RE: Teaching Greek

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Fri Sep 19 1997 - 07:53:14 EDT

RE: Teaching Greek (Machen Revisited)

Thanks to Ulrik Petersen for a thoughtful response.

Ulrik pointed out a confusion that I introduced to the discussion
between L-R grammars and Context Free Grammars. I was aware
after posting this that the confusion existed. Actually an L-R
grammar is a compiler term for a grammar that can be parsed in a
single pass without backtracking or looking-forward. No natural
languages have L-R grammars so the point is kind of moot when
talking about NT Greek.

What is really the issue in our discussion is
word-order-dependent grammars and grammar notation schemes
that read word order in a deterministic fashion. This was the main
thrust of my discussion of grammar rule syntax. Thanks to Ulrik
for pointing out this snafu. I have been away from the technical
world for a few years and my use of terminology is getting
sloppy and vague.

I don't think that writing grammar rules will ever produce a
complete description of any natural language. I never intended to
even suggest that. What I am suggesting is rule writing as a form
of pedagogy. This is a proven concept. There used to be a system
called LOGO that ran on Apple computers that was used in the
USA in *primary* grades to teach logic. LOGO was a striped down
form of Prolog. Learning to write these rules is not that difficult.
This LOGO system was used widely and both students and
teachers had good things to say about it. If kids can write rules in
LOGO then seminary students can learn to write rules as well.

Ulrik thinks that you need to need to be a math person to write
rules. I must object to this. I am 100% a humanities type. Took my
last math class in 11th grade. Hated the subject with a passion. I
love to write rules.

Ulriks comments are most welcome and I appreciate his
willingness to talk on the subject. However, I think his objectives
are more ambitious than mine. My objective is to make students
think about the structure of NT Greek syntax. Rule writing is a
way to make them think. His objective, if I am reading him
correctly is to provide a rigorous description of NT Greek in a
rule based language. This is a really ambitious project.

Ulrick, Thanks again for the response.

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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