[B-Greek] Teach Nouns or Verbs first?

Susan Jeffers susan at read-the-bible.org
Fri May 16 09:04:18 EDT 2008

Randall Buth wrote:
Has anyone on the list read the first 50 pages of Asher's book since the 
comments a week or so ago?

No.... I ordered a copy, though, and it arrived yesterday :-)

"A student can learn APSAI THS TRAPEZHS in day one."

Shouldn't that be hAPSESQAI? There are evidently only 2 occurrences of 
hAPTW infinitives in the NT, both middle deponent; the 3 imperatives I 
find in the NT are also middle.... I say that realizing that "middle 
deponent" is probably politically incorrect here on b-greek, but I'm 
just speaking of the morphology.

I LOVE the idea of starting students, even my online students, with 
comprehensible short sentences that they can internalize. But I resist 
introducing sentences that don't closely follow biblical usage -- since 
reading the Bible in Greek is THE reason my students sign up. Not to 
mention the fact that I have to struggle to make up my own Greek 
sentences, and following the Bible's usage closely is my safety-net.
Similarly, I resist using a Greek word (PLAX) that (as far as I can tell 
in a quick search) is used in the Bible with only one referent - the 
"tablets" on which were written the 10 commandments, and its 
metaphorical extension in 2 Cor 3:3 -- for a mundane "tablet" (or 
chalkboard?). I suppose PLAX is the best choice if one MUST speak of a 
classroom object with no biblical word -- I realize there are no 
chalkboards or flipcharts in the Bible -- but my students are keenly 
motivated to understand what such words mean in Biblical context -- I 
expect making up new meanings for them would be a de-motivator.

Other than these small quibbles, Randall is preaching to the choir, as 
far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately I'm a tone-deaf choir member with 
laryngitis. I love the concept, but I've made extremely slow progress 

In my teaching of introductory Greek, I've recently switched from using 
Mounce to Croy, whose brevity allows me a lot more room to add my own 
materials, and who also makes good use of made-up sentences to 
illustrate the grammar from each chapter. His sentences for the most 
part follow biblical usage pretty closely, which I like. I'm hoping I'll 
find time to make short, intelligible, sentence drills for at least the 
first few chapters, for students to practice with, and maybe add a 
chapter or two each time I teach. If anyone has done something like this 
to go with Croy, and you'd be willing to share, please email me off-list.

By the way, since the subject of this thread is "Teach nouns or verbs 
first?" -- Croy introduces some simple verb and noun forms, both, in the 
very first lessons, so students have vocabulary and grammar to put 
together and understand many sentences right from the start. I don't 
have the book handy, but I believe he does present active indicative and 
infinitive forms in lesson 2, and the first declension in lesson 3. It 
works well, in my limited experience so far.

χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη!
(did that attempt at unicode come through for y'all? I meant to write 
charis humin kai eirene, CARIS hUMIN KAI EIRHNH...)

Susan Jeffers

> Why do this when none of the traditional textbooks are
> designed this way?
> Because students will learn faster.
> They will remember and recall it longer. Because its
> more efficient and its more fun.
> Because it builds internalization.
> It produces happier students.
> And it's real challenging for a teacher, and teachers
> love challenges.

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