John, Luke or Paul

The forum for those who still struggle with morphology, syntax, and idiom, or who wish to discuss basic questions about the meaning of Greek texts, syntax, or words.
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Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 27th, 2014, 10:12 pm

RandallButh wrote:The "field" referred to Koine Greek classes and programs, the fruit is a metaphor referring to the outcome of those programs, for example the ability of a "student"/PhD to express themselves after 8 years of working with the language. Hunky dory is an idiom that means 'just fine', 'things are going smoothly and well.'
Thank you. Now I understand the point you were making.

Most people who learn languages have goals that come short of total language mastery (i.e. native speaker or near-native speaker competency). In that way, failure cannot so easily be measured in terms of absolutes. Each student has their own goals and therefore - to some extent - their own standard by which they pass or fail. For students who do compulsary language learning programmes during the course of their stuudies, passing exams is the primary goal that they are working towards. Students need to have a need for expressing themselves in a language, such as travel, trade, immigration or work as an interpreter, before perhaps we could say a programme has failed them by not giving them near-native speaker competency in speaking.

PhD programmes are not usually concerned with teaching spoken language. Most students achieve oral competency in the first year or two of their study, from what I know. An oral defence is usually in the language of the country in which the University in located, or (optionally) in the language being studied. It would be assumed that a bachelors level student could express themselves, a masters level one could teach and a doctoral level one would have research skills. A defence is much more than a second year oral competency test. Those are my views anyway.

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

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 28th, 2014, 12:54 am

What Randall said. My point was that such learners need to interact with the text in the language of the text as much as possible. This could include paraphrasing what the text is about, γράφοντές τε καὶ λέγοντες Ἑλληνιστὶ ἐν ἀλλοῖς ῥήμασι ὅ τι ὁ λόγος σημαίνει.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 953
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 28th, 2014, 1:18 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
RandallButh wrote:The "field" referred to Koine Greek classes and programs, the fruit is a metaphor referring to the outcome of those programs, for example the ability of a "student"/PhD to express themselves after 8 years of working with the language. Hunky dory is an idiom that means 'just fine', 'things are going smoothly and well.'
Thank you. Now I understand the point you were making.

Most people who learn languages have goals that come short of total language mastery (i.e. native speaker or near-native speaker competency). In that way, failure cannot so easily be measured in terms of absolutes. Each student has their own goals and therefore - to some extent - their own standard by which they pass or fail. For students who do compulsary language learning programmes during the course of their stuudies, passing exams is the primary goal that they are working towards. Students need to have a need for expressing themselves in a language, such as travel, trade, immigration or work as an interpreter, before perhaps we could say a programme has failed them by not giving them near-native speaker competency in speaking.

PhD programmes are not usually concerned with teaching spoken language. Most students achieve oral competency in the first year or two of their study, from what I know. An oral defence is usually in the language of the country in which the University in located, or (optionally) in the language being studied. It would be assumed that a bachelors level student could express themselves, a masters level one could teach and a doctoral level one would have research skills. A defence is much more than a second year oral competency test. Those are my views anyway.
Stephen, you do raise a good point. The purpose of seminary Ph.D. programs appears to be to enable the student to decode the English using Greek. They can get very good at this, although much of the insight in exegetical commentaries and articles comes from broader hermeneutical principles rather than specifically the language. Still, such students often have severe difficulty reading texts outside the NT, or fail to know such common words as "nose" or "monkey." What would you think of a French speaking expert on Shakespeare who can only "translate" the Shakespeare, but can read nothing else in English? Does such a person deserve to be called an expert?
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3248
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 28th, 2014, 3:37 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Stephen, you do raise a good point. The purpose of seminary Ph.D. programs appears to be to enable the student to decode the English using Greek. They can get very good at this, although much of the insight in exegetical commentaries and articles comes from broader hermeneutical principles rather than specifically the language.
I prefer literal translations in English, because I can more easily see the Greek behind them, so the English is a key to the Greek.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Still, such students often have severe difficulty reading texts outside the NT, or fail to know such common words as "nose" or "monkey."
Despite my initial excitement thinking that I knew the Greek for both "nose" and "monkey" (and could pass the Hoffstetter test of competence in Greek), it turns out that the word I know for monkey is the Modern Greek one :oops: :? :cry: I had seen the classical one before, but never memorised it....

I can tell you the words for "monkey", "ape", "gorilla", "orangutan", "chimpanzee" and "proboscis monkey" (three characters literally "long nose monkey") off the top of my head in Chinese, and I used to know "baboon", "small" and "monkey" in middle Egyptian, but can now only remember "small monkey" (Schade!). Chinese is my usual language of communication and Middle Egyptian was my master's degree major field of study. By Barry's standard my Middle Egyptian and Chinese are better than my Greek.... :| :| :|
Barry Hofstetter wrote:What would you think of a French speaking expert on Shakespeare who can only "translate" the Shakespeare, but can read nothing else in English? Does such a person deserve to be called an expert?
I'm sure he could describe the French etymology of various English words in Shakespeare more vividly than an English speaker could.

RandallButh
Posts: 850
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by RandallButh » August 28th, 2014, 4:28 am

first point, minor
Στέφανος ἐξωμολογήσατο
Despite my initial excitement thinking that I knew the Greek for both "nose" and "monkey" (and could pass the Hoffstetter test of competence in Greek), it turns out that the word I know for monkey is the Modern Greek one :oops: :? :cry: I had seen the classical one before, but never memorised it....
I envy your control of modern Greek. As for monkies and students, when we have had access to plastic monkey-props (and lions, elephants, etc.) beginning students learn (πἰθηκος), and we never have problems singing about (ῥίς), but the latter was a choice not to use μυκτήρ ῾nose, snout, nostril".

second point, more substantive,
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Στέφανος διεσάφησεν:
Most people who learn languages have goals that come short of total language mastery (i.e. native speaker or near-native speaker competency). In that way, failure cannot so easily be measured in terms of absolutes. Each student has their own goals and therefore - to some extent - their own standard by which they pass or fail.
YEs, I fully appreciate limited goals for students.

The problem arises from the other side of the question. what happens to students who go off to a Christian college to MASTER Greek and Hebrew, with the purpose for using those languages the rest of their lives in teaching, pleasure, study, and research?

The motivated students jump through all of the hoops that are presented to them by those controlling the programs and those who should know what is best. At the end of 2 years (a typical itnroductory language level for modern languages), or 4 years (a typical BA level with an intermediate functional fluency in place), or 6 years (typically with a more polished functional fluency in place), or 8-10 years (educated second language user+/-near-mother-tongue control), do these students of Greek or Hebrew measure up to the common sense expectations of other languages?
Sadly, I would say no.

What takes place in the biblical field is that the student learns to change their expectations to what the field provides.
That produces the ironic case in which students who make mastery their goal, for various and sundry reasons, end up with far less than mastery, but everyone refers to it as mastery. Some then defend this status as the most that can be achieved or expected for a dead language, forgetting that second-language use was preserved for Hebrew in Jewish academies for 1700 years, and Latin in western academia to this day in a few pockets.

I suppose that what I am proposing may sound Quiotic, like Alice's Reastaurant: imagine if everywhere some people walked into a Greek [or Hebrew] class and sang "♫ μα♫θησὀμεθα παντάπασιν ♫ ἕως ἂν καταλάβωμεν ♫. ΟΚ, here it comes around, strum strum strum . . . ♫ (tune, for those not damaged by the 60's: Arlo Guthrie, Alice's ...)

Wes Wood
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Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Those who attend universities for mastery of classical langu

Post by Wes Wood » August 28th, 2014, 8:07 am

Based on my limited experiences, I would guess that most who seek mastery of ancient languages would benefit more from well designed and easily obtainable resources than the usual university experience. I say this with little regard for the type of language instruction received at these universities. In my search for potential places to study classics nearby, I have seen several programs disappear. (Ole Miss, the one that I might have had the greatest opportunity to pursue was one of them.) I believe the difficulty of obtaining a job in that field is going to keep many of the few people who might have studied these subjects from doing so, and many of the resources that could help independent learners develop the type of mastery spoken of here do not exist. Sadly, even as much as I like the materials from Dr. Buth that I have seen, there are not enough of them at an advanced level available to fill, what I perceive to be, the expanding void. Without some form of guidance, I think students like me are in danger of being unable to go very far or, even worse, will learn and reinforce error. (Note: I agree with what has been said and am attempting only to offer only my perspective from the other side of the fence. There is little that I have said that I can defend and may well be showing my ignorance of what opportunities are available.)
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

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

Re: Those who attend universities for mastery of classical l

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 28th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Wes Wood wrote:Based on my limited experiences, I would guess that most who seek mastery of ancient languages would benefit more from well designed and easily obtainable resources than the usual university experience. I say this with little regard for the type of language instruction received at these universities. In my search for potential places to study classics nearby, I have seen several programs disappear. (Ole Miss, the one that I might have had the greatest opportunity to pursue was one of them.) I believe the difficulty of obtaining a job in that field is going to keep many of the few people who might have studied these subjects from doing so, and many of the resources that could help independent learners develop the type of mastery spoken of here do not exist. Sadly, even as much as I like the materials from Dr. Buth that I have seen, there are not enough of them at an advanced level available to fill, what I perceive to be, the expanding void. Without some form of guidance, I think students like me are in danger of being unable to go very far or, even worse, will learn and reinforce error. (Note: I agree with what has been said and am attempting only to offer only my perspective from the other side of the fence. There is little that I have said that I can defend and may well be showing my ignorance of what opportunities are available.)
Wes, sorry to hear about your experience. Yes, many of us are aware of this sad situation. Liberal arts programs are not safe anywhere right now, for a variety of reasons. However, these things tend to go in seasons. In the 1960's Latin had disappeared from most high schools and enrollment in Classics majors were problematic, and you had similar discussions. Then in the 1970's and 80's there was an almost grassroots revival that brought Latin back in many schools. I don't want to oversimplify the problem at the university level (a big part of it is the administrations wanting big money majors, whereas in the `60's and early 70's most admin's still were committed to liberal arts in a big way), but I wouldn't at all be surprised to see the pendulum swing just a little the other way in coming years.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 953
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 28th, 2014, 12:22 pm

Stephen, to address one point, Ph.D.'s in biblical studies claim to be experts in a body of ancient literature. While everybody at that level specializes, specialization comes from the broadest possible general knowledge of the subject. People who can (sort of) read their Greek NT and nothing else, who can't even compose in the language or read literature in the language outside their limited body of study just can't be experts by the standards of practically every other academic discipline that deals with literature in a second language.An expert on War and Peace who can exegete Tolstoy but can't read Pravda is no expert at all. "The original Russian says..." :roll:
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

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

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by RandallButh » August 28th, 2014, 12:46 pm

barry egrapsen
An expert on War and Peace who can exegete Tolstoy but can't read Pravda is no expert at all. "The original Russian says..."
Yes. And you might add that Russian, German, and other literature fields do not offer courses in "exegesis of ...."

this is why I define "exegesis" as learning to extract meaning from a language that one does not control.
i don't know whether to laugh or cry when I'm sometimes asked if we teach students "exegesis" in our ulpans.

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 953
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 28th, 2014, 5:41 pm

RandallButh wrote:
barry egrapsen
An expert on War and Peace who can exegete Tolstoy but can't read Pravda is no expert at all. "The original Russian says..."
Yes. And you might add that Russian, German, and other literature fields do not offer courses in "exegesis of ...."

this is why I define "exegesis" as learning to extract meaning from a language that one does not control.
i don't know whether to laugh or cry when I'm sometimes asked if we teach students "exegesis" in our ulpans.
Don't get me started! It wasn't until I started seminary that I heard of exegesis, and I already had my Masters in Classics. A big part of the problem is that seminaries teach the languages for theological and apologetical purposes. Yes, the use of the aorist tense here really does prove/disprove the Calvinist position on this verse. One of my prof's at seminary used to quip "Exegetical goal determines exegetical methodology...." but it really isn't all that funny. There's a lot of enrichment you can get from really reading and understanding the text in the original, but it resembles exegesis the way a bicycle resembles a squid.

However, I think we have strayed a bit from the subject and that this is no longer a "beginner" thread... :o
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκώ τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

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