[B-Greek] Talking Points & Expectations: Why Learn (Biblical) Greek?

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 24 14:03:42 EDT 2007


On Aug 23, 2007, at 10:39 PM, Aesop Coordinator wrote:

> The ultimate goal of the first type of student is to read and think in
> (bibilical) Greek (my goal for them is read, read, read..)
>
> The minimal goal of the second type of student is to "learn how to
> intelligently use commentaries and reference works that will  
> produce more
> beneficial Bible study with minimal knowledge of New Testament  
> Greek." (some
> would say, 'Buy a good translation')

I remember decades ago hearing this "minimal goal" being used as the  
objective for a "greek tools" course where the student learned the  
alphabet and was given some instruction on how to use BAG (1st  
Ed) ... ktl. I have come to think there is a significant flaw in this  
approach. The assumption that it takes less knowledge of Greek to  
"intelligently use commentaries and reference works" than it does to  
read in Greek, I am now convinced, is a false assumption.

I have been working for several weeks in the epistle of James. I have  
at my disposal, J.B. Mayor, Alford, Huther, Adamson, Davids,  
Dibelius. Following the arguments, i.e,, "intelligent use" of Mayor,  
Alford, Huther, Dibelius requires a significant level of effort on my  
part. The notion that someone who has taken a "greek tools" course  
will be able to make "intelligent use" of commentaries like these is  
IMHO wrong. I might be tempted extend this generalization to include  
Danker (BDAG). Can someone make "intelligent use" of Danker who  
cannot read a sentence in Greek?

I think we set people up for frustration and disillusionment by  
encouraging expectations which cannot be realized.

Elizabeth Kline







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