RE: teaching top down

From: Trevor & Julie Peterson (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 06:13:26 EDT

In answer to your question, it is possible. But for me, it has been a slow,
halting process. I learned Greek in probably the worst way possible--brief,
rote, bottom-up, limited, and without much emphasis on the importance of
knowing the language well before you start making frequent use of certain
tools. Some day I hope to broaden my understanding of Greek beyond the NT.
(I'm working now on improving my ability in the LXX, but I know that's only
just a beginning toward what Carl described yesterday.) In the meantime, I
am finding that Mounce's format helps to remedy a lot of the "brief" and
"rote" elements in my training, and now that I've had an opportunity to
teach NT Greek Grammar for one year using his system, I already feel like
I've moved miles ahead in my knowledge of the basics. I've given away or
sold my interlinear, my analytical lexicon, and any other crutches I could
find lying around the house. But what's taking the longest time is picking
up on how DA changes the way I work with the language. I cut my teeth on it
a year or two ago in Hebrew, mainly by following the discussions on B-Hebrew
and by getting a copy of Bryan's book. I've tried to apply it as much as
possible since then, but still more in Hebrew than in Greek. And I still
find, because of the way I was trained, that when it comes to getting things
done quickly I still revert to what is most familiar. (Of course, I should
mention that in my situation, I didn't even pick up anything about formal DA
from my later training in exegesis. I tried to apply it somewhat in my
Th.M. thesis--probably pathetically so--and my advisor hardly even had a
clue what I was doing. So I've had to deal with incorporating it into my
whole system of thinking about language. That's a bit different from
dealing with the question of how to go back and fix things when a person has
learned basic Greek one way and learned DA later on. But I suspect some of
the same issues are probably at work.)

Okay, that was longer than I planned and probably wasn't terribly helpful to
anyone. But for what it's worth . . .

Trevor Peterson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 2:13 AM
> To: Biblical Greek
> Subject: teaching top down
> I have been folowing this line with some interest. My intention in
> strengthening my grasp of Greek in the last few years has been an
> attempt at
> deepening my relationship with my God by trying to understand
> better those
> who wrote for him.
> I have tried to learn Hebrew also with only modest success. (I
> can recognise
> the words but some of the forms really get beyond me.) So I have
> been trying
> to become more fluent. From this line I have realized that my
> desire is to
> begin thinking with the author in his language. I am learning to
> get away
> from some of the stiff translation which the "morphology" study
> results in
> and to take the larger sections as whole units. Is it possible
> for a person
> trained in the "bottom up" approach to learn to reverse the
> direction? I hope
> so. I see the need to do the word and form study as well, but I
> want to be
> able to move beyond.
> I will probably take two approaces to the NT, in the way that I speak two
> different forms of English, one for story telling, somewhat informal,
> perhaps coloquial (sp?) where the form realy does not matter near
> as much as
> the action or process; and a more formal, precise form used for teaching
> ideas in which I stick very close to "correct" grammatical
> structure because
> it has sreious meaning.
> I can see the need for two approaches to the Greek, one for
> naration where
> the purpose is to show the action, and one for the "thesis" where
> the meaning
> of the teaching is what is important.
> Thanks for encouraging my thoughts here.
> Dale Greenlee
> ---
> B-Greek home page:
> You are currently subscribed to b-greek as:
> To unsubscribe, forward this message to
> To subscribe, send a message to

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:24 EDT