Dictionary of English Grammar for Students of Biblical Languages
Greenwood, Kyle. Dictionary of English Grammar for Students of Biblical Languages. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2020. $19.99. Paper. 140 pp. ISBN: 978-0-310-09844-7.
In my many years of teaching Greek grammar and exegesis, it’s often been clear to me that numerous students don’t have an adequate (or even rudimentary) understanding of the use and meaning of grammatical terms and categories, even if their native language is English. They may have no idea what a ‘gerund’ is, or only a vague sense of the larger category of ‘participle.’ Voice, tense, mood? Students often come to language study with only scant understanding of their significance because of the lack of time learning grammar in their prior education. Perhaps they assimilated the idea that grammar is boring or unimportant. Yet, how can students learn the intricacies of Hebrew or Greek when a professor finds they have no categories on which to hang the grammar of the biblical languages? Or how can pastors who use the best critical resources assure that they understand what authors are claiming based on references to grammar?
Enter Dr. Greenwood’s fine little volume! Not only does he supply clear definitions of grammatical terms and categories, but most often he illustrates their uses in texts from both the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT. His list of terms and categories is surprisingly comprehensive—extending to terms such as ‘declarative sentence’ and ‘definiteness,’ as well as the more obvious ones such as ‘demonstrative adjective’ and ‘direct object’ (just to select a few from pages 48–53). He also includes terms that are more specialized for the biblical languages, such as ‘hendiadys.’ The Dictionary proceeds alphabetically (one must know what one is looking for) from ‘Ablative Case’ to ‘Volitive.’ Greenwood (Ph.D. from Hebrew Union College) concludes the book with a list of resources for further study (i.e., grammars) and a scriptural index.
No longer need anyone puzzle over (or ignore) the meaning of a term in a Hebrew or Greek grammar textbook—or a commentary, book, or article. A quick look at this Dictionary will supply the answer.
William W. Klein. Ph.D.
Professor of New Testament