Re: A Little Greek is a GOOD Thing

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Tue Aug 27 1996 - 02:31:52 EDT wrote:
> TO: B-Greek Mailing List
> FROM: Harry J. Harm
> DATE: 26 August 1996
> RE: A Little Greek is a GOOD Thing
> Dear Colleagues,

> 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.)

Harry, the closest thing I have found to TWOT is "Little Kittel", the
one-volume condensation of the _Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament_. This is the same work that many of your colleagues in SIL
are using.

I also am involved in a minority language translation. In the
Philippines, in northern Luzon, I have the privilege of working along
side some "mother tongue translators" who are capable of handling
English reference books. While their drafts are based on the English
biblical texts, I have been able to train them in some of the basics of
the biblical languages so that they can include some of the richness of
the terminology which was lost in bringing it into English. The one in
charge of the Old Testament draft now refers to the Hebrew text as much
as he does the English, and the one in charge of the New Testament draft
is not far behind in his use of the Greek text.

It has been said before in this discussion that the main concern about
people having only a little training in Greek is that they start to
think of themselves and their abilities more highly than they ought. I
know that these that I work with know very well their limitations. I
must confess that, every so often, they get so excited about some
"hidden truth" that they have discovered that they ride their
hobby-horse a bit hard. Yet they know their places. They never claim
to know more than the experts. Their statements are that their
understanding of the experts' translations are enhanced by their
examinations, however limited they be, of the text in the Greek and the

Thanks for reminding us that there are people working with Biblical
Greek (and Hebrew) whose end products are not English.

Paul Zellmer
Southern Methodist Missions

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