"I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Benjamin Kantor
Posts: 59
Joined: June 24th, 2017, 3:18 am

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Benjamin Kantor » January 7th, 2019, 7:59 pm

I am by no means no expert on this myself, but Paul Nation (2007), who seems to be relatively recent and in the mainstream for SLA stuff, has put forward the idea of the "four strands" in language learning/acquisition. His four strands are as follows:

1) Learning Through Listening and Reading

2) Learning Through Speaking and Writing

3) Language-focused Learning

4) Becoming Fluent in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing


Paul Nation (2007) The Four Strands, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1:1, 2-13, DOI: 10.2167/illt039.0
0 x


For Koine Greek recordings and videos:

https://www.KoineGreek.com

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 959
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm

Why is it that the SLA people still participate in exegetical discussion? Deep irony seeing the 2 questions on Eph 3:14-19 https://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vi ... f=6&t=4660 .

This is just a 21st century version of the exegesis that was being panned yesterday and the day before. I am not suggesting that exegesis and SLA must be an either/or decision. But the most vocal SLA promoters have been trashing exegesis without mercy until some of us have grown weary of it. It is pretty demotivating when your struggling to read difficult texts to have SLA people always telling you it's a waste of time.

I didn't even pull Harold Hoehner off the shelf to see what he says about Eph 3:14-19; why bother? Just read it. Right?
0 x
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3628
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 8th, 2019, 5:35 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm
I am not suggesting that exegesis and SLA must be an either/or decision. But the most vocal SLA promoters have been trashing exegesis without mercy until some of us have grown weary of it.
Trashing bad exegesis, I think. Texts need to be read and interpreted. Linguistic metalanguage is of very limited value for interpreting texts if you do not understand the language.

I think that's what the joke about exegesis is getting at.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

RandallButh
Posts: 1020
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by RandallButh » January 9th, 2019, 3:50 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 5:35 pm
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm
I am not suggesting that exegesis and SLA must be an either/or decision. But the most vocal SLA promoters have been trashing exegesis without mercy until some of us have grown weary of it.
Trashing bad exegesis, I think. Texts need to be read and interpreted. Linguistic metalanguage is of very limited value for interpreting texts if you do not understand the language.

I think that's what the joke about exegesis is getting at.
Yes, Jonathan, I think that that is on target.

Also:
Why is it that the SLA people still participate in exegetical discussion?

Well, if "exegetical discussion" means discussing a Greek text in English, then the answer to "why the discussion, in English?", is because the field is not capable of discussing the text in Greek. That is a shame on the field, and something that is not true about other literatures. German lit can be discussed in German, even by non-Germans. And, "Yes," we would be better off if the practitioners in the field would not need to take an assignment home overnight in order to answer a question like "tell us what you did last week, in Greek".

And, yes, again, persons who control German fluently will be better exegetes ["close readers", as called in the field of literature] than if they did not control German. (But beware of the false extrapolation: they are not necessarily better than someone else who does not control German fluently, they are only better than they themselves would have been without the fluent control. On the positive side, the non-fluent "exegete" would be an even better exegete if they became fluent. I think that that is a "duh" [מובן מאליו, self-evident, δῆλον ὅτι ἐκφανὲς καὶ ἐναργές ἐστι], and is backed up by the fact that literature departments the world over strongly demand and/or strongly recommend a fluent control of the language.)
1 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3628
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 9th, 2019, 10:20 am

RandallButh wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 3:50 am
And, yes, again, persons who control German fluently will be better exegetes ["close readers", as called in the field of literature] than if they did not control German. (But beware of the false extrapolation: they are not necessarily better than someone else who does not control German fluently, they are only better than they themselves would have been without the fluent control.)
I think that last sentence is very helpful and important.

Personal experience: I majored in German literature for a few years, particularly medieval German literature, but I also studied modern. At the time, I had taken 2 years of German in middle school and 4 in high school and was reasonably good at conversational German, but that did not help me much when I had to read a Thomas Mann novel, especially one notorious sentence in Death in Venice. We discussed these texts in German, but we were allowed to write papers in either English or German. The class was not about German, it was about analyzing texts from a phenomenological standpoint, and the German we had to learn to do this was not what I had learned in high school. Neither was the German in the books we were reading. Success required targetted attention to this kind of German and to the kinds of tasks we were being asked to do in German. And a good teacher. And reading lots and lots of books.

After living in Germany for 8 years, I can easily read just about any text, much better than I could in college. I don't think we can do anything today that is equivalent to that for Greek.

But I see people reading theological German reasonably well without any real mastery of the language, well enough to translate accurately with few mistakes, knowing when to ask questions. That's not terrible either, and it may be all they have time for.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Benjamin Kantor
Posts: 59
Joined: June 24th, 2017, 3:18 am

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Benjamin Kantor » January 9th, 2019, 8:17 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 10:20 am
RandallButh wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 3:50 am
And, yes, again, persons who control German fluently will be better exegetes ["close readers", as called in the field of literature] than if they did not control German. (But beware of the false extrapolation: they are not necessarily better than someone else who does not control German fluently, they are only better than they themselves would have been without the fluent control.)
I think that last sentence is very helpful and important.
I second/third that last sentence as well.

This, in fact, was my own experience. I had some REALLY brilliant classmates during my undergraduate classics degree. A good few of them went on to do graduate degrees at ivy-league schools or something like that. I was definitely not the best in the class. As their classmate, I had been learning Greek with grammar translation for the first couple years of my degree and then I finally first did an intensive communicative workshop during the summer before the last year of my degree.

I think even after I got back, some of my classmates might still have been better than me at figuring out the grammar of a difficult Greek sentence--though there were other things that I was better at than they were (so it wasn't a super obvious difference between me and them)--BUT what I did notice so clearly was that I had improved so drastically myself as compared to what I had been able to do before. So even if there was not a noticeable gap between me and my classmates, there was a noticeable gap between the me before and after the communicative workshop.

And I think that is really what Randall is getting at. No matter where you are, top expert or beginner, the communicative method will only make you that much better. And there are certainly people who have not done the communicative method who have greater linguistic proficiency than those who have.

Also, if nothing else, communicative learning just makes you read faster and capable of going through much more material at a faster rate.
0 x
For Koine Greek recordings and videos:

https://www.KoineGreek.com

Paul-Nitz
Posts: 477
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Paul-Nitz » January 11th, 2019, 10:13 am

beniamin wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:17 pm
I had improved so drastically myself as compared to what I had been able to do before.
I had learned Greek through 4 years of Grammar Translation in college. Years later, I began to teach Greek the only way I knew how. Though I was teaching Greek, my advances were minimal. Then I began learning and teaching Greek via communicative methods. My improvement in and enjoyment of Greek has been dramatic. It was not sudden. It took masses of hard work. But the pay-off for me was huge.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 4:10 pm
Not too long ago someone posted a link to an article discussing research on language acquisition which concluded that composition didn't contribute significantly to acquisition. Reading and comprehending large volumes of text written by native speakers was the main factor in acquisition.
You won't find any scholarly SLA articles about the use of composition to learn language, at least not in the sense we think of with Greek composition. It simply isn't considered as a discrete learning strategy. What is often debated is the role of input and output in developing a "mental representation" of a language, that is, acquiring language at an implicit level. Krashen's (1982) comprehensible input hypothesis argues that focus on form and grammar do nothing to help a person acquire a language. Swain (1985) disagreed, saying that output (speaking and writing) were an important part of the language learning process. He called this languaging and claims that it mediates cognition. Bill Van Patten, a popular current scholar in Instructed SLA (ISLA = study of learning language in a classroom) would see a role in output, but he basically confirms Krashen's theory. Comprehensible input builds language. Output reflects what has been built.
0 x
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Sam Parkinson
Posts: 8
Joined: July 2nd, 2018, 10:51 am

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Sam Parkinson » January 24th, 2019, 11:57 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:
January 11th, 2019, 10:13 am
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 4:10 pm
Not too long ago someone posted a link to an article discussing research on language acquisition which concluded that composition didn't contribute significantly to acquisition. Reading and comprehending large volumes of text written by native speakers was the main factor in acquisition.
You won't find any scholarly SLA articles about the use of composition to learn language, at least not in the sense we think of with Greek composition. It simply isn't considered as a discrete learning strategy. What is often debated is the role of input and output in developing a "mental representation" of a language, that is, acquiring language at an implicit level. Krashen's (1982) comprehensible input hypothesis argues that focus on form and grammar do nothing to help a person acquire a language. Swain (1985) disagreed, saying that output (speaking and writing) were an important part of the language learning process. He called this languaging and claims that it mediates cognition. Bill Van Patten, a popular current scholar in Instructed SLA (ISLA = study of learning language in a classroom) would see a role in output, but he basically confirms Krashen's theory. Comprehensible input builds language. Output reflects what has been built.
Is that true? Paul Nation (quoted earlier in this thread), in talking about his four strands of language acquisition/learning, has output as one of those strands, and many of the writing activities that he mentions are at least very close to Greek composition.

He backs the methods up with a variety of studies, especially in his book. His overall method is summed up here https://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/s ... e_1125.pdf.

He (like everyone!) still emphasizes the critical role of large amounts of input, of course.

I'm not sure that Nation isn't more mainstream in SLA than Krashen/Van Patten, even if they are better known in the USA. Certainly, he has a huge impact on teaching English as a foreign language.
0 x

Benjamin Kantor
Posts: 59
Joined: June 24th, 2017, 3:18 am

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Benjamin Kantor » January 25th, 2019, 10:09 am

Sam Parkinson wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 11:57 am
Paul-Nitz wrote:
January 11th, 2019, 10:13 am
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 4:10 pm
Not too long ago someone posted a link to an article discussing research on language acquisition which concluded that composition didn't contribute significantly to acquisition. Reading and comprehending large volumes of text written by native speakers was the main factor in acquisition.
You won't find any scholarly SLA articles about the use of composition to learn language, at least not in the sense we think of with Greek composition. It simply isn't considered as a discrete learning strategy. What is often debated is the role of input and output in developing a "mental representation" of a language, that is, acquiring language at an implicit level. Krashen's (1982) comprehensible input hypothesis argues that focus on form and grammar do nothing to help a person acquire a language. Swain (1985) disagreed, saying that output (speaking and writing) were an important part of the language learning process. He called this languaging and claims that it mediates cognition. Bill Van Patten, a popular current scholar in Instructed SLA (ISLA = study of learning language in a classroom) would see a role in output, but he basically confirms Krashen's theory. Comprehensible input builds language. Output reflects what has been built.
Is that true? Paul Nation (quoted earlier in this thread), in talking about his four strands of language acquisition/learning, has output as one of those strands, and many of the writing activities that he mentions are at least very close to Greek composition.

He backs the methods up with a variety of studies, especially in his book. His overall method is summed up here https://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/s ... e_1125.pdf.

He (like everyone!) still emphasizes the critical role of large amounts of input, of course.

I'm not sure that Nation isn't more mainstream in SLA than Krashen/Van Patten, even if they are better known in the USA. Certainly, he has a huge impact on teaching English as a foreign language.
I might also add that my Arabic prof. Kristen Brustad when I was doing my degree, who is literally world-renowned for language pedagogy (courses teaching Arabic in the Middle East use her materials!) and also served as a bit of a mentor for me in language pedagogy, had us do regular weekly writing exercises in Arabic. I can't remember if it was her or a TA (who presumably was relaying it from her philosophy/pedagogy) who mentioned that merely by writing every week, even without correction, your language ability improves. Now that comment might have been confined to writing ability, I can't remember, but I can't imagine why we would not consider writing ability part of learning a language. And it certainly has at least some effect on how you use the language elsewhere.

I suppose it depends on how you define pure acquisition.
0 x
For Koine Greek recordings and videos:

https://www.KoineGreek.com

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1631
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 25th, 2019, 11:44 am

All I can say is that Greek and Latin prose composition helped me. Writing may be a different skill than speaking, but it still helps the student to process the language.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Post Reply

Return to “Teaching and Learning Greek”