Reading through the Greek New Testament

Discussion in 'Language Learning Logs & Super Challenges' started by Bob, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I figured I would make a separate log for this, as there won't be much to say about it, and I don't want the bits to drown in my other log. I took a 2 year course in Biblical Greek as part of my missionary training 2 years ago. After going through that I could read through 1st John quite easily, and slog through almost anything else given enough time.

    Most leave it at that, but at the beginning we were told that the Greek Bible would become our personal Bible, and so from the start I wanted to read it with a degree of ease. Certainly the biggest block to doing this was the vocabulary. I SRSed the words down to about 3 occurrences, getting really bogged down at the end and never really "finishing" it. Earlier this year I put the vocabulary through the Goldlist method, and so theoretically all that stuff is up in my head somewhere.

    I also purchased a book that has the uncommon vocab at the bottom of the page. This has been a great time saver for looking things up. At the beginning of this year I was going to read 1 chapter a day, and then I would be done by September. I got bogged down somewhere in Luke 13 a few months ago and didn't pick it back up until a few weeks ago. I'm now pushing ahead again to read through this whole thing.
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  2. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    I have little interest in Biblical Greek, though I do have a backburner project making parallel texts out of NT texts using modern but not loose translations. I would be open to other non-literary but widely translated works, but the Bible seems to be about the only one with a lot of reach. While some of the terms and grammar usage is outdated, it is not horribly so if one is advanced enough to tell the differences, and the easy availability outweighs such considerations for me.

    Re Goldlist, are you ElComandreja (sp.?) on HTLAL? He is using the Goldlist method for a class in Biblical Greek. Perhaps the simplest thing to do is to return to Goldlist if it works for you. From reading over time the various threads on HTLAL re Goldlist, I don't remember seeing anyone (other than Uncle Davy) keeping at it long-term and reporting good results. If you do have such good results, perhaps you could make a separate thread in the General Discussion forum sometime on how it has worked for you.

    One suggestion that occurs to me, especially given the fact that the Bible is known to contain so many rare words due to lack of many different sources for same, is that you divide the NT up into groups according to the putative authors (i.e. like Luke and Acts, the Pauline epistles, etc.), and then study each group repeatedly until it is down pat before moving on to another group or isolated book. Otherwise the reinforcement from going through the entire testament in cycles might be slower and thus less effective.
  3. Wise owl chick

    Wise owl chick Active Member

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    How transparent is Koine Greek with Ancient Greek? I think that it would be extremely interesting but quick to muddle up, like German and Dutch, although if you want to read it then this problem is not important.
  4. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Yes, that's me, I've moved over. I had a seperate log there where I tried out goldlist for (mainly) Cebuano, I loved the results, and that's why we tried it out in the Greek class. In the end very few have gotten through the whole class, as normal, but I'm still curious to see if the end quality of these passing students will be any better.
  5. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    We have an ancient greek grammar too. (smyth?) At a glance, the grammar does not seem to be far off from Koine.. I think the opaqueness will come from style and vocabulary. NT Koine Greek is basicly the Greek of the man on the street, with some Hebrew-isms here and there. The only difference that I rember just now, is that koine does not have a dual number for nouns.
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  6. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    With places like the Defense Language Institute, they test for linguistic aptitude in advance to filter out prospective students, so it is not surprising if you have an even higher attrition rate without such a filter process (I don't recall your mentioning one but perhaps I missed it).

    I enjoyed your reports over there on your use of the Goldlist for the class, so I will interested as well in your quality question when you have been able to determine it.

    BTW, are you familiar with the Polyglot Bible online? Nice parallel structure with English plus Latin plus a mix of Greek and Hebrew depending on the book (3-4 columns per book).
  7. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    In the past there have been weekly tests, heavily weighted toward vocabulary. (In retrospect maybe we shouldn't do that, because recently, we gave the students all the lexical forms of the words and some couldn't make sense out of anything)

    Anyway, when we started this experiment there was no longer tests. Just goldlists, a weekly translation we would go over in class, and some oral exercises on grammar that they were having a problem with. Even with that we lost about half because it was too much for them. The next stage is textual criticism, which the teacher deemed that one of the remaining students will not be able to do because that student still cannot translate without allot of help. And so we are down to 3.

    On another note, I finished Luke yesterday and noticed that the part about sweat drops of blood was in brackets, meaning the UBS committee decided that it should not be in there. I think this is the only place where this is mentioned hmmm, In the sinaiticus manuscript, it was in the original text, a corrector took it out, then another corrector came and put it back in.

    By the way I plan to keep this thread academic rather than religious. That's how we do the class.

    That polyglot Bible is a little bit of awesome. Especially since I don't have an electronic Septuagint yet. Looks like the greek is based on the received text behind the KJV. Edit: oops I take it back, the Greek does not have the heavenly witnesses seen in the KJV
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  8. Wise owl chick

    Wise owl chick Active Member

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    My best friend from some years ago study his master in classics at the uni, but he's interested in the seminary as well. I suppose that if you know very well ancient Greek, then Koine wouldn't be so difficult. I don't know this languages, unfortuanetly, I learned Latin one year, then my school after didn't have Latin or Greek although I'd love to know them. I fidn the older languages extremely interesting, also the older versions of the modern languages like Dutch and the Oïl languages as well.
  9. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    Which Bible software do you use ?
  10. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    olive tree & Bibleworks. And with all this technology I usually just prefer paper. There's a few printed Septuangints around the office.
  11. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, I got through Luke a few days back. I got confused near the end with the bit about the road to Emmaus. A second reading sorted it out.

    Getting into John, it feels like the weights have been taken off, as expected. Only a word here and there I don't know. No real complications in sentence stucture. I'm dreading Acts because it's the same author as Luke, and my knowledge of it is very spotty.

    But again I'm thinking of zooming ahead to Acts would be more productive than reading John, because there's not much room for improvement there. Oh well, by the end of the week it probably won't matter.
  12. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well I decided to stop reading John after finishing chapter 7. If I want to come back to it later I can easily remember that it starts at that well known pulpit story of the woman caught in adultery.

    I skipped ahead to Acts, and so far it seems the ideal i+1 text for me, and it is not near the headache I thought it would be thus far. 2 chapters out of 28.
  13. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    When you go through a text that you find hard like John, do you have anything to study first? Like an annotated translation? Or when you complete a chapter there, do you make your own? I have occasionally pulled a text into a spreadsheet, and without making a complete translation, made notes in another column as to definitions of unfamiliar words and phrases, as well as some grammatical constructions. I know you want to read without training wheels, but if you don't use training wheels first it can lead to bruised knees :).
  14. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    For me the training wheels are the quick look up. There are some times (like in the first few chapters of Luke), where I'm still like huh? Because I can't figure out how the whole sentence works, so then yes, I pull out a literal translation like NASV to help me wrap my head around it.

    Occasionaly I do find strange isolated constructions, such as in the turning of water into wine when Jesus says something like, "what to you and to me woman?". I looked at several translations for this, and later noticed the same kind of thing in other contexts. I wouldn't say I'm sitting down and memorizing this stuff though.

    Something that's consistantly weird for me is when infinitives have subjects.
  15. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    There is no point in memorizing an exact phrase such as that unless it serves as an example for such constructions, as in such constructions do occur elsewhere. Here, unless you have left something out, the construction seems to include an implied "does that mean". Its brevity also seems like that found in ancient greek or latin poetry and prose. So the question is will that construction show up again in the same or other books? If not, then perhaps it is better to just memorize it.

    As for infinitives with subjects, do you mean other than in a phrase following the first verb in a sentence where its object becomes the subject of the infinitive which is the second verb?
  16. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    Well, that's the thing. I won't know how much it shows up without reading more. This phrase is used in some other places, one when a demon possessed man meets Jesus. Also, if I want to do a lesson from the Bible, I'm going to be much more thorough.

    Yes, I'm thinking more like something from James 3:3
  17. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    Not knowing any Koine, I can only look at the English and Latin and German. I don't see in those translations an infinitive having a subject, only an object, or being used where the object of a finite verb becomes the subject of an infinitive phrase.

    To make it clear what we are talking about, we are talking about an infinitive having a subject, rather than an infinitive acting as the subject of a finite verb, or an infinitive phrase is that correct?

    Can you give an English translation, and perhaps also a reference to this grammatical phenomena in a Greek grammar?
  18. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    oops, sure... here it is in English (ESV)

    3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.

    Literally that underlined part is something like, "into the to persuade/trust themselves them to us". The way I understand it, this is an idiomatic phrase that means "so that", and usually it's not a problem, because you can just use the infinitive in English and you get the same idea. But here "them" is the subject of the infinitive, and there is now no direct way to translate this thing.
  19. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    "into the to persuade/trust themselves them to us": here you are saying that "themselves" is part of the infinitive, i.e. that it includes an object. With its object, it is similar to a reflexive verb in Spanish or German.

    But here's the crux of the matter: "so that they obey us" : this construction in English has an implied "might", which indicates a subjunctive mood, similar to other languages. Latin uses such constructions as well. So here the question is, does the construction in Greek really contain a pure infinitive (taking an object) or not?

    In English if we say: "to be a man requires . . .", it is similar to "being a man", and thus a simple verbal infinitive/gerund/participle type of phrase. So in (Koine) Greek, are there similar constructs in relation to the infinitive? Perhaps this is not really an idiomatic or such phrase (cf. "um . . . zu" in German), but rather just a (possibly uncommon) type of verbal use.

    Perhaps I am not making much sense here, but I am trying to look at it from the perspective of other languages to find a common construct, though of course it doesn't have to exist in those languages. Do you actually have a grammar book that talks about infinitives having a subject?
  20. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    You are probably familiar with this site I just googled: http://www.ntgreek.net/lesson35.htm

    And this particular page is on NT Greek infinitives. If you scroll down it does talk of infinitives having subjects according to some grammarians, but apparently all would not agree.

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