Reading Greek Again for the First Time

9 May 2009

Lately, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been reading Greek regularly for the first time in a long time.  I decided to start with the Gospel of Mark, since his Greek is “bad,” which is to say “easy,” since it doesn’t seem to be his first or most comfortable language.

Maybe it’s because I’m reading the Gospels not in English, but when I read it in Greek, the people in the Gospel seem much more pitiable and pathetic.  I do not mean those words in the usual, insulting way that we mean them these days, but in the sense that I am moved to feel sorry for the people around Jesus.  The apostles, notoriously hapless and clueless, seem even more country-bumpkin-ish in Greek, for some reason.  The Gerasene demoniac (whose story I read this morning) moves my heart to pity more than normal.  With his whole “I am legion for we are many” is usually in English seen as a kind of creepy, horror-movie line.  But in Greek it strikes me as a plaintive, oh-there’s-so-many-spirits-in-me-as-to-be-exhausting line.

But maybe that’s just me.  Anybody else have this experience?

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