Re: Learning Greek for Pleasure

From: Tom Williamson (
Date: Sat Sep 26 1998 - 13:44:05 EDT

Has nobody mentioned this yet? The first thing you lose in translation
is the author's personal style. This was the most amazing discovery to
me as I went through the gospels, that they were written by different
people, and it's so obvious in Greek, and so lost in translation.

Matthew is beautiful to read, clear and straight. Mark is awkward.
It's not his natural language. And I'll bet his original manuscript had
a lot more grammatical problems than are currently visible.

You can say what you want about the fineness of Luke's Greek, but I'm
not impressed. I like it simple, and Luke ain't. Luke will never use a
10-cent word if he can find a $10 word to use instead. And he's got
plenty of them. Bring your fattest dictionary, you'll need it.

You want some nice Greek reading? Pick up a copy of the set, Reading
Greek. Their treatment of the grammar is confusing, I think, not well
organized. But the readings are superb. I actually had to laugh out
loud at ol' Strepsiades and his efforts to get out from under his son's
debts, culminating in an uproarious interview with Socrates himself.

The Amazons might have been fierce ladies, but in Reading Greek, in an
adaptation of a Herodotus tale, they could be pretty easy to get along
with in certain areas. At least one group of Scythian youths certainly
seemed to be having a good time, at any rate.

I have a copy of Chase. His treatment of the grammar is well organized,
very analytical, just what us engineers like. But the book is as dead
and dried up as a mummy. His readings are a collection of terse
proverbs and reports from the front. His translation exercises are
shallow platitudes in justice and democracy.

And in Reading Greek? Here is an English-to-Greek exercise from Reading
Greek: I, an Athenian and fortunate, hate you, Spartan that you are and
hated by the gods. Who are you to threaten me?

I threaten nobody, but tend to drone on a lot ...

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