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

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

Post by Mark Jeong » August 26th, 2015, 9:23 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:
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.
Thanks for your input. It seems that different programs have different requirements. Few programs require Latin as a prerequisite, although some seem to assume that students will learn it during the course of the program (especially if it's required for the student's research). I guess the advantage of having Latin beforehand would be that it would not only reduce the amount of language study one would need to do during the program, but would also make the applicant "stand out," since acceptance into programs is so competitive.

My MDiv doesn't require a thesis, so I'm thinking of applying for ThM degrees.

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, 9:28 am

RandallButh wrote: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.
Thanks for the advice, Dr. Buth. I've benefited much from your Hebrew materials. I assume that to reach this level of Hebrew fluency (to be able to read and discuss midrashic texts), one would need to study Modern Hebrew? I don't see any courses/materials offered anywhere for post-biblical Hebrew besides Modern Hebrew courses.

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

Post by RandallButh » August 27th, 2015, 2:23 am

Yes, modern Hebrew is the fast track into Hebrew fluency for the ancient mediterranean world. speak Hebrew, while reading midrasch, stories and parables, halakic discussion, DDS, etc. Hebrew Bible, too.

Seumas Macdonald
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Location: Mongolia

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

Post by Seumas Macdonald » August 27th, 2015, 11:54 pm

As someone with Latin in their training, NT studies rarely requires Latin, and there is not that much in Latin that you will likely want to access unless your intended direction is to focus on particularly Roman classical sources; remember that even the eastern half of the Empire is practically functioning entirely in Greek. (oops, I had written Latin in an earlier version of this post!)

One can bridge the gap between a Koine Greek education and classical Greek without necessarily taking further courses, provided you do some solid work in reading beyond the NT/LXX corpus, and spend some time with a classical orientated teaching-grammar to fill in some of those gaps.

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

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 28th, 2015, 12:24 am

Seumas Macdonald wrote:the eastern half of the Empire is practically functioning entirely in Greek.
Let me give a little clarity to the "practically" Roman legal codes were written in Latin down to about 530 CE, when the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, promulgated his Novellae Constitutiones in Greek. Some areas of the Eastern Empire were Latin speaking, such as where modern-day speakers of Romanian settled. Other areas had speakers of other regional languages.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Seumas Macdonald
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Location: Mongolia

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

Post by Seumas Macdonald » August 28th, 2015, 12:53 am

Certainly, I would concur with Stephen's qualification - Law being the major exception. Which is why in the milieu of Libanius and 4th century Antioch, it's always the lawyers who learnt Latin.

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

Post by RandallButh » August 28th, 2015, 6:04 am

And iin rabbinic literature we have both Greek and Latin loan words--because of the government--a few thousand loanwords.

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

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 28th, 2015, 6:34 am

RandallButh wrote:And iin rabbinic literature we have both Greek and Latin loan words--because of the government--a few thousand loanwords.
I wonder to what degree they are the same (Greek) loan words as are in the northern dialects of Coptic.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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

Post by RandallButh » August 28th, 2015, 6:48 am

Good question.
Probably worth an MA thesis comparing Greek/Latin loan words in Coptic and Hebrew.

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