The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: A Brief Review

Hot off the press, Kregel has just released Douglas S. Huffman's The Handy Guide to new Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming. Given the subtitle and all the author hopes to accomplish in this volume, just by looking at this almost pocket-size work that is barely over 100 pages in length, one wonders if Huffman can really accomplish addressing all of those topics. In my view, he does.

Huffman divides the book into three major parts. Following the subtitle, the first part deals with grammar, the second deals with syntax, and the third with diagramming. This, I think, makes it a bit different than Mounce's pocket-size handbook. Essentially, the first major section of Huffman's work consists of paradigms. That's right, the first 52 pages are lined with paradigms. Occasionally Huffman will sprinkle in grammatical comments and offer some mnemonic devices. Beyond this, however, the first section is meant to act as a quick-reference guide. One of the things I find unfortunate here is that Huffman uses the Erasmian pronunciation schema, but given the prevalence of this approach in the academy I suppose it is understandable.  Further, he does not make this a point of contention so, it is not repeatedly emphasize throughout the book but rather, just stated at the beginning.  I suppose that others will have less of an issue with this than me, however.

In section two of the book, which is just over thirty pages in length, Huffman basically gives readers lists of syntactical categories and functions. Again, he offers some mnemonic devices and here and there a number of helpful explanations. His comments are not long and drawn out but are short, sweet, and to the point. Some may wish for just a little more "meat on the bones" here, but others will likely find these bite-size descriptions to be just the right size. On page 62, where Huffman speaks about aspect, it appears as though he follows Porter's ordering and understanding of aspect. Personally, I prefer David Alan Black's approach but even after having said that, Huffman does add his own touch to the discussion here and his renaming of the categories to "progressive, summary, and stative" is interesting and possibly helpful (I still need to think on this).

In the third section, Huffman focuses on diagramming. About twenty pages in length, this section is well done. Huffman works through various types of diagramming examples, including the traditional approach and more modern ones. Huffman's brief explanations are helpful and informative. That he uses a more modern approach to diagramming is a huge plus. His approach is not far from that which Donald Guthrie espouses, although, there are some differences. For example, Guthrie's approach seems just a bit more emphatic about exposing modifiers. Another nice aspect of this chapter is that Huffman shows readers how to move from a semantic diagram to a sermon outline.

In the end, I would very much recommend Huffman's Handy Guide to those interested in learning, refreshing, and or maintaining the nuts and bolts of their New Testament Greek. While some of the charts in the book were a little blurry here and there, overall, the volume is helpful. Κῦδος to Huffman on this great resource. Thanks to Kregel for the review copy. Head on over to their site right now to purchase your copy of The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek by clicking HERE.

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