Re: How Long to Learn K. Greek?

From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Mon Apr 27 1998 - 07:27:49 EDT

> I would like to give a hearty second to Carl Conrad's comments on
> learning Greek. What often passes for fluency among New Testament
> Greek students is simply great familiarity with the biblical text. I
> would like to offer a chellenge. Try reading something besides the
> New Testament.

As far as possible, we insist on that here for post-graduates in the
NT. It is not just that people are familiar with translations of the
NT text but also that there are so many resources for help with
parsing etc. for NT texts that are not available, say, for the
Fathers. So it can be a good challenge for NT students (and scholars
too!) to have to do non-NT stuff. Last term I read with our
post-graduates *Joseph and Aseneth* (actually quite straightforward)
and some Eusebius (heavy going), after which the epistle to the
Romans seemed all sweetness and light.

With only Liddell-Scott and Lampe to help, consistently we find that
we have to agonise over certain words and expressions. The agonising
then helps our language skills, and subsequently discourages lazy
dependence on lexical aids when reading the New Testament.

With good wishes

Dr Mark Goodacre
  Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham

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