Review: Advances in the Study of Greek

23403812Constantine R. Campbell is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Theological Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Campbell received a PhD from Macquaire University and is author of numerous books, including Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek (Zondervan, 2008), Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People (Zondervan, 2010), and Reading Biblical Greek: A Grammar for Students (with Richard J. Gibson, Zondervan, 2017). Still, one of the most important resources that Campbell has written for students of New Testament Greek is Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament (Zondervan, 2016). 

The goal of Advances in the Study of Greek is simple: to introduce students of New Testament Greek to the latest developments in Greek scholarship. Campbell covers a range of topics in a relatively short amount of space, including a brief history of Greek Studies from the nineteenth century to the present day, linguistic theories, lexical semantics and lexicography, deponency and the middle voice, verbal aspect and Aktionsart, discourse analysis, pronunciation, and more. A second-year level understanding of Greek is assumed, but not required for comprehension. At times the conversation hits a scholarly peak, but for the most part Campbell does an excellent job keeping a wider audience in focus. Campbell is clear and concise, and the organization of the volume is appropriate for both classroom or personal use. Moreover, each chapter concludes with a “Further Reading” section that allows interested readers to explore specific topics. The resources that Campbell provides appear to be both up-to-date and relevant for academic use or personal exploration, but most would accommodate the former given the nature of the volume.

There is much to appreciate in this volume, and at least two are worth mention here. First, and foremost, the organization and readability of the book surprised me. It is clear that Campbell has aimed towards a broader audience, and he succeeded without compromising or oversimplifying the issues. Thus, not only has Campbell made these topics more accessible to the community of Greek enthusiasts, but he has also implicitly moved the conversations forward as incoming and current students are now able to further engage. Second, the comprehensiveness of this volume and the amount of information crammed in such a small package is praiseworthy. Campbell has left almost no stone unturned in his treatment of the field. That said, I think that there was one obvious omission: textual criticism. If I’m completely honest, I was at least a little disappointed as I glanced through the table of contents. I recognize that the field of textual criticism is distinct in several ways from Greek linguistics. But, an acknowledgement of how textual criticism has and continues inform our study of the Greek language could have been a useful bridge to build.

Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament by Constantine R. Campbell is a worthwhile and enjoyable read for anyone interested in the developments that are and have occurred in Greek scholarship. Not only does Campbell inform the past and the present, but also has made a way forward for many students—both current and future. There is no better book on the market to orient yourself towards the recent research in New Testament Greek! It comes strongly recommended!

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