I think that there are several (too?) strong statements here, but I am not intending to be argumentative over any of them. I believe that the category of "Biblical Greek" is inherently misleading. For instance, it would be difficult for me to move beyond glosses very easily without interacting with Koine literature outside of the New Testament and LXX. What I am suggesting is that "Biblical Greek" does not offer the range of forms that one would need to be familiar with to fully appreciate "Biblical Greek." Don't get me wrong, you can translate it quite well with a relatively small time investment, but truly understanding it is an altogether different animal. It has been my experience that most people who would like to know "Biblical Greek" are content with having the ability to translate.Thomas Dolhanty wrote:In my world there is a very significant company of lay people who want to know Biblical Greek, and a smaller group for Biblical Hebrew. They do not want to spend years or months or even days considering the more esoteric aspects of ancient Greek, any more than they care to labour for days or weeks or months over the English of Chaucer or even over the finer points of modern English. But they are serious, capable and willing to make the investment to learn Biblical Greek. They also want to have a genuine engagement with the language, not just a gleaning of glosses.
For this group, the traditional model of “dead” language instruction won’t work. The language must be able to ‘breathe’ and have resonance and ‘taste’. I see the model of academic Latin as an encouragement, because over the centuries it certainly has been a durable language of expression and communication, capable of sutlety and able to bear the “weight” of current concepts. I also see the work of Randall Buth, Paul Nitz, and others as very encouraging, because it holds a promise of something different than the deathly dry feel of dusty libraries. Something is wanted beyond the way it has been done in the past – both as to method, and as to model. For the people I'm speaking about, there must be an approach which allows learners a far larger and more dynamic experience of the language itself before they are overcome by the 'rules of grammar'. Those rules are learned 'unnaturally' and seem hopelessly inadequate - even misleading - as the novice approaches the text itself.
I agree with Stephen Hughes that if I were to design an approach to learn "Biblical Greek" I would start with Koine Greek outside of the Bible itself. My primary reasons for this, and these two are by no means exhaustive, would be that you can avoid the interactions that will occur if you translate familiar Bible passages, and you can develop an appreciation for terms that have broader usage than are frequently considered while translating the New Testament as a novice.
As an autodidact I don't think I have encountered the scenario that you are describing where I have been "overcome by the 'rules of grammar'". I have been and will be confused. I have been and will continue to be wrong from time to time, but because I am "serious, capable and willing to make the investment to learn" I am enjoying the slow climb up the steep acclivity of knowledge. I think for individuals like the ones you have spoken of having access to the ideal method of learning "Biblical Greek" is less important than grit and determination.
That said, I am not entirely sure how you are intending to define several of the phrases that you have used. I am fully aware that I may have missed the target you have attempted to paint. If this is the case, please overlook my errors since I have been interested in the conversation, even if I have misunderstood the crucial aspects of it.