[B-Greek] koine to classical (not!)

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Tue May 20 08:39:35 EDT 2008

Stick with New Testament Greek.  If you want to "study some classical
  Greek" read (i.e. re-read) Hebrews and the second half of Acts.
  As Buth notes in a post above, the distinction between Classical and
  Koine is overstated.  The forms you have to memorize are almost
  exactly the same (the only differences I can think of is no dual
  in the Koine and Koine TWSAN for
  Classical NTWN in the 3 pl imperative.)  Ancient Greek vocabulary is
  ancient Greek vocabulary; 95% of the vocab you would learn in a classical
  Greek class or from an Attic textbook will be very useful for your NT
  Greek, and conversely, if you memorize the meanings of the 5437 words
  in the Greek New Testament, you will have a better Classical vocabulary
  than your average Classics grad student.  It's true that words develop 
  different meanings--KAKOS in Classical Greek could mean "lazy," a
  meaning, I think, not found in the GNT, and this explains why EGKAKEW
  in the GNT means "I become tired."  But when you do your Greek NT word studies,
  you are going to learn stuff like this.  Virtually every construction that
  you might read about in Smyth or learn in a Classical Greek class
  occurs at least once in the Greek New Testament.
  So, the issue is not what kind of Greek (Classical or NT) your "learn" or
  "study."  The issue is which Greek texts you choose to spend your time
  reading.  It's great that you have finished Mounce!  Now is the time to
  read and re-read the Greek NT!  After that, read the Greek NT with Zerwick, then
  read the "The Expositor's Greek New Testament" and after that read the Greek
  NT and look up every word you are curious about in Moulton and Milligan's
  "The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament" and after that read the Greek
  NT along with all the variants in NA27 and then after that get "The Precise
  Parallel New Testament" and read the Greek NT along with out all the
  translations and then after that read the Greek NT and whenever you see
  a verb form that you cannot explain look it up in Mounce's "Morphology of
  Biblical Greek."  Then, after that, read the Greek New Testament aloud into
  a tape recorder and play in back and see if you can understand it.
  Then, if you still have time, you will want to read some non-NT Greek and
  so read and re-read the Apostolic Fathers.  Then read the Septuagint, both
  the stuff composed in Greek and the stuff translated from the Hebrew.
  Then, if you still have time, learn Hebrew.  THEN, IF YOU STILL HAVE
  TIME, by all means, read some Xenophon. 
  Conrad, who is a heck of a lot smarter than I am, says that 
  everyone who wants to read the Greek New
  Testament should first spend their time on Classical grammars and
  in Classical Greek classes and reading Classical texts.  Had we 
  but world enough and time, I guess this would be okay.  But we 
  Again, congrats on getting through the first year!  You will
  be soon be making great contributions to this post!
  David Pettys <david.pettys at yahoo.com> wrote:
  I just completed a year of Koine Greek. Instead of moving on to an intermediate Koine class, I wondering whether studying some Classical Greek might be more beneficial in the long run? 

Having searched through the list archives, I can see that this isn't the preferred order. It probably does make more sense to move from Classical to Koine. However, I'd still like to hear some thoughts on moving in the other direction.

For what it's worth, I used Mounce's textbook for introduction to Koine. 


David Pettys

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