Greek Composition

Greek Composition

Postby Wayne Kirk » February 25th, 2012, 11:23 pm

Χαίρετε,

I would like to work on my composition skills, but when I look for a textbook they're all rather "ancient" (North & Hillard, Sidgwick, etc.). Am I looking in the wrong place? There seems to be a new Greek primer shipping every few months, but nothing in decades for composition.

Thanks,

Wayne Kirk
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Devenios Doulenios » February 26th, 2012, 9:29 pm

Unfortunately, it seems that most modern publishers and textbook writers haven't seen the value of composition, mainly because they don't see the value of working toward fluency in ancient Greek yet. I am hopeful this will change, but I expect it will be a while yet before it does.

Meanwhile, here are some good sources where you can practice online:

1. ΣΧΟΛΗ, http://schole.ning.com/ The online Greek writing community. Focus is on Koine, but Attic and other dialects welcome. Founded by our own Louis Sorenson.

2. Textkit, http://www.textkit.com. There is a composition board there where you can practice writing ancient Greek.

Both places have lots of helpful people who will encourage you and give you tips on writing in Greek if you want them.

3. Also, you can do emails and private messages in Greek. You can PM me here or email to dewayne.dulaney@gmail.com. I'm just at the beginner stage in composition, but I enjoy trying, and will be glad to correspond with you in Greek.

Hope these help,

Devenios :D
Last edited by Devenios Doulenios on February 26th, 2012, 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Dt. 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Wayne Kirk » February 26th, 2012, 9:40 pm

Devenios,

Thank you for your helpful response. I wonder if there has been a shift in pedagogy from the times of Sidgwick and North & Hillard? Is composition a skill that was once prized, but no longer so? I'm an autodidact, but for those forum members who been formally trained in Greek, was composition a integral part of your education?

Thanks,

Wayne Kirk
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Mark Lightman » February 28th, 2012, 2:17 am

Wayne wrote: Χαίρετε,

I would like to work on my composition skills, but when I look for a textbook they're all rather "ancient" (North & Hillard, Sidgwick, etc.). Am I looking in the wrong place? There seems to be a new Greek primer shipping every few months, but nothing in decades for composition.


χαίροις καὶ σὺ φίλτατε!

You exaggerate, but only slightly. There is this book, published during the Obama administration,

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Greek-int ... 356&sr=1-1

which I have been tempted to get, because I have never been able to get through North-Hillard or Sidgwick and stay awake at the same time. I learned how to write Greek basically by just doing it, but, if you have every read any of my Greek, you know that this may not be the best method. If you do get this book, let us know how it works for you.

ὑγίαινε δή.
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Wayne Kirk » February 28th, 2012, 8:54 am

Mark,

I'm impressed that it was released in the current millenium. :)

Kindly,

Wayne Kirk
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby ed krentz » March 11th, 2012, 7:56 pm

Most students get to Greek or Latin composition only after they are in a Ph. D. program in classics.

That was my experience, with Prof. Saul Levin as my instructor. His rules included: 1. One could only use Greek words in use in the Fifth or fourth centuries BC. 2. Be prepared to cite a text which uses it in the sense the student does. 3. Word order should be that of good Greek prose. [And be ready to defend it by citing ancient models.]

I had to turn Lincoln's Gettysberg address into classical Greek, then the Schema, etc. What is the Greek equivalent for blood on the doorposts? Since Greeks never did that, one had to find an equivalent act in the Greek world. The last three weeks I had to write Greek poetry, iambic verse of the sort used in dialogue in Greek tragedy.

In my humble opinion no seminary student who has only had NT Greek knows enough Greek to do Greek prose composition, not even of the NT koine or first or second century literary Greek. Why not? Shortage of vocabulary, little understanding of Greek word order, no knowledge of ancient rhetoric, etc. Prose composition requires a deep knowledge of ancient Greek. I had some 70 hours of graduate courses in classics before my adviser suggested I was ready for prose composition. And I sweat "bullets" in doing my short compositions each week.

Ed Krentz
Edgar Krentz
Prof. Emeritus of NT
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Wayne Kirk » March 11th, 2012, 8:50 pm

So is learner early in their studies (first or second year) better off focusing on reading than doing composition? I've seen that a lot of the primers have English to Greek exercises. Are these ineffectual?
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Ken M. Penner » March 11th, 2012, 9:31 pm

ed krentz wrote:In my humble opinion no seminary student who has only had NT Greek knows enough Greek to do Greek prose composition, not even of the NT koine or first or second century literary Greek. Why not? Shortage of vocabulary, little understanding of Greek word order, no knowledge of ancient rhetoric, etc. Prose composition requires a deep knowledge of ancient Greek. I had some 70 hours of graduate courses in classics before my adviser suggested I was ready for prose composition. And I sweat "bullets" in doing my short compositions each week.

You're probably right, Ed, about seminary students not being competent. But that's not the same as not being ready. Let's not discourage those who want to give it a try.
Here's what I did after only a couple of years each of Hebrew and Greek, and I still think it was a worthwhile exercise: I translated from the Hebrew Bible into Greek, then compared my Greek with the "Septuagint." The question was always, "Why did they render it that way instead of my way?"
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 11th, 2012, 10:02 pm

Wayne Kirk wrote:So is learner early in their studies (first or second year) better off focusing on reading than doing composition? I've seen that a lot of the primers have English to Greek exercises. Are these ineffectual?


I assign English-to-Greek exercises to my students because I think they're helpful. I don't consider that to be on the same as be doing composition, however.

Stephen
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Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: Greek Composition

Postby Wayne Kirk » March 11th, 2012, 10:37 pm

I would consider the English-to-Greek exercises, which seem quite common for beginning students, as preparatory for later composition. To me, I would think of composition as - write a letter to a friend detailing your vacation, write a review of a play you've watched, etc. By what I'm hearing, true composition is rather rare.
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