Recent Volume of BAGL


The Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics journal recently published their eighth volume (2019), containing four essays, all relating to or utilizing a Systemic Functional linguistic approach. Both Stan and I have an article in this volume. The abstracts taken from the website are reproduced below.

Stanley E. Porter, “Recent Developments in Systemic Functional Linguistics: A Review Article.” This review article examines two major works comprising a total of six volumes on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). One is a collection in five volumes of selected works representative of the history of SFL from its origins to the present, co-selected by one of the major figures in this linguistic model. The other is a singlevolume handbook to SFL with essays by a wide range of SFL practitioners on an equally wide array of topics.

Zachary K. Dawson, “The Problem of Gospel Genres: Unmasking a Flawed Consensus and Providing a Fresh Way Forward with Systemic Functional Linguistics Genre Theory.” A wave of research that began in the late 1970s and culminated with Richard Burridge’s What Are the Gospels? in 1992 effectively established the consensus that the Gospels are to be classified as ancient βίοι. In this article, I respond to Burridge’s work to demonstrate that his approach to genre is problematic in several ways, which calls the foundation of the current consensus into question. Following this ground clearing exercise, I articulate a way forward in how to understand the relationship between the Gospels’ genre and their social purpose, which is more in keeping with modern genre theory, especially as it is envisioned by systemic-functional linguists. The last section of the article then demonstrates the potential benefits of using Systemic Functional Linguistics genre theory by means of a sample genre analysis of the Lord’s Prayer in Matt 6:7–13, which demonstrates how to understand the social function of genres and opens an avenue for fresh research into the question of Gospel genres.

David I. Yoon, “The Transitivity Network and Koine Greek: The (Ideational) Meaning of Galatians 3:1–5:12.” Interpreters may tend to reach conclusions on the topic or subject matter of a text without having any criteria for how to determine it. Systemic Functional Linguistics offers a method by which one can determine what the text is about, including at the various levels of clause, clause complex, and discourse. The basis of analyzing the ideational meaning of a text (i.e., the subject matter) is the transitivity network, which exists at the clause level. This article outlines a method for analyzing transitivity in Koine Greek to determine the subject matter of the body of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Ji Hoe Kim, “A Hallidayan Approach to Orality and Textuality and Some Implications for Synoptic Gospel Studies.” This paper explores how Hallidayan systemic-functional theory and method can advance current discussions of orality and textuality in Gospel Studies. Theoretically, the Hallidayan view challenges Kelber’s view of the discontinuity between oral and written media, establishing a continuum between spoken and written language. An application of Halliday’s method for measuring the degree of orality in a text demonstrates its relevance for Greek texts. As far as the Temple cleansing episodes are concerned (Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15–19; Luke 19:45–48; and John 2:13–22), the data conform to the general consensus that Markan language is more spoken language.

The website currently has the full articles available as pdf files, so make sure you get them before they are no longer available!

— David I. Yoon

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