Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Jun 2 07:26:27 EDT 2011

If I may, I'd like to write a few heartfelt words to list-members on my own behalf. 

I am cautiously optimistic that B-Greek is on the verge of a renaissance. I'd like to think, moreover, that my diminished and altered role in the forum's administration will be one of many factors making such a renaissance possible. While I shall continue to be an advisor and contributor to list-discussion where I feel there is something useful to contribute, I shall no longer be involved in the mechanics and moderation of list-correspondence. As those already know who have visited and registered at the new B-Greek Forum (http://ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/), there are now several topical forums and sub-topical forums in most of these. They are and will continue to be subject to the moderation of persons with solid competence in Biblical Greek and a commitment to the fundamental concerns of the forum, the language and the text of the Greek Bible.

Some fourteen years ago I undertook a survey of as many of the  list-members of that era who responded to a questionnaire about what kind of people constituted the list-membership and what areas of list-discussion seemed to each most interesting and helpful. Those who are interested may consult a message of October 19, 1997 in which I reported the results of the survey:


It was on the basis of that survey, conducted when B-Greek was still housed at the University of Virginia and the list-owner was David Marotta, that we characterized our forum in our FAQ as "a forum where the Greek text and language of the Bible are probed  in ongoing conversation by an eclectic group of beginning students  and veteran teachers, lay persons and clergy, conservatives and liberals,  earnest inquirers and academic scholars -- equally committed to probing 
the Biblical text in the original Koiné, and jointly exploring the  mysteries and probabilities of Biblical Greek morphology and syntax."

We have endeavored over the intervening years to maintain that conception of what the forum is and should be, and we have, I think, succeeded in a large measure. But the list-membership has changed over the years. For one thing there are hundreds of "lurkers" from all over the world (of 1700+ subscribers less than a hundred are active participants) and those who have actively participated in the more recent years have, I think, been increasingly self-taught beginners and those who have learned basics of the language and want to discuss the Greek text of the New Testament. The numbers of what I would describe as seasoned lifelong scholars (in the older sense of the term) of Greek has significantly declined, and the bulk of the discussion has, it has seemed to me, to focus on pedagogical methodology. This was always a legitimate focus of B-Greek, but the heavily-concentrated discussion of these matters in more recent years has, in my opinion, been disproportionate, while at the same time it has seemed to me that some of the discussion of Biblical texts has been carried on by  persons who really do not have what we clearly state in our FAQ as a qualification for participation, "a working knowledge of Biblical Greek."

Several list-members have joined the group that has been experimenting with the new Forum that Jonathan announced on Monday past, and I have marveled at the return and evident enthusiasm displayed by many of those "seasoned lifelong
scholars" who were members back in the 1990's but had ceased to participate because they were no longer finding the list was serving their interest or needs. I find this exciting. Biblical Greek language and literature will never be everybody's
cup of tea, but there are many kinds of "scholars" in the  sense I've used the term who are altogether serious about it whether they have just recently begun to take their first steps toward genuine competence in the language to those like myself who have been working away at ancient Greek for more than half a century. And that's why I am cautiously optimistic that, however diminished are the ranks of those who  want to read the Biblical texts in the original language and  will make the required effort to acquire the competence, they will find a congenial and resourceful community in a B-Greek Forum that is on the verge of a real renaissance.


Carl W. Conrad (was Co-Chair of B-Greek List, now an advisor and participant)
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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