[B-Greek] How NOT to learn Biblical Greek

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sat Jul 14 06:55:16 EDT 2007

 From his early days as a reporter of parliamentary debates, Charles  
Dickens was an indefatigable satirist of the way British government  
functions. The "Circumlocution Office" is the primary instrument of  
Britain's parliamentary government in Dickens' late novel, "Little  
Dorrit." The fundamental concern at which the Circumlocution Office  
labors diligently day and night is "how not to do it."

The blog to which I call attention this morning bears the title I  
have cited in m my subject-header above. It is yesterday's offering  
in "Withering Fig," maintained by Stephen Hebert:

OR: http://tinyurl.com/2yrxq

I must say that the advice offered therein is not at all at odds with  
what I've urged repeatedly in this forum myself, but I cite the key  
headers and applaud in parentheses:

"(1) “Reading” Through Perseus: By far, the most egregious error that  
students make is the extensive use of sites like Perseus, or software  
like Logos or Accordance."
(That is to say, make an interlinear your primary resource -- and an  
online interlinear is quicker and dirtier)

"(2) Study for the Exam"
(That is to say, memorize all the endings and rules so that you can  
reproduce them on demand; I've seen all too many students who could  
parrot the endings and rules of grammar and still couldn't make sense  
out of a paragraph or two of Greek text.)

"(3) Skip to Koine"
(That is to say, read the Greek NT first and only, and by no means  
make forays beyond the LXX.)

And finally: "No matter what you do, practice is essential. I  
strongly suggest using flash cards and daily schedules. Treat it like  
exercise. Heck, get religious and fanatical about it. Do it with  
friends if that motivates you. Just find some way that keeps you  
doing it day in and day out."
(Amen, Amen!)

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

More information about the B-Greek mailing list