reason for b-greek
Theodore H. Mann
thmann at juno.com
Wed Dec 9 23:09:29 EST 1998
I would like to re-contribute a thought on this issue I suggested
some time back, and I would appreciate any reaction that might be
forthcoming. I think it's an appropriate topic, since it relates
somewhat indirectly to Carlton's query (below).
I study b-Greek mainly because I enjoy doing so, not so much because
I expect to gain insights into the meaning of the text over and above
those provided by qualified experts. The study of biblical languages is
extremely important, for reasons partly defined by Ben (below), but
unless one is willing to become quite proficient, I doubt that the novice
is going to gain much (if any) significant appreciation of the subtelties
of the original texts beyond what he can procure by reading the research
of credible scholars. And even if one achieves a high level of
proficiency, one will, I think, tend to find him/herself scampering over
already well-worn paths, which have been meticulously explored by others.
Of course, having a basic grasp of the language aids in understanding
what the scholars are discussing, but much of it can be understood even
without studying Greek (and, I assume, Hebrew and Aramaic).
With the help of a lexicon, I can usually supply a basic English
translation of a given NT passage. And it's great fun! But I can also
read any number of existing English translations (including
interlinears), and achieve the same (even better) results without
spending any time studying Mounce, Wenham, Machen or Wallace. For more
subtle and detailed nuances, there is plenty of worthwhile information
provided, in English, by those who have spent a lifetime pursuing such
I would encourage ANYONE to study NT Greek, if only for the sheer
enjoyment of it, the profound sense of accomplishment it provides, and
the wonderful people it brings, however peripherally, into your life
(Jonathan, Carl, Ben, Carlton, and all the rest of you). However, if one
wishes, on one's own, to grasp the deep subtle shades of meaning and the
rich patina of the language, I think one had better be prepared to get
VERY good at it.
Theodore "Ted" H. Mann
thmann at juno.com
On Thu, 10 Dec 98 01:27:48 ben.crick at argonet.co.uk (Ben Crick) writes:
>On Wed 9 Dec 98 (15:29:10), du198 at freenet.carleton.ca wrote:
>> I have to explain to new students of biblical Greek the importance
>> studying the language. Could you please give me some reasons why
>> should study biblical greek and why biblical greek is relevant for
>> Many people in my midst think that it is a waste of time. I have to
>> up with very convincing answers to help them understand the
>> of studying biblical Greek.
> Dear Carlton:
> Biblical Greek is relevant for today because the Bible is relevant
> today. Church folk all over the world want to know what the Word of
> really has to say about their situation. Post-Christians and
> are equally curious.
> If Biblical Hebrew (and Aramaic too) is the language God spoke, then
> Biblical Greek is the language Jesus Christ spoke.
> Many of the young people enrolling for Greek classes today are
> for the Christian ministry. It is part of their necessary discipline
> study the Biblical languages. In my case I was spurred on by
> itself: "Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that
> not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy
> The single most decisive factor in the Protestant Reformation was
> the publication by Desiderius Erasmus of the Greek New Testament,
> revised by Robert Stephanus and published in 1550 as the "Textus
> His son Henri moved to Geneva and published numerous editions of the
> classics. He published the "Thesaurus linguae Graecae" (1572);
> pour He/rodote" (1566); and "Traite/ de la Conformite/ du Francais
> Grec". Greek took its place alongside Latin as a compulsory subject
> Universities. Oxford and Cambridge only dropped compulsory Greek
> WW2; and compulsory Latin quite recently.
> Western Philosophy is built upon Greek philosophy. Latin is the
> of Western Jurisprudence; but Greek is the language of Western
> European History since the Reformation stems from the impact of the
> NT on politics: "cuius regio, eius religio" (a nation's religion is
> of its ruler). Modern Science and the Industrial Revolution was only
> philosophically possible by the Protestant Reformation (the
> Hypothesis). If anyone wants to plan for the future, he must study
> Henry Ford said "History is bunk". Winston Churchill said "The lesson
> history is that nations will not learn the lesson of history" (or
> like that).
> No doubt others can think of more and better reasons. It's late and
> off to bed...
> Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
> <ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
>B-Greek home page: http://sunsite.unc.edu/bgreek
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