Attic vs Koine

Discussion in 'Languages' started by arapahoepark, Mar 6, 2015.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate I came across this quote:
    For those who know the languages how true is this? For those of us wanting to learn the languages should we heed this 'advice'?
  2. psycheives

    psycheives Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the worthwhile post, Brother. :) One of my professors spent a long time learning and reading Homer and pre-Biblical Greek texts. Now he teaches Koine and wrote a book on how to learn Biblical Greek focusing only on Koine. He did not find it worth the time for us to learn how to read these older works prior to learning Biblical Greek. Part of learning Koine is trying to get familiar with the vocab and slang of Biblical-era Greek. Learning ancient Greek slang could actually hinder our Biblical Greek because we would take ancient slangs that had died out and insert them into the Biblical era. The definitions of words change with time. Sometimes even taking on an almost opposite meanings, such as with the English word "nice," which used to be derogatory.

    I believe it is very important to learn about the Greek language during Biblical Times. Luke and Paul are quite skilled at Greek and these are much more difficult books to read than John's. Additionally, we have works from Polybius and other non-Christian writers during the same time. I believe it would be much more worthwhile to spend time reading these non-Christian works than going back to an older version of Greek.

    By the logic being promoted in the article, why stop at learning New Attic and not Old Attic? Or something older?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  3. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    As someone who is almost a year through with Attic greek, I recommend learning it first. Koine is a breeze compared to Attic. All you need to learn are a couple distinctives and some different vocab. It will make reading authors who have more of classical style (ala Luke) so much easier. Plus if your going to put in that much time to learn an ancient language, you might as well go far enough to so that you can read more than just the narrow corpus of the New Testament.
  4. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    I studied classics, and so learned Classical Greek (I started with Homeric actually). Outside vocabulary, I've not had to "learn" Koine, the grammar is much simpler than either Attic or Homeric so doesn't require further study to pick it up.

    If you never intend to read the classics or Homer in the original, then by all means, learn Koine first. Although my (totally biased view!) is that if you're going to put in the effort to learn "dead" languages, you may as well make it worth while and go the whole hog. :).
  5. mgkortus

    mgkortus Puritan Board Freshman

    From someone who has only learned Koine Greek, I can see the advantage of being grounded in Classical Greek. Having gone through Machen's textbook, books such as Mark and John are easy, and books such as Galatians are doable. However, I am working my way through I Peter, and I have found it very difficult to follow. I originally attributed this to the idea that Peter must have used some sort of fisherman's slang. After talking with others, however, I learned that Peter's greek is considered "good greek" by scholars. Interesting thought: the boisterous fisherman, Peter, a greek scholar…

    But, if I had been taught Attic Greek, perhaps I would not have the same struggles.
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