Suggestion for learning Greek well

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Sat Aug 4 14:33:08 EDT 2001

At 9:56 AM -0400 8/4/01, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>I haven't tried this...yet...  But it seems to me that it might
>work quite well.
>Pick a text (say) from the NASB or NRSV and back translate it
>into Greek.  It will very likely be different.  So, figure out
>Something which may work even better is to back translate from
>a more idiomatic translation as the NIV or even CEV.  This will
>be more difficult, but it will force you to think more deeply
>regarding how the Greek language works.
>Might I suggest that an extensive amount of "doing Greek backwards"
>will make a substantial impact on one's ability to "think Greek."
>Thoughts anyone?

I've looked at Trevor's response to this. I do think that this might be a
very good exercise, but it will require a powerful mastery of NT lexicology
and Koine idiom; the only one likely to pull it off without any strain is
Randall Buth.

One thing one needs to be aware of is that there is no SINGLE right way of
expressing any particular sense of an English (or non-English) text in
Koine Greek. I think we've often had discussions on B-Greek of alternative
ways of expressing what we think is the sense of a Biblical text which
seems to us to be awkward grammatically, as, for instance, Luke 6:12 EN THi

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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