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#1 Robert N

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:04 PM

This is a request of Accordance to have Greek and Hebrew Training modules that are better than QV's Greek and Hebrew Tutor products and competitive with Logos' new offering.

Logos just came out with Greek and Hebrew Training for their application as a pre-pub and it broke all their pre-pub records. It should be arriving any day. I wonder if Accordance has staff that are experts on the competition's applications and their user's requests?

Competition (healthy that is) and encourage creativity and foster excellence for the users.

Although I have both A and L I prefer A so I am hoping that Greek and Hebrew training will come along.

Edited by Robert N, 20 June 2010 - 09:05 PM.


#2 RobM

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 11:30 PM

This is a request of Accordance to have Greek and Hebrew Training modules that are better than QV's Greek and Hebrew Tutor products and competitive with Logos' new offering.

Logos just came out with Greek and Hebrew Training for their application as a pre-pub and it broke all their pre-pub records. It should be arriving any day. I wonder if Accordance has staff that are experts on the competition's applications and their user's requests?

Competition (healthy that is) and encourage creativity and foster excellence for the users.

Although I have both A and L I prefer A so I am hoping that Greek and Hebrew training will come along.



With all due respect, and with great appreciation for your desire to learn Greek and Hebrew, I think this is somewhat of an odd request and somewhat odd that Logos offers it.

In a real sense, Accordance does already offer "tutorial" modules of sorts by offering the module versions of Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek and Ross' Introducing Biblical Hebrew and then, once one has worked through these grammars, Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament and Waltke and O'Connor's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. For an initial introduction to Greek, it is hard to find an easier grammar to use, whether for a class room or for personal study, than Mounce's grammar. It provides examples and, in the workbook, gets the student into translating phrases and sentences from the NT very quickly. For Hebrew other 1st year grammars could be suggested, but Ross' grammar has been used at numerous seminaries for several years. I would encourage you to work through these memorizing as much as you are reasonably able as you go while including as much inductive reading as you can.

At any rate, I greatly appreciate and encourage your desire to learn the biblical languages.

So I just found the page where Logos explains their training video's. First, expensive! My second thought is certainly stained by my preference for people to be more independently capable in the languages... The video's appear to train you to learn how to use original language modules without having anything memorized. Which admittedly is possible to do in light of instant parsing or, as in Accordance bible texts keyed with Strong's #'s, to see which english words are translating the given Greek or Hebrew words. Now, these things are very helpful regardless of what level ability a given person is currently at. But keep in mind that interpretation will always suffer when Bible software, regardless of which one, becomes a crutch instead of its proper use as a tool. In those videos they are most certainly encouraging the 'crutch' use of Bible software rather than the 'tool' use... I quote one of their listed advantages, "No rote memorization of vocabulary lists, grammatical forms, or paradigms" (lest you think I'm some old school, idealistic, disgruntled old prof, I'm 27 and am in seminary focusing on Biblical and cognate languages). Now, I must agree that rote memorization of anything is agonizing (I've certainly done my fair share). And I would argue that if, in the process of learning a language, one were to do so solely by rote memorization without any immediate application in real texts (i.e., reading/translating), then one is destined to failure and frustration. However, I would also argue that if one were to go straight to the text with zero rote memorization, then the end result is quite shallow and leaves the student thinking he/she knows something about the language without any real ability to work through text intelligently. Basically, the student is taught to follow along with someone else's reading of the text. But again, this does not put any tools into the hands of the interpreter (whether pastor, student, or lay person). The interpreter has no skills to be able to evaluate the text on basis of his/her own study.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised that a scholar like Dr. Heiser would advertise a product like this as being for lay people and students. This product seems to cater more towards the microwave 21st century Western culture that demands answers in 30 seconds or less. If the intrinsic value of something (e.g., knowledge of Greek or Hebrew) is not immediately and poignantly apparent, then it is not only not important, it is irrelevant. When this seeps into theological formulation (regardless of tradition), that theology becomes superficial. All of the long standing theological formulations within Christianity (protestant, catholic, or otherwise) have been formed by persons with extensive knowledge and experience in the original languages of the bible.

Now, I do think the Logos videos do provide a valuable help in one way in particular. Logos says that these videos provide a refresher for pastors. I think this is certainly valuable and needed for numerous pastors who want to resurrect their language chops. Pastor's are less likely to experience the adverse effects of this kind of training because they have, from their seminary days, the conceptual framework of the language that needs only to be reminded of what goes where. But even for this, reviewing Mounce's grammar or Ross' can achieve that purpose.



Anyway, my comments are certainly colored by a little language 'snobbery' as well as Accordance 'snobbery' (as described by David Lang's recent blog post), but it is my opinion that Accordance should focus their time on developing new modules rather than language training modules that more-or-less accomplish the same thing as standard published grammars that they have already made available. Sorry if I've been too apologetic!

Not in the same way, but related... Accordance has produced numerous podcast training videos that do not merely train a person on how to use Accordance, but also on how to interact with the Biblical text in ways that every generation prior to this one was unable to do. These videos provide examples of how one can use Accordance in the original language texts and they use some of the basic standard terminology in scholarship thereby teaching inductively how to make the most of Accordance original language modules, whether texts or tools. And these videos are free!

#3 Rick Bennett

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 09:21 AM

This is a request of Accordance to have Greek and Hebrew Training modules that are better than QV's Greek and Hebrew Tutor products and competitive with Logos' new offering.

Logos just came out with Greek and Hebrew Training for their application as a pre-pub and it broke all their pre-pub records. It should be arriving any day. I wonder if Accordance has staff that are experts on the competition's applications and their user's requests?

Competition (healthy that is) and encourage creativity and foster excellence for the users.

Although I have both A and L I prefer A so I am hoping that Greek and Hebrew training will come along.


Robert, if you'd like to learn Greek, I recommend checking out Bill Mounce's website. He is currently working on a DVD series that will be released soon (and already has audio lessons). Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek is currently in its third edition, and is the most popular introductory Greek grammar available. Also, he offers a more basic approach to learning Greek in his Greek for the Rest of Us. There are also links on his site for Van Pelt's lectures on Biblical Hebrew.

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#4 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 10:18 AM

I thought I'd chime in here.

It takes a couple of years of daily effort to develop a working knowledge of a biblical language. It takes a lifetime to master one. There are no shortcuts to this, though there are now many electronic resources to ease the process. Dr. Mark Goodacre maintains a list of the best of them on his NT Gateway: http://www.ntgateway...estament-greek/

Personally, I think our resources here at Accordance are better spent making more modules available, steering people interested in learning the language to resources like these. However, Accordance does allow people without original language knowledge [or the associated effort] the ability to use a number of original language tools.

Key number texts allow users to find the original language word. Their linked dictionaries give a brief definition of each one. Amplifying to a good Greek lexicon or Hebrew lexicon will provide better definitions and a history of the word's use [etymology]. I especially like the way that Louw and Nida, NIDNTT and NIDOTT handle words in groups, comparing and contrasting them with similar words. Of course, Accordance will allow users to locate other occurrences of the same original language word by searching by key number.

Grammatically tagged texts (e.g. GNT-T or BHS-W4) open up even more possibilities. Every word is parsed, meaning users can see the tense and number of every verb and the gender and number of every noun (as well as other information). This can be helpful when sorting out ambiguous phrases—and finding like grammatical constructions. However, understanding what those constructions mean comes with knowing the language itself.

Deeper issues really do mean knowing the language itself or relying on a good exegetical commentary: Word, Hermeneia, NIGNT, Keil and Delitzsch, etc.

Hope this helps!

Blessings,
"Dr. J"

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#5 David Lang

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:31 AM

I haven't really looked at the Logos training videos yet, though I have seen some of the marketing for them. On the one hand, it looks like an interesting approach and I'm sure it will be helpful to some people. One of the dangers of Bible software is that it gives powerful tools to access the languages to people who have no idea how to work with those languages. Anyone who has listened to a pastor say, "The Greek here really says" knows just how dangerous that can be. If Logos' training videos equip people to use the tools more responsibly and with greater caution, more power to them.

On the other hand, I too have some reticence about the aim of teaching language tools without teaching the languages themselves. I first saw this when I went to seminary. They had the language courses divided into "professional" and "academic" tracks. The academic track actually taught the language, while the professional track taught would-be pastors to use the language tools available. The weird thing about this arrangement was that the academic track was made overly difficult, and most students were pushed toward the professional track. The not-so-subtle message was that only the smartest folks who intend to pursue advanced degrees are smart enough to learn the languages. I always thought it strange that they would discourage students who were eager to learn the languages by making it seem like nothing more than an ivory tower exercise.

A few years after seminary, I actually taught a Sunday school class on Greek at my church. Knowing that I couldn't really do a full-blown language course, I took an approach similar to Logos' videos and to my seminary's professional track. I taught grammatical concepts by relating them to English grammar, and I taught how to use the tools available responsibly. I seem to recall showing them Accordance by lugging in my Performa 600 and hooking it up to a TV! (Ah, those were the days!)

Interestingly, the feedback I got after the class was that the students wished they had learned more Greek vocabulary! Again, they were eager to learn, and I hadn't given them enough to feel like they had actually learned something.

All that is to say that the approach Logos is taking is interesting, and I'm curious to see how effective it ends up being. If you've purchased the videos, I'd be curious to hear what you like or dislike about them. I'd also be interested to hear how it compares to what Dr. J is doing in some of his podcasts. We can certainly consider doing something like this, but we'll likely only do it if we feel we can offer an approach to language learning which is not available anywhere else.

I don't know if that helps at all, but I appreciate the chance to reminisce a little bit! :)
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#6 James Tucker

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:38 PM

There is a grave assumption within the principles pedagogy, that, if one is not knowledgeable in linguistics or philosophy of language, falls flat for those enticed by its promises. I realized this several years ago when I taught New Testament Greek at my church. I did not have the students memorize paradigms, declensions, or even vocabulary. Rather, I taught from a linguistic perspective, nuancing the course specifically with New Testament Greek in mind. My stated purpose was to give the students enough knowledge to critically engage the exegetical commentaries, so as to track the semantic arguments as it pertains to morphology, syntax, pragmatics, and rhetoric. At the end of 9 months, I realized that the principles pedagogy is insufficient, namely because what it assumes (viz., a reading knowledge in the language) is required for comprehension and analysis. A reading knowledge is necessary for the principles pedagogy.

On a different note, it is encouraging to see the interests in original languages that this has prompted. I would even certainly be interested in seeing some statistics of those ordering the Logos Series.

Several others above have cogently pointed out that Accordance is apropos for not only the scholar, but the beginner in language work. Language study is primarily founded upon perseverance. I am devoting my life to the study of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, Syriac, and Ugaritic. Mastery comes through daily study and reading; it could be that programs like Logos are not attempting to provide a mastery level of comprehension, but my concern is that a principles level of knowledge assumes the finer and more mundane knowledge of the languages.

#7 jackcav

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:31 AM

I haven't really looked at the Logos training videos yet, though I have seen some of the marketing for them.


I own the Logos videos and have watched about half of the Hebrew set. The marketing hype over promises what can be accomplished, a fact that some of us pointed out when the DVDs were first announced. Because of these objections, the title was changed to its present: "Learn to use Greek and Hebrew." The material primarily focuses on tools available in Logos with a fair amount of grammar. It does not—and cannot—provide all the training promised in the marketing hype, but it does serve a useful purpose.

It is a different approach than what is available in Accordance; not better or worse, just different. I appreciate Dr J's podcasts very much.

#8 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:34 AM

I appreciate Dr J's podcasts very much.


Hey, thanks Jac! I'm thrilled to be able to provide such an enthusiastic group of users weekly training and tips.

With regard to your post, glad those of you who own Logos spoke up. Most of us are unaware of what we don't know [the limits of our knowledge]. I've long suspected that the reason for a dissertation defense is to hammer those limits into the doctoral candidates' heads once last time, granting them [us!] with a little more humility at the end of the degree path.

Those who are self-taught are particularly vulnerable to this weakness, the reason they often seem to claim to know more than they do. Learning in isolation, they don't rub shoulders with those who know a great deal more. Hence, their new knowledge (however little it may be) can become a real source of spiritual pride, especially if they are a bit insecure at the outset. A reality check is like a bucket of cold, icy water.

David Lang wrote several posts ["Contra Strongnostacism"] on just those dangers not too long ago, targeting those who think using Strong's numbers is the same as actually reading Greek or Hebrew. It prompted a lively discussion. This might be a good time to reread those blogs. Here's a link to the first: http://www.accordancebible.com/3314555 , the second: http://www.accordancebible.com/3314792 , the third: http://www.accordancebible.com/3315402 , and the fourth: http://www.accordancebible.com/3315932 .

Blessings,
"Dr. J"

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#9 Helen Brown

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:29 AM

I just remembered that we do offer two programs (Mac and PC) for Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew from Yodea. Both are quite good self learning programs for those who are interested.
Helen Brown
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