Difficulty of Greek texts outside the NT
Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:18 AM
Perhaps even more specifically, of the texts available on Accordance, what would be the easiest ones outside the NT, which ones would be moderate and which ones would be challenging. Types of answers I'm looking for are "Ignatius of Antioch is comparable to Paul in difficulty," "Philo is really hard," "the didache is pretty easy Greek," etc.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:46 AM
For me, the most profitable reading was in the LXX. FIrst, it helped me when studying how the NT uses the OT as the NT writers often quote the LXX and sometimes the LXX translation differs significantly from the MT (Hebrew Masoretic Text). Second, I studied the translation style of LXX in both Amos and Habakkuk by comparing every place the LXX differed from the MT.
Some of the difficulty of reading the LXX is that dictionaries like BDAG or Louw-Nida do not necessarily contain the words found in the LXX that are not in the NT. Another difficulty is that the LXX's grammar sometimes reflects the text it was translated from and may be awkward Greek. Nevertheless, I recommend reading the first few chapters of Genesis in the LXX - if you have a decent proficiency in reading NT Greek you should be able to handle it.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:01 PM
One last thing. Don't get too hung up on vocab. This is the most difficult part of branding into a new corpus. Just accept the idea of mousing over for definitions (do your self a favor and turn off tagging ID for now). I wouldn't feel guilty about needing to look up defs, if I were you.
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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:32 AM
It would be useful to walk through the LXX too. But, remember that the LXX is a translation from the hebrew. This might seem like such an obvious statement that it isn't worth mentioning. But it's very important to remember, since there are times when the LXX goes pretty functional equivalent, and on the other hand, there are times it's almost too literal. In either case, the solution to figuring out what it is saying is not studying the greek more, but instead studying the hebrew. Way back when we were in our ecclesiastical latin class in college we got to a phrase in the vulgate OT which, literally translated reads "it became a long time till his nose became red." We had no idea what Jerome was doing. What he was doing was translating the hebrew idiom literally. Unless you know Hebrew, you'll miss the idiom and be frustrated with the translators of the LXX.
Have fun. It sounds like a worthwhile project.
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