Why not start with modern Greek?

JustinSmith
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by JustinSmith » August 16th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Benjamin Kantor wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 11:33 am
My ideal 3-year curriculum would be as follows:

...
Benjamin, I could quibble with a couple of points—and might be wrong—but overall I think your three year curriculum would be stout. It is better defined than my idealistic sketch. I would love to see it become a reality. How many credit hours are you assuming and at which level?
RandallButh wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 6:50 am
I've also talked with Greeks in Greece on this issue and noticed how easily they handle ancient texts. Granted, the high-school teachers have done at least a BA in Greek lit. But they would not trade in their modern fluency and they do see it as a major help.

The question becomes efficiency. When discussing a 1-or-2 year intensive program, I don't see the time available for full modern fluency...

Still, if I were to design a multi-year graduate program in Greek it would be communicative, of course, and it would include fluency in modern to a level of attending lectures and discussing them in Greek, and reading books...
Randall, I like your distinction between undergrad and grad programs—and I think you are placing the appropriate emphases on Modern Greek in both. I am confused as to why modern fluency=major help still needs repeating, but the reoccurring theme is that those who have been in Greece and interacted substantially with natives take it as a granted. I imagine your would be familiar with Greg's GPA, what would you think about an institution in Athens similar to Shababeek Center? This could be in the works... πρώτα ο Θεός...

As one predominantly interested in Biblical Studies, I share your conviction about Hebrew.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 9:02 am
And at the end of the day, the modern Greek who has studied ancient Greek and those who start out their life with other languages end up in the same place. Ph.D. programs in Classics do not require reading proficiency in modern Greek, but normally German and French.
Perhaps the problem lies within the academy and not the language? There are plenty of academic works on Greek by native Greeks. Just go to Syntagma and peruse Ianos. ;)
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RandallButh
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by RandallButh » August 16th, 2019, 2:43 pm

As one predominantly interested in Biblical Studies, I share your conviction about Hebrew.
Then you will know why the school/center needs to be in Israel rather than Athens.
To become fluent in Hebrew, all dialects and periods, there is no more efficient place than Israel.
However, to become fluent in ancient Greek one needs a good program more than modern Greek.

Check out 4220Foundation.com for IBLT and the School for Biblical Hebrew.
The current program only lists Hebrew but a parallel Greek track is planned and will be announced when a final starting date is fixed and accredited.
The (not-yet-announced) MA in Biblical Languages and Translation will require both a year of immersion in Hebrew and a year of immersion in Greek, plus some linguistics and translation consultation internship.
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JustinSmith
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by JustinSmith » August 17th, 2019, 8:48 am

Randall, I have looked into IBLT at the commendation of Scott McQuinn. I am very impressed by it, Θεός μαζί σας!
RandallButh wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:43 pm
Then you will know why the school/center needs to be in Israel rather than Athens.
To become fluent in Hebrew, all dialects and periods, there is no more efficient place than Israel.
However, to become fluent in ancient Greek one needs a good program more than modern Greek.
I am confused by your logic here. Hebrew in Israel? Φυσικά. But why not Greek in Greece? It seems to me to offer just as much for Greek as Israel does for Hebrew, if not more because Greek has been in that land continuously since the NT was written. The ancient dialects are tattooed upon the land, and the dialect of the NT is spoken in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jason Hare » August 17th, 2019, 9:30 am

RandallButh wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:43 pm
The current program only lists Hebrew but a parallel Greek track is planned and will be announced when a final starting date is fixed and accredited.
The (not-yet-announced) MA in Biblical Languages and Translation will require both a year of immersion in Hebrew and a year of immersion in Greek, plus some linguistics and translation consultation internship.
A couple of questions jump out to me as I watch the introduction video for IBLT's Hebrew program and read up on its online information.

First, I see that the MA program has a hefty price tag of over $33,000, which includes tuition, room and board, and various trips and such. Is there a requirement that students live at the facility? Could someone study in the classroom and live by their own means somewhere in the city or its environs? Would this affect the price tag of the program?

Second, is there a faith statement to which applicants must adhere? Can someone who applies be secular and simply interested in the Bible and its languages and cultures? To what extent does one need to be religious in order to participate? Can one be Jewish, or is the program only relevant for Christians (of whatever type)?

תודה רבה!‏
ג'ייסון
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

Jason Hare
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jason Hare » August 17th, 2019, 9:31 am

JustinSmith wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:48 am
I am confused by your logic here. Hebrew in Israel? Φυσικά.
Naturally? Of course? Why not φυσικῶν?
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

RandallButh
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by RandallButh » August 17th, 2019, 10:41 am

JustinSmith wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:48 am
Randall, I have looked into IBLT at the commendation of Scott McQuinn. I am very impressed by it, Θεός μαζί σας!
RandallButh wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:43 pm
Then you will know why the school/center needs to be in Israel rather than Athens.
To become fluent in Hebrew, all dialects and periods, there is no more efficient place than Israel.
However, to become fluent in ancient Greek one needs a good program more than modern Greek.
I am confused by your logic here. Hebrew in Israel? Φυσικά. But why not Greek in Greece? It seems to me to offer just as much for Greek as Israel does for Hebrew, if not more because Greek has been in that land continuously since the NT was written. The ancient dialects are tattooed upon the land, and the dialect of the NT is spoken in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church.
Don't be confused by the logic but consider some facts. Hebrew is simply much closer between dialects, so much so, that one should point out that 100% of modern Hebrew morphology maps into classical Hebrew and the words themselves, when attested, are the same. Not so, modern Greek. For example, modern Greek has -s- infixes in some of its imperfects and many verbs have changed their forms. Plus, a higher percentage of non-ancient based vocabulary is used in modern Greek. I muse over this problem quite a bit, but have concluded that a one-year immersion course on ancient Greek in Greece would not work any better than such a course in Jerusalem, maybe worse. In Greece students would need to spend too much time learning and using the modern dialect.

As a brief example with central core modals, in Hebrew one may say ani yaxol "I am able" in both modern and ancient (the participle with yaxol is attested in Arad-letters 1st-Temple Hebrew), but in Greek one says βρορώ in modern not δύναμαι . This is multiplied in too many vocab items in the core of the modern dialect. In Hebrew one can say `alay la`asot for "I must do it" in both ancient and modern, although ani tsariix and ani Hayyav from colloquial 2nd-Temple substrate and mishnaic Hebrew are more common in modern. But Greek? δεῖ με ποιῆσαι "I must do it, it is for me to do" is confusing in modern, as if to say "See me . . . [ποιεῖν the infinitive is not modern but the root ποιε- remains in many vocab items]. For 'want' both biblical and modern may use ani Hafets b-, although modern prefers ani rotsei, and ani rotsei in biblical dialect is slightly different "I am pleased with."

I am in favor of including modern Greek in an overall long-term program, but it is too distracting to work out of modern at the beginning and within a very limited time frame (under 12 months intensive). That is my conclusion. I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I have to make my best judgement here for program planning. The intensive program in Jerusalem would include three weeks of visits to Greece and Ionia (including a brief introduction to emergency modern Greek) but lectures on site would need to be in simple ancient Greek. [If the required guide couldn't do it, then bilingually with English, especially in Troy, Assos, Ephesus, Philadelphia, etc., but probably necessary in Greece proper {!], Epidauros, Korinth, Delphi, Mycanos-Delos, Patmos, Kos, etc. ]

For Jason:
Naturally? Of course? Why not φυσικῶν?

Adverbials are typical -a in modern. E.g. Koine καλῶς is καλά in modern.
Your second question is a yes-no-maybe kind of answer that is best reserved for when the Greek program comes on line. Very briefly, the main funders for the programs have been international Bible translation agencies/supporters and scholarships are so designated. Yes, off-campus is possible, especially families, but not recommended because of the current advantage/requirement for the participants to be in a raq-`ivrit environment, something not usually practical or available even for students at Hebrew U across town. The idea for IBLT is a little more like a "Monterey-Language-Institute" bubble than simply an international program in Israel. Yes, the IBLT students learn modern Hebrew as an efficient aide for the ancient dialect yet the focus remains the biblical dialect and content throughout. After a year, they return to their home countries to work in translation projects. וסבורני שאתה כבר שולט בשפה בת-ימינו אם לא בשפה העתיקה על בוריה.
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JustinSmith
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by JustinSmith » August 17th, 2019, 10:48 am

Jason Hare wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 9:31 am
JustinSmith wrote: ↑August 17th, 2019, 7:48 am
I am confused by your logic here. Hebrew in Israel? Φυσικά.
Naturally? Of course? Why not φυσικῶν?
Because that is the way the language is spoken today—but that didn't seem to hinder your comprehension! :)
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JustinSmith
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by JustinSmith » August 17th, 2019, 11:35 am

RandallButh wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 10:41 am
Don't be confused by the logic but consider some facts. Hebrew is simply much closer between dialects, so much so, that one should point out that 100% of modern Hebrew morphology maps into classical Hebrew and the words themselves, when attested, are the same. Not so, modern Greek. For example, modern Greek has -s- infixes in some of its imperfects and many verbs have changed their forms. Plus, a higher percentage of non-ancient based vocabulary is used in modern Greek. I muse over this problem quite a bit, but have concluded that a one-year immersion course on ancient Greek in Greece would not work any better than such a course in Jerusalem, maybe worse. In Greece students would need to spend too much time learning and using the modern dialect.

As a brief example with central core modals, in Hebrew one may say ani yaxol "I am able" in both modern and ancient (the participle with yaxol is attested in Arad-letters 1st-Temple Hebrew), but in Greek one says βρορώ in modern not δύναμαι . This is multiplied in too many vocab items in the core of the modern dialect. In Hebrew one can say `alay la`asot for "I must do it" in both ancient and modern, although ani tsariix and ani Hayyav from colloquial 2nd-Temple substrate and mishnaic Hebrew are more common in modern. But Greek? δεῖ με ποιῆσαι is confusing in modern, as if to say "See me . . . [ποιεῖν the infinitive is not modern but the root ποιε- remains in many vocab items]. For 'want' both biblical and modern may use ani Hafets b-, although modern prefers ani rotsei, and ani rotsei in biblical dialect is slightly different "I am pleased with."

I am in favor of including modern Greek in an overall long-term program, but it is too distracting to work out of modern at the beginning and within a very limited time frame (under 12 months intensive). That is my conclusion. I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I have to make my best judgement here for program planning. The intensive program in Jerusalem would include three weeks of visits to Greece and Ionia (including a brief introduction to emergency modern Greek) but lectures on site would need to be in simple ancient Greek. [If the required guide couldn't do it, then bilingually with English, especially in Troy, Assos, Ephesus, Philadelphia, etc., but probably necessary in Greece proper {!], Epidauros, Korinth, Delphi, Mycanos-Delos, Patmos, Kos, etc. ]
It is beyond dispute that Hebrew is closer between dialects—no qualms there. There are some important differences within Greek, as you have noted. However, even here I think you overstate the difference. It is μπορώ, not βρορώ. While certainly an adjustment from δύναμαι, it is not unattested to in the NT (although the form has changed: μπορώ > εμπορώ > εὐπορῶ/εὐπορέομαι). See Acts 11:29 with the same meaning as μπορώ today: τῶν δὲ μαθητῶν, καθὼς εὐπορεῖτό τις, ὥρισαν ἕκαστος αὐτῶν εἰς διακονίαν πέμψαι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἀδελφοῖς.

Similar situation with δεῖ. It has generally been replaced by πρέπει (used several times in the NT, e.g., Mt 3:15: ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην.) In both situations a less common word in the NT corpus has become more prominent in the modern dialect. Δεῖ is still used as δέων and δύναμαι has remained the same—they're simply not used as often in the modern dialect as they are represented in the NT. There are similar differences, but more significantly there is a vast world of similarity.

If your program is only a year, I understand not focusing on the modern dialects very much. But it seems beyond dispute that insofar as Israel is the ideal place to learn Hebrew, Greece is the ideal place to learn Greek (even if those ideals are not 1:1 in effectiveness). Logistical concerns may make it necessary to base a single school out of Israel, but a school or center in both locations would be ideal. All this tipping my hat to your work and esteeming the program highly.
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RandallButh
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by RandallButh » August 17th, 2019, 11:53 am

An interesting typo βρορώ for βπορώ >  μπορώ. who would guess what the unconscious mind can do.
Avoiding a graphic English p, but while typing Greek and thinking boró. Amazing.

Meanwhile, I think that the semantic development from Koine is considerable although directly connected.
As I said, this is a judgment call. Modern Hebrew biblical words/roots show up about 85% in a Hebrew newspaper, while I calculate closer to 60% for modern Greek. Helpful? Absolutely! Distracting for beginners? That's my call.

Incidentally, we have something similar in Arabic, though probably falling between Greek and Hebrew. Arabic society still writes in the "written//classical" dialect. For Arabic I recommend starting with a modern spoken dialect and only adding the written language after 3-6 months after a beginning core fluency has started. For example, a student learns to say Tayaara but to write (and to say in formal speech) Ta'ira "airplane", ana maashi but then write (ana) adhab(u) "I am going". Typical graduate schools in the US are out to lunch, IMHO. Arabic culture is highly oral based and many uneducated/illiterate speakers do not really understand the spoken written language. Nevertheless, at the end of the process of learning to speak a modern dialect and to write in modern standard Arabic (classical), the language feels like one language although one is conscious of a register shift in going from one to the other. I think that Greek is still one step farther away, although the katherevousa tried to mimic a similar status. That is now gone in the last two generations. Even the plays at Epídavros have changed from original text to modern translation, at least the one that I attended.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jason Hare » August 17th, 2019, 12:11 pm

RandallButh wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 10:41 am
Your second question is a yes-no-maybe kind of answer that is best reserved for when the Greek program comes on line. Very briefly, the main funders for the programs have been international Bible translation agencies/supporters and scholarships are so designated. Yes, off-campus is possible, especially families, but not recommended because of the current advantage/requirement for the participants to be in a raq-`ivrit environment, something not usually practical or available even for students at Hebrew U across town. The idea for IBLT is a little more like a "Monterey-Language-Institute" bubble than simply an international program in Israel. Yes, the IBLT students learn modern Hebrew as an efficient aide for the ancient dialect yet the focus remains the biblical dialect and content throughout. After a year, they return to their home countries to work in translation projects. וסבורני שאתה כבר שולט בשפה בת-ימינו אם לא בשפה העתיקה על בוריה.
Yes, I already live in a mostly Hebrew environment, and I speak the language fluently (and know biblical Hebrew well enough to read prose without pause, though poetry/prophecy frequently catches me off-guard - mostly because of rare lexical items). So, the MA program is mainly geared toward strength in the languages. If I already know the languages (at least Hebrew) at a sufficient level, what added value does the MA program add? Is there an online catalog that lists the various courses that such an MA program requires?

What about the personal faith question? Must someone belong to a specific faith community in order to participate? Is it a religious degree or a degree in language theory and translation?

Thanks for your patience.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

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