Modern Greek First?

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Modern Greek First?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 24th, 2020, 7:55 am

To the perennial question of whether or not learning modern Greek first is better, this native Greek speaker and teacher perfectly summarizes my own arguments on the subject:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4lxdAx97oo

Personally, starting with Attic Greek, I found reading the New Testament no particular challenge, and fairly easily adapted to Homeric Greek, except for vocabulary. It seems every page of Homer has hapax legomena or rare vocabulary!
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Modern Greek First?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 24th, 2020, 8:54 am

The real question is whether to start with Attic Greek, before Koine.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

nathaniel j. erickson
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Re: Modern Greek First?

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » May 24th, 2020, 9:23 am

Thanks for sharing this video! Certainly will have cause to share it with other people in the future as this is such a common question. The one thing I have noticed as I study Modern Greek is that it has given me a boost in my word-reading speed. Since Modern Greek is spoken blazingly fast (at least in the perspective of one who does not know it well), it provides some pressure for my brain to process words faster. That sort of pressure is largely lacking when most of what you do is read Greek at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Of course, the same thing could be accomplished by recordings of various phases of Ancient Greek read at a fast rate. I would never recommend someone start with Modern Greek if their chief goal is to read Koine/Classical. But, then again, if someone knew Modern Greek really well it would undoubtably be helpful for learning Koine. That is the opinion I have received from two native Greek speakers whom I have been able to ask about it.
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Nathaniel J. Erickson
NT PhD candidate, ABD
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
ntgreeketal.com
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Modern Greek First?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 24th, 2020, 9:37 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:54 am
The real question is whether to start with Attic Greek, before Koine.
Well, it worked rather well for me, but fresh out of high school in 1977 I didn't have clue as to the difference (it was all Greek to me!), and my school only offered intro to Attic. They offered at least one class in NT Greek per year, always a reading or seminar course, and just assumed that with Attic you would be able to read it. Of course, they were right.

But I know what you are saying, students with limited time and resources whose main purposes is reading the NT. My suggestion is that if you can, start with Attic, because it also makes reading texts outside the NT more accessible. Moving from the Greek of the NT to extra-biblical Greek literature is certainly possible, but most students find that movement a bit more difficult.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Modern Greek First?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 24th, 2020, 9:48 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 9:37 am
But I know what you are saying, students with limited time and resources whose main purposes is reading the NT. My suggestion is that if you can, start with Attic, because it also makes reading texts outside the NT more accessible. Moving from the Greek of the NT to extra-biblical Greek literature is certainly possible, but most students find that movement a bit more difficult.
The video’s right that starting with Modern won’t get much purchase on Koine. And I echo your suggestion of Attic. I feel that if you (generic) want a lifetime of Greek, you’ve got to study Attic. Probably the sooner, the better: ideally before seminary.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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