Under Revision: This grammar has already undergone numbers of revisions over the last 4 years, for which I must thank Mr. Brad Johnson (model language instructor) and his students for their fine-toothed combing of the text. This present publication, the first effort to combine the two semesters of elementary Greek instruction into one volume with full appendices, represents the first half of a full revision. Chapters 1-12 have been brought up the standards of the most recent suggestions. Chapters 13-24 await this latest wave of modification, with all chapters together scheduled to be in their fully revised form by February of 2015. My special thanks goes to Mr. Klay Harrison, whose expertise and enthusiasm for this labor is stamped on every page.
Preface: The world does not another Elementary Greek Grammar! There are many fine products on the market that have proven themselves to be useful both in the classroom and for private instruction.
The need for this particular grammar arises from the peculiar shape of the MDiv curriculum at Asbury Theological Seminary. Several years ago the faculty adopted a curriculum that required one semester of Greek and one semester of Hebrew, each as preparatory for a basic exegesis course in each discipline.
It became clear after several years of trial and error that a "lexical" or "tools" approach to learning Greek and Hebrew was inadequate, no matter how skilled the instructors or how motivated the students. In today's general vacuum of grammatical training in public education across the United States, students typically enter seminary training with no knowledge of how languages work. Any training we might give them in accessing grammatical information through the use of Bible software programs will, we learned, come to naught in the absence of an understanding of just what such information actually means. We agreed that we actually needed to "teach the language itself," at least in some rudimentary fashion, if we hoped students would make sense of grammatical and linguistic issues involved biblical interpretation.
The first 12 chapters of this grammar are designed to correspond to the first semester's instructional agenda. In these chapters we introduce all the parts of speech, explain and drill the basic elements of grammar, set forth the larger verb system (excluding the perfect system), teach the tenses of the Indicative Mood only (again, excluding the perfect system), and help students build a vocabulary of all NT words occurring 100 times or more. We also lead students into the NT itself with carefully chosen examples, while at the same time guiding them in each lesson to learn the use of the standard NT lexicon [BDAG] and an exegetical grammar [Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics]. We are well aware of the limitations of this approach, but genuinely believe that some instruction along these lines is better than none, and that such an approach provide a foundation for students interested in moving beyond the first semester (into chapters 13-24) into a firmer grasp of the language of the NT
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About the Author
He received a B.A. from Central Wesleyan College, 1978; a M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, 1981; a M.A. from the University of Kentucky, 1986; and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary, 1991.
Prior to joining the faculty, he served as an instructor in various languages (Greek, Hebrew and Latin) at Asbury Seminary (1981-1983), Asbury College (1985-1986) and Union Theological Seminary (1987). His doctoral dissertation focused on the literary structure of Luke's Gospel, a particular interest that has more recently extended into the Gospels of Mark and John. Dr. Dongell is the author of a commentary on the Gospel of John (Wesley Press).
As an ordained elder in the Wesleyan Church, Dr. Dongell has maintained an active ministry in that denomination as an associate pastor, a regular adult Sunday school teacher; a one-time director and frequent advisor of the Wesleyan Seminary Foundation on Asbury Seminary's campus; an instructor in regional Wesleyan ministerial training; and a representative to the annual Graduate Student Theological Seminar.
He and his wife, Regina, have two children.