Randall Buth wrote: Wow, maybe German and French literature classes could use this method if they really wanted to get deep into the meaning of the text! Not.
At the risk of contributing further to what Jonathan would call the “Living Koine versus the rest of the world” divide, let me just say that I feel the pain of Randall’s sarcasm. This grammar translation method thus described seems to me to be not a very effective way to learn a language and it sends the wrong message that the goal of learning Greek is to translate and to learn meta-language jargon.
“We reason but from what we know.” I’ve told this story before. A few years back I was involved in just such a reading group where we would take turns translating NT Greek passages and then discuss the grammar in English. In retrospect, I concluded that the group did not really help improve my Greek reading much if at all. Now I am involved in a different group where I Skype with a guy from San Diego. We are working through the Gospel of Mark. We ask each other very simple questions in Greek. Last night we did chapter 13. πόσοι ἄνεμοί ἐισιν? τί εστιν «ὁ σεισμός?» τίς ἐποίησεν τὸ ἱερόν? We discuss, all in Ancient Greek, historical and theological issues (ἄρα ὁ Ιησοῦς λέγει περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἢ μόνον τῆς Ἰερσουσαλημ τέλους?) but rarely do we discuss the grammar, because the answers to grammatical questions are too subtle for the target language. διἀ τί τοῦτο τὀ ρῆμα ἀόριστόν ἐστιν?
I find this method much more helpful in improving my reading fluency. Even beginners are capable of asking and answering simple questions in Greek because the structure of questions τίς πότε πῶς ποῦ is easier than producing narrative. This is SOP in ESL. I have thought recently that even if one decides not to use a communicative approach for a first year Greek class, it certainly makes sense to use this method for advanced classes.
But I don’t expect the status quo to change much. Daniel Streete has been pushing this method on his blog. Somebody responded to him that they thought the communicative approach was dangerous because if you taught students to speak Ancient Greek they would begin talking about their own (male) brother as an ἀδελφός (μωρός ἐστιν ὁ αδελφός μου!) and then when they read Paul this would interfere with the fact that by ἀδελφοὶ Paul meant to include both men and women. This convinced me that Jonathan is right; there really are two UNIVERSES of Greek learners. Rico is Ricohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJrGaOF- ... AAAAAAAAAA
and Wallace is Wallace and never the twain shall meet. But that’s alright. As we used to say when I was a kid, I’m okay, you’re okay.