[B-Greek] Con Campbell on Interlinears

Stanley Loper stanleyloper at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 21:24:07 EDT 2009

This is my first post to B-Greek, so I hope I got the address right.

For a little background before getting to the meat of my comment.  I have no
formal training in Koine, though I started learning the language in 1991
through the medium of Werner's programmed learning volumes for Greek as an
ancient language with its exposure to more than just the Koine variant of
the language.  I joined the list more to leanr than to go head to head with
some of the talent here and hesitate to participate more because I do not
consider all that qualified to do much more than embarass myself.  However,
I would like to add my ten-cents worth on the issue of interlinears.

I own three, Jay Green's, The Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson, and the
aforemented Kingdom Interlinear.  Cost considerations had more to do with my
selections than anything else since for a realtively small cost I put at my
disposal the texts which they use.

The question of the value of interlinears is what we are discussing.  What I
would like to mention is that for those who have not the time, funds, or
talent to learn Koine Greek interlinears are a God-send (pardon the pun)
since they do allow one with little or no knowledge of the biblical
languages to determine the words used by the authors and do further
research, something which is quite valuable for any student of god's word.
I also thing it is good to own several representing several master texts for
what insight one might gain.

I would even go so far as to say that an good interlinear is a valuable
resource for one beginning to learn the language, with reservations.  I
stand with those who argue that the sooner one gets away from a tool of that
sort the better if one is making it one's goal to learn the language.
Interlinears, unfortunately, can slow one down in my opnion, or even affect
one's comprehension negatively as with the knigdom interlinear's
overreliance on Attic Greek when it comes to its word-for-word vocabulary, a
result of Franz's training in classical Greek rather than the biblical.  As
with anything else, when it comes to the Bible, one has to be careful and
factor in the training and theology of the ones behind the resources one
uses.  I know I am stating the obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to
be mentioned.

Right now my interlinears are put away because the family needed the shelf
space for other books and I became proficient enough through the years not
to be able to work straight from a master text, in my case a majority text
with extensive annotations as to differences in wording among the various
manuscripts.  That, combined with Thayers, again cost considerations, I
manage to get by.

Although interlinears are a fine tool, they have their limitations for one
trying to learn the language.  As one who speaks several languages my goal
is always to seek to learn to *think* in the target language as soon as
possible, and that includes Koine Greek, however frustrating it can be when
one's ready vocabulary and comprehension of grammar is in its infancy.  My
favorite moment when learing a language is when I look at written or printed
text and suddenly, after all the effort, I am reading it with little or no
problems.  It is the same for me with the spoken.  I know, my comment here
is about as basic as it gets, but that is how I see it.

I've enjoyed the debates here and feel that I have benefitted from your
comments.  I hope maybe to contribute more, be it by questions or comments,
in the future.

Stan Loper

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