The Discourse Greek New Testament revolutionized how we read the New Testament by applying discourse markers to the Greek text. Now, Steve Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis offers readers a book-length treatment of discourse linguistics and how it can be applied to New Testament exegesis and interpretation.
In Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Steve Runge introduces a function-based approach to language, and seeks to describe grammatical conventions based upon the discourse functions they accomplish. This volume does not reinvent previous grammars or supplant previous work on the New Testament. Instead, Runge reviews, clarifies, and provides a unified description of each of the discourse features. That makes it useful for beginning Greek students, pastors, and teachers, as well as for advanced New Testament scholars looking for a volume which synthesizes the varied sub-disciplines of New Testament discourse analysis.
The approach in Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament is cross-linguistic. Runge looks at how all languages operate before he focuses on Greek. He examines linguistics in general to simplify the analytical process and explain how and why we communicate as we do, leading to a more accurate description of the Greek text. The approach is also function-based—meaning that Runge gives primary attention to describing the tasks accomplished by each discourse feature.
In this volume, Runge’s approach has less to do with the specifics of a particular language—Greek or English, for example—and more to do with how humans are wired to process language. We constantly make choices about how and what to communicate, and the choices we make have meanings associated with them.
While languages have their differences, they all have a common set of tasks to be accomplished. The choices follow patterns. When we choose to break the pattern, or follow the pattern differently, our reasons for doing so can powerfully communicate meaning.
What choices are implicit in the text of the New Testament? By choosing to say or write one thing—a particular word, tense, voice, mood, and so on—the New Testament writers have implicitly decided not to say or write another. There is some meaning associated not only with the decision to say or write something, but also with the decision not to say or write something. These patterns—or discourse functions—reveal a great deal about what the text of the New Testament communicates. This text fills a large gap in New Testament scholarship because it explains not just the “what,” but also the “why.”
Steven Runge, scholar in residence at Logos Bible Software, has produced a book of great value for those who desire a clear yet well-grounded introduction to discourse analysis of NT Greek. . . . The strength of this book is that it covers a wide range of such features with technical competence but in a way that clearly explains the features, illustrates them with multiple examples from the NT, and enables the reader to use the information in his or her own study of the text.
—Buist Fanning, department chair and senior professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
. . .Runge has made discourse analysis accessible, systematic, comprehensive, and meaningful to students of the New Testament. His presentation is clear, straightforward, and well researched. . . . I have learned a great deal from this volume and will continue to do so for many years. To students of the New Testament, I say, “ The time has come. Tolle lege!
—Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, from the foreword
NT Greek grammarians today are twenty years behind Hebrew scholars in applying insights from linguistics to our knowledge of the language and many applications at present are skewed. Ironically, linguists are often singularly unable to communicate. Steve Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament brings us light years forward in the application of linguistics to Hellenistic Greek providing at the same time clear and simple explanations as well as examples that will help students to analyse and exegete texts on their own. This book is five stars—one of the most significant contributions to Greek grammar in the last 20 years!
—Peter J. Gentry, Ph.D. (Near Eastern Studies, Univ. of Toronto) Professor of Old Testament Interpretation The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Steven Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament fills a significant gap in the available resources for teaching Koine Greek. Runge has taken complex linguistic notions that shed significant light on how Greek works and made them accessible to the masses. He takes us beyond morphology and syntax to explore the communicative goals that motivated the choice of particular words or grammatical constructions. The presentation is both compelling and a model of clarity. This impressive volume will provide advanced students of Greek with an effective tool for taking their Greek to the next level. It is “must read” material for every serious student of the Greek New Testament.
—Dr. Martin M. Culy, Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek Briercrest College and Seminary
Steven Runge has made a valuable contribution to the revolution [in discourse linguistics] by his insightful analysis of each New Testament book in his Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. Now he has taken the next step and provided a theoretical base for his applications in Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. . . . I commend his pioneering work for serious consideration by all New Testament students and scholars. . . . I have always been interested in any type of analysis that will help me understand the New Testament better. Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament has helped me to do just that.
—Dr. William Varner, Professor of Greek Exegesis, The Masters College
Steven Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament fills a significant need for a well-researched yet readable and practical guide to discourse analysis. Using cross-linguistic principles and providing copious examples from both narrative and epistles, Runge takes the reader from linguistic theory to practical exegetical application. Runge’s work will become a required text in my Greek classes.
—Dr. Gerald Peterman, Professor of Bible and Chair of the Bible Department, Moody Bible Institute