Monthly Archives: September 2011

Home/2011/September

Mini Quiz: Biblical or Modern Hebrew

In my last post, I posted a video clip of one of my class sessions for beginning biblical Hebrew.  One of the accusations sometimes leveled at us who try to teach using Communicative Language Teaching is that we are not using/teaching biblical Hebrew but modern Hebrew.  While it is true that "slip-ups" are possible, generally [...]

לַעֲשׂוֹת as “to do” and “to make”

The video clip below is from the first year Hebrew class I am teaching at Fresno Pacific University.  It is from the 8th class period of 50 mns each (if one counts the first class period in which all I did was hand out syllabi and explain the dynamics of the class).  The point of [...]

Daniel Streett on the state of Greek studies

Daniel Streett, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time last year at SBL, has recently written a series of blog posts on the state of Greek studies in the academy.  It is not pretty. To wet your appetite I will only mention a test he did with about 30 Greek profs [...]

What Happened at the Greek Instructors Fluency Workshop in Fresno, Aug 2011

From August 3-11, the Biblical Language Center (BLC), in association with Fresno Pacific University, led a fluency workshop for instructors of New Testament Greek in Fresno, California.  The effort to renew the speaking of New Testament Greek was the first of its kind in North America.  To ensure the highest quality possible, the workshop was led [...]

Fluency and reading comprehension

A common objection to the communicative approach to teaching biblical languages is: "All we are aiming at is being able to read, not speak, the language." However, Frank Smith in his book "Reading without Nonsense" suggests that in order to truly read fluently, one has to depend less on deciphering the printed matter, and more on a background of already acquired knowledge. Though he does not highlight fluency as part of that body of "already acquired knowledge," it is presupposed throughout (indeed, it is unlikely that a non-fluent English speaker would be reading his work in the first place). It would seem, therefore, that without fluency, it is impossible to read effectively for meaning.