[B-Greek] Try something (was Is this a good way to give students 'translation' lessons?

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 7 11:32:56 EDT 2009

Mitch wrote:
<Why couldn't this work for advanced Greek??>
I would not rule out any method.  My attitude towards learning
Greek is similar to FDR's attitude towards fighting the Great
Depression.  "Try something," he said.  "Try anything."  But,
Mitch, you ask this question at a bad time.  There has been
much discussion lately about how important it is to AVOID
English, and any method for advanced students which uses
English will be viewed by some as a step backwards,   I 
understand the  Greek only immersion
viewpoint, but I think for learning Greek a little English is not
always a dangerous thing.  The question about Decker's method
applied to advanced learners is not whether is uses too much English,
but is whether it works or not.  The only way to determine this is to
try it.  So I give below a few examples of how this method might (or might
not) work.  I chose four passages in the NT which gave me problems over
the years, the first two because of vocab, the second two because of
Acts 27:41: And falling into a place of two seas,
 they ἐπέκειλαν the ship.  One the one hand,
 the bow, ἐρείσασα,  remained unmoved, but
 on the other hand, the stern was loosed by
 the force of the waves.,
Mt. 21:24: καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον τοῦτον
 will not be dashed to pieces, and on whomever
 the stone falls, λικμήσει him.] 
2 Pet 1:3: Because his divine power has
 us granted all the things πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ 
εὐσέβειαν  through the ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ 
καλέσαντος us through his own glory and
 virtue, 4 through whom he granted τὰ τίμια
 καὶ μέγιστα  ἐπαγγέλματα to us, so that through
 these things γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως 
fleeing τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμω ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς
Col 2:23:  Which things, on the one hand,
 have the semblance of σοφίας ἐν ἐθελοθρησκίᾳ
 καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ [καὶ] in the unsparing treatment
 of the  σώματος, but on the other hand have  no
 value against the πλησμονην of the desires of τῆς 
I guarantee that these same passages will cause problems maybe
not for the advanced student, but for the intermediate student.  Will
this method help?  I don't know.  I doubt it would hurt.  My sense is
that for a tricky verb like EREIDW, which occurs only once in the NT,
but for some reason has given me just as much trouble in Homer, where
it is fairly common, reading it embedded in some English cannot help but
fix it more firmly in ones mind.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not enthusiastic
about the method, and I kind of think Decker himself might be horrified
at me (or Mitch) suggesting it could be used for anyone other than
beginners.  PLHN PEIRW TI. πλην πειρω τι.  Try anything.
Mark L. 

--- On Tue, 6/2/09, Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com>
Subject: [B-Greek] Is this a good way to give students 'translation' lessons?
To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 5:45 AM

Hope this hasn't been discussed recently. If so, please forgive me.

This is an alternative way of teaching Greek that allows for actual NT examples and shows how the words function. [Taken from Dr. Decker's blog.] Why couldn't this work for advanced Greek??

I think the examples alone are self-explanatory...

Mark 3:28, Ἀμὴν I say to you ὅτι everything it will be forgiven τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

Mark 6:13, He cast out many δαιμόνια καὶ anointed many ἀρρώστους ἐλαίῳ.

John 1:28, Behold ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ who takes away τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.

John 1:51, You will see τὸν οὐρανὸν opened καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ.

Rom 1:18, ὀργὴ θεοῦ is revealed.

Rom 2:13, οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόμου will not be justified, but οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου.

Mitch Larramore
Sugar Land, Texas

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