From: David Housholder (
Date: Mon May 13 1996 - 13:04:01 EDT

>A correspondent from this list suggested to me that the following was "very
>revolutionary" in its approach, and said it would be very good for teaching
>non-academic people (i.e., "plain church people") NT Greek:
> R.D. McGirr, Dallas: Context Scripture Translating, 1992.
>Have any others on this list used this book, and how would you compare it to
>GREEK TO ME (Story & Story)--or another 1st-year NT Greek grammar--in terms
>of its novel and useful, but primarily successful, approach?

I haven't used the book with a class, but the design is innovative. The book
allows the reader to evesdrop on a class studying Greek as a home-study
group. Rather than being a dry presentation of theory, the approach is that
of an introduction to the motion-picture studio "Universal Greek Pictures"
and its "studio of linguistic photography."

Reading the book is more like reading a novel. We learn by vicarious
association with the characters. In the chapter that presents the alphabet
Dean hands out a sheet of paper with the Greek text of "everyone who hears
my words . . . ."

"Marian put on her glasses and examined the example closely. 'Oh, my stars!'
she said. "You mean I'm supposed to learn to read all those crazy scratchings?"
  "Look a little closer," said Dean smiling. "I think you'll find some
familiar territory."

And so it goes.

Those of us who have worked extensively with Greek before (actually I guess
that's everyone on this list) might have difficulty adjusting to the
vocabulary used in the book. Nouns are "Something-Words" which are
photographed. Verbs are "Camera-Words" which do the photographing. Tenses
can then be expressed as Live Video (present), Recorded Video (imperfect),
Normal Photo (aorist), Future Photo (future), and Current Photo (perfect).
Nouns can take the Necessary role, General supporting role, Directing role,
or Accomplishing role (nom, gen, dat, acc respectively).

What all this does is to create a visualization of the language in action.
The book includes a chart of grammar (described via the motion picture
terms). Context Scripture Translating also sends out updates to the
textbook, _Universal Greek Pictures Updates_ which contain additional
information and/or motivational materials to keep the student wanting to
stay fresh with Greek.

Now, you may ask, how does the person who has used this book to learn Greek
manage reference books? The answer is that a second volume is to be studied
after the first. The second book is _Learning to Use New Testament Reference
Books with People Just Like You_.

My first reaction to both _Greek to Me_ and to this book was that they were
trivializing the language. Now I see that is only some sort of academic
snobbery. These are books by communicators who manage to de-dustify (my new
word for "blow the dust off")language learning.
--David Housholder
  Marietta, Georgia

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