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Looking for suggestions to get back into Greek


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#1 Alex H.

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:00 AM

My Greek is very rusty (VERY - I can read but don't understand very much). I'd like to get back into it and was wondering if there are any suggestions for resources and methodology. On accordance I have the GNT (NA 26 I think), NIDNTE and a couple of dictionaries. I also have an iPad mini which I'd like to utilise if practical (I like to get up out of my seat when I read) but that's not essential.

 

I learned with Wenham when I studied 15 years ago (and went beyond first year Greek, did some Greek options in exegetical units) in Seminary and have tried picking it up once or twice since, but don't really find it to helpful now. I have seen the podcast on using Acc for vocab, but also need to renew my acquaintance with TVM and all that good stuff. I do have some Accordance store credit and this seems like a worthy candidate if there's a resource that the Accordance community considers useful for this purpose. (I'm considering Mounce, but don't want to pull the trigger without guidance.)

 

Thanks in advance.


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#2 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:19 AM

I took a high pass in Koine Greek at the doctoral level, but my vocabulary and comprehension has slowly declined in the years since then. Teaching (unless one is teaching the language) and podcasting for Accordance require very little knowledge of Greek.

 

I asked a good friend and gifted linguist, James Tucker (one of our Accordance text developers),  about the best way to regain my skill. He recommended I read, read, and read in Greek. his technique is to read entire sentences silently, then aloud, then translate the gist without looking at the text, then check the translation against a scholarly one. Furthermore, he told me to avoid the NT for now, instead beginning with the Didache, then 1 Clement. [He feels the Greek in the NT is weak, especially for those trying to [re]learn the language].

 

So, I have been reading one chapter of the Didache every morning and night for the last couple of weeks. I am AMAZED at how fast I am reacquiring my knowledge. In the NT, I know most passages pretty well, so I am not really "sight reading." Not so in the Didache, with which I am largely unfamiliar. I've looked ta some NT passages lately and been amazed how much easier they are to week.

 

Hope this post helps!


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#3 Julie Falling

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:43 AM

Alex - Thanks for the question, and Dr. J, thanks for passing along the good advice from James.  And thank you, James, for helping us all.  

 

My Greek isn't particularly rusty, it's just not where I want it to be.  I don't think there's been much "backsliding," but my reading is less than wonderful, my vocabulary not as complete as I would like.  My comprehension if I only hear the language, without seeing it in writing, is absolutely pathetic!  I've got the Didache.  I'm going to give this a try.


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#4 James Tucker

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:07 PM

Ὁι δύο ὁδοὶ τῆς α͗νάγνωσεως εἰσί μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανατοῦ διαφορὰ δὲ πολλὴ μεταξὺ τῶν δύο ὁδῶν

 

:D


Edited by James Tucker, 26 April 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#5 R. Mansfield

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:38 PM

And for what it's worth, I think that message will still preach today.


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#6 Steve King

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:22 PM

Alex I originally learnt Greek about 18 years ago. It was not formal education but distance learning on my own but with a tutor who would mark my work. I learnt using Wenham. I never really got to grips with verbs and soon began to let it lapse. A couple of years back I decided to relearn and this time I used Mounce Basics of Biblical Greek. I did not have Accordance then but I did have an electronic copy of the book. I used it with the workbook and just went through it on my own. Personally I found it to be brilliant. For me it was much more helpful than Wenham and I now feel I have a good grounding. I, of course, am no where near being anything like fluent in the language but I have kept at it and for me Mounce made it easier to understand the basic formation of Greek words, especially verbs. I too may now try James' suggestion and branch out into the Didache to see if that can bring me to the next level, but going through Mounce has definitely given me the platform to move on.

Hope that is helpful. if you have any specific questions then you can always send me a PM.

#7 James Tucker

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:53 PM

Remember that the Didache is a rather easy read. Its syntax is comparable to John, and its content is somewhat similar to the Greek Bible and New Testament. The main recommendation to extend beyond the Greek of the NT is to put the reader in a position where the mind has to rely on an understanding of Greek syntax (not English memories of reading the verse). Moving on from the Didache to something like 1Clement or Polycarp will move you into such situations. I should stress, however, that what's most important is to read! Don't codify the language—understand and comprehend it. Ideally, you want to get to reading authors like Philo, Josephus, or even some classical works like Homer, Thucydides, Sophocles, perhaps even Letter of Aristeas or 4Maccabees, or even some of the neo-classical works, such as Clement of Alexandria or the Cappadocian Fathers.

 

A great tool for building reading comprehension is Middle Liddell (available in Accordance). Middle Liddell will mark greek roots with capital forms. Learn these. I've highlighted them all, and just memorized root forms. When I read, I build and understanding of new words from the context of sentence, or a try to get it through the root. It takes time, but 1-3 hours a day will move you along.

 

[attachment=3157:Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 2.43.48 PM.png]

 

Here's my main point: Nothing should replace your knowledge of the text; not a grammar, not a syntax manual, not a commentary. Understanding the text will come from spending time with the text, reading the text, studying the text, and memorizing the text.

 

 

 

 



#8 Alex H.

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:02 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll see how I go spending some time in a Greek text then and if I get really stuck I'll make Mounce plan B. Very helpful.

 

Edit: Could I ask what you'd recommend for a Greek text? Something like Apostolic Fathers (Lightfoot) Greek & English? (Good price, everything else seems to be in bundles.)


Edited by Alex H., 26 April 2013 - 08:10 PM.

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#9 Helen Brown

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:40 AM

Everything in Bundles is also available individually (which is not true of modules in Groups).


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#10 David Wheeler

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:01 AM

Remember that the Didache is a rather easy read. 

When I decided to 'push' my greek reading I went to the LXX/OG. I did it primarily to help with reading the MT; but soon realized other benefits. I haven't worked with the Didache or 1Clement. How do you think the LXX fits with your advice?



#11 Bob Kuo

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:09 AM

I'm a big fan of using workbooks to help pace me and point out all sorts of things I've missed.  Besides Mounce's Graded Reader, we used Rodney Decker's "Koine Greek Reader" (ISBN 978-0-8254-2442-7) which had not only NT readings but LXX, Apostolic Fathers, and some of the early creeds.  I highly recommend that as a nice introduction to the Koine outside the NT.



#12 James Tucker

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 12:40 PM

The LXX will vary in its translation technique. Isaiah for example generally exhibits a free translation approach, as compared to something like Jeremiah. My point is that if you want to learn more of Greek syntax, you should probably include in your reading schedule non-translational works.

 

In the last year of my undergraduate degree, we read a great deal from Classical, Hellenistic, and Patristic authors. We also had to write classical compositions. That was the year I went from decoding Greek to reading Greek.



#13 WillT

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:35 AM

After many years of reading Greek and several of teaching I would say that very few people don't benefit from a group setting. See if you can find a reading course at a local college or, if that's not possible, form a Greek reading group with like-minded learners. My mother, in her 60s, decided to learn Greek and found a course in the nearest Bible college. She now meets with 3 other people in the neighbourhood - a minister, a mother, a businessman - to read the NT together. Bottom line - find other people, not just other resources.

#14 James Tucker

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:06 AM

Yep, I agree. It's always a benefit to study with likeminded folk. You might even try sxole.com to utilize the web for such endeavors.






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