Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Con Campbell, Greek Pedagogy, And My Favorite Quote In His New Book

So, here's my favorite quote from Con Campbell's new book Advances in the Study of Greek, which I recently reviewed for the Southeastern Theological Review:
"As few and fewer students elect to study Greek, as more institutions lessen their emphasis on languages, and as nearly all students struggle to retain what they've learned, Greek pedagogy has probably never been more important. It is essential that Greek instructors and professors everywhere consider how to teach Greek in the most effective manner possible. This may mean tweaking long-held practices. It may mean completely rethinking one's pedagogical approach. While we tend to cling to methods we know–which may be comfortable and safe–good teachers ought to be willing to adapt and change for the sake of their students. Ultimately, what is good for Greek students will be good for Greek, and good for the exegesis, teaching, and preaching of the Greek New Testament." (222)
The goal is use in ministry if you ask me, not recitation or regurgitation of paradigms. The goal is not even translation, given we have such a plethora of translations available to us, more than ever before in fact, and more if we are bi-, tri-, or multi-lingual. The goal is use in ministry. And people who use Greek in ministry are not primarily reciting paradigms or translating sentences from their Greek New Testament. If I had to nail down what people are doing when they use Greek in ministry into four areas, it would be the following: (1) textual analysis, (2) lexical analysis, (3) syntactical analysis, and (4) structural analysis. All of that feeds into our teaching outline and the content of what we teach. Of course, syntax is everything! And it's impossible to teach everything. My whole thing when it comes to thinking about Greek pedagogy is show matters more than tell, and, on top of that, I don't think we need to postpone so much of the show until after we have covered so much of the tell.

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