The best and most indepth linguistic commentary on the Greek New Testament
July 24, 2016 10:18pm CST
So every now and then I get asked by ppl to recommend resources for study for Hebrew or Greek students. My answer tends to vary between where people are at in their studies, and the purpose of their studies-do they need introductory instruction? Are they Ph.D. candidates? Do they just want to add something for their own study, or is this liturgical use? Depending on their use and need, resources I recommend will be a little different. However, in terms of serous linguistic and textual study of the New Testament, there is a constant: The Greek Testament, by the late Henry Alford, D.D. He was the late Dean of Canterbury. The basic text is, of course, in Greek-at times in the commentary he will give a rendering, but there is no specific translation...so, this part is for more advanced studies... When he quotes the writers of the Patristic Era, he does so in Greek and Latin. Others who wrote in German, he quotes in German...when he quotes the Old Testament Hebrew text, he does so in Hebrew, and when he quotes the Septuagint or Vulgate, again he does so in Greek and Latin-as well as the Peshitta in Aramaic. However, Though this will be a bit more then some can handle at the basic level, the notes in the commentary, are extremely good and are of use. As well is the research and notes in the prefaces. His text of the New Testament is a critical edition, and this is looked at in depth regarding families of manuscripts. This is an older book, but is still seen as an authority and very rich resource, and for those interested in a serious and authentic understanding of the Greek text, this is the best, and most exhaustive that one could dream to have. Even if a person can only understand English, the commentaries are still of great great value.
4 people like this
26 Jul 16
Since he uses the original words when citing the works of others, Alford must have been trying to preserve the true meaning of the words from errors caused by translation. Perhaps he is a man of accuracy? Thinking about this reminds me of a psychologist named Gordon Allport who traced the etymology of the word "personality" back to it's Old Latin and Etruscan roots. He was always so direct and accurate with his definitions that he made sure to choose the right words to display what he really meant; he even changed his own definition of personality at least once.
2 people like this
27 Jul 16
Well, he was concerned about accuracy and freedom from errors, and that is one reason which was important (it is why among Jews to this day, a 13 year old boy becoming a bar mitzvah is required to learn a Torah portion and to be able to read it-to ensure Jewish learning)...but there was also another which was more pragmatic one. In the scholastic world, in relation to this, it used to be much more common to use original texts without translation-one of the reasons for that was, translations of certain texts in question, simply didn't exist at that time;).