Living Koine for fluency- help

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Vivek Jones
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Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Vivek Jones » December 16th, 2011, 3:52 am

Dear Koine Greek Lovers,

I am reading the benefits of the living koine greek method. Is there someway you could write ur opinion on the same?

So I am currently looking at ways to read greek and understand it in greek itself which would be propelled by me thinking in greek. So basically, when I read the text, I don't want a translation happening in my head but rather I want to understand the subject in a greek context itself. Below are a few questions, which if answered would help me greatly...

1) I am considering Randall Buth's work (2 vol books) and John Schwandt's online classes using Athenaze. Which do you think would be a better return on investment of time and money? Which would work better, provided I put all effort into it? Now, I am not in anyway trying to instigate a war between both their methods. But a pros and cons approach would be helpful

2) What would both their syllabus cover comparing to traditional grammar translation method? Would they cover all of the stuff that Mounces BBG covers? ie would I be in a position to identify a participle, imperative, subjunctive etc (not in a 'translation sense' but in an 'understanding sense')

3) What level of fluency have you heard people say they achieved with both method? Are people reading their NT straightway and make great sense of at least 80% of a page (20% lacking because of vocab limitation)?

4) What would you advice otherwise?

If you want to maintain privacy of your advice (cause it could affect the mood of a public discussion) please mail me private message me or email me on vivek.jones@gmail.com

Brett
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Joined: October 23rd, 2011, 10:21 am

Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Brett » December 20th, 2011, 8:21 am

Vivek,

You ask: 1) I am considering Randall Buth's work (2 vol books) and John Schwandt's online classes using Athenaze. Which do you think would be a better return on investment of time and money? Which would work better, provided I put all effort into it? Now, I am not in anyway trying to instigate a war between both their methods. But a pros and cons approach would be helpful

I have only the following brief comment: I believe Buth's work is Koine Greek whereas Athenaze is Classical Greek.

I would highly recommend you spend the bulk of your time in Classical Greek, and later Hellenistic Greek. Note I did not say "Biblical Greek," which is what you get with Mounce or Wallace . Concentrate on Classical, move to Hellenistic Greek (Get Funk's work), and finally zero in on Biblical Greek. Smyth's work might confuse you today because the Greek he works with is hard to define; he seems to use Classical and Hellenistic interchangeably.

Those more able than I might have a different opinion, but I feel comfortable with the above recommendation.
Brett Williams

Ken M. Penner
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Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Ken M. Penner » December 20th, 2011, 10:03 am

Brett wrote:Concentrate on Classical, move to Hellenistic Greek (Get Funk's work), and finally zero in on Biblical Greek.
Despite the title, Funk's "Hellenistic" is really "Biblical."
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

cwconrad
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Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by cwconrad » December 20th, 2011, 11:06 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:
Brett wrote:Concentrate on Classical, move to Hellenistic Greek (Get Funk's work), and finally zero in on Biblical Greek.
Despite the title, Funk's "Hellenistic" is really "Biblical."
To be sure, the focus of Funk's textbook is the Koine of the GNT especially, but the title was surely chosen deliberately -- and the project Funk later sponsored, even if it never came to fruition, was a grammar of Hellenistic Greek to replace BDAG. The choice of the term Hellenistic was surely intended to indicate that Biblical Koine is not a language that is in any way set apart from the Greek of its era.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Rayvl
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Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Rayvl » January 1st, 2012, 9:45 pm

Hi Vivek,

I use Buth's "Living Biblical Hebrew" in teaching at Eastern University. The Koine Greek books are comparable--I own it, but do not teach Greek. I did my undergraduate degree in classics (Homer, Herodotus, Plato, Aristophanes etc on the Greek side) and read Koine Greek in grad school.. Buth's analysis of the grammar is as good as you will find--He is a master linguist. All the Hellenistic grammatical morphology and terms are taught. As for the choice between classical and koine Greek, it really depends upon where you will be devoting your study: the corpus of both classical and Hellenistic Greek is huge. So if you do LXX, NT, patristics and texts of that era primarily, you can start with Buth and koine Greek. If your main focus will be pre-300 BCE, you definitely need classical Greek. Ideally one learns both, because the Fathers, for example, are steeped in the classical tradition as well as in the LXX. I think the main difference between Buth and most other ancient Greek and Hebrew texts is a matter of pedagogy. Buth uses the latest methods in language learning to get people to process (i.e., first understanding and eventually generating) Hebrew and Greek WITHOUT translating into another language. He does this first of all with aural comprehension of the language based on a series of pictures. There is a large component of listening to the language (with pictures) before actually beginning to read, and the listening continues through the whole course. I find this to be a much better way of internalizing the ancient language than the traditional grammar-translation methods through which I initially learned my own Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other ancient languages.
There are demos of Buth's stuff on the web at BiblicalLanguageCenter.com I hope this helps. Ray Van Leeuwen

Rayvl
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Joined: January 1st, 2012, 9:15 pm

Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Rayvl » January 1st, 2012, 10:05 pm

This is a followup of my previous post. I just have visited John Schwandt's website [ http://biblicalgreek.org/classes/web/BegWC.php ], which I did not know of previously. He actually uses Buth's system of pronunciation and recommends Buth's Living Koine Greek texts as a supplement. He does have students use Athenaze, Oxford UP's classical Greek text. It appears to me that Schwandt's online course gives one the advantage of having an online teacher, while people desiring a teacher to help them with the Buth text books would need to go to one of the courses conducted by Buth and associates in Israel and various places in the USA.
All the best,
Ray Van Leeuwen

Vivek Jones
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Re: Living Koine for fluency- help

Post by Vivek Jones » January 6th, 2012, 6:39 am

Thank you Brett, Carl, Ken and Ray! Your answers are helping me. I persevered in greek during Seminary days and aced it. I did continue using the skills in ministry but to be honest, as much as I have experienced benefits, the grammar translation method became laborious way to maintain my greek.

I have decided to go for John Schwandt's course in Athenaze and have Buth's material as a supplementary text. This is an expensive affair but which I desperately need. How I wish these methods were adopted by Seminaries so that their students won't have to face the crisis that I am facing. I am pretty certain that not many are open about their plight (those in pastoral ministry). I am certain that in a few years, if God favors, I would love to open up a way to teach the languages in India for free.

Thank you brothers and may God bless you. This year (2012), too, belongs to Jesus!

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