In catching up on this blog and trying staying afoot with the advancement of Greek language scholarship, I ought to point out a few new monographs that are soon to be released. As usual, they probably aren’t within the budget of the average student or scholar.
Early Greek Relative Clauses by Philomen Probert
Some of you might already know Probert from her important monograph on Greek accentuation patterns. And her shorter guide to accents, probably the best practical volume on the subject to date. I’ll be looking forward to perusing her work on relative clauses. We need more of these sorts of narrowly define syntactic studies. Fewer people should be writing on aspect (granted, I’ve written a lot on aspect…) and more should be choosing an understudied piece of the language and giving us something new.
Early Greek Relative Clauses contributes to an old debate currently enjoying a revival: should we expect languages spoken a few thousand years ago, such as Proto-Indo-European, to be less well-equipped than modern languages when it comes to subordinate clauses? Early Greek relative clauses provide a test case for this problem. Early Greek uses several kinds of relative clause, but all these are usually thought to come from one, or at most two, prehistoric types. In a new look at the evidence, this book finds that a rich variety of relative clause types has been in place for a considerable time.
The reconstruction of prehistoric linguistic stages requires detailed work on the individual languages descending from them. A substantial part of the book is therefore devoted to a new look at the relative clause systems found in a wide variety of early Greek texts. It emerges that the same basic system is in use across all these texts. Different kinds of relative clause predominate in different kinds of text, however, because relative clause syntax and semantics interact with the needs of different kinds of text.
Considering material as diverse as the Homeric poems, laws inscribed in stone on the island of Crete, and the philosophical prose of Heraclitus, the discussion remains clear and straightforward as Probert considers the uses and histories of different relative clause types.
The Textualization of the Greek Alphabet by Roger Woodard
Woodard is a seasoned Greek scholar that I would expect not many NT students/scholars have heard of. His focus in historical linguistics and Proto-Indo-European, so perhaps that’s why. Nevertheless, those interested in the Koine should have a greater awareness of PIE research than they currently do. From the publisher:
In this book, Roger D. Woodard argues that when the Greeks first began to use the alphabet, they viewed themselves as participants in a performance phenomenon conceptually modeled on the performances of the oral poets. Since a time older than Greek antiquity, the oral poets of Indo-European tradition had been called “weavers of words” – their extemporaneous performance of poetry was “word weaving.” With the arrival of the new technology of the alphabet and the onset of Greek literacy, the very act of producing written symbols was interpreted as a comparable performance activity, albeit one in which almost everyone could participate, not only the select few. It was this new conceptualization of and participation in performance activity by the masses that eventually, or perhaps quickly, resulted in the demise of oral composition in performance in Greece. In conjunction with this investigation, Woodard analyzes a set of copper plaques inscribed with repeated alphabetic series and a line of what he interprets to be text, which attests to this archaic Greek conceptualization of the performance of symbol crafting
Paul Danove is a good friend and his work is always erudite, detailed, comprehensive, and thoughtful. I had the pleasure of working as his research assistant on this book and I eagerly look forward to reading the final version. From the publisher:
Paul Danove builds on his previous work in the field of biblical linguistics to provide a refinement of the Case Frame Analysis method as applied to the Greek of the New Testament. He shows how the method can be used in clarifying elements of Greek grammar, interpretation, and translation.
In particular Danove distinguishes the semantic implications of active, middle, and passive usages of verbs. He establishes a rigorous basis for distinguishing semantic synonyms and near-synonyms and for clarifying their implications for interpretation and translation. A heuristic feature model for relating distinct usages of verbs and deriving their various connotations is determined, and the conceptual and grammatical differences of verbs of oral and non-oral communication are clarified.