[B-Greek] Invasion of Technology

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Wed Jun 10 05:21:48 EDT 2009

Hear! Hear! I'm not just shouting in the wilderness after all. Il y en  
a des autres!
As George has touted Logos stuff, so I have touted Accordance and  
Wilhelm Willker touts Bible Works. I do now have Logos for Mac (but  
still think the Accordance interface is more user-friendly). But I do  
think that the Bible software original language products may have been  
more a deterrent than a catalyst with respect to promoting any  
internalization of understanding of original language texts. And it  
seems to me that Logos in particular has pushed the envelope when it  
comes to promoting interlinears and "reverse interlinears."

Where I have personally found such software of inestimable value is  
the hypertexting that allows instant consultation of relevant  
reference works -- it's so helpful to have BDAG, L&N, ATR's big  
grammar, BDF, Wallace's GGBB immediately accessible and readily  
searchable. I've found it an indispensable tool for research verbal  
voice forms  in the Biblical Greek texts and think back in horror at  
the kind of card-index work upon which serious research still  
necessarily depended back in the early 60's when I was doing a  
dissertation. We've all (I think) found the Perseus lexica helpful,  
although in the last couple of years I've come to appreciate having  
the Diogenes program on my hard drive with instant access to LSJ and  
to the Lewis and Short unabridged Latin lexicon (http://www.dur.ac.uk/p.j.heslin/Software/Diogenes/ 

As it always has been, it seems to me (truism repeated ad nauseam  
coming), technology is both boon and bane, ranging from instrument of  
mass obfuscation to instrument of mass enlightenment. Caveat emptor!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

On Jun 10, 2009, at 1:56 AM, Louis Sorenson wrote:

> Hello all,
> After several years of using online tools for reading NT and  
> classical Greek (I have a good number of books, grammars, lexicons,  
> commentaries, etc.), I finally went and purchased the Logos Original  
> Languages software ($212 on sale). A week or two ago, I had  
> purchased the new BDAG (2001 Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich) lexicon.   
> I had been very active learning classical Greek twenty-five years  
> ago, and again reconnected with Greek about 4 years ago.  I'm an old  
> guy who has linked with technology. I have been very active using  
> the GNT and Tischendorf texts in a database format. My lanuage  
> background is strong. I had 10 years of high school, college and  
> post-college education diagramming sentences, using both the  
> traditional and modern tree-structure methods of diagramming  
> sentences..
> One of the drumbeats put forward by those who lead the b-Greek list,  
> is that technology has replaced many of the "stations of the Greek  
> learner".  When I opened up and installed the Logos software,  
> multiple interlinears and sytactical/diagraming tools and utilities  
> were also installed.  I was amazed at how many tools were included  
> in the software bundle.  It was overwhelming -- OVERWHELMING -- the  
> focus changed from reading Greek texts, to reading what others say,  
> or how others analyze Greek texts.  This is the invasion of  
> technology.
> After years and years of diagramming English sentences, I find what  
> I have always believed. The emphasis on diagramming and identifying  
> forms, parsing verbs, etc. has overtaken the goal of those who are  
> studying ancient Greek.  Diagramming sentences does not help you  
> understand pararaphs and the flow of thought in a passage (Discourse  
> analysis was not taught in my day).  Who, when reading something in  
> their native language of English begins to parse verbs, or diagram a  
> sentence before they decide they understand what that sentence is  
> saying? People pay attention to tenses, etc. , but when do they talk  
> about "he said it in 3rd singular"?  "No, it was 2nd person  
> plural!"  If there are discussions, they say "He said 'him!' or "He  
> said 'You all'. It's a level above the simple parsing that happens  
> in the stilted Greek education of western modern-day Christendom.
> The Lexham interlinear, present in the Logos software,  and all  
> other versions do help one begin to get a handle on a text (I used  
> the Hebrew Lexham interlinear to help me get back into Hebrew), but  
> it is a cheat. It does not let me pick up an unknown Hebrew/Greek  
> text tommorrow and begin reading it.
> I strongly believe that the digital tools of the new millenium will  
> help people learn Greek and Hebrew when used in moderation. But  
> getting the Logos software also made me keenly aware of the CAVEAT  
> of those who have climbed the Greek/Hebrew mountain. Don't rely on  
> tools -- what you need to do is READ, HEAR and COMPOSE.
> The last few months I have been teaching a Greek class on 1 John and  
> leading an online Psalms reading group.  But while I study all the  
> books on the book of 1 John or the Psalms, I have noticed that my  
> reading of texts has crawled to a standstill.  Aristophane's Frogs  
> (and a commentary) and Chariton's Callirhoe have been sitting in my  
> book bag just waiting to be read. The very skill that will help me  
> become a better teacher (being skilled at reading Greek) has been  
> put to the side by books about books.
> THE ADVICE --You need to read, read, read. And you need to read in  
> volumes. Set a goal - one to two pages (of Loeb text) a day of Greek  
> text that is unfamiliar.  Even if you read slowly and verbalize as I  
> do (Greek students of old were always taught to do this; there was  
> no such thing as 'speed reading' in ancient Athens), I believe that  
> spending an hour of reading will help more than spending an hour  
> anlayzing an interlinear.
> My regret. I do not read enough original Greek texts.  I know how to  
> fix this problem.
> Louis Sorenson

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