Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby ed krentz » May 27th, 2014, 10:39 am

cwconrad wrote:You've already had several different answers to your question. I could chime in with my own experience of studying New Testament Koine in my first year of academic Greek, moving on to read the Iliad of Homer in my second year, and then to read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in my third year -- but that's no help to you in understanding what you're asking, any more than reading the flawed Wikipedia account of the history of the Greek language. I think this is like asking, "What's the difference between chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream?" You can't get where you want to go by asking that kind of question. It might be a little more helpful to look at three or four pages of texts of several lines each from several eras of Greek from Mycenean or Homeric up to the modern demotic. It would be like looking at texts from Beowulf, the Magna Carta, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Whitman, Faulkner (just to list some literary texts of significance) and asking, "What's the difference between the "English" of these texts? There is no road map that will take you to distinctly segmented temporal and geographical dominions of a language; there are only the ways in which a language is spoken, heard, written (if written at all) and understood in a particular time at a particular place. You have to go there and listen to it and hear it and begin to make sense of what you hear and learn to talk to its speakers bit by bit. Historical linguists (or Linguistic historians?) can draw up lists of features and of geographical areas and time-periods in which the language in question is "more or less stable", and what they tell you is something that you may or may not find useful as an answer to your question. Such answers are abstractions based on somewhat arbitrarily-chosen criteria, approximations. But to know what Homeric Greek is you'll need to read a sizable amount of Homeric verse; to know what's Attic Greek you'll need to read some Xenophon and some Thucydides and some Sophocles and some Aeschylus. And so forth. This is a beginner's question, but I am not sure that a beginner in Greek can be given a very useful answer to the question.

======================
I began Greek as a high school junior in 1943, reading Xenophon. Homer and Plato. In seminary I translated for required courses Luke, 1 Corinthians and Romans, and took electives kn John and James. In my Ph. D. program at Washington University (before Carl taught there) I read Pindar, 3 Greek tragedies,3 comedies and Thudydides. I had a seminary in which we read the entire Iliad the first semester, the entire Odyssey the next.

My son at Yale decided to do his degree in Ancient Greek history after a course in ancient history. Took the one semester course in Attic Greek, then a reading course in his junior year. Unhappy with his Greek ability he came home after his junior year and translated Thucydides for four to five hours a day, using the LSJ as his resource. He is now Professor ancient history and classics at Davidson College, a respected authority on Greek warfare (read his book on the Battle of Marathon).

In brief there is no shortcut to mastery of ancient Greek other than meticulously and carefully reading large quantities of text. No theory of linguistics makes it easier--though it may help an instructor develop better modes of introducing the language.

Ed Krentz
Edgar Krentz
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Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 27th, 2014, 2:29 pm

ed krentz wrote:
I began Greek as a high school junior in 1943, reading Xenophon. Homer and Plato. In seminary I translated for required courses Luke, 1 Corinthians and Romans, and took electives kn John and James. In my Ph. D. program at Washington University (before Carl taught there) I read Pindar, 3 Greek tragedies,3 comedies and Thudydides. I had a seminary in which we read the entire Iliad the first semester, the entire Odyssey the next.

My son at Yale decided to do his degree in Ancient Greek history after a course in ancient history. Took the one semester course in Attic Greek, then a reading course in his junior year. Unhappy with his Greek ability he came home after his junior year and translated Thucydides for four to five hours a day, using the LSJ as his resource. He is now Professor ancient history and classics at Davidson College, a respected authority on Greek warfare (read his book on the Battle of Marathon).

In brief there is no shortcut to mastery of ancient Greek other than meticulously and carefully reading large quantities of text. No theory of linguistics makes it easier--though it may help an instructor develop better modes of introducing the language.

Ed Krentz


That last paragraph is nicely stated. Sometime students ask me if there are any tricks or secrets to learning Greek (or Latin). I tell them "Work hard at learning the grammar/syntax, memorizing your paradigms and vocabulary, and reading lots of the language." When they inform me that this doesn't sound like a secret or a trick, I respond, "Ah, the beginning of wisdom!" I wonder if there is any seminary on the planet today in which people read the Iliad and the Odyssey? I didn't read the entire Odyssey until grad school, and, -- oh the pain -- I've never read the Iliad in Greek.
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2014, 3:24 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
ed krentz wrote:In brief there is no shortcut to mastery of ancient Greek other than meticulously and carefully reading large quantities of text. No theory of linguistics makes it easier--though it may help an instructor develop better modes of introducing the language.


That last paragraph is nicely stated. Sometime students ask me if there are any tricks or secrets to learning Greek (or Latin). I tell them "Work hard at learning the grammar/syntax, memorizing your paradigms and vocabulary, and reading lots of the language." When they inform me that this doesn't sound like a secret or a trick, I respond, "Ah, the beginning of wisdom!" I wonder if there is any seminary on the planet today in which people read the Iliad and the Odyssey? I didn't read the entire Odyssey until grad school, and, -- oh the pain -- I've never read the Iliad in Greek.

Yes, we can paraphrase Euclid (apud Proclus) and say μὴ εἶναι βασιλικὴν ἀτραπὸν ἐπὶ ἑλληνικήν.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 27th, 2014, 3:40 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Yes, we can paraphrase Euclid (apud Proclus) and say μὴ εἶναι βασιλικὴν ἀτραπὸν ἐπὶ ἑλληνικήν.


That would be "apud Proclum..." :ugeek:
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2014, 3:46 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Yes, we can paraphrase Euclid (apud Proclus) and say μὴ εἶναι βασιλικὴν ἀτραπὸν ἐπὶ ἑλληνικήν.


That would be "apud Proclum..." :ugeek:

:oops: Serves me right for doing a quick, last-minute edit.
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Re: Homeric, Classical, Koine...whats the REAL difference?

Postby Stephen Hughes » May 28th, 2014, 11:42 am

Jordan Day wrote:It makes me feel that I am actually just memorizing entire chapters of the gospels in Greek, and playing the video of the narrative in my head at the same time, rather than actually UNDERSTAND the language like an ancient person would...who would have been able to hear any story or message for the first time and comprehend it at full speed.
Making a rough judgement of what your level might conceivably be, I have prepared what I would guess is a text of a suitable level that you could have some successs with. Unseen (Unknown) Koine Text.
- Mire sear stir ears art our players for are mourn Thor sore.
- Wart word sheer warned tore door tore more roar?
- Sheer word warned tore gore tore Bore stern, Ire sir pores.
- Mare Ire gore tore?
- Sure!
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