[B-Greek] A Greek Pedagogical Question

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at ioa.com
Thu Jul 21 07:48:54 EDT 2005

On Jul 21, 2005, at 6:25 AM, Barry wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Eddie Mishoe" <edmishoe at yahoo.com>
> To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 10:11 PM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] A Greek Pedagogical Question
>>> Learning Greek deductively (i.e. through paradigms,
>>> grammars, and syntax) is hard work, but its tried,
>> tested, and true.>
>> ---------
>> I am in general agreement with Dr. Conrad's and Dr.
>> Buth's statements on this issue.
>> I simply want to add that reading grammars like ATR
>> (Winer, Moulton, Smyth, etc) for example can propel
>> you years ahead of those who don't read grammars.
>> Reading is critical, lots of it. But taking advantage
>> of the cumulative years of study of these scholars
>> will advance in ways non-grammar readers will (n)ever
>> know. Read lots of Greek; read lots of grammars.
> I agree, but reading Greek comes first.  I have had too many  
> interactions with
> those who have read the grammars, but who lack sufficient skill to  
> read Greek,
> and it is amazing the use to which they can put the grammars to  
> defend arcane
> theological points.  If one has well developed ability in Greek,  
> then the
> grammars make a great deal more sense, and themselves may be  
> interpreted and
> applied properly.
> N.E. Barry Hofstetter

I don't know how much point there is in saying "Amen!" to this, but I  
will. It's related
to what I said yesterday in my original response to the question:  
I've seen too many
students who were readily able to recite the paradigms and the rules  
but couldn't
read Greek; some could even properly identify the verb-forms but  
couldn't then tell
more than vaguely what that verb-form means.

I think this observation is somewhat parallel to what Aristotle says  
at the opening of his
Nicomachean Ethics: moral philosophy cannot nor was it intended to  
improve or inculcate
good morals; rather its function is to help good persons understand  
what the goodness
which they have learned already is all about. One must have good  
behavior before one
can understand good behavior. The parallel with respect to learning  
Greek is that the
grammars are of greatest utility to those who already can read Greek  
but want to get
behind usage to the "why's" of usage.

> Opinions expressed by author of this message do not necessarily  
> reflect the
> opinions of the institutions listed above...

And to paraphrase that, I might almost say that opinions expressed by  
the author in this
message do not necessarily reflect the opinions which he has  
expressed in the past.
Consistency ain't all it's cracked up to be!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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