An Approach To The Greek Reading Problem Based On Structural Statistics -- By: Henry R. Moeller

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 03:2 (Spring 1960)
Article: An Approach To The Greek Reading Problem Based On Structural Statistics
Author: Henry R. Moeller

An Approach To The Greek Reading Problem Based On Structural Statistics

Henry R. Moeller

Central Baptist Theological Seminary1

In this society, among whose members the exegesis of the original languages of the biblical text is a primary concern, one supposes that there also exists a lively interest in fostering exegetical ability among our students. We will probably agree that it is required in exegetes, first and foremost, that they be able to read the texts which they seek to interpret. Therefore, this paper is addressed to the very fundamental problem of how to aid beginning students of New Testament Greek to gain ability, in the most expeditious manner, really to read the Greek text of the New Testament. It is slanted particularly to the needs of students who have had no previous instruction in any form of the Greek language, and problems which confront instructors whose students may have only a year (or two at the most) to spend in formal classroom study of koine Greek.

The viewpoint taken here is that the first goal to set for students of New Testament Greek is that of learning what is necessary to become as competent as possible, as soon as possible, in reading Greek. The central thesis of this paper is that a careful study of the structural characteristics of the New Testament text yields facts which have important implications for the development of instructional methods which seek the achievement of such a goal.

The Nature of Reading. Questions as to the nature of reading and concerning the role played by the study of formal grammar in the development of reading ability are immediately raised. The process by which one takes the rules given in a descriptive grammar, along with a lexicon, and laboriously deciphers a text word by word and point by grammatical point is not reading. Yet it is the level of competence to which many students have been brought after a whole academic year of fairly intensive grammar study. It is also a way to cripple potential exegetes in process of birth.

Reading is a process involving a fairly rapid, practically automatic, recognition of the meanings not of words as words, but of words in significant orders of arrangement and of constructional relationships. In discourse, lexical units always occur in structural frames. These frames, or construction types, have specific significance of their own over and above the meanings of the individual lexical items which may occur in them. In reading, as in spoken communication, one’s primary reaction is to the significance of these frames, without which the individual words would have little meaning for any kind of discourse.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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