[B-Greek] Con Campbell on Interlinears

Donald COBB docobb at orange.fr
Tue Oct 6 16:31:52 EDT 2009

The first time I read all the way through 1-2 Corinthians in the space of about a week, some 15 years ago, was with a Greek Interlinear I had just purchased. As with most things, you can use and interlinear intelligently... or otherwise. What I did was simply get into the habit of putting my book-mark just under the Greek text to cover up the translation and thus avoid the temptation of my eyes wandering to the words underneath... and I read lots of Greek.

It's been said time and time again in this group that one of the best things to do in order to become comfortable with Greek is read, read, read. Absolutely. But there's nothing more discouraging when one is just getting to the point of being able to read and understand the GNT than to have to pick up a dictionary for every fourth or fifth word, as soon as the water gets a little deeper than John's Gospel (or the Johannine epistles). An interlinear that allows you to "peek" at the translation of an exotic hapax legomenon in the space of 1 1/2 seconds and then continue, means that you can all of a sudden read two or three chapters of the NT in a sitting. Of course, that's not everything. There's also taking the time to understand complicated word order, looking up words, mmaking sure your analysis is correct, and questions will inevitably pop up. But as you read more and more regularly--if you do it wisely--, you realize that there is more and more that sticks.

It's been several years since I've stopped using my interlinear. But my Greek, even if it is still modest, would not have progressed to where it is today if I hadn't had the use of it.

Donald Cobb

> Message du 06/10/09 19:20
> De : "Andrew C. Suttles" 
> A : "James Bowick" 
> Copie à : "B-Greek" , "James Spinti" 
> Objet : Re: [B-Greek] Con Campbell on Interlinears
> > James Bowick writes:
> > I would be curious to
> > know how many of us, some now with Ph.Ds, got their first taste of Greek,
> > and got hooked on it, through such tools?
> >
> > James Bowick
> >
> I, for one! ...but not the PhD part...
> Using my Strong's Concordance is what ignited an interest in me to learn the
> original languages. As I studied my first grammar, I would write out Greek
> passages from my interlinear on notebook paper and make an English translation
> for each paragraph (not the best method, I know). If I was really stuck on a
> word, I would resort to looking back at the gloss or Strong's Number in the
> interlinear and look up and read all the definitions in Thayers (yikes!!!). I
> was also reading the text out loud using an Erasmian pronunciation (oh my!). I
> started with all the wrong methods, but boy was I making progress and enjoying
> my studies. I wasn't publishing in journals, just enjoying studying the text.
> I don't use those tools anymore, but look back on those times fondly.
> Those tools can be a crutch for a lazy student or the catalyst to stimulate
> further learning. As long as the user understands the limitations (having a
> Strong's Concordance doesn't make you a Greek scholar) for using such tools, I
> think we can make room for them.
> Andrew
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