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This page provides a review of a reference work that was consulted while working on the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT). To purchase a copy of the third edition, click here.

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A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament

By H.E. Dana and Julius Mantey

A very helpful Greek grammar

This is the textbook I used in studying intermediate Greek at Denver Seminary. And it is a very helpful volume. The purpose of this book is not to teach how to parse Greek words. That would be an introductory volume to Greek, such as Hewett's A Beginning and Intermediate Grammar. What Dana and Mantey do is to detail different usages of the varying Greek grammatical forms.

So, for instance, this volume outlines the various uses of the Greek present tense. The regular uses are the progressive present, the customary present, and the iterative present. The book then presents “special uses” of the present tense, namely, the aoristic present, the futuristic present, the historical present, and the tendential present.

The book explains in detail how each of these uses function. Such information is imperative to understand when translating the New Testament. In fact, I relied heavily on this volume when I was working on my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT).

I followed many of this book’s suggestions in my translation work, so the information in this book helped me to bring out finer details of the Greek text that are often missed in Bible translations. So, for instance, this book states, “A prohibition in the present imperative demands that action then in progress be stopped.... Thus a prohibition expressed with the present tense demands the cessation of some act that is already in progress” (pp. 301).

Utilizing this information, I consistently translated the prohibitive, present imperative using the form “Stop …” (e.g., Matt 6:16, “And when you* are fasting, stop becoming gloomy like the hypocrites”).

However, there is so much information in this book that sometimes it can be difficult to keep it all straight. So when I began working on the ALT, I typed out initially just for myself, a summary of the various grammatical points and suggested renderings given in this book and various other Greek grammars. That summary proved invaluable as I worked on the ALT, so later I expanded it and included it as an extensive “Grammatical Renderings “ section in my book Companion Volume to the ALT.

So yes, get this volume if you want to understand the various uses of Greek grammatical forms. But to help keep it all straight, check out my Companion Volume as well. And to see how Dana and Mantey’s suggestions look in an actual translation, see my ALT.

Review of A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Copyright (c) 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.


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