Re: Greek Pedagogy

From: Michael Hildenbrand (hildenbr@Haas.Berkeley.EDU)
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 17:23:51 EDT

        When I attended Multnomah Bible College in the 70's, Ed Goodrick
set up a program that really helped students keep their Greek skills up to
par. The first semester was a course called an introduction to biblical
Languages. I am at present trying to find his book Everyman's Greek and
Hebrew, which developed out of that course. Though this course majored on
teaching how to do word studies in both languages, the student learned the
alphabets, the Greek article and a few other grammatical things. The
important part of the course, however, was his lectures in which he
*constantly* emphasized that if the student stopped his language study
after that course, he would have a valuable tool for helping him
understand his Bible. *HOWEVER* that student should not be fooled into
thinking that he knew *anything* about the Greek (or Hebrew) language!
This was the *low* road, whereas those who went on were aiming at the high
road. He repeatedly emphasised this last point until we could all repeat
it in our sleep!
        The second semester was spent translating the whole gospel of John
using a textbook printed by the University of Chicago press (wire
binding-I have forgotten the authors). There were exercises in each
chapter that had to be completed (learning all kinds of grammatical
points), but the emphasis was on reading the text. By that, we were
responsible to be able to translate *all* of the day's lesson with no
helps. (This created quite a bit of stress!). The translations reflected
what ever helps we happened to beusing at the time, and often reflected
the popular translation we happened to be using a the time. But by the
end of the semester, very few of us were referring to the translations,
and no one was using an interlinear.
        We were told to read the gospel of Matthew over the summer and
that we would be tested on that the beginning ofthe next semester. We
were never tested, and not many people actually read the book over the
summer (I did, however!). That second year, we translated the rest of the
NT in class, up to two chapters due each day, three days a week. We would
go around the room each reader chosen at random to simply translate the
verses. (no helps allowe in class) We also had quizzes each day over
vocabulary (Metzger) and grammar (Mueller). At the end of the year, I
could read nearly anywhere in the Nt with little problem.
        The third year we went through Dana & Mantey-well sort
of. Goodrick went through each section of the grammar and crosed out
multiple verse references before the next class. Then, he would pick a
verse out of the grammar, we had to translate it and tell what the grammar
said about that verse (no helps allowed in class). This wasn't as
difficult as it sounds as far as the translating part, since we had all
been through the whole NT and only had to review a couple dozen verses for
each class. The grammar was the new part (that is memorizing what D&M had
to say). We understood the grammatical constructions simply because we
had seen the common ones so often. Of course the rarer constructions were
more difficult, since we had not seen them often (but of course, that is
the problem with anything!).
        The final semester was spent exegeting Philemon-a book with very
little theological import. That book was studied because we were unlikely
to start messing with major theological doctrines! ;-)
        After Goodrick left, a new head for the department attempted to
change the system to the more traditional (and painful) method of Greek
learning, and, as I have heard, SIL came in and argued succesfully that
the old method produced translators who could competently handle the Greek
and they didn't want that changed. I'm not sure what they are doing now,
as this all happened decades ago.

Michael Hildenbrand

 On Tue, 23 May 2000, Mark Beatty wrote:

> Well response was a little low to my contribution, so I thought I would
> respond to myself myself. I was "surfing" and found the following web
> site which
> contains the article Learning Greek with Accordance by A.Thomas Kraabel
> Luther College. He pretty much repeated a lot of my same ideas.
> So, has anyone else out there "front loaded" their Greek classes with
> analysis and save extensive vocabulary and paradigm memorization for
> third or fourth semesters?
> Mark Beatty

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