Introduction: Aaron Hermann

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Aaron Hermann
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Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Aaron Hermann » March 7th, 2016, 2:55 pm

Hello Everyone,

My name is Aaron Hermann. I am a 36 year old male from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. I have been a born-again, Bible-believing, follower of Jesus Christ for 7 years. I started learning Greek in early June 2015, so I have been at it for about 8 months with a couple of multi-week breaks. All-in-all, I would say I have been working on Greek with a focused effort for a total of 6 months. I have not had any formal schooling in Greek, and have mostly been "teaching" myself. I have read Dave Black's "Learn New Testament Greek" and workbook, and have also watched several of the lectures available on YouTube. I have read some of Constantine Campbell's wok on Verbal Aspect, and am now working on learning sentence diagramming as I start David Wallace's "Beyond the Basics" and corresponding workbook.

I am trying to get a grasp of things to aid in some translation and exegetical work. I am not looking to become a Greek scholar, but to have a basic working knowledge of the language to help me make use of some of the available tools online and otherwise. I do believe that a working knowledge of Greek on at least a basic level is helpful in studying the Bible. Any help, suggestions, or otherwise are appreciated and coveted, so please fee free to contact me, or feel free to drop a line and say hello if the Spirit leads.

Well, that's a little bit about me and my journey of learning Greek.

Blessings,

Aaron
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Aaron Hermann

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Paul-Nitz » March 9th, 2016, 6:05 am

Welcome, Aaron.
Aaron Hermann wrote:to have a basic working knowledge of the language to help me make use of some of the available tools online and otherwise
With that goal in mind, the way you are studying Greek should work fine.

If you're looking to tweak it, my suggestion would be to not invest too much time in reading Campbell on Verbal Aspect, or Wallace's grammar. Reading books of that type and level will mislead more than instruct, unless a reader already has a reading comprehension of Greek. You worked through Black. Working through a couple more primers would probably round out your understanding. You might try Rollinson and Funk (or Funk). Then you could get into reading the New Testament directly. Check out this ranking of NT books by difficulty:
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 9th, 2016, 10:18 am

Fortune favours the bold. The more of your ignorance and mistakes that you allow to go public, the more likely you are to get a move on in a forum like this. Sitiing back in a comfort-zone of voyeuristic anonymity works to some extent too. The is an emotional intensity in always being full-on in what everything, and forum participation is no exception to that. As with any social intercourse, different people come to this forum with varying motivations and differing expectations. Your self-introduction fits the profile of somebody, who may be able to benefit from an active and interactive participation and engagement with other member, be they peers, role-models or learning-guides.

When you are typing Greek on a Windows machine (if you are using a Windows machine, you combine the basic diacritics (accents and breathings) with the letters (vowels and rho) and they then become a single character. You don't need to "add" the diacritics after the letter. You can search online for instruction in how to do that, by looking for "polytonic greek input methods". The basic principle is that you type the accent and /or breathing first, then the character that they will sit over.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 9th, 2016, 3:20 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:Welcome, Aaron.
Aaron Hermann wrote:to have a basic working knowledge of the language to help me make use of some of the available tools online and otherwise
With that goal in mind, the way you are studying Greek should work fine.

If you're looking to tweak it, my suggestion would be to not invest too much time in reading Campbell on Verbal Aspect, or Wallace's grammar. Reading books of that type and level will mislead more than instruct, unless a reader already has a reading comprehension of Greek. You worked through Black. Working through a couple more primers would probably round out your understanding. You might try Rollinson and Funk (or Funk). Then you could get into reading the New Testament directly. Check out this ranking of NT books by difficulty:

OK, I will bite. Why is Funk (Konie Grammar, not BDF) better for a new student than Wallace? Funk is a reference grammar, is it not? Wallace is an intermediate textbook for class use. I'm not sure what criteria are being used for measuring Wallace against Funk. Both of them represent a traditional framework. Funk doesn't use exegetical examples as Wallace does. Is the sticking point the exegetical aspect of Wallace? I don't think either of them moves the student in the right direction. Funk is useful if you already know the language. Wallace is useful if you are aligned with that exegetical tradition; mid 20th century evangelical seminaries in North America. Both works are out of date.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 10th, 2016, 10:03 am

Both Paul and Stirling offer excellent advice. I would simply emphasize that reading grammars makes you good at reading grammars, and reading Greek makes you good at reading Greek. By all means continue reading the grammars -- if nothing else it will help you find things that you might need tor reference, but reading text in the actual language itself is what is going to get you there. You benefit the most from meta-discussions on the language when you have a good foundation in the language itself.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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cwconrad
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by cwconrad » March 10th, 2016, 10:08 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:[OK, I will bite. Why is Funk (Koine Grammar, not BDF) better for a new student than Wallace? Funk is a reference grammar, is it not? Wallace is an intermediate textbook for class use. I'm not sure what criteria are being used for measuring Wallace against Funk. Both of them represent a traditional framework. Funk doesn't use exegetical examples as Wallace does. Is the sticking point the exegetical aspect of Wallace? I don't think either of them moves the student in the right direction. Funk is useful if you already know the language. Wallace is useful if you are aligned with that exegetical tradition; mid 20th century evangelical seminaries in North America. Both works are out of date.
Clay, have you really looked carefully at Funk's Beginning-Intermediage Grammar of New Testament Greek? It is simultaneously a primer and a reference work. I would not categorize it as "traditional" in any way; the early editions of this went out of print quickly (they were very poorly produced!); if it had been available I would have been using it to teach NT Greek in the 1980's. The early chapters immediately point to learning to read sentences rather than words and talks about recognizing structure signals:
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... tro-1.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... tro-2.html
And here's the blurb for the recently-republished Polebridge edition that owes a lot to the efforts of B-Greekers::
Traditional Greek grammars are based on the philological method that assumes meaning resides in single words and that learning a language consists of memorizing vocabulary and nominal and verbal paradigms. The linguistic method, developed during the twentieth century, argues that meaning resides in units of speech, like sentences, not in single words, and that what is needed to learn a language is familiarity with its basic sentence patterns (its syntax), not memorization of vocabulary lists. Originally published in three volumes in 1973, Robert Funk s classic Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek utilizes the insights of modern linguistics in its presentation of the basic features of ancient Greek grammar. Since modern linguistics aims to be descriptive, rather than prescriptive, Funk s Grammar highlights the breadand-butter features of New Testament Greek, rather than how it deviates from classical Greek. Now redesigned and reformatted for ease of use, this single-volume third edition makes Funk s ground-breaking work available once more.
Wallace is a different kind of work altogether; as you say, it's intended for classroom and reference work -- as is the Funk grammar, but Wallace's GGBB is exegetical in focus and, as many of us have complained, it seems peculiarly focused on understanding Greek construction in terms of how best to convert it into English (that may be unfair, but it does not seem to me to endeavor to understand the Greek constructions as Greek constructions. Funk's grammar is, in my judgment, concerned with learning and undestasnding how Greek "works". I have yet to see an introductory work for NT Greek that I'd rather use in a classroom (if I were still teaching).
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Paul-Nitz » March 10th, 2016, 12:08 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Funk is a reference grammar, is it not? Wallace is an intermediate textbook for class use.
I thought just the opposite. But your post spurred me to look back at both books to see where I had gotten such an idea. I came away thinking my impression was pretty much right.

Here are a list of differences that might help Aaron or others decide between the two books.

What the authors call their own books shows the difference:
  • Funk calls his book a “beginning lesson grammar” (xvii). He has marked advanced material in the text that should be skipped on first pass in order to use the book for a one semester course.
  • Wallace calls his book an “intermediate grammar.” He admits that the text is far to long for use in a normal academic year, but he gives a page of advice on how to skip this or that and concludes, "In sum, there are many approaches one can take to make this text manageable in one semester” (xix).
In line with their intent, each author has organized his books differently :
  • Funk organizes his book into 62 lessons. A look at the first ten lesson titles gives the sense of it. 1. The Alphabet; 2. Sounds, Breathing, Syllables; 3. Sight and Sound: Subsidiary Points; 4. Vowel and Consonant Change; 5. The Article; 6. The Article as Structure Signal; 7. Nouns: First Declension; 8. Nouns: Second Declension; 9. Prepositions as Structure Signals; 10. Nouns: Third Declension.
  • Wallace organizes his book as one would expect a reference grammar to be organized.
    Syntax of Words and Phrases - Part I: Syntax of Nouns and Nominals. Part II: Syntax of Verbs and Verbals.
    Syntax of the Clause.

    He rejects the tendency to organize grammars according to meaning and function, “Semantic priority grammars are useful for composition in a living language, not analysis of a small corpus of a dead language… an intermediate and exegetical grammar is more useful if organized by morpho-syntactic features” (xvi).
The authors are aiming at different audiences:
  • Funk aims at beginning students, to “introduce the student to the structure of the Greek language in the briefest possible time” (xv).
  • Wallace aims at the following audience, “intermediate Greek students, advanced Greek students, expositors of scripture, and anyone whose Greek has become to him or her like a tax-collector or a Gentile”(xviii).
The authors rate the pedagogical value of explicit grammar very differently:
  • Wallace defends the use of many categories. “One of the features of this work is a multitude of syntactical categories, some of which have never been in print before. A word needs to be said about this since several grammarians are retreating from a proliferation of syntactical categories…. The rationale for it [focusing on basic, unaffected meaning over categorization] lacks nuancing. Although our understanding of the unaffected meaning of certain morpho-synactic categories is increasing, to leave the discussion of syntax at the common denominator level is neither linguistically sensitive nor pedagogically helpful” (xii-xiii).
  • Funk tends de-emphasizes grammatical terms and focuses on structure: “It is the language itself and not a grammar about that language that the student who wishes to learn to read Greek needs to confront. For that reason, the grammar itself is suppressed wherever possible. And, if modern linguistics is correct in its fundamental affirmations, the one needful thing in learning a new language is familiarity with its grammatical structure. Such familiarity need not be explicit; the learner needs to "know" the structure and structure signals only in the sense that he is able, immediately and without deliberation, to respond to them” (xv).
Both are focused on New Testament Greek. Funk had wanted to include examples from Koine outside of the GNT, but didn't. Wallace has many more examples - 5000 verses to Funk's 1000.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:reading text in the actual language itself is what is going to get you there.
Barry, you might be surprised to hear me object to that. Normally, I don't think reading the GNT will get a person to the goal of reading comprehension. I think it is something to advise for the stage when a learner can read simple texts with a fair degree of comprehension. Maybe Aaron is exceptional, but if he's like most, he need to work up slowly to a level at which he could advance simply through reading straight up GNT.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 10th, 2016, 2:20 pm

Carl,



I have not looked at a physical copy of Funk for years. Generally follow links posted in this forum and read Funk's remarks about some aspect of syntax. I had forgotten about the first section of the book. I was aware that Funk used some sort of linguistic framework. I don't detect much influence from Chomsky but I haven't read enough to rule that out. Perhaps Funk was working from some species of structuralism. I would agree with you that the first part of the book is not traditional. I probably don't see it as a radical approach since structuralism is a different sort of traditional, like Waltke-O'Connor on Hebrew Syntax.

As I have often said in this forum my first book on NT Greek was E. V. N. Goetchius Language of the NT. This book was popular in seminaries forty years ago as alternative to Machen. Goetchius was a linguist with a PhD in Germanic Languages. His approach probably has some features in common with Funk but his grammar only covers introduction not intermediate. He worked on an intermediate text but it was never published as far as I know. Goetchius in his introduction specifically addresses the metalanguage issue. The problem I have Wallace and a host of others like him is the focus on metalanguage acquisition, so that the student gets into the habit of mentally tagging the text while reading, assigning a category tag to each constituent. This habit is difficult to unlearn. Exegesis begins with tagging. The exegesis paper which was required for 3rd semester in my day was essentially an exercise in the use of metalanguage.

Paul,

Wallace has been marketed and used extensively as a textbook for intermediate Greek seminary courses.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 10th, 2016, 3:21 pm

Here is a little sample ripped from TEXTKIT of metalanguage as exegesis taken from a recent post.
θεοῦ θέλοντος κἄν ἐπί ῥιπὸς πλέοις.
(παροιμία, Εὐριπίδης)

"If the god is willing, you could even sail on a wicker mat."

Let's take this apart.

θεοῦ θέλοντος is of course a genitive absolute. Here it functions as the protasis (the "if" clause) of a conditional. Better translate "if" than "when".

κἃν -- crasis for και αν. As you realize, "και" here means "even", not "and."

πλέοις -- 2d person singular of present optative of πλέω: "you would/could sail". The subject is the understood 2d pers. singular personal pronoun συ. This is the apodosis (the conclusion) of the conditional, optative + αν ("future less vivid" in the traditional classification of Greek conditionals).

ἐπί ῥιπὸς -- "on a mat". ριψ is a wicker mat. See LSJ:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... %3Dr(i%2Fy

This is a fragment which was attributed (not necessarily correctly) by an ancient source to Euripides' Thyestes, a play that hasn't survived intact. It was apparently proverbial and is repeated in several ancient sources. It's an iambic trimeter. It makes sense on its own as an expression of the power of a god to accomplish impossible things, but might make more sense in its lost context.

source http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... =2&t=64849

Wallace and his numerous colleagues train their students to perform this sort of analysis.

The traditional grammar folks have no corner on the metalanguage as exegesis trade. This morning I was reading a paper[1] presented from the Systemic Functional point of view in which defining and redefining metalanguage seemed to be a predominate feature.

[1]
Clause as Message: Theme, Topic, and Information Flow in
Mark 2:1–12 and Jude
James D. Dvorak and Ryder Dale Walton
Oklahoma Christian University
Mark 2:1–12 and Jude
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Introduction: Aaron Hermann

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 11th, 2016, 6:40 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:reading text in the actual language itself is what is going to get you there.
Barry, you might be surprised to hear me object to that. Normally, I don't think reading the GNT will get a person to the goal of reading comprehension. I think it is something to advise for the stage when a learner can read simple texts with a fair degree of comprehension. Maybe Aaron is exceptional, but if he's like most, he need to work up slowly to a level at which he could advance simply through reading straight up GNT.
Reading embedded texts is a lot like learning the alphabet. The sooner you stop doing it and the sooner you engage with actual language the better it is. I read lots and lots of embedded texts with students, and it's still a shock for them to get to the real thing. And, of course, I encourage reading as much Greek outside the NT as possible.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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