Reading Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin, by Daniel B. Wallace

7 12 2009

I’ve been asked by Themelios to review Dan Wallace‘s new book in the Studies in Biblical Greek series, called Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance.

I read about a third (120+ pp) of the book today and thought I’d share what I think so far.

First, who would have thought that a book about one function of one element of the Greek language (the article) would be so enthralling! Wallace demonstrates from the outset that the exegetical and theological significance of the TSKS construction (article-substantive-καί-substantive) is of utmost importance, applying to NT christological texts that (if Sharp’s rule is correct) explicitly call Jesus God. The book is exciting, and well written.

Second, Wallace is thorough, possibly to the extreme. An example of this is the mini-biography of Granville Sharp that is offered in the historical section of the book. I would argue this is not really needed, and will probably not significantly affect the thesis of the book (in spite of Wallace’s claim to the contrary), but it is so interesting that the reader will quickly forgive this indulgence.

Third, the historical survey is very useful, as it answers one question that I’ve held for some time: if Granville Sharp’s rule is both correct and important, why has it been so neglected in Greek grammars and NT commentaries? Wallace convincingly argues that it is basically Georg Winer’s fault. As the preeminent Greek scholar of the nineteenth century, his almost off-hand (and theologically prejudiced) comments on Titus 2:13 set a pattern of neglect of Sharp’s rule through to the present day.

There’s more to be said about what I’ve read so far, but I will save it for the formal review in Themelios.

More to come in one or two future posts.

Posted by Con Campbell


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4 responses

7 12 2009
Mike Aubrey

The book is fantastic. It’s just such a delightful read. Wallace writes extremely well.

7 12 2009
Scott D. Andersen

Thanks for the review. Especially found this closing comment so intriguing: “Wallace convincingly argues that it is basically Georg Winer’s fault. As the preeminent Greek scholar of the nineteenth century, his almost off-hand (and theologically prejudiced) comments on Titus 2:13 set a pattern of neglect of Sharp’s rule through to the present day.” I’m going to have to follow up on that remark. But I have certainly noticed in my studies the tendency of one man somewhere in the not so distant history (1800’s – 1900’s) becoming the source from each everyone else quotes.

10 12 2009
Dan Cole

In terms of the historical (non-) acceptance of Granville Sharp’s canon, Wallace makes the same point in his grammar (p 272). Didn’t you assign that reading to us nearly 3 years ago Con? 😛

11 12 2009
Con Campbell

Yes, his section in the grammar is based on his PhD, and the new book is the published version of the PhD. So, the main lines of argument will be familiar to anyone who’s read the grammar. But, of course, being a PhD, the book is far more thorough and fills gaps that the grammar could not. Smarty pants.




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