On Greek Voice And The Ordering Of Subjects

I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the last week on Greek voice. I find this whole "no deponency" argument very interesting that some like Conrad, Taylor, and Pennington are advancing. I was also surprised to learn that this really isn’t a new idea, and that you can even find it in A.T. Robertson and Moulton.

Of course, it’s way too early to have a real opinion on this. I’m still gathering data. And speaking of, anybody know of a critique of Carl Conrad’s "New Observations on Voice in the Ancient Greek Verb" (found here)? I find his arguments very interesting, and would like to see if anyone has a rebuttal to make.

It is also very unfortunate that we’ve reached our discussion of voice in the class and that I don’t have a satisfactory answer yet. That’s a bummer. Maybe next year :)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing the curriculum as we go in the class and am pulling translation assignments from the greater collection of Koine Greek instead of just NT Greek. Well, two more observations about how the process is going. First, I really think pulling in translations from outside the NT has been very valuable for them. I have heard statements about how this stuff outside the NT is much more difficult. I even got a statement the other day that the Greek of the Didache of very difficult. For those of you who have translated from the Didache, I’m sure you’ll concur that it is actually relatively simple Greek to translate. The difference, I think, is the source, and that my students have never read the Didache and have no memory to draw on (consciously or subconsciously). This makes it more of a challenge to them and actually requires them to rely on their Greek skills, and not their memory of texts read. Excellent...

Second, I took a similar route to Mounce this time in that I covered all nouns first, leaving verbs for later. On the next revision I’m definitely NOT going to do it that way. I’m thinking that I’ll probably cover second and first declension, then infinitives, then aorists, then presents, and then finish off nouns. Having earlier exposure to verbs , I think, will be very beneficial. Unfortunately, this is going to make me change a great deal of the instruction and assignments that have been prepared so far in the curriculum, but that’s fine. I was going to make a lot of changes anyway!

Infinitives. Starting with and basing everything off of infinitives has turned out to be quite a stretch for me. I am SO used to saying "that’s the third principle part of λυω" that it is hard to consistently switch to "that’s the third principle part of λυσαι, λυειν." Old habits die hard. I’m finding this at least as difficult as the switch from Erasmian to a more modern pronunciation of Greek. Of course, in this case the change is even more invasive. Basing everything off of the aorist infinitive requires more than just the reordering of chapters. It requires the reordering of how to approach verbs in general. We’ll see how this turns out.

And finally, for all my billionaire friends (and I have so many!), will one of you please buy me this book?

Dr. Conrad has commented that there is a more up to date document, a sketch of his latest thinking. It can be found here.


Carl W. Conrad 2005-12-14 09:35:00

I think I’ve advanced beyond some of what I thought when I wrote "New Perspectives" in November 2002. A sketch of my latest thinking (and links to my PDF files) may be found at http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/GrkVc.html

Eric Sowell 2005-12-14 10:33:00

Thanks for the update. I’ll be sure to read it, and update on the blog that this exists and is an update on your thoughts.

Rick Brannan 2005-12-14 11:09:00

Hi Eric.

On Matthew Brook O’Donnell’s book -- check out Sheffield Phoenix’ site as you likely qualify for the "Scholar’s" price. That’s 50% off of the retail $95.00.

Rick Brannan

Eric Sowell 2005-12-14 12:17:00

Yes, you’re right. I do qualify. I’m really glad you pointed that out.