Do Contemporary Grammars Know What to do with Personal Pronouns?

Two observations:

1) The three most recent intermediate grammars make no reference to the clitic/non-clitic difference between ἐμοῦ and μου. In fact, of the three, only Porter even mentions the word “enclitic” at all—and never with reference to these pronominal forms[1]

2) Wallace’s grammar has a consistent preference to synchronic description (or at least categorization). It is only in the chapter on pronouns that he feels the need to explain NT Greek pronouns with reference to Classical Greek. And even then, he merely presents the facts already present in the standard reference grammars. Specifically, how is the fact that Hellenistic Greek uses pronouns more than Classical Greek going to help the 2nd year student who knows nothing of Classical Greek? It’s useless information—it was useless information was it was said in Wallace & BDF, too.[2]

Is this alternation between ἐμοῦ and μου so nebulous that the grammars prefer to avoid discussing it?

[1] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1999); Richard A. Young, Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Homan, 1994); Stanley Porter Idioms of the Greek New Testament (2nd ed.; Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1999), 135, 208, 215, 216, 217, 288, 310.

[2] BDF §278, Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 677.

3 thoughts on “Do Contemporary Grammars Know What to do with Personal Pronouns?

Add yours

    1. I was referring to intermediate grammars. The beginning grammars have to say something about the personal pronouns because they’re introducing morphology and the difference is readily apparent. Mounce gives a single paragraph on the pronouns and states the difference is emphasis (page 93 in the 3rd edition). A beginning grammar has less need to describing the motivating factors that cause the so-called “emphatic” pronouns to be used after prepositions.

      Intermediate volumes on syntax fail to contribute anything to the discussion and the silence in Young, Wallace, & Porter is like a mosquito in my ear.

  1. I understand that, but did you note *how* Porter explains these forms? It’s the only first year text I know that doesn’t say “emphatic” with no further comment.

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