This summer I have the chance to delve into either Latin or Classical Greek in exchange for some Hebrew lessons. The problem is that I am having some trouble deciding. I know that classical Greek will bolster my current Koine Greek and help in the area of the church fathers, but Latin will also help in that area. Not only that, but I am fascinated with Catholic liturgy, so Latin would be helpful there.
If you could choose only one, which would you choose between Classical Greek and Latin, and why?
easy, Latin. Catholic liturgy and other things that are latin Documents like Jerome, etc. Later patristics. Plus, you can pleasure read classical Greek on the side for about a half-hour daily.
Thanks for the response. Yes, I was thinking of Jerome’s Vulgate in addition to Catholic liturgy. I’m not sure if I would able to quite pleasure read classical Greek yet but I could generally pleasure read Koine. 🙂
Latin. Definitely Latin. If you already know Greek, its best to go with Latin. That way you can study the church fathers in their own language. 🙂
It depends. It depends how good your Greek is. My experience with a lot of people who “know” Greek from bible college is that after a couple years of high school I knew more than they did. I think if you fall into that category I cannot recommend further Greek study enough. Furthermore too many Christians are content with learning only koine and not getting a feel for the real implications of the words used in the bible in their original contexts. There is something to be said for learning Latin for reading the church fathers but I think that reading a translation of them is not such a terrible loss. It may still be worth considering broadening your Greek.
Greek, because it enhances your understanding of the language in which the NT and the LXX were written – that is, the source documents upon which the church fathers relied.
As important as church history might be, it must always stand in the shadow of biblical history, for only in the latter do we have the imprimatur of the Lord Jesus Himself.
The science teacher in me screams Latin, but I would probably recommend classic Greek.
if your going to do a PhD, unless it in the classics, I’d say go with Latin since it will help with later studies and such. I also imagine, knowing a bit of Koine, it shouldn’t be too much to learn classical Greek, no?
Well, you really should have both. I’m convinced, though, that koine isn’t enough to say that one “knows” Greek. If you want a better understanding of the NT an the LXX and Philo and Josephus and the Apostolic Fathers and the Pseudepigrapha, etc., then I would do classical Greek.
Wow, good thoughts from everyone here! Still makes it hard to decide, although it’s a little bit easier. 🙂
@Jonathan: What kind of Greek did you do in high school? Yes, I have found that Bible college Greek courses tend to be on the weaker side. My koine is fairly strong, so it seems that classical should logically be the next step.
@Rod: That’s particularly what I’m thinking. 🙂 Although, aren’t many of the fathers also in classical Greek?
@Brian: That’s what I’m wondering, although I often hear the converse that if one know classical Greek then reading Koine is no problem.
@Mike: Good point and I agree strongly.
@Nathan: Sounds like your recommendation is torn between the two as much as I am. 🙂
@Pat: I definitely want to get both under the belt. I think it will have to see what kinds of documents I will pick up more in the next year or so past my NT.
I would personally do Classic for NT background in the Area of Paul and Empire type studies. Although it would probably be easier to learn Classic on your own with your foundation, than latin.
JohnDave Medina, forgive me if you already know about this site, but just in case you don’t…
AWOL – The Ancient World Online has a current post with resource for classical Greek (which you might be of some use whichever choice you make).
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