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I'm not sure what the purpose of reblogging a Dr. West post is, as most of you have probably seen them anyways . . . but, just to say I saw it and thought it was funny, I will do it anyways.
“Τοῦτο γὰρ ἐπαίδευσεν αὐτὸν ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη· οὐκέτι ἐπιθυμεῖ τῶν τοῦ πλησίον· πῶς γὰρ, ὁ τὰ αὐτοῦ ἀποκτώμενος, καὶ διδούς; οὐκέτι βασκαίνει τῷ πλουτοῦντι· πῶς γὰρ, ὁ βουλόμενος γενέσθαι πένης;”
For almsgiving teaches this: the one who gives no longer desires his neighbor’s possessions. For how could he when he has given up and given away his own possessions? No longer does he begrudge the rich. For how could he when he desires to be poor?
-John Chrysostom (Homily 1)
Jesus said something similar:
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ.
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Though it is difficult, and always a constant struggle for me, let us remember to be kingdom oriented people: men and women who are content to give all of our lives that we might inherit the greater kingdom!
Today I will be giving away a free copy of David Alan Blacks’ Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek. If you are a student of New Testament Greek, this resource is a must have. I know that it has been a great benefit in my own studies of the language.
To win: Tell me about why you study Greek in the comments section. Contest ends at 8:00AM tomorrow morning.
As a part of my job as Dr. Black’s Research Assistant, I am occasionally asked to respond to emails inquiring about Greek resources and advice on how to further one’s development in the language. Here is a portion of the email I received this morning, and my response:
There are many Greek 1 lectures available, both audio and video, but I have not found any that lecture through Greek Syntax. Do you know of any? In fact, do you have any available I can hunt down?
Any thoughts on the future of Greek instruction? The overwhelming sound I hear from most who take greek is that they don’t use it anymore and at best they have the basic tools to use software. This must not be! What a waste of time and energy! Even at my seminary (which boasts a very strong emphasis in the languages) I talk to 4th years, and they barely use their greek and forgot all their vocab that they learned down to 10 occurrences. If we really believe that greek is imperative to be able to see the Scriptures clearer then I think there needs to be some shift.
Sadly, I am unaware of anyone who goes through Greek Syntax, and makes the course available online. There might be one in six months if my class sticks with me long enough (though that is doubtful, and unhelpful to you in the here and now).
What I found helpful in my own studies, especially if you are struggling, is to pair It’s Still Greek to Me or Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics with a resource like Decker’s Greek Reader or Bateman’s Workbook through 1-3 John. This gives you a two-pronged approach to syntax: deductive (Wallace) with Inductive (looking at how the categories talked about by Black and Wallace are encountered within certain books of the Bible). The only warning in doing Bateman or Decker is that they are time intensive and require a bit of internal motivation (both factors being somewhat mitigated by the fact that you seem adamant to learn).
Regarding future instruction, Greek retention, and using Greek in ministry, I offer the following. It isn’t easy. There is no shortcut with languages. Retention requires regular translation. Without regularly translating, Greek will be a distant memory when it comes time to prepare our sermon or lesson. We will think it is too difficult, not worth the effort. After all, the commentaries will do it for me.
If you make it a point to read Greek like you would design an exercise plan (read 4 days a week), then you will begin to grow past retention. The amount of time you spend laboring over translation will be reduced due to familiarity with syntax, style, and vocabulary. The amount of time spent in commentaries will be reduced because you start to see what they see (that isn’t to say we stop using them as we hope they push us to see the text in a new light).
To help with the task of reading more, and if you don’t have Bible software, then consider getting a Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, or an Analytical Lexicon. These tools, though we should hope to eventually move beyond them, will help eliminate the frustration of working through larger portions of the text without a comprehensive vocabulary.
Also, I am sure that you have heard the cliche that you don’t really know a subject until you teach it. That was certainly true for me. I started tutoring students in Greek before I really knew it. This might sound dishonest or counter-intuitive. What I mean to say is, instructing another student opened up a new world. It reinforced, reminded, and deepened aspects about the language that I had previous learned, forgotten, or never learned to begin with. My advice . . . after finishing Greek Grammar 1 and 2, find someone that needs help. Work through the chapter they are working through. Simply put, tutor and teach the language.
Though I didn’t include this in the email, I will include it now. I often here the objection that learning and using Greek when preparing lessons and sermons isn’t pragmatic. There are many other pastoral concerns that arise throughout the week that make it unrealistic. I hear you. Greek takes a lot of work. What I just laid out is not an easy task. It is a daunting task. When I started teaching Greek again at Cary Alliance Church this past year, one of the things I told my students the first week of class was this: If nothing else, learning Greek will teach you discipline. And it will.
Yet, here is the flip side. I remember having a conversation with a friend a couple weeks ago where it occurred to me that I spend less time preparing for a message or sermon because of the amount of time I previously invested in Greek. Finding the limits of a passage, translating, diagraming, and developing an outline took under an hour. Of course I checked the commentaries after, but I found little there that wasn’t readily apparent in the text. Now this won’t be true of every passage. What is true is this: the investment you make in Greek now will pay great dividends in the future. Let us not be short-sighted. Our labors will not be in vain. We must be faithful now, and we will reap the rewards of that faithfulness in our future service to God.
I concluded the email with this:
P.S. These are not necessarily the “right” answers. What I have offered are things that have helped me in my own learning and development in the language.
Two days ago I introduced my plans to read through Chrysostom in a year. Yesterday, I mentioned the possibility of crowdsourcing the task of morphological tagging the text. I did the first paragraph as an example. For those of you that looked at the excel document, you probably thought that it was a huge list of unusable information. I felt the same way.
So, I did a bit of research. Here’s what I came up with. This is what could potentially be done with the gathered data (yes, I know Bible software does the same, but I learned how to do it for the interwebs). Hover over the words in the text below:
Οἱ Φιλιπήσιοι ἀπὸ πόλεώς εἰσι τῆς Μακεδονίας Φιλίππων, οὕτω καλουμένης ἀπὸ τοῦ οἰκιστοῦ πόλεως κολωνίας, καθὼς ὁ Λουκᾶς φησιν· Ἐνταῦθα ἡ πορφυρόπωλις ἐπέστρεψεν, εὐλαβὴς γυνὴ σφόδρα, καὶ προσεκτική· ἐνταῦθα ὁ ἀρχισυνάγωγος ἐπίστευσεν· ἐνταῦθα ἐμαστίχθη ὁ Παῦλος μετὰ τοῦ Σίλα· ἐνταῦθα οἱ στρατηγοὶ ἠξίωσαν αὐτοὺς ἐξελθεῖν, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν αὐτοὺς· καὶ λαμπρὰν ἔσχε τὸ κήρυγμα τὴν ἀρχήν. Μαρτυρεῖ δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτὸς πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα, στέφανον αὐτοῦ καλῶν αὐτοὺς, καὶ πολλὰ πεπονθέναι λέγων· Ὑμῖν γὰρ ἐχαρίσθη, φημί ἀπὸ θεοῦ οὐ μόνον τὸ εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πάσχειν. Ὅτε δὲ ἔγραφε πρὸς αὐτούς, συνέβη αὐτὸν δεδέσθαι. Διὰ τοῦτό φησιν, Ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς, ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ· πραιτώριον τὰ βασίλεια τοῦ Νέρωνος καλῶν
A few caveats need to be mentioned here:
- I make no promises that this will be available for the weekly readings. The “hover over” feature requires coding each individual word. I takes a long time. Furthermore, we don’t have the tagging, unless you help provide it, which would be after each reading is released throughout the year.
- I am going to do a bit more research to see if the process can be automated when the data is initially entered. If so, then the tags will be available sooner rather than later.
- I will use the “hover over” feature instead of footnoting for words occurring 20≤. Those words will be indicated by a superscripted asterisk. This way, you won’t have to scroll to the bottom of the page and lose your place in the text every time you don’t know a word!
It’s that time of year again. Time for me to go through my library, find duplicates, and give them out to my readers during the Christmas season. It’s my way of saying thanks to everyone that reads the blog, and is done in hopes that the books will benefit your personal study and growth.
Today, I am offering 5 pocket dictionaries published by IVP. Here are the titles:
- Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek
- Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
- Pocket History of Theology
- Pocket Dictionary of North American Denominations
- Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies
The giveaway for these volumes ends 12:00PM Sunday 12/8/13. The winner will be drawn at random, and will be notified in the comments section of the post. Here’s how you can enter:
- Tweet the link to this post with @ceronej in the tweet
- Like this post
- Comment on this post
- Link to the post in any other fashion (let me know you did via email jacobncerone[at]gmail[dot]com)
[Disclaimer: Due to shipping costs, I will only be able to send books within continental US. Also, these books come from my personal library. Most are like new; some are gently used.]
Stay tuned throughout the month for other books including:
- Charity and its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards
- Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek by David Alan Black
- 3 vols of Metropolitan Tabernacle by Spurgeon
- and more
For a long time I have thought it would be a great thing to have the Migne Greek Father and Latin Father series digitized, tagged, and translated. It was brought to my attention that Logos plans on releasing the Greek and Latin copies of Migne. The problem is, none of the volumes are tagged or translated (They have said that tagging may be included at a later date due to interest). While the digitization of Migne is a huge first step, Migne is no more accessible to students than before. After all, anyone can download all the volumes from archive or google books. That’s where crowdsourcing comes in.
Crowdsourcing, I’m sure you are familiar with the concept. If you aren’t, crowdsourcing is the process of appealing to a large audience in order to obtain the money for start up costs or completing large tedious tasks. I would like to initially apply the concept to Chrysostom’s Homilies on Philippians.
Now, I know my vision is fundamentally flawed. Crowdsourcing relies on a large pool of individuals to contribute to the project. For this project, we are limited to people who know Greek, are interested in Chrysostom, and are willing to put a bit more time than is required to “simply translate” the passage. Nevertheless, I’m going to make a go of it!
What I would like is some help morphologically tagging and translating the homilies throughout the year. I have done the first paragraph. You can access the work here. Like the reading plan, everything is tentative at the moment. Mary Beth, my wife, will help build the database and the means of inputing the tagging into the database.
Why put in such a large amount of effort? The work that is produced will make the text more accessible for those interested in translating it. It will give you more practice recognizing forms, parts of speech, etc. Finally, maybe, just maybe, we will convince Logos or Accordance that digitization, tagging, and translating are all goals worth the time and effort!