RE: Machen Revisited

From: Jim Oxford (
Date: Tue Sep 16 1997 - 01:00:45 EDT

At 1:02 PM 9/15/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:

>My own preferred method of learning NT Greek (not teaching, but
>learning) is to avoid rote memorization. This is hardly a
>hypothetical position. It is the way I learned Greek myself. I am
>not a product of seminary Greek. (A fact which is probably
>obvious to most of the professors on this list.) I started out with
>a year studying the syntax of NT Greek using E.V.N. Goethcius and
>after that it has been all reading and translating. I never tried to
>memorize either forms or vocabulary. I learned them by seeing
>them thousands of times as I read and translated. This is not a
>new idea. William LaSor was pushing something like this idea 20
>odd years ago. I did not use LaSor's text however and cannot
>comment on it.
>It takes a long time to learn Greek this way but it works. It is
>probably not the most tidy way to teach NT Greek in a class


One question and comment regarding your post. Are you saying that during
that first year when you were learning syntax, you paid little or no
attention to morphology? That would seem rather difficult to me--to begin
to grasp an inflected language without a morphological foundation.

One's context may greatly dictate the method one follows to learn Greek.
At the seminary where I taught, the curriculum was structured in such a way
to preclude learning Greek in the manner you describe above--students just
didn't have the time to see forms or vocabulary "thousands of times" as
they read and translated. (And I suspect many of them didn't have the
desire either!)


Jim Oxford
PhD Candidate in New Testament
Baylor University

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