Re: A little Greek is a dan

From: Karen Pitts (
Date: Sun Aug 25 1996 - 05:17:09 EDT


I regularly teach statistics to people who just want a feel for it, or a
little bit of statistics. What I concentrate on is teaching the scientific
method (contruct a hypothesis, design an experiment to evaluate, run the
experiment, analyze the results, modify your hypothesis, and iterate). I also
strongly emphasize the assumptions that certain statistical methods make and
being very certain about the question you want answered. George Box, one of
the most famous living statisticians, has several pithy sayings. All models
are wrong, some are useful. Anyone can analyze a well designed experiment.
The three most important rules in data analysis are plot your data, plot your
data, plot your data. I try to give my students the tools to phrase
questions, design experiments, and perform simple analyses.

Now, how does that translate to Greek (if I'm allowed a pun or two)? I think
maybe I'm not good enough at Greek to reduce the essentials like I do with
statistics. Certainly, word studies are possible, given you have the computer
software or a concordance (recognizing verb forms is not something novices can
do). I find it hard to figure out how learning Greek is going to help anyone,
if you don't buckle down and learn the grammar, at least some of it. I only
have present-tense Spanish, which means I can ask directions, buy things in
stores, and have simple conversations, but I still know some grammar. And I
don't try anything complicated, like a theological discussion, or something
which requires past or future time (let alone subjunctive).

Anyway, that's as good as I can do while my six year old is practicing his
trumpet and my three and four year old are harassing me to take them swimming.


p.s., The Christian school where my two older children go uses a lot of Bob
Jones material.

Karen Pitts
Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, NJ, teacher of NT Greek
David Sarnoff Research Center, Princeton, NJ, statistician

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