A couple of days ago I posted a note about the reprint of Robert Funk’s Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek. At the time I was confident that most of you already knew that almost all of the content of that book is available online a no charge, so I didn’t mention it. Some of you may not know, though, so I’m including a link to the online materials below.
You can see my earlier post about the reprinted edition here:
A reprinted edition of Robert Funk’s A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek was published in July of 2013. While a lot has happened in Linguistics and the study of Ancient Greek since this grammar was originally published in 1973, I welcome this reprint. In 1973 this book (at that time in three volumes) was revolutionary, and it is still very useful. The book focusses on sentence types, and the bulk of linguistic theory has moved beyond that discussion now, but for students learning the language, Funk’s approach works very will.
UPDATE July 9, 2014:
Most of the content of Funk’s Beginning-Intermediate Grammar is available online at no charge via ibiblio.org. You can access it here:
Back in March, Louis Sorenson posted a helpful comment to B-Greek: The Biblical Greek Forum. In it he included a link to a great resource for finding the terminology that Ancient Greek writers used to describe their language. Here’s the relevant portion of his comment:
Randall Buth in his books Living Koine lists some of these terms in his appendix on pages 175-178. William Annis has collected a number of those terms primarily from Eleanor Dickey’s Ancient Greek scholarship: a Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica and Grammatical Treatises, from Their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period, Oxford University Press, 2007. You can find his collection of terms athttp://scholiastae.org/docs/el/greek_grammar_in_greek.pdf
This terminology could be very useful in developing a new reference grammar for the Hellenistic Period. For earlier discussions of that topic, go here.
When we discuss the “scope” of any grammar it is possible to discuss two quite different things. One is the range of issues it should address (See Scope IV). The other is the range of literature it seeks to cover, what I called “Documentary Scope” in my original post on this issue (Scope I, II, and III).
The problem of defining the documentary scope of a Hellenistic Greek Grammar in the past century was fairly straight forward. It included either the Christian New Testament, or the New Testament plus the Septuagint. Little outside that body of literature was of immediate interest. The computer revolution, however, has made this limitation seem unreasonable, since we now have relatively easy access to a much broader range of literature.
What I have written in my first three posts on Scope was written as a way of thinking through the implications of this challenge. I suggested that an authoritative grammar of Hellenistic Greek should address at least (outside the biblical texts) a broad representation from other early Jewish and Christian literature and much of the available papyrii from outside the Jewish and Christian traditions.
Now I would like to consider the “problem” of dialect. This issue is acutely problematic with some authors who were able to manage more than one dialect reasonably fluently. Take Flavius Arrianus, for example. He wrote the Discourses of Epictetus (ΤΩΝ ΕΠΙΚΤΗΤΟΥ ΔΙΑΤΡΙΒΩΝ) and the Manual of Epictetus (ΕΠΙΚΤΗΤΟΥ ΕΓΧΕΙΡΙΔΙΟΝ) in fluent Hellenistic Koiné, but his History of Alexander (ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ ΑΝΑΒΑΣΕΩΣ) is a clear attempt to imitate the Attic of Xenophon and in his Indica (ΙΝΔΙΚΗ) he strives for the Ionic of Herodotus. In neither of these last two does he represent the actual speech of his time, but he certainly did represent the language of fine literature.
In my original post on Scope I suggested that we should include Arrian’s History of Alexander, but I would now reject that judgment. If our aim is to reflect the Hellenistic Koiné, the language seen in the biblical texts, then we should limit the Documentary Scope of the grammar to works that reflect that level of literature.
In this case, what we need goes well beyond a list of Hellenistic authors, but a considered discussion of each of their works and its relationship to the Koiné.
This is a ground-breaking work, in that it approaches grammar from a linguistic perspective not previously employed in a full grammar of Biblical Greek. Notice the subtitle: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis.
While I’m on the topic of Randall Buth’s recent contributions with regard to teaching Greek, I should point out his discussion of Hellenistic pronunciation that relates it directly to the task of teaching and learning Hellenistic Greek: Ἡ Κοινὴ Προφορά (Koine Pronunciation): Notes on the Pronunciation System of Phonemic Koine Greek (PDF).
He does a very nice job of summarizing the state of reconstruction of Greek pronunciation for the Hellenistic period and laying out key assumptions about the criteria a reconstructed pronunciation should meet.
Do any of you know how to get a copy of his Living Koine Greek For Everyone?
I spent the day today in a training seminar on teaching English to speakers of other languages. I’ll be back to working on Greek tomorrow.
I spent Monday working on the next lesson for the online grammar, dealing with the middle voice. I hope to finish it in the next few days.