Want to Improve your Greek? Become a Scribe

INTRO:  the ancient Greeks had a system for language aquisition that might help students improve their knoledge of Greek. This system, more or less, was taken up by the young Ben Franklin. He was concerned not with learning a foreogn language, but how to employ his native English with greater perpescuity. The general practice of imitation, copying a text exactly, triggers language paradigms and vocabulary as they would occur in actual use and does so in a manner where the mind is more relaxed than the normal process of word-for-word translation.




Ben Franklin: copy and re-write the same kernel ideas in different words. At times Franklin would express a poem in prose a vice-versa, forcing his mind to identify new or fresh words and arrangements of words from which he could choose to best express said idea.


How to’s with the Biblical languages: a favorite passage…class translation exercises (if any students in my Greek classes are reading this today, you have a preview of the methodology we will employ next week)…a non-Biblical text (1 Clement or Thucydides)…have a grammar and lexicon handy…students will likely find that they are less intimidated the next time they are forced to translate a text word-for-word…could also re-write a prose passage using different words or in a different genre…appreciation of the interplay of verbal tense-form and word choices of the Biblical authors.