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Koine to Classical and vice versa?

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Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby refe » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:57 pm

With so many seminary students being introduced to Ancient Greek through the Koine of the New Testament, it seems that a book or article that discussed the most common - or the most troublesome - differences between Koine and other forms of Classical Greek such as Attic would be very useful. For students such as myself who are trying to broaden their literacy in Greek, having the key differences in one place would greatly aid me in making the jump to the works of the Plato, Xenophon, etc.

Does anyone know if such a resource exists?
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Re: Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby Markos » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:55 pm

Hi, Refe,

It's a good question. Interestingly, the vice versa part was covered by Max Zerwick in his Biblical Greek, which was written to make Biblical Greek easier for those already well grounded in Classical Greek! How times have changed! I suspect there are many people who are pretty good with the vocabulary and the constructions of the Greek NT that would benefit from just the sort of resource you are talking about, but I am not familiar with one. Hopefully, some one else will know of something.

The way I made the transition from the GNT to Attic and Homeric is by working through the various excellent classical textbooks out there. JACT and Athenaze are two of the best, but there are many out there, many of them free on line here at Textkit or Google books.

By the way, if you want to do more chatting in Ancient Greek, I started a thread here at Textkit in the Agora form called ειπε εμοι, παρακαλω. It was pretty active for a time, but hasn't seen much activity of late. Write to me there, or keep on writing to me off list. I have a practice of answering any letter written to me in Greek from anyone.

ερρωσο εν ονοματι Ιησου

Φωσορος Μαρκος
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby pster » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:29 am

Markos, I would love to join you and start writing Attic daily, but I am afraid that my syntax would be so bad that either the subject would quickly turn to my syntax itself and the discussion would have to move to English, or that folks would ignore my bad syntax and leave me with the impression that I wasn't butchering things.
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Re: Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby Markos » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:26 am

pster wrote:
Markos, I would love to join you and start writing Attic daily, but I am afraid that my syntax would be so bad that either the subject would quickly turn to my syntax itself and the discussion would have to move to English, or that folks would ignore my bad syntax and leave me with the impression that I wasn't butchering things.


Hi, pster,

I think the idea behind using Ancient Greek actively, by writing and speaking it in the context of real communication, is that it gives you lots of practice in producing the basic forms. This causes you to internalize the endings much better than just passive reading will do. So, in turn, when you do read Greek, none of your psychic energy is spent on decoding the forms. This allows you to focus on vocab and syntax and makes reading easier.

This, anyway, is the theory. I am not a zealot on this issue. I think using Greek is helpful, but so are lots of other things. Tons of English-to-Greek exercises can accomplish the same thing. But using Greek for me is a little more fun than working through a composition text book.

As far as butchering syntax, we all do that. The goal is to do it a little less each day. Some people think that by using and reading bad Greek, your Greek will be harmed. That has not been my experience. I read the LXX regularly and there the Greek syntax is often butchered. I actually think you can only appreciate the subtleties of good Greek syntax by trying to produce your own. You notice much more stuff this way.

Randall Buth has said that to learn a language well, you have to make 30,000 mistakes. This, I can do.

But again, I appreciate your point of view. Most people who study Greek decide for whatever reasons that they do not want to use it as a real language, and I'm down with that.

ελπιζω οτι πολλην χαραν ἑξεις μανθανων την γλωσσαν Ελληνικην.
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby pster » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:15 pm

Markos,
Thanks for your reply. I may try it out. But my point wasn't about reading bad syntax--although I guess that can be bad too--it was about writing it and having nobody correct it. But I'll probably come try it out soon.
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Re: Koine to Classical and vice versa?

Postby refe » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:21 pm

I suppose I was looking for a shortcut, but I will just have to spend some time in one of the textbooks you mentioned. Maybe some of the members who have made the leap from GNT to Attic or Homeric could post some of the biggest differences that they have found?

As for writing in Greek, the exercise has been extremely helpful so far and I am already feeling more comfortable with the process. I have been going through the First Greek Writer and even though it takes me an average of about 3 tries to get the exercises correct it has done a great deal to better familiarize me with some of the more common formulas such as μεν ... δε and the correct uses of the article with adjectives and participles. Though the book was written 100 years ago or so it has proven to be a great resource for filling in the gaps left by Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek.
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