Books received, May 2023

We received two books for review recently. It has been quite some time since we have published any book reviews. There are substantive reasons for that, both in terms of the time involved and also the kind and quality of books we are interested in. But this month, we receive two books for review. We plan on publishing the reviews late summer, 2023.

Editor’s Note: we only just learned that Rodney Whitacre passed away yesterday. A rememberance for Dr. Whitacre has been published at Trinity School for Ministry: Remembering the Legacy of The Rev. Dr. Rodney Whitacre: A Beloved Teacher, Mentor, and Scholar.

A Grammar of New Testament Greek (Eerdmans Language Resources)

From the pen of a seasoned instructor of biblical Greek, this book functions as both an essential resource for second-year students and an invaluable asset for all readers as they continue to hone and deepen their linguistic skills. It begins with a basic overview of the language for new learners and for those looking for a brief refresher before moving into nuanced matters of morphology and syntax. Whitacre’s aim is ultimately to help readers understand the subtleties of the language on the pages of the New Testament; thus, he engages with the biblical text both grammatically and exegetically, so that readers can experience its full power and beauty. 

Including numerous illustrative examples throughout and several useful appendices at the end, A Grammar of New Testament Greek is indispensable both as a textbook and as a reference for all readers of the Greek New Testament—and other texts written in Koine, such as the Septuagint and the Apostolic Fathers.

  • Publisher: Eerdmans (November 30, 2021)
  • Language: English
  • Hardcover:‎ 522 pages
  • ISBN-10:‎ 0802879276
  • ISBN-13:‎ 978-0802879271
  • Item Weight:‎ 1.95 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches

About the author:

Rodney A. Whitacre is professor emeritus of biblical studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He has taught biblical Greek for over forty years. He is the author of Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, A Patristic Greek Reader, and a commentary on the Gospel of John in the IVP New Testament Commentary series.

Initial comment:

As a description, this is promising. We look forward to seeing how well Whitacre’s work stands up in the broader set of texts beyond the New Testament, since that’s a significant and notable statement in the publisher description. That Whitacre has already put effort into a more diverse corpus of texts with his Patristics Reader suggests that he is more up to the task. Additionally, we were also pleased to see a diverse and much more up to date bibliography. These two facts, together, ought to help move forward and improve the quality of postclassical Greek reference tools that we have at our disposal.

A Reader in Biblical Greek (Eerdmans Language Resources)

This intermediate reader is for students, clergy, and scholars who have completed at least one year of Greek instruction and want to build reading proficiency. Through twenty-nine texts from the New Testament, the Septuagint, and noncanonical early Christian writings, readers will be exposed to a variety of different genres and authors while still being given enough content from each author to become acquainted with that author’s individual style. Notes within each selection gloss low-frequency words and clarify syntactical intricacies, and each new section of texts gradually increases in its level of difficulty, so that lessons can be worked through sequentially or as stand-alone exercises, as needed.

Wright’s selections are all texts that Christians in the fourth century CE would have read, with intertextual connections between them that will stimulate discussion and reflection on the development of important ideas in the early church. Thus, this useful resource encourages progress both in Koine reading proficiency and in knowledge of Christian tradition.

  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Language: ‎English
  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0802879241
  • ISBN-13:‎ 978-0802879240
  • Item Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.25 x 0.75 x 9.25 inches

About the author

Richard A. Wright is professor of New Testament in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, where he teaches courses on the languages and literature connected with the study of the New Testament in its cultural context. His scholarship explores the intersection of the New Testament and early church with Greco-Roman philosophies and religions.

Initial comment:

Readers continue to be a very useful type of resource for getting students into a more diverse set of texts. Wright’s new reader is designed in a way that aims to help students move from simpler texts to more difficult ones. The inclusion of both Septuagint readers and also Apostolic Fathers readings in addition to the New Testament is excellent to see.