Re: A little Greek

Randy Leedy (
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 15:47:31 -0400

Dale Wheeler wrote,

>>>I've been teaching a course for both Greek and Hebrew for about
10 years now (I suceeded the late Ed Goodrick, of "Do It Yourself
Hebrew and Greek" fame, here at Multnomah). There are two issues I
see which need to be addressed. First, is the supposition Jonathan
Robie presented above, namely that you don't need to learn Greek,
since the English translations do such a good job. It strikes
me--everytime I hear a student say that to me--as a bit naive....

It seems to me that Jonathan Robie's suggestion DOES have merit: the
value of learning Greek is not to improve upon exisiting
translations. I took this to mean, not that there are no passages
where the translation is problematic, but that none of us "little
Greeks" is going to produce a New Testament that is superior overall
to the existing ones. Apparently either Dale or I have misunderstood

The main interest for me, though, was what Dale wrote later. After
echoing thoughts on word study similar to my own, he describes an
introductory Hebrew course then goes on to talk about a full

>>>In fact, if I was asked about designing a two year Hebrew
curriculum I'd start with my "Hebrew for Minisry" course, with the
addition of gradual vocabulary acquisition; 2nd semester I'd continue
this with my intense course in the exegesis of the Psalms plus more
vocab; 3rd semester would be a "traditional" grammar (I like First
Hebrew Primer, by Simon, since it focuses on translation) and
fourth semester would be translation of large sections of the OT. The
reason the dropout rate for languages is so high is because most
programs start out with 2 semesters of grammar; at the end of which
the students may be grammatical experts, but can't read the text, ...

Dale, I think this approach deserves careful consideration by others.
I exchanged mail off the list with Karen Pitts, who said some things
that suggested to me the possibility of teaching an exegetical method
PRIOR to teaching grammar, then teaching grammar as a means of
growing into the exegetical method. (Actually, I think her post WAS
on the list; only my response was off-list.) It sounds to me like
you're doing what Karen got me thinking about. I don't know whether
I'll ever have an opportunity to act on this idea, and I may even end
up rejecting it for some reason, but it certainly presents what look
to me like intriguing possibilities. Thanks for taking the time to

One further question for Dale or anyone else with experience along
these lines. Can undergraduates handle this approach, or does it
demand the maturity level more often associated with seminary

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC