A Little Greek is a GOOD Thing

Mon, 26 Aug 1996 11:12 -0500 (EST)

TO: B-Greek Mailing List
FROM: Harry J. Harm
DATE: 26 August 1996
RE: A Little Greek is a GOOD Thing

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Mississippi. I have not had the experience of teaching a
little Greek to a class but I have done it with Hebrew. Before I
describe the experience I want to give a caveat - all of my students
have had some linguistics and experience in non-Indo-European languages
and were highly motivated.

Several years ago I was asked to lead a two week workshop on Genesis.
The participants were translators who were preparing to translate or had
already started translating Genesis into minority languages. One or two
of the had had some Hebrew but most had none. Since there was no way
that we could cover all of Genesis in two weeks so I decided to teach
them how to use the tools which were available.

During the two weeks the students learned:

the Hebrew alphabet
basics of Hebrew grammar
Hebrew discourse structure
use of lexicons
Hebrew grammatical terminology
basic textual criticism
cultural considerations in Genesis.

At the end of the two weeks each student presented a paper. The papers
ranged from a discourse study of a passage, to word studies to cultural
studies. I was very pleased with the results. A few months ago I
checked Genesis 12-25 which one of the participants had translated and
found that it was very high quality.

The students used Owens' "Analytical Key to the Old Testament" in order
get the needed morphological information. Their favorite "lexicon" was
the "Theological Wordbook of the OT". (I wonder what the NT equivalent
would be.) Yes, they also used interlinears and any other helps which
were available. (I consider Owens to be a vertical interlinear.(

I have been following this particular discussion with interest and enjoy
being able to make a contribution.


Harry J. Harm