Re: Selling Greek

Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Sun, 17 Mar 1996 21:12:16 -0400

Barbara OCleirigh u 2>/dev/null wrote:
> I find it disturbing to consider students of religion (especially future
>ministers) studying the NT without learning Greek; one finds it in
>philosophy departments too, where people teach Plato without having read
>him in Greek. It's like a non-English speaker studying Shakespeare
>in some other language, and then coming here to teach it. [...]

The notion of Ministers without such training may be as, as Barbara says,
"disturbing" but such "training" for Ministers is woefully common.

Up until about the time I went to college (and so out into the big wide
world) I had close experience with about a half-dozen Ministers spread out
over three or four small MidWestern towns and passing acquaintence with
probably a dozen more (through various youth group and related activities)
all trained and accredited by the relevant seminaries and "Bible Colleges".
(This all in your standard middle-American white-bread protestant,
conservative --but not evangelical-- denominations.)

Of all those men (and they were all men) I would be genuinely surprised to
find that even one could have read a page of Greek and (at least) a couple
I'm fairly certain never had so much as a semester of Greek. (This state
of affairs extended more generally to modern critical Biblical scholarship.
At one time --probably about Junior High School-- I happened to read an
article that discussed the Synoptics Saying Source. This, as you might
imagine, came as quite a revelation to me and I approach my then-minister
to get his opinion on the topic. It wasn't so much that he disagreed with
the model as I now realize, but that it was clear he had never heard of
such a thing.)

But more to the point, my sense is that if any of these men were pressed on
these issues they simply would have dismissed such training as irrelevant.
After all, they had the KJV, the word of God, what more did they need?

Now it may be the case that the situation has changed for the better in the
30+ years since the above events occurred but I don't think I've seen much
to make me feel overly hopeful.

Nichael | "Just because it didn't happen | | don't mean it ain't true." | | -Yogi Berra [paraphrasing Mircea Eliade] |