Elementary New Testament Greek
Joseph R. Dongell, Asbury Theological Seminary
Copyright Year: 2014
ISBN 13: 9781621711513
Publisher: First Fruits Press
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This textbook is designed for one intensive semester of study of New Testament Greek. It covers well all areas of nouns and the indicative mood of the verb in all tenses except the perfect tense. Because of the one-term design, the other... read more
This textbook is designed for one intensive semester of study of New Testament Greek. It covers well all areas of nouns and the indicative mood of the verb in all tenses except the perfect tense. Because of the one-term design, the other moods/forms of verbs (e.g. participles and imperative) are not covered. For students who want to understand the NT Greek system of communication overall, this textbook is successful - those wanting to learn all forms of Greek verbs will need to supplement this book.
I was very impressed with the overall accuracy of this book. Accuracy is a make-or-break issue with language textbooks, and I am very satisfied with the work done by Dongell, especially the strength of accuracy and clear explanation of issues such as verbal aspect.
Given that Greek study is always evolving, it is hard to measure the longevity, but I am confident that (given the comprehensiveness challenges mentioned above) it will serve one-term-only students well. This book, I imagine, will never become obsolete, but again it may require someone accompanying tools and information.
This is probably the area where this book shines. Dongell has a knack for clear and competent writing, eye-pleasing charts and formatting, and lots of helpful examples. Sometimes I wondered whether too much information was being put before the beginning student, but this is more of a teaching-strategy judgment call, rather than a clarity issue.
Again, a lot of work has gone into making this textbook an effective teaching tool, so it has been written and edited carefully to be consistent. I am very pleased in this area.
Modularity is a problem for any Greek textbook, so it does not concern me too much that this NT Greek book cannot really be divided and used in a different arrangement. It builds on the knowledge that came before it, it has to presuppose already-learned paradigms and vocabulary. There is no way around this for language, I am afraid.
Again, there is a measure of choice and preference from one instructor to the next on how to organize the teaching of a language and flow through the learning process. I did not find Dongell's approach problematic at all.
The version of the book available right now is only PDF. I had no problems accessing or using the PDF. Charts were clear and it is nice to be able to download it and scroll through it easily.
There were no English OR Greek grammar problems in my examination. Of course, when it comes to language textbooks, small errors can creep in very easily - still, nothing problematic that I noticed.
This book is culturally sensitive and suitable for all communities of study.
Most Greek textbooks are written for a full year of study. Dongell's book is best suited for those courses that are limited to one term of study.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Reading Greek Aloud
- Chapter 2: Introduction to Verbs in the Present Active Indicative
- Chapter 3: Nouns and Their Cases
- Chapter 4: The (Definite) Article
- Chapter 5: Adjectives, The Verb “to Be” and Nouns of the 1st Declension
- Chapter 6: Prepositions
- Chapter 7: Pronouns
- Chapter 8: Conjunctions
- Chapter 9: Active, Middle, Passive Voices
- Chapter 10: Imperfect Tense
- Chapter 11: The Future Tense
- Chapter 12: Aorist Tense
- Master Vocabulary List by Part of Speech
- Master Vocabulary List Alphabetical
About the Book
The need for this particular grammar arises from the peculiar shape of the MDiv curriculum at Asbury Theological Seminary. Several years ago the faculty adopted a curriculum that required one semester of Greek and one semester of Hebrew, each as preparatory for a basic exegesis course in each discipline.
It became clear after several years of trial and error that a “lexical” or “tools” approach to learning Greek and Hebrew was inadequate, no matter how skilled the instructors or how motivated the students. In today's general vacuum of grammatical training in public education across the United States, students typically enter seminary training with no knowledge of how languages work. Any training we might give them in accessing grammatical information through the use of Bible software programs will, we learned, come to naught in the absence of an understanding of just what such information actually means. We agreed that we actually needed to “teach the language itself,” at least in some rudimentary fashion, if we hoped students would make sense of grammatical and linguistic issues involved biblical interpretation.
The first 12 chapters of this grammar are designed to correspond to the first semester's instructional agenda. In these chapters we introduce all the parts of speech, explain and drill the basic elements of grammar, set forth the larger verb system (excluding the perfect system), teach the tenses of the Indicative Mood only (again, excluding the perfect system), and help students build a vocabulary of all NT words occurring 100 times or more. We also lead students into the NT itself with carefully chosen examples, while at the same time guiding them in each lesson to learn the use of the standard NT lexicon [BDAG] and an exegetical grammar [Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics]. We are well aware of the limitations of this approach, but genuinely believe that some instruction along these lines is better than none, and that such an approach provide a foundation for students interested in moving beyond the first semester (into chapters 13-24) into a firmer grasp of the language of the NT.
About the Contributors
Joseph R. Dongell joined the faculty at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1989. He now serves as professor of Biblical Studies, with primary responsibility in the Inductive Bible Studies Department.
He received a B.A. from Central Wesleyan College, 1978; a M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, 1981; a M.A. from the University of Kentucky, 1986; and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary, 1991.
Prior to joining the faculty, he served as an instructor in various languages (Greek, Hebrew and Latin) at Asbury Seminary (1981-1983), Asbury College (1985-1986) and Union Theological Seminary (1987). His doctoral dissertation focused on the literary structure of Luke’s Gospel, a particular interest that has more recently extended into the Gospels of Mark and John. Dr. Dongell is the author of a commentary on the Gospel of John (Wesley Press).
As an ordained elder in the Wesleyan Church, Dr. Dongell has maintained an active ministry in that denomination as an associate pastor, a regular adult Sunday school teacher; a one-time director and frequent advisor of the Wesleyan Seminary Foundation on Asbury Seminary’s campus; an instructor in regional Wesleyan ministerial training; and a representative to the annual Graduate Student Theological Seminar.