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Author Topic: Ancient Greek  (Read 1182 times)
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JimCBrooklyn
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« on: May 05, 2011, 06:29:49 AM »

So, I'm an undergrad coming close to finishing, and I intend to pursue a grad degree in either theology, Russian Studies, or possibly linguistics, when all is said and done. For a Rus Studies PHD, it is almost imperative that one have excellent Russian (I have this), excellent French or German (I speak fluent French), working Ancient Greek or Latin (one year of Greek in 9th grade, a few years of Middle School Latin, i.e., I know hardly anything of either language), and one addl Slavic tongue. For theology, Greek or Latin is a must, if not both.

My inkling is to begin taking Ancient Greek in September, as I've always wanted to do it, anyway, but I was curious, how useful would this be in terms of the Septuagint, the Fathers, etc.? These texts are mostly in Koine, correct? How does one transfer to another? I know that ancient-modern Greek is a total no-go, but I don't know much about Koine.
Thanks,
Jim
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 06:52:17 AM »

So, I'm an undergrad coming close to finishing, and I intend to pursue a grad degree in either theology, Russian Studies, or possibly linguistics, when all is said and done. For a Rus Studies PHD, it is almost imperative that one have excellent Russian (I have this), excellent French or German (I speak fluent French), working Ancient Greek or Latin (one year of Greek in 9th grade, a few years of Middle School Latin, i.e., I know hardly anything of either language), and one addl Slavic tongue. For theology, Greek or Latin is a must, if not both.

My inkling is to begin taking Ancient Greek in September, as I've always wanted to do it, anyway, but I was curious, how useful would this be in terms of the Septuagint, the Fathers, etc.? These texts are mostly in Koine, correct? How does one transfer to another? I know that ancient-modern Greek is a total no-go, but I don't know much about Koine.
Thanks,
Jim

It really depends on what you're reading. Many of the Fathers were very fond of antiquated language.

Although modern Greek is quite far removed from Byzantine Greek, it is actually very useful. Study of modern Greek gives you quick access to a living language you can use all the time. Personally, I've found that the better my modern Greek gets, the easier it is for me to memorize and get to grips with the grammar and vocabulary of New Testament and Byzantine Greek, although the two are quite distinct. So don't rule it out.
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JimCBrooklyn
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 07:00:22 AM »

So, I'm an undergrad coming close to finishing, and I intend to pursue a grad degree in either theology, Russian Studies, or possibly linguistics, when all is said and done. For a Rus Studies PHD, it is almost imperative that one have excellent Russian (I have this), excellent French or German (I speak fluent French), working Ancient Greek or Latin (one year of Greek in 9th grade, a few years of Middle School Latin, i.e., I know hardly anything of either language), and one addl Slavic tongue. For theology, Greek or Latin is a must, if not both.

My inkling is to begin taking Ancient Greek in September, as I've always wanted to do it, anyway, but I was curious, how useful would this be in terms of the Septuagint, the Fathers, etc.? These texts are mostly in Koine, correct? How does one transfer to another? I know that ancient-modern Greek is a total no-go, but I don't know much about Koine.
Thanks,
Jim

It really depends on what you're reading. Many of the Fathers were very fond of antiquated language.

Although modern Greek is quite far removed from Byzantine Greek, it is actually very useful. Study of modern Greek gives you quick access to a living language you can use all the time. Personally, I've found that the better my modern Greek gets, the easier it is for me to memorize and get to grips with the grammar and vocabulary of New Testament and Byzantine Greek, although the two are quite distinct. So don't rule it out.
Definitely not ruling it out in the future, but right now, Ancient Greek is all that is available to me. This is why I'm wondering how useful it is with regard to these texts. Someday, I'd love to have a hold on a few more...
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 07:29:34 AM »

Definitely not ruling it out in the future, but right now, Ancient Greek is all that is available to me. This is why I'm wondering how useful it is with regard to these texts. Someday, I'd love to have a hold on a few more...

It is definitely worth doing, especially if you plan to read Patristic texts. Take a course in Ancient Greek and supplement it with one of the standard texts on New Testament Greek.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 07:34:34 AM »

Best of luck in your studies.   Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 10:31:45 AM »

Definitely not ruling it out in the future, but right now, Ancient Greek is all that is available to me. This is why I'm wondering how useful it is with regard to these texts. Someday, I'd love to have a hold on a few more...

It is definitely worth doing, especially if you plan to read Patristic texts. Take a course in Ancient Greek and supplement it with one of the standard texts on New Testament Greek.

Well, I'm signing up for Ancient Greek for September, it seems. Can you recommend any such NT Greek texts?
Thanks so much,
Jim
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 10:39:15 AM »

Well, I'm signing up for Ancient Greek for September, it seems. Can you recommend any such NT Greek texts?
Thanks so much,
Jim

I've found Duff's The elements of New Testament Greek to be very user-friendly. Just make sure you ignore the pronunciation chart. Erasmian pronunciation, being phonetic, makes it much easier to memorise the spelling of words. However, Greek pronunciation had evolved into something quite similar to modern Greek already by New Testament times. Therefore, by following Duff's chart you'd be alienating yourself not only from current Orthodox usage, but also the texts themselves.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 12:15:56 PM »

For pronunciation go here:
http://www.helding.net/greeklatinaudio/greek/
(amazingly, they use the modern pronunciation and not the erasmian one!)
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 08:27:10 PM »

Nikolai,

The Erasmian pronunciation is the work of Satan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUtEEK0U29c&feature=channel_video_title (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)

See? Hideous.

In my admittedly naive opinion, because ancient Greek is not a spoken language, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to learn the Erasmian pronunciation. As long as you can read and understand the words on the page -- even if in your head you are pronouncing them in the modern fashion -- you will pass any exam. The only drawback is you may experience some snobbery from "classicists" who for reasons beyond my understanding insist the Erasmian pronunciation is "correct", even though that assertion is hotly disputed.

Contrarily, because Koine Greek continues to be spoken in Orthodox churches throughout the world, you will be cut off from experiencing the Divine Liturgy and liturgical reading of the scriptures if you learn the Erasmian pronunciation alone, as you will not be able to make sense of the spoken words.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2011, 11:01:13 PM »

Best of luck in your studies.   Smiley
+1. Godspeed!
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