Re: Teaching Greek

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Wed Mar 01 2000 - 17:10:48 EST

<x-flowed>Tony Stark,

<< How much Greek do you need to learn, to adequately teach the language to
others? One year, two years, three years or more? >>

To adequately teach a first-year Greek course, one really doesn't need to
know much more than what someone might know having just completed a
first-year Greek course. But anything after that, one needs to have a Ph.D.
in Greek (or the equivalent).

FWIW ... after I graduated from college with a double major in Classical
Languages and Philosophy, I attended seminary for one semester. I signed up
for the advanced NT Greek course, but later dropped it when it became
obvious that my professor knew less Greek than I. This professor had just
graduated and this was his first teaching post. Hopefully, he has become
more proficient in Greek over the years.

During the summer between college and seminary, I had a friend who had just
taken the first-year course in Hebrew help tutor me in biblical Hebrew. He
drilled me on the paradigms and helped me work through the exercises in the
grammar. I then took the advanced Hebrew course at seminary (without any

I suspect that my professor for my first-year Greek course really didn't
know much Greek (his specialty was linguistics, and supposedly he knew over
a dozen different languages). I remember asking him what was the difference
between OU, OUK, & OUC, and he gave some off the wall answer, only to
correct himself at the next class. (I then switched schools for the rest of
my Greek training, so I never had the chance of having him again.)

After all, generally the first-year Greek course is simply working through
a first-year Greek grammar. And some first-year grammars even have a
teacher's guide. It is really not necessarily for the teacher to know much
Greek beyond what is in those books. But after that, when one starts
reading some piece of Greek literature, there is no one book which can
answer every student's question about the Greek language. Then it becomes
imperative for the teacher to really know his or her subject.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
FWIW: I'm neither a clergy-person, nor an academic (and I have no post-grad

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