Articular Infinitives in the Greek of the New Testament: On the Exegetical Benefit of Grammatical Precision
In focusing on one significant aspect of grammar, the semantic and/or syntactic value of the articular infinitive, Burk undertakes to move beyond the standard New Testament grammar books.
Many New Testament scholars still operate under the mistaken notion that all of the problems of New Testament Greek grammar were worked out in the nineteenth century. This false assumption arises from an ignorance of developments in the field of modern linguistics.
In focusing on one significant aspect of grammar, the semantic and/or syntactic value of the articular infinitive, Burk undertakes to move beyond the standard New Testament grammar books. His question is: What does the article contribute to the total linguistic meaning of the infinitive in the Greek of the New Testament? To answer it he uses methods and results from modern linguistic analysis, an approach far different from that of traditional grammar.
Burk argues that the article with the infinitive is different from the article with other kinds of words. With other kinds of words the article encodes ideas such as definiteness, substantivization, and anaphora. The article with the infinitive, however, does not denote ideas such as these. With the infinitive the article is a function marker that signifies a grammatical-structural relation that may not otherwise be apparent. Discussing many examples from the New Testament, Burk shows his thesis has benefits not only for our understanding of Hellenistic Greek grammar, but also for our exegesis of the New Testament.
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1. An Introduction to a Linguistic Analysis of the Articular Infinitive in New Testament Greek
Barry C. Joslin, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology –
Greek grammar is still a discipline in need of advancement, and Burk has illustrated an important area where Greek grammarians have not been in agreement. This lack of agreement is apparent when one peruses the standard grammars as well as many technical New Testament commentaries. [Burk’s work] is a viable and defensible articulation of the syntactical significance of the article when it accompanies the infinitive in the New Testament.