Intro - Joel Ellis

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JMEllis
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Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by JMEllis » January 2nd, 2019, 12:39 am

Χαίρετε

My name is Joel Ellis. I am a minister serving a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Arizona. Although I studied Greek and Hebrew in seminary, I am largely self-taught (for better or worse). I have had a lifelong interest in languages and have studied quite a few, but I am (regrettably) more of a dabbler than a consistently disciplined and successful devotee. However, Greek, in particular, and Latin and Hebrew, to a lesser extent, are languages to which I am committed by profession, passion, and principle. I hope in 2019 to continue improving my daily discipline in each of these languages, expanding my vocabulary, and increasing my reading (and speaking) fluency.

I subscribe broadly to the Input Hypothesis of Second Language Acquisition and am a fan of Stephen Krashen’s work. Nevertheless, I recognize this approach is insufficient for exegetical engagement of literature. I intend to be far more of a lurker than a poster. I finally decided to register in order to be able to ask questions and, hopefully, to check the forum more regularly for motivation.

Joel
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Joel M. Ellis, Jr.
Pastor at Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 2nd, 2019, 7:21 am

Welcome, Joel. We'll be glad to fill in the gaps left by Krashen... :)
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 2nd, 2019, 8:57 am

Χαίρε, Joel.

Welcome to B-Greek! What approach are you taking in your daily discipline for 2019? Anything we can learn from or help with?

At least a dozen or dozens of people here use SLA or ESL or SIOP approaches to teaching and learning Greek, so you have company. I only know the vocal ones.
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Paul-Nitz
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τί ἐστιν ἐξήγησις;

Post by Paul-Nitz » January 2nd, 2019, 9:10 am

JMEllis wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 12:39 am
I recognize this approach is insufficient for exegetical engagement of literature.
Joel, I'm sure you didn't expect that comment to be provocative, but it is a little bit to me.

I teach African ministerial students Greek via communicative methods. I've often heard this claim about exegesis. My response is always to ask, "What is exegesis?"

If exegesis is getting more meaning out of a text, then I think communicative approaches to learning it and even to performing exegesis is entirely adequate. If exegesis means parsing each word and "engaging with the commentaries" then it simply means a person needs to know the metalanguage about Greek. Knowing grammatical terms is not inconsistent with communicative methods. It is simply not the starting point of learning.

I learned an exegetical method in seminary. I don't use it anymore, aside from the regular and obvious advice to consider the context (in all its forms, immediate - line of thought, broader context, genre, audience, historical, etc.). My exegetical method is simply to ask the text questions (in Greek) and answer them (in Greek). Most of my questions are simple fact questions. Sometimes I'll ask why the author used x instead of y.

I get much more out of that than what I was taught in seminary, namely, to list every word in a column, parse each word, and consider the significance.
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Benjamin Kantor
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Benjamin Kantor » January 2nd, 2019, 9:18 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 9:10 am
JMEllis wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 12:39 am
I recognize this approach is insufficient for exegetical engagement of literature.
Joel, I'm sure you didn't expect that comment to be provocative, but it is a little bit to me.

I teach African ministerial students Greek via communicative methods. I've often heard this claim about exegesis. My response is always to ask, "What is exegesis?"

If exegesis is getting more meaning out of a text, then I think communicative approaches to learning it and even to performing exegesis is entirely adequate. If exegesis means parsing each word and "engaging with the commentaries" then it simply means a person needs to know the metalanguage about Greek. Knowing grammatical terms is not inconsistent with communicative methods. It is simply not the starting point of learning.

I learned an exegetical method in seminary. I don't use it anymore, aside from the regular and obvious advice to consider the context (in all its forms, immediate - line of thought, broader context, genre, audience, historical, etc.). My exegetical method is simply to ask the text questions (in Greek) and answer them (in Greek). Most of my questions are simple fact questions. Sometimes I'll ask why the author used x instead of y.

I get much more out of that than what I was taught in seminary, namely, to list every word in a column, parse each word, and consider the significance.
I totally agree with this as it has also been my experience.

I would note one exception, however, and that is that meta-language exegesis can be helpful and beneficial at the ADVANCED levels of learning (definitely not at the beginning). I spend a lot of time in the Greek patristics, and they frequently mention Greek grammatical meta-language in their commentaries when interpreting a passage.

I recently did a 99.9% Greek video blog on the difference between the use of οιδα and γινωσκω in Koine:

https://www.kainediatheke.com/single-po ... E%B4%CE%B1
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JMEllis
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by JMEllis » January 2nd, 2019, 9:35 am

Paul,

Thank you for the feedback! I did not mean for that statement to be provocative. In fact, I meant it to be a concession to the kind of criticism my fondness for input-based SLA methods receives from friends in the academy. I thought my mention of Krashen would be the provocative part of my post and that my comment about exegesis would pacify any frustration on that point. :-)

I have watched many of your videos on YouTube, and you seem to be succeeding with the very sort of communicative approaches that I think would vastly improve and transform our approach to teaching, learning, and using Greek (as well as Hebrew and Latin) as ministers. Where my own commitments are mostly theoretical, your accomplishments in the field are actual and demonstrable. My comments about exegesis were only intended to highlight that expositors do need to be able to identify grammatical and syntactical categories that native speakers (or fluent but non-grammatically trained communicators) may not recognize. My children learned early in their lives how to use different verb forms, participles, gerunds, etc. in communication, but they could not necessarily identify them as such or explain the significance of choosing one construction over another.

I am convinced that treating Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as living languages and using an input-based approach focused on reading (and speaking) fluency would transform many students’ experience with the languages and vastly improve their ability to (1) learn the relevant grammatical and syntactical categories later, (2) retain a meaningful competence with the languages after their formal education is complete, and (3) read the text with greater ease and more accurate understanding. I think your videos are an excellent example of how this could be done. In this model, the beginning of a program of study would be spent mostly listening and reading to large portions of text and discussing it in class using TPRS strategies before any time is spent memorizing paradigms or using a translation method.
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Joel M. Ellis, Jr.
Pastor at Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
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JMEllis
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by JMEllis » January 2nd, 2019, 9:45 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 8:57 am
Χαίρε, Joel.

Welcome to B-Greek! What approach are you taking in your daily discipline for 2019? Anything we can learn from or help with?

At least a dozen or dozens of people here use SLA or ESL or SIOP approaches to teaching and learning Greek, so you have company. I only know the vocal ones.
I am hoping to listen and read through the NT four times this year using the Cell Rule of Optina plan which I have found very helpful over the last few years. I have never used this plan to read through the Greek NT, so this will be a new experiment for me. I signed up for David Noe's Moss Method class, and I am looking forward to working through that material. I am also trying to do more memorization from the Greek NT. I have been inconsistent in this discipline over the last few years, but I hope in 2019 to commit a significant portion of text to memory.

Thank you for the very kind welcome!
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Joel M. Ellis, Jr.
Pastor at Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 2nd, 2019, 1:06 pm

One of my favorite quotes is from Daniel Streett, that exegesis is largely the attempt to control a language that one doesn't actually know. I find this to be largely true -- you don't see "exegesis" being done in any discipline except biblical studies. Mastery of the language would obviate the need for most of the discipline.
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 2nd, 2019, 2:07 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 1:06 pm
-- you don't see "exegesis" being done in any discipline except biblical studies.

Burn all the commentaries.


P. Tzamalikos is a philologist and a Greek, a philosophy professor at Thessaloniki Univ. who does exegesis[1].

[1]Panayiotis Tzamalikos An Ancient Commentary on the Book of Revelation; See the extended notes on The Scholia in Apocalypsin. Philologists do exegesis.

Postscript:

Tzamalikos doesn't diagram sentences but he talks extensively about shared idioms in the early Greek Fathers.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Intro - Joel Ellis

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 2nd, 2019, 2:49 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 2:07 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 1:06 pm
-- you don't see "exegesis" being done in any discipline except biblical studies.

Burn all the commentaries.


P. Tzamalikos is a philologist and a Greek, a philosophy professor at Thessaloniki Univ. who does exegesis[1].

[1]Panayiotis Tzamalikos An Ancient Commentary on the Book of Revelation; See the extended notes on The Scholia in Apocalypsin. Philologists do exegesis.

Postscript:

Tzamalikos doesn't diagram sentences but he talks extensively about shared idioms in the early Greek Fathers.
Being a modern Greek working with ancient Greek gives one no special benefits -- one still has to learn it as a second language. Look at the commentaries and writings of ancient writers fluent in the language -- they don't do "exegesis" in the biblical studies sense at all. You also won't find anything like it in studies of other types of literature, including classical studies, German, French...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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