What does it mean to read Greek?

I feel simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed. I just read an article by Daniel Street where he asks the question, “What does it mean to read Greek?” His basic premise is that I can’t read Greek. Not just me, but the vast majority of people who have taken Greek in seminary. I have taken way more than the average seminary graduate (about 7 semesters worth), but as he points out, I can’t pick up the Greek New Testament and read it in the same way I would an English Bible. Instead, when I look at the Greek text I am translating it to English and then reading my English translation. The process is nothing like what an original Greek reader would experience.

What is fun is that he is suggesting there is a better way to learn Greek that would teach the student to read like a native Greek speaker. I am already overwhelmed just thinking about it because I know that it won’t be easy. But then again, few things that are worth doing come easy.

I know that it will be some time before I can dedicate myself to this study. In the mean time I am planning on continuing to read Daniel Streets blog in hopes of finding similar pieces of inspiration. If you are interested in reading the Greek New Testament this seems to be a blog worth following.

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2 thoughts on “What does it mean to read Greek?

  1. I am concerned about the effect Street's method will have on the integrity of the text. Because Koine Greek is a “dead” language, I can't just jet over to Greece and spend a year learning the idioms and the way native speakers put meaning in their words. With a dead language, all we have is the text and this isolation of the language makes careful analysis of the grammatical structure and word meaning very important. I don't think that Street would deny that at all, but my concern is that if we begin to think of Koine as living, then doesn't it make the meaning of Koine more fluid? The English language changes every moment. It used to be an offense not to capitalize AM and PM, but not so much any longer. If we begin to view and use Koine as an active language, won't we change it and inadvertently mold it to our modern grammatical sensibilities, more so than we do now?

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