About Micheal Palmer

MichealSCE2014-15CroppedI taught Hellenistic Greek at Bluefield College (VA) and Southern Seminary (KY), Classical Greek at NC State, and now teach English and Spanish and occasionally give seminars for  teachers on language acquisition theory and methods. In the mid 1990s I served as a Mellon Research Fellow in Greek Linguistics at UNC Chapel Hill while on sabbatical from Bluefield.

I have published a number of items about the application of modern Linguistics to the study and description of Ancient Greek as it was used in the Hellenistic period. My passion is reading Ancient Greek and studying the way the language functioned for native speakers in the ancient world.

I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Además del inglés, hablo español. I spend time in Perú, my wife’s country of origin, as often as I can.

You can get a bit more information about me on the Linguist List site. They’ve listed a few publications in Greek Linguistics, but not my work with English or Spanish Language Acquisition. If you want to know about my interests other than Greek Linguistics, you can visit my personal blog at michealpalmer.com.

Feel free to leave comments on this page, but understand that I may respond to them via email and may delete them from this page after a few days.

If you have a question about the text of the New Testament, other early Christian literature, or the literature of the wider Hellenistic world, post that as a comment to the “Questions” page. I may choose to answer your question in the form of a blog post so that other readers can interact with our conversation.

7 Comments on “About Micheal Palmer”

  1. This is one of it’s possible functions. It has others, though.

    It’s basic function is to indicate that the subject is not only the AGENT of the action expressed by the verb, but is also impacted in some way by that action. This is the relation that lies behind many supposedly “deponent” verbs (better called “lexical middle” verbs) such as ἔρχομαι. When one “goes” somewhere, she or he does the going and ends up in a new location (being directly impacted by the going). So there is nothing defective about these verbs (the meaning behind the term “deponent”). They just fit the usage of the middle voice very well in all of their contexts.

    This same relation is also characteristic of very many intransitive verbs in English. In the English sentence “He fell,” the subject “he” is impacted by the falling.

    The same is generally true in ancient Greek, but there are clear exceptions. The verb πίπτω (fall) appears in the middle voice ONLY when the effect on the subject is in strong focus. See for example Matthew 10:29, 15:14, and 24:29; Luke 14:5, 21:24). The only place it is used in the middle voice in the New Testament outside those listed here is Revelation 4:10 where the same argument could be made, though it is less clear. In all other instances, πίπτω appears in the active voice despite its natural fit for the middle voice meaning.

  2. Since you’ve been at UNC Chapel Hill have you ever met or talked with Bart Ehrman pertaining to the writings of the NT? For myself I’ve found his lectures on the NT very informative.

    • I was at UNC Chapel Hill for only one year, but I did meet Bart Ehrman that year. Since we worked in different departments (he in Religion, I in Linguistics) though, we did not see each other frequently.

  3. Hi, Prof. Palmer — I’m interested in reading your book _Levels of Constituent Structure in New Testament Greek_ but am currently overseas and can’t get my hands on a bound copy. Is there an ebook version or other digitized format available? Thanks! — Charles Law

      • O.K., thank you for letting me know. The next time I’m in the U.S. I’ll try to see if I can find a copy. Maybe the time is ripe for a second edition (as if you need something to do in your spare time).

        • Thank you. I would love to write a second edition. There is plenty that could be updated since theories of linguistics have advanced greatly since I wrote that book. Like you suggest, though, time is of a premium. Finding the time to dedicate to a second edition would be very challenging.

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