[b-greek] RE: Read or Study

From: Daniel Streett (danstreett@yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 16:36:04 EST


Your question of what studying Greek "is designed
to do" obviously depends on who's doing the

From my experience, the vast majority of those
who study Greek for 1 or 2 years at a seminary 1)
do not acquire even basic proficiency in the
language, 2) do not have the linguistic grounding
to know how to use what they did learn, and 3)
lose any proficiency they did acquire in a short
period of time after they graduate. They thus
become dependent on interlinears, lexica, and
commentaries for any work they might do in the
original languages.

On the other hand, those who have had training in
Classics have usually been required to read vast
stretches of text, which facilitates vocabulary
acquisition and engenders facility with syntax
and idioms.

Still, among students, I know very, very few in
NT studies who can sit down, open up the GNT, and
translate flawlessly on the fly without aids. And
those I know who can do the same with
extrabiblical sources like Josephus or Philo are
all professors whose fama gloriaque is noised
abroad among the student body.

My own goals have changed since I began studying
Greek. I now want to attain complete proficiency.
But I think a reasonable goal for anyone who
wants enjoyably to read the GNT is 1) mastery of
basic grammar; 2) a vocab covering all words down
to a frequency of 10x.

Daniel Streett
Yale Divinity School

> > -----Original Message-----
> > I have a question related to the purpose or
> goal of NT Greek study.
> >
> > Is the study of Greek designed to equip the
> student with
> > tools to help him study the Bible?( ie You
> can translate a
> > passage with the help of a lexicon and other
> tools) Or is
> > the purpose to put the student on the road to
> being able to
> > sit down, basically unassisted and read from
> the Greek?
> > Is there other options? And how much time
> must be invested
> > by on "average" student to be fluent enough
> to do both?
> >
> > Any comments about a guiding philosophy
> behind learning NT
> > Greek would be helpful.
> >
> > Michael Sawilowsky

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