Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.

Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Jacob Rhoden » February 17th, 2013, 10:10 pm

[Not sure if this is the best place for the question, please move it if need be]

I am very interested to find out how many people (if any) actually do their main bible reading in the original text. It seems as if this would be a worthwhile and achievable goal, it makes me wonder how many people actually do.

If the answer is yes, what pronunciation do you subvocalise in?
Jacob Rhoden
 
Posts: 14
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby RandallButh » February 18th, 2013, 3:59 am

Jacob,
Your question, interests and goal are all good, though I don't think that a few random responses on an e-list will accurately answer them.
My guess would be that around the world those who primarily read the NT in Greek probably number in five figures (10,000-99,999), IF one discounts Modern Greek speakers. Including Modern Greek speakers would push the number into 7 figures.

Naturally, the Modern Greek speakers read the GNT with a modern pronunciation, while by and large the vast majority of non-Greek speaking readers of the GNT (the five-figure group) use various academic pronunciations that corrupt the assonance and rhyme of the Koine period. Modern Greek is actually closer than the various academic/seminary local systems. A small but growing group are using a Koine system which is basically modern plus two additional vowel sounds, Hta, and y-psilon. Most of these people are also working on learning to speak and think in the language, always an admirable goal if planning to do serious reading.

Hebrew is a different kettle of fish and probably not for this Greek list. Numbers probably match the Greek, though synagogue use probably pushes the non-Israeli readers into 6-7 figures.. A higher percentage of academics use a modern Hebrew pronunciation than in comparison to academic and modern Greek. Percentage wise, a relatively small but significant percentage of non-Israeli academics are able to communicate with each other in Hebrew and for them the modern five-vowel Hebrew pronunciation is a standard. In comparison between Greek readers and Hebrew readers, the Hebrew group. then. is better off, by having a sub-group for whom the morphology of the language has been internalized.
RandallButh
 
Posts: 589
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Jacob Rhoden » February 18th, 2013, 8:55 am

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. The main reason for my post was I guess to ascertain if such a goal is reasonable. I have ordered the materials, I guess I will find out soon enough (:
Jacob Rhoden
 
Posts: 14
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Jonathan Robie » February 18th, 2013, 9:13 am

RandallButh wrote:My guess would be that around the world those who primarily read the NT in Greek probably number in five figures (10,000-99,999), IF one discounts Modern Greek speakers. Including Modern Greek speakers would push the number into 7 figures.


That many? Wow!

What is your guess based on?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1491
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby RandallButh » February 18th, 2013, 9:43 am

Well, let's see.

If 1/3 of those on this list regularly read their GNT as their main NT, that would be several hundred.

At SBL/AAR close to 10,000 people come together, mainly religion and biblical studies profs. I would guess that 2000 probably read the GNT as their main NT. One could add the 1500-2000 at ETS and guesstimate another several hundred.

From these first 2-3 sources, let's say 3000.

Then one must extrapolate that most Greek teachers around the world do NOT attend SBL etc., so my guesstimate goes over 10000.
Add to that all of the students of classics of a generation and I would guess that any who reached a level of, say, a BA would intuitively approach the NT in Greek. To all of those, I recognize that there are little unpredictables, people tucked away in a cabin somewhere, or a librarian, or Christian missionary, who add to the number. So would 20,000 regular readers of the GNT be too small? Probably.

Then, as mentioned, one must consider the Greek nation, especially those trained before 1980. I remember sitting on the beach at a restaurant in Patmos a few years ago, eating Greek yogurt with walnuts and honey, sipping ELLHNIKO. I was reading THN APOKALYPSIN. I mean, what else, while on Patmos? The young waitress asked what I was reading, seeing this English-speaking couple looking at a Greek text. I mentioned H APOKALYPSIS and she commented that she had just read it and we discussed a point or two. Apparently she read it in the 'old language' (and text/KEIMENON, probably 1904), because that is what we discussed (though technically I would have had NA 27/UBS4 open) :) . That was a visit to Patmos when I later got to listen in and address a Greek highschool class, where smiles and eyes rolled hearing this foreigner use such oddities in live speech as the old 'future' and 'APAREMFATA'. It was fun.
RandallButh
 
Posts: 589
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby ed krentz » February 18th, 2013, 11:40 am

I read the NT in Greek all the time; I rarely open any English translation. After all, one can read 90% of the NT at sight if one knows all the words that occur 10 or more times in the NT. [Of course it presumes that you also know the principal parts of irregular verbs.] It's a goal that any serious student of the NT can reach in a few months of study. And one can infer the sense of many lesser used terms if one thins etymologically and in terms of the function of many suffixes. Look at Albert Debrunner's GRIECHISCHE WORTBILDUNGSLEHRE

Edgar Krentz
Edgar Krentz
Prof. Emeritus of NT
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
ed krentz
 
Posts: 54
Joined: February 22nd, 2012, 5:34 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Jacob Rhoden » February 18th, 2013, 6:25 pm

ed krentz wrote:I read the NT in Greek all the time; I rarely open any English translation. .... It's a goal that any serious student of the NT can reach in a few months of study.


Thats certainly encouraging! I've started by ordering Randall Buth's materials. If I can get that far in a few months of serious study I will be very happy.
Jacob Rhoden
 
Posts: 14
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » February 19th, 2013, 6:55 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:
ed krentz wrote:I read the NT in Greek all the time; I rarely open any English translation. .... It's a goal that any serious student of the NT can reach in a few months of study.


Thats certainly encouraging! I've started by ordering Randall Buth's materials. If I can get that far in a few months of serious study I will be very happy.


I've been doing my main NT Bible reading in Greek since about 1979, having been trained in the traditional grammar-reading approach. It certainly is an attainable goal, if one works at it.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Barry Hofstetter
 
Posts: 607
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby Jacob Rhoden » February 19th, 2013, 6:11 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I've been doing my main NT Bible reading in Greek since about 1979, having been trained in the traditional grammar-reading approach. It certainly is an attainable goal, if one works at it.


Thats very cool. Thats almost longer than I have been alive!

In terms of method, I can only speak on my experience in learning another language, throwing away my traditional textbooks and switching to the "modern" method seems to accelerate the learning process.
Jacob Rhoden
 
Posts: 14
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am

Re: Who does their main bible reading in Greek?

Postby klriley » February 19th, 2013, 7:23 pm

I would never want to discourage anyone from reading the NT - or anything else - in Greek, but I find the claim that the average student can learn to do so in a few months somewhat unbelievable. Not that it can't be done. I had a teacher who some years earlier had landed in Peru and could speak/read fluent Spanish 6 months later, but his expectations that his students would have similar success with NT Greek did not work out. Most of us took 2 years to get to where we could read the NT - and, more importantly, material we were unfamiliar with - without needing to refer to the lexicon or grammar constantly. If we were learning in Athens or any Greek speaking city, I would consider it possible, but most of us aren't surrounded by Greek constantly. If I could afford to take Randall's courses and do nothing else, then I also would expect to reach the level of being able to read Koiné Greek literature in a few months. But for most of us, with other studies or work or families or some combination thereof, I would see a year or two as more realistic. But there is no reason why any of us should resign ourselves to being 'average', any more than we should resign ourselves to being 'ordinary'.
klriley
 
Posts: 20
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 1:20 am

Next

Return to Teaching and Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests