.Stephen Hughes wrote:Classical and New Testament Greek are burdensome and boring to learn, with many long and unsavoury hours of mind-numbingly repetitive and seemingly up-hill learning with the majority of your inter-personal interaction being trying to understand the thoughts of those long since dead. It requires personal sacrifice, dedication and application to the task. But after you've done that, it is good to be able to pick up a Greek New Testament and read. If you use Classical Greek as your "launching point" you will be learning what you want to learn and you won't need to study further, but you will also need to learn to study despite the frustration and lack positive personal feedback. Learning only Classical Greek will allow you to read the New Testament, but it will look a little weird (and badly written) to you. The overhead will be that 20% of the grammar and 60% of the vocabulary that you will learn will not occur in the New Testament.
Modern Greek is fun and interactive, it is the language of a living breathing society and you can have real interaction with your teacher and classmates, using at first simple, but never-the-less real, language. The thought-world and values expressed in the texts you will read are modern and European, so you will be able to more easily intuit meanings of Greek words. While many of the things you will learn in vocabulary are applicable to your reading of the New Testament, the grammar - both inflection, sentence words and narrative construction techniques - is really different. If you use Modern Greek as a "launching point", the learning will be much easier, but you will have to actually learn Ancient Greek later on too. Learning only Modern Greek will not allow you to read the New Testament - you will see many familiar things, but will be unable to put together the meaning of even one entire sentence in the text. The overhead is that most of the Grammar that you learn will only be a little similar to the grammar that you will find in the New Testament and the vocabulary that you learn outside of the field that is broadly termed "the humanities (inc. religion)" consists of loan-words and forms of words that are so far developed from their ancient forms that you will not be able to recognise them. It will also cost you a year's delay.
This sounds almost like a caricature of all that's wrong with the teaching of ancient Greek - which is now under scrutiny and revision on many fronts! Perhaps it was intended that way? Who but the most ardent ascetic would find this a welcoming task? Even the outcome doesn't sound very rewarding! When you think of one standing on the threshold, with very few reference points, this must appear as a rather stark portrayal!
I am somewhere along the path with both modern (using Pimsleur, Living Languages, etc.) and Koine, (much further along - reading substantial portions=Books of the Greek Bible) but I also must say that this does not describe my experience. I find enormous reward in reading Biblical Greek - a growing reward as my mastery grows. Again, I must agree with the comment:
For me, if anything modern is more of a laborious task. Of course, my study in ancient is still limited to Koine and Biblical, so I speak from that limited vantage point.Barry Hofstetter wrote:but like Jacob's 14 years of labor for Rachel, seemed trivial compared to the goal