Expertise in Greek

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.
Jason Hare
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Re: Porter's SBL review of "The Greek Verb Revisited"

Post by Jason Hare » December 5th, 2017, 12:27 am

RandallButh wrote:
December 3rd, 2017, 10:06 pm
In Reading studies in Second Language Acquisition reading occurs when a person reads over 150fps. Sad to say, most profs do not 'read'. Perhaps one could make a little allowance for long strings of backgrounded phrases in a sentence, but that would not change the overall picture. Particularly at seminaries, if you plopped a text of Josephus in front of the prof they would hem and haw and get most of a paragraph but not the whole thing. Similarly for Hebrew. And no, that is not like the situation in other languages and literatures.
I mentioned in a thread on B-Hebrew that I just joined a Facebook with the goal of reading both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures from start to finish over 2018. This will be my first time doing such a thing, and I'm far more worried about the NT than about the OT. Why? Because I'm surrounded by Hebrew in my daily life, I am aware of words that I never officially learned while studying Hebrew. In the last two days, I read twelve chapters of Genesis in order to get a head start on the group. I was really surprised to find words that I have learned in spoken Hebrew appearing in Genesis that I never knew were there – words that I thought were certainly modern in origin!

I'm so thankful that I got to learn modern, colloquial Hebrew. If I hadn't learned to think and speak in the language, I would have been a much greater disadvantage when it comes to getting through large portions of text like what I'm about to start reading.

I started studying NT Greek in 1998. It hasn't been a consistent road for me from then until now, but I feel like I should know Greek much better than I do. Don't get me wrong – I can pick up the NT and simply read in most places. Read with comprehension. But, getting it to come out of my mouth, getting my mind to form expressions on its own, picking up a text that is not in the NT... all of this is much more difficult for me than I'd like to admit.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

tdbenedict
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by tdbenedict » December 5th, 2017, 11:05 am

Thanks.

However, I think my questions are getting interpreted as something along the lines of "what is the best way to learn Greek", which isn't what I am trying to ask. My own fault.

Here are my questions, hopefully sharpened:

1. Is it true that most expert academics in NT Greek do not have a high reading level in Greek (i,e, grab and read ability to read a variety of Greek texts)? I am NOT asking what is the best way to achieve such an ability. Maybe it can be achieved by oral fluency work, maybe by locking oneself in a room for 10 years with texts, maybe brain transplant, voodoo, selling one's soul, whatever.

2.. If the answer to 1 is yes, how does that not gravely undermine the authority of the field to make claims about the language?

3. Is there any work out there on this issue that I can read and get smart?
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Tim Benedict

MAubrey
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Re: Porter's SBL review of "The Greek Verb Revisited"

Post by MAubrey » December 5th, 2017, 11:25 am

tdbenedict wrote:
December 4th, 2017, 8:37 pm
To regular people, the idea that a person can opine as an expert on the meaning of a text or the language of the text without a high reading level in the language of that text seems really strange. However, as a grumpy middle-aged professional in a completely different field, I understand that regular people are often completely wrong. Question: Is there any work out there that deals with this question head-on that I can read and get smarter?
Who knows the airplane better? The pilot or the mechanic?
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Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

RandallButh
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by RandallButh » December 5th, 2017, 1:11 pm

Mike,

I'm not sure which way to go to answer your analogy. My son is a pilot. The pilots and mechanics work together. Often the pilot tells the mechanic what isn't working correctly, may report that something [that may be within spec] has changed, or that they have needed to change their flying pattern in order to accommodate something that needs fixing. Both pilots and mechanics need to know the final output and function of various systems, but the mechanic will know what torque to use on screws around the plane, the precise measurement of the pieces, and the status of wear. PS: if mechanics make a mistake pilots can die, but pilot error accounts for far too many accidents. My take: I wish that Greek grammarians and students would take their theories out for a test drive to see what it generates. Something like aspect gets recognized really quickly because the student/encoder has to choose been 'continuative and aorist non-indicatives in practically every clause and every sentence. At dinner, would one say παρακαλῶ δίδου μοι τὸ ἄλας, or παρακαλῶ δὀς μοι τὸ ἄλας, κτλ.? [δός].

For Tim, I'm afraid that there are no tests or standards for the field, only anecdotes.
Ten years ago I was talking with a widely known NTGreek author about the possibility and advantages that might come from getting a dozen or half-dozen Greek profs together on a Greek island for a couple weeks where all communication within the group would be in Koine Greek. He liked the idea but said that there was only one problem: finding people who could meaningfully talk to each other in Koine Greek. Now Tim may feel that the anecdote is irrelevant because it deals with oral communication rather than written. But the real problem is time. Greek profs can crank out sentences and paragraphs when given enough time. The author was rightly questioning whether or not the profs could do that fast enough to maintain group interaction.

Another anecdote, on Hebrew. a decade ago we had a session at an SBL where we discussed the need and advantages of having a standardized BH exam. Programs could be objectively compared and students and teachers would know where people's levels were. For example, such exams exist for languages like German, French, Russian, et al., and grad students can have a level assessed in order to meet a requirement "can read language X". We discussed how to design such an exam. One professor raised a caveat, there would be a problem in finding the right people to write exam questions. The professor also said that few were capable of doing that reliably and correctly. [Note to Greek students: BH studies are almost as messed up as NTG. The field cannot definitely say whether the default way to say 'the house is big' is gadol ha-bayit or ha-bayit gadol, (הבית גדול).]

Finally, a note for hyper-purists: there is nothing wrong in making mistakes in rapid language use. Mother-tongue speakers do it all the time when recorded and analyzed. Adult, second-language users do it much more often and often in ways that MT users don't usually do. But that doesn't mean that the fluent second-language-users should not have attained that fluency or that they do not do a much better job reading and interpreting texts than a student doing a first-course in composition in language X.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Porter's SBL review of "The Greek Verb Revisited"

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 5th, 2017, 1:24 pm

Jason Hare wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 12:27 am
I mentioned in a thread on B-Hebrew that I just joined a Facebook with the goal of reading both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures from start to finish over 2018. This will be my first time doing such a thing
My favorite bible professor did this every year, he didn't carry an English translation. Took two courses from him, Pentateuch and Pauline epistles (Rom, 1Cor, Gal). Awesome lectures. Awesome midterm, students in tears. Immediately after that his wife divorced him and he lost his job. Recently looked him up on the Internet, ThD, PhD, taught for 35 years. This professor along with a Derrida Disciple MDiv graduate from Denver, both total fanatics about Biblical languages, had a deep impression on me roughly 40 years ago.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Robert Crowe
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by Robert Crowe » December 5th, 2017, 8:17 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
December 4th, 2017, 4:40 pm

Don't need more friends, need more people fluent in the language! :lol:
A couple of barbed quotes come to mind.
People who study Greek don’t have friends.
[Medic in a Greek Reading group]
People who know Greek know a lot of Greek and very little about anything else.
[G.B. Shaw ‘Major Barbara’]
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Tús maith leath na hoibre.

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 6th, 2017, 6:50 am

Robert Crowe wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 8:17 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
December 4th, 2017, 4:40 pm

Don't need more friends, need more people fluent in the language! :lol:
A couple of barbed quotes come to mind.
People who study Greek don’t have friends.
[Medic in a Greek Reading group]
People who know Greek know a lot of Greek and very little about anything else.
[G.B. Shaw ‘Major Barbara’]
I beg to differ. I have friends -- all of whom have studied Greek. And many people who have studied Greek also know Latin or Hebrew... :)

When I was an undergrad, the school had divided itself into 4 major disciplines, Languages, Math/Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities. At that time (way back in the 20th century), if you had sufficient coursework in 3 of the 4 disciplines, you did not have to take any coursework in the 4th. As an "ancient studies" major emphasizing Greek and Latin I had humanities and languages nailed for my major, and adding a few polisci and a sociology, bingo! No math/science. I majored in Greek and Latin so I didn't have to take math... :lol:
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

RandallButh
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by RandallButh » December 6th, 2017, 1:29 pm

συλλυπουμένου μου ἐπὶ τῇ σου δυστυχίᾳ οὐκ οίδας ὅτι ἡ ἀριθμητικὴ ἡ γλῶσσά έστιν τοῦ θεοῦ;
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Jason Hare
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by Jason Hare » December 6th, 2017, 2:18 pm

RandallButh wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 1:11 pm
[Note to Greek students: BH studies are almost as messed up as NTG. The field cannot definitely say whether he default way to say 'the house is big' is gadol ha-bayit or ha-bayit gadol, (הבית גדול).]
Ps 48:2: גָּדוֹל יהוה וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד בְּעִיר אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַר־קָדְשׁוֹ

Not יהוה גדול but גדול יהוה - with the predicate adjective preceding the subject.

I agree that הבית גדול is correct, but I would (without really investigating the question yet) agree with those who say that גדול הבית is the standard order for nominal clauses with predicate adjectives.

Unless... perhaps there is some kind of change of order when more information is added.

הבית גדול
גדול הבית ומפואר עד מאד
הבית גדול ומפואר עד מאד
??
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

RandallButh
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Re: Expertise in Greek

Post by RandallButh » December 6th, 2017, 3:11 pm

Jason,
I have a long article on this in the Verbless Clause in BH volume (1999?). gadol ha-bayit has fronted 'gadol' for pragmatic effect.
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