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How Does Dr. Constantine Campbell Keep his Greek?

and Hebrew, and Aramaic, and Syriac, and German, and French, and…

Budding biblical scholars are often daunted by the prospect of learning and maintaining at least four languages. Dr. Constantine Campbell concludes Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People by giving us a look at his pattern for maintaining multiple languages:

I try to read a little of each of my languages each day. I have an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading going simultaneously, and I alternate each day between them. At the moment, I’m finishing off 1 Kings and Acts. I read from these texts using Accordance, and I have a tab open for each language I want to read…

My pattern at the moment is to read a few verses from 1 Kings in Hebrew, then check an English translation. Then I’ll read the next verses in Aramaic, then the next few in Greek, the next few in German, and the next few in French. When I’m reading the New Testament the next day, I’ll start with Greek, then read the next few verses from a Hebrew NT, Syriac, German, and French. The advantages of this pattern are that I can take in a fair slab of the Bible, which is good for devotional purposes, and each language is read each day. A disadvantage is that it means I won’t read the whole of Acts in Greek, since I’ve read some of it in the other languages instead. But I’m OK with that tradeoff.

As I follow this pattern, I’ll tend to focus more on one language than the others, but I switch the focus language around from day to day so that each language gets a more focused treatment at least once a week. But even so, every language is still read each day.

 

What about you? What are your strategies and patterns for keeping your Greek (and/or other languages)?

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15 Comments

  1. I like his approach and may modify my own along those lines. The best way to keep it, at least languages you don’t speak regularly, is to read, read, read!

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  2. Wait…you mean I might need to learn French?

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    • I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious, so if this is a serious question: you only need to learn French if you plan on pursuing a PhD.

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      • Sorry, Jennifer. It may have been a bit of both, only more serious than sarcastic, so I’m glad you answered it. I knew PhD studies required knowledge of German, but i didn’t know what other languages were involved. Well, we’ll see how far my schooling goes. Thanks for the reply. I hope to be able to use these Greek resources one day.

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        • It seems to me that most NT/ST PhD programs test for German and French competencies pretty early on. Those two tend to be assumed across the board in addition to biblical languages.

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          • Maybe I can sneak my wife in and she can take the German test. Well, good thing I have DuoLingo. I guess I’ll practice with that for now.

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          • Haha! Well, we have a bit of time before we need to worry about research languages. Greek and Hebrew first!

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  3. jamesbradfordpate

     /  September 1, 2015

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.

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  4. jamesbradfordpate

     /  September 1, 2015

    BibleWorks does make it easier!

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  5. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    I really appreciate a reverse Interlinear for both Greek & Hebrew.

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  6. I’m only trying to keep one language, Greek. I read and use Koine Greek pretty much every day – I read the Greek NT for my daily devotional reading – but I don’t always remember the less common grammar rules. One tool I use to remind me of the rules is Daily Dose of Greek. It is aimed at people with just one year of Greek study, but every now and then the daily video reminds me of a rule that had slipped from active memory, and I am grateful for that.

    I include this free resource, and others, here: http://newlife.id.au/uncategorized/freebies-for-students-of-new-testament-greek/

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Helpful, given my struggle with retaining Hebrew at the moment. For my Greek, I find translating and exegetical work and reading up on Greek helpful.

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    • Definitely! This is just a way to incorporate reading multiple languages, which I think is brilliant. I had seasons where I read the bible entirely in a diff language for a few months at a time, but I had no idea how to maintain many languages. When I get up there I’m definitely going to try this.

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