Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Mark Jeong
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Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Mark Jeong » August 24th, 2015, 5:12 pm

As a current M.Div student at a seminary interested in applying for New Testament (NT) PhD programs, which is more important and would make me potentially more competitive - Latin or Classical Greek?

I've had 3 semesters of Koine Greek in seminary, where we only looked at biblical texts. I've taken additional Greek exegesis courses on top of that. I'm interested in using social-scientific methods to study the NT against the backdrop of the Greco-Roman world. I'm interested in applying for not only traditional NT programs, but also programs in Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (i.e. UT-Austin).

I'm considering taking an intensive summer language course at a university like CUNY (http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Page-Elements/Ac ... -Institute), where I could go through 4 semesters of either Latin or Classical Greek in one summer. I'm leaning towards Latin, even though I have no Classical Greek, because I figure I might be able to pick up Classical Greek on my own since I have a background in Koine. What do you think I should prioritize, given that my interests lie in the Greco-Roman backgrounds of the NT? What level of Latin proficiency is expected of NT PhD graduates at top programs?

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 25th, 2015, 7:43 am

Honestly, both would be of great profit to you. The intensive programs at CUNY are well-known and very effective. If you really think you can read Attic authors by reviewing on your own, by all means start with the Latin. I'm not sure what the various programs require of Latin, but essential reading proficiency would be a great advantage. So also would be the ability to more easily read Greek authors outside of the New Testament. So does that answer the question? Go not to the elves for wisdom…
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 25th, 2015, 1:22 pm

I don't know either classical Greek or Latin. I find myself really wishing I knew classical Greek when I work my way through the examples in Smyth or Rijksbaron or Kühner.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Shirley Rollinson » August 25th, 2015, 7:34 pm

How about Hebrew ?

Mark Jeong
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Mark Jeong » August 25th, 2015, 8:53 pm

Shirley Rollinson wrote:How about Hebrew ?
I should've mentioned I have taken 3 semesters of Biblical Hebrew and also one semester of Biblical Aramaic.

RandallButh
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by RandallButh » August 26th, 2015, 2:41 am

A bigger picture may be needed.

Is "three semesters of German" sufficient for a German literature prof or historical researcher?

My simple advice, given freely for 40 years now, is by all means become fluent in Hebrew before doing a PhD. The academy doesn't require this? So we are much the poorer.
A researcher needs to be at home in Jewish literature of late antiquity, unless interested only in pagan classical religion. Fluent means able to discuss a midrashic text in Hebrew, or follow a lecture in Hebrew. Honestly, a level below this isn't serious in any other field.

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 26th, 2015, 6:33 am

Mark Jeong wrote:What do you think I should prioritize, given that my interests lie in the Greco-Roman backgrounds of the NT?
If you would like to study religious syncretism in the Roman Empire, or simply Egyptian paganism at the same time as the early Christianities and Gnosticism were emerging and contemporaneously developing, you could study Greco-Roman period hieroglyphs of Temple and mortuary documents down to Thodosius I's proscription of the temples (made complicated, almost as encoding) and the Demotic language of everyday life in Egypt for a thousand years (although there is a new dictionary (CDD), unfortunately many documents remain un-published). I would say that Demotic is the most difficult and challenging period of the Egyptian language, but together with your Greek and Latin, it would constitute a specialist skill-set that would get you noticed in the field of Late Antiquity.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Ken M. Penner
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Ken M. Penner » August 26th, 2015, 7:20 am

Mark Jeong wrote:As a current M.Div student at a seminary interested in applying for New Testament (NT) PhD programs, which is more important and would make me potentially more competitive - Latin or Classical Greek?
Of the two, Latin will make you more attractive because you already have some Greek.
I don't know of NT PhDs that require Latin. Mine (in Early Judaism actually) at McMaster required Greek, Hebrew, French, and German. (I also had Aramaic and Latin before I applied there.) The challenge in Canada is to get accepted to a PhD program with only the MDiv degree. Did you write a thesis? I had to do an additional MA because I wrote comps rather than a thesis for my MCS from Regent College.
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 26th, 2015, 9:13 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:Of the two, Latin will make you more attractive because you already have some Greek.
Just how much more attractive? These pictures will give you an idea ...

Image
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Mark Jeong
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Joined: February 6th, 2014, 3:25 pm

Re: Classical Greek or Latin after Koine for NT studies?

Post by Mark Jeong » August 26th, 2015, 9:18 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Ken M. Penner wrote:Of the two, Latin will make you more attractive because you already have some Greek.
Just how much more attractive? These pictures will give you an idea ...

Image
If Latin makes me that much more attractive.. I'm all in! :D

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