Glad to be here

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Glad to be here

Postby tjrolfs » May 20th, 2014, 8:14 pm

Hello,

My name is Travis. I hail from the midwestern portion of the United States of America. Although foreign languages (I'm an English native speaker), and especially something like biblical Greek, have nothing to do with my formal education or field of work, I do have an extremely large affinity for the word of God. I always find myself frustrated when I hear someone expound on the nuances of the Greek in a passage, and I see that I could not have had a chance of finding that using most English translations. Too often I have found myself mulling over a specific verse for hours trying to understand what it is trying to convey (specifically), when I know someone literate in biblical Greek could see such things in a matter of minutes. Thus, recently I finally resolved to teach myself biblical Greek. I am going through Black's Greek Grammar, with the assistance of Mounce's (I will probably go through both in time), and I am using some internet tools as well. My goal is to be able to pick up a Greek New Testament and be able to read it all the way through without significant assistance from any grammatical tools, like a lexicon.

Glad to finally be on this journey,

Travis
Travis Rolfs
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Welcome Travis

Postby Stephen Hughes » May 20th, 2014, 10:58 pm

Hi Travis, Welcome.

tjrolfs wrote: I always find myself frustrated when I hear someone expound on the nuances of the Greek in a passage, and I see that I could not have had a chance of finding that using most English translations.

Each language has its own perspective on (angle of looking at) what is being described, we have been accustomed to using our native language uncritically (without giving it a second thought) so it seems "natural" to us, and there are things that just don't translate well. We could consider an example of each
  • Sometimes, changing from one perspective to another obscures things. (eg. Luke 7:36 Ἠρώτα δέ τις αὐτὸν τῶν Φαρισαίων ἵνα φάγῃ μετ’ αὐτοῦ· "And one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him", doesn't imply thaqt others never did, but in Λέγει αὐτῷ εἷς ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, "one of his disciples said to him", implies that the others were idle (in that particular instance at least). English adopts the perspective of the number in both cases)
  • Sometimes, we bring our own life experiences in English make us read ourselves onto the text. (eg Luke 6:1 διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ τῶν σπορίμων "he went through the grain fields". διαπορεύεσθαι is probably "setting off on a route through the grain fields", just "passing through" (without paying much attention to where from or to) would be διέρχεσθαι "go through", without that being clear in a translation, it is possible to imagine things happening that are allowable in English, like "go through the fields" = "make a bee line" / "take a short-cut" which are not really inferred in the Greek)
  • Sometimes, translations are not very imaginative and just translate words, which we then misunderstand as literal (eg. Matthew 3:7 Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν "brood of vipers", the words ἔχιδνα "(coiling) viper" and ἔχις "viper" had been used as derogatory references to trecherous people (false friends) for hundreds of years. On the other hand, ὄφις, is a more concrete reference to a physical "snake" (in most cases), but it had been used in reference to 'mythical' dragons for hundreds of years at least. The greater English speaking world has other words - and other animals (eg. weazels) to refer to that meaning)
Nuance is not easy to find, actually. It often takes quite a while to pick up nuance in a foreign language.

tjrolfs wrote: Too often I have found myself mulling over a specific verse for hours trying to understand what it is trying to convey (specifically), when I know someone literate in biblical Greek could see such things in a matter of minutes.

You will need to take many, many, many, many hours of memorising and "mulling over" the language (syntax and grammar) and words (vocabulary) used in that verse, and then, probably, mull over it in Greek too.

tjrolfs wrote:My goal is to be able to pick up a Greek New Testament and be able to read it all the way through without significant assistance from any grammatical tools, like a lexicon.

Grammar is finite, the lexicon seems to never end.

If you wanted to read about Deep sea fish you would use the same language skills as you would to read about the War of the Pacific or Power take-off, what the difference between reading them is is the vocabulary. All three of them are in English, and knowing English allows you to read all three - that is you know all the "is", "and", "for", "accordingly" type words when you "know" English.

It is the same with any additional language. You learn the grammar of the language, which can be mastered, then you have an open-ended vocabulary acquisition. There will be a basic set, then some specialist areas that you will keep learning. That is to say, that you will put down the grammar book long before you ever put down the lexicon. You can structure your self-learning accordingly.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Glad to be here

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 21st, 2014, 5:26 am

tjrolfs wrote:Hello,

My name is Travis. I hail from the midwestern portion of the United States of America. Although foreign languages (I'm an English native speaker), and especially something like biblical Greek, have nothing to do with my formal education or field of work, I do have an extremely large affinity for the word of God. I always find myself frustrated when I hear someone expound on the nuances of the Greek in a passage, and I see that I could not have had a chance of finding that using most English translations. Too often I have found myself mulling over a specific verse for hours trying to understand what it is trying to convey (specifically), when I know someone literate in biblical Greek could see such things in a matter of minutes. Thus, recently I finally resolved to teach myself biblical Greek. I am going through Black's Greek Grammar, with the assistance of Mounce's (I will probably go through both in time), and I am using some internet tools as well. My goal is to be able to pick up a Greek New Testament and be able to read it all the way through without significant assistance from any grammatical tools, like a lexicon.

Glad to finally be on this journey,

Travis


Greetings and welcome, Travis. This is one of the journeys of which it is actually true, that there is as much benefit in the journey as their is in the arrival. You will also find it the never ending journey. Oh, I don't mean you won't accomplish the goal you have set for yourself, but you will find that once you've reached that goal, it may not be quite what you thought it was. It will be both better and different, and you'll want to keep traveling.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Glad to be here

Postby tjrolfs » May 21st, 2014, 5:23 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Greetings and welcome, Travis. This is one of the journeys of which it is actually true, that there is as much benefit in the journey as their is in the arrival. You will also find it the never ending journey. Oh, I don't mean you won't accomplish the goal you have set for yourself, but you will find that once you've reached that goal, it may not be quite what you thought it was. It will be both better and different, and you'll want to keep traveling.


Thanks for the welcome. Ya, goals tend to change along the way I find, when one realizes their initial goal was set without much understanding. I like journeys, I hope this is a great one.

Blessings,

Travis
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