Reading the classics to improve fine-tuning

Jonathan Robie (
Thu, 24 Oct 1996 10:55:48 -0400

At 07:57 AM 10/24/96 -0500, Carl Conrad wrote:

>While I'll readily grant
>that one can learn to read basic NT Greek without ever reading a word of
>Greek outside the NT or outside of the era of the NT, I would heavily
>underscore something that Edgar Krentz wrote on the Classics list last week
>with regard to teaching NT texts as part of a Classical Greek curriculum:
>when reading the NT comes to fine-tuning and is ready to become an art, it
>will require at least some measure of experience with Greek outside the NT
>and outside the era of the NT.

I'll readily grant that people like you, Edgar Krentz, and Don Wilkins seem
to have an incredible sensitivity to the meaning of the NT texts, and that
I'm jealous...

I've had only a few brushes with classical Greek. I recently picked up Homer
and found that it was way beyond me. I also spent some time reading
Aristotle's Rhetoric on the Perseus web site (, and
found that it was quite readable if I took my time and used the lexicon and
grammatical parsings. Alas, the response time was too slow, and the CDs are
available only for the Mac. Is there any easy way in for little Greeks who
want to read outside the GNT?

Note that I read the GNT with the aid of Zerwick/Grosvenor. When things get
tough, I can pull up Bible Companion, click on a word, see the lexicon
entry, see the grammatical parsing, and click my way through the Gramcord
grammar guide to explore how the different grammatical forms might be used.
Like many "little Greeks", I can only read with lots of help! And I still
wind up asking plenty of questions would I really have a realistic
chance with classical texts? Can I get this kind of help with classical texts?

Of course, time is the real problem. I can justify the time I spend on the
GNT because it is the same time I used to use for other forms of Bible
study. Reading *any* Greek takes real time for me, and real effort. I *do*
notice that the effort and time are going down. When I first started, about
a year and a half ago, it took me forever to get through a chapter of 1
John. In the last 5 months I have read John, Galatians, a chapter of 1
Peter, and 1 Corinthians 13. (When I say "read", I mean that I studied each
sentence until I thought I understood it and read it out loud at least
once.) But this is a lot slower going than reading in English.

Any reading I do outside of the GNT would have to be in my leisure time, but
I might be willing to ease into it.


P.S., how hard is it to read Aristotle? Plato? Pseudo-Dyonisius? The Church
Fathers? Josephus? Philo? What else would be worth looking at?