Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some additional explanation on my method of Learning Biblical Greek in an ecclesiastical immersion

I would like to make a note about immersion.  In the weekly liturgical cycle of the Orthodox church the book of psalms is read once a week, as Kathismata reading, while several other psalms are used more frequently in all vespers and matins services.  I will use these readings.   98% of the four Gospels, a bit less of the Acts and the letters throughout the year, and portions from the OT readings in the service of vespers comprise the Biblical reading of the year.  This is why that lectionaries provide the best text among all other biblical manuscripts.

In Greece I met people who were illiterate, but because of their church experience knew by heart most of the psalms, and significant part of the other readings.  When the priest or the reader was reading, they were reciting the text from their heart as well.  This is the way that the Bible was transmitted without any interruption throughout the centuries.  Not only as manuscript and book, but as a living tradition.

As I was talking to them, I realized that this is the way to go, respectfully and ecclesiastically.  Biblical Greek is not theatrical Greek, but it is the best oration that Greek language has to offer.  The only music one can put to it that it is appropriate is the ecclesiastical byzantine music, available in Greek, Rumanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slavic, Arabic and now English. Soft or any other music is not appropriate.

Grammar and Syntax are mathematical terms, because they provide the logic of the language, this logic is presented by Theodosios. Later than 14 century Grammar are influence by the Latin formalism and do not carry the Hellenic αἰτιολογίαν, the reason and the logic of putting things together.  When the Greeks moved to Italy and started teaching Greek in Latin, for paedagogical (I prefer the old spelling form) reasons they stop the emphasis into the reason and focussed into the form. Thus we have the new, or modern grammars, that focus on memorization and tables of forms.  I will use them as secondary sources, and make reference to computerized forms for this type of learning.  Learning is to learn the reason, not the form, that one can easily get it from the web where various sites provide it

I will also use the works on the Greek music to provide additional evidence and information on the voice as well.  Fr. Athanasios Siamakis with his publications in Greece of Alypios, Kleonidis and Ploutach open my eyes and expanded my understanding on the subject.  Now he is working on the work of Manuel Bryennios, that I will also use, and the work of Chrysanthos on the Theory of Music (1821/1832) that its main part is translated into English by the Axion Estin Foundation (

I will use Greek grammars available in Google Books written before the 1453, and some after that time.
BUT my main reference will be the Grammar of Theodosios and of course Dionysos the Thrax. I put them in this blog just a day before as links.

Also I will have videos posted in Youtube linked to this blog.

I believe that the best way for one to proceed with Biblical Greek is to completely immerse into reading aloud, and slowly getting into comprehending the structure of the language, and build vocabulary.
For this purpose I will use the available computerized aids.
Those I chose are:  
         Allows one to keep notes by verse and compare texts
        Uses Byzantine text and makes grammatical analysis among other things
        Combines both of the above
        Preforms syntactical analysis will be upgraded this fall.

Have a nice δεκαπενταύγουστο.

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