RE: Machen Redivivus?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Sep 15 1997 - 15:38:41 EDT

At 2:15 PM -0500 9/15/97, Jim Oxford wrote:
>At 11:07 AM 9/15/97, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>>What's objectionable about Machen is the made-up Greek
>>sentences and the concentration of reading on sentence units rather than
>>upon the connected sentences and paragraphs of real Greek.
>Having taught from Machen, I agree with your objection to Machen's "made-up
>Greek sentences." The second part of your sentence raises a couple of
>questions for me: At what point does the instructor of first-year Greek
>introduce to students connected sentences and paragraphs for translation as
>opposed to sentence units? From my own experience of teaching in seminary,
>I found that most of my students were not ready to tackle paragraphs until
>late first/early second semester. (That is when I began to have them read
>sections of the NT concurrently with translating Machen's sentences).

I don't think there's a fixed optimal point for this, Jim; I would only say
that one ought to switch over at the earliest discernible opportunity.
Mounce's workbook uses real sentences from the GNT right away and expands
to longer units of connected writing where possible.

Although Edward suggests that beginning with John's gospel is not a very
good idea, I have, in the past,just because they are relatively easy,
started using Johannine narrative segments directly pretty early with NT
Greek students--but I don't usually teach beginning NT Greek (we ask them
to do a year of classical Attic before doing a tutorial in Biblical Greek
with me; my arm has been twisted to teach NT Greek at the beginning level
rather rarely).

> And
>also, couldn't your second objection to Machen be leveled at many
>first-year textbooks?

Aye, verily, indeed, against most of them. My colleague at Eden Seminary
here in our area has put together a reader in GNT to accompany his
beginning NT Greek course that was inspired by the pattern of _Reading
Greek_. It's by no means an easy task to accomplish--developing a graded
series of readings offering larger paragraph units of narrative or
epistolary or expository nature in NT Greek. But, speaking for myself
alone, I'm convinced that it's the only right way to go toward developing a
real sense of thinking in Greek thought-patterns.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:28 EDT