Re: Teaching Greek

From: J.K. Aitken (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 05:44:50 EST

Rod Decker writes:

"It's not the typical opinion, but I think that the more advanced student
the language ought to be the one teaching first year Greek. Laying the
right foundation is essential to accomplishing much with the language."

I would generally agree with this. I am often amazed as a young academic
that when I go to job interviews I am apologetically told that I will have
to teach Greek or Hebrew at beginners' level, and they do not always
believe, I suspect, that I actually enjoy this.
        I think it is a serious point that at least here in the UK
language teaching is left to the most junior lecturers or often to
research students or non-full time academic staff. Would it not make a
great difference if the Full Prof. in New Testament was teaching
first-year Greek? I think that first this would psychologically show
students that Greek is important enough to be taught by the Prof., but
second even at a beginners' level they might be shown the interpretative
significance of some of the grammar (of course junior lecturers can do
this as well!).
        As someone who appreciated the teaching experience as a PhD
student and not being a Professor with many other commitments I may change
my mind when older, but it seems that our Institutions do undervalue the
importance of starting out on a sure footing.

Jim Aitken

Faculty of Divinity,
University of Cambridge,
St. John's Street,
Cambridge. GB-CB2 1TW
Tel. +44 1223 332587

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