Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greek Professors: Do They Know Greek?

DANIEL STREETT: Greek Professors: Do They Know Greek?

(Read the post at the link and, if you are so minded, take the quiz. Do this before you read my comments below, or the hints I give may inflate your score.)

The highest score of the Greek professors was two out of eleven. I'm a Hebrew professor and I got four and a bit. (I got "hello" in the bonus question.) He's right, reading widely outside the New Testament does help. Besides Jewish Hellenistic literature and some Septuagint, I've read a lot of Plato, Aristotle, and Neoplatonist texts. I don't think I would have gotten "nine" if it hadn't been for Plotinus. Plus, I have to give credit to the goofy textbook Let's Study Greek, which I used as a teenager and which teaches New Testament Greek in a conversational way that includes words like "yes," "hi!," and "chair." (The other word I got was "nose" and I'm annoyed with myself for not getting "red." "Red Sea," anyone?)

Via James McGrath, who doesn't say what his score was.

UPDATE: Yitz Landes has a tangentially related post at the Talmud Blog: Essential Languages for the Study of Rabbinic Literature. His list sounds right to me and it makes me wish I knew Middle Persian. For Medieval languages, I would spell out* that "Arabic" includes "Judeo-Arabic" (Arabic written in the Hebrew alphabet).

*No pun intended.

UPDATE (15 September): Daniel comments.