Translators. Its editors are David A. Black, Katharine Barnwell and Stephen Levinsohn and there is also a foreword by Eugene Nida. Some of the essays include: "Reading a Text as Discourse" (J. P. Louw); "Constituent Order in Copula Clauses: A Partial Study" (John Callow) and "A Tale of Two Debtors: On the Interaction of Text, Cotext, and Context in a New Testament Dramatic Narrative (Luke 7:36-50)" by Ernst R. Wendland. There is also an essay by the accomplished scholar Randall Buth that is titled "OUN, DE, KAI, and Asyndeton in John's Gospel."

Two essays that I found particularly helpful where exegesis is concerned are "The Function of KAI in the Greek New Testament and an Application to 2 Peter" (Kermit Titrud) and "Towards an Exegesis of 1 John Based on the Discourse Analysis of the Greek Text" (Robert Longacre). The first essay helps scholars to avoid simplistic analyses of the Greek conjunction KAI. Moreover, Titrud discusses how a better understanding of the function of KAI in the Greek New Testament contributes to a possibly improved understanding of Granville Sharp's famed rule. He somewhat reformulates the rule, but still favors reading 2 Peter 1:1 in the standard Trinitarian fashion.

The second essay, by Longacre, demonstrates the importance of not just counting verbs or words, but also weighing them in light of the overall discourse. Through a fairly sophisticated analysis of John's discourse in the first epistle of his corpus, Longacre discerns the hortatory nature of John's epistle and its overall theme or purpose in relation to first century readers. Overall, I found this book to be educational and useful for those wishing to understand or rightly exegete Holy Scripture. Of course, there are points at which one might disagree with some explanation of a particular verse or even take issue with the methodology employed by those who contributed essays to this book. Nevertheless, I think that this work deserves to be read and pondered. Especially is this the case with the opening essay of the book written by Louw.


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