Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sing and Learn NT Greek

Thanks to Jesse at Zondervan, I received a copy of Sing and Learn New Testament Greek while at SBL. He had been trying to send me a copy for a while, but it never got here. Seems there is a black hole between Michigan and Indiana that sucked it in each time :(

Anyway, I have been listening to it off and on for the last 2 weeks. I have to say, it is catchy. The singer, Kenneth Berding, has a good voice for it. The songs are done in Erasmian Greek, but without the omicron being pronounced as "ah" which happens too often in Koine. Huh? you say. OK, how do you pronounce λόγος? Is it LOGOS with long oh sound, or is it LAGAS with an ah sound? Most Koine in the U.S. is with the short ah sound, which is wrong even in Erasmian pronunciation.

The booklet that comes with the CD is definitely important to look at before you listen, or at least while listening, the first time. Without it, you won't understand about 75% of the songs. The songs are generally just the endings without any lemmas. That's fine, as long as you read the booklet and understand what is going on, otherwise you will wonder what 313 or 212 mean in the participle song (it's the declension, by the way).

I put the CD on I-tunes™ here at Eisenbrauns and at least one other person listens to it—and will probably buy a copy. Even the people who don't know/care about Greek think it is interesting. After all, who ever thought of Greek set to nursery rhyme tunes?

What's my favorite? That's a tough one. I like the preposition song, but the ειμί song is nice, too. Of course, the alphabet song is fun, too. I guess whatever is playing at the moment is good. What I thought would be nothing but a novelty has turned into something I will periodically play for the fun of it. I might even find myself singing it...

Here's all the bibliographic information (we are out of stock right now, but I have more on order):

Sing and Learn New Testament Greek

Sing and Learn New Testament Greek
Includes 1 Audio CD and a 36-Page Guide

by Kenneth Berding
Zondervan Publishing Company, 2008
Compact Disc (audio)
ISBN: 9780310280996
List Price: $14.99
Your Price: $12.74


Carl W. Conrad said...

Well, it's not that expensive for fun and games with fake Greek, but why not spend a little more for Randall Buth's real Koine Greek pronunciation learning materials at

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an outrageous comment. So Erasmian may not have been how the speakers of koine Greek in 1st Century Palestine actually spoke, but it doesn't mean that people haven't learnt greek effectively and been able to use it well and with a passion over the years this pronunciation has been around. To claim that this is 'fake' greek is arrogrant to say the least. I imagine that you are from America somewhere and speak 'fake' English rather than the original pronunciation (i.e. Queen’s English). If there is as much diversity in pronunciation of the lingua franca of our day (english), then what's to say there wasn't in the first century with people pronouncing things very differently. We know that the people in Galilee has funny accents (probably speaking Aramaic) and so the Jerusalemites recognised where they were from. Why can’t there have been accentual differences with Koine greek. Please don't be so narrowminded in your homage to a particular pronunciation scheme.

Anonymous said...


For what it's worth, Carl Conrad is an outstanding Greek scholar who has studied and taught Greek his whole life. He is now retired.

When he speaks, it is worth taking note.

You might want to follow his many comments on the B-Greek list (as well as those of Randall Buth.) You may not agree with them, but they are worthwhile paying attention to. Here are a couple comments on this thread.

Ed said...

I saw this thread a week or so ago and have since come back to it. Something about it really bothers me...

Carl W. Conrad's undoubtedly impeccable credentials are actually not that relevant. If the man comes across as a little bit of a snob (which he does), and as very dismissive of a method that quite possibly has a place in teaching and learning NT Greek (which he does), then he is not communicating as effectively as he might :-)

Honestly, I'd rather see more enthusiasm about Greek and more people getting to the point at which pronunciation starts to matter. Ancient and Koine Greek courses here are increasingly hard to find in my area as there is very little interest in something that is seen as complicated and elitist, and as a current student, this makes me pretty sad. As his own email to B-Greek states, he himself taught Erasmian pronunciation; it's what students overwhelmingly learn. There'd be no point as a student in insisting on anything else. As well-meaning as his advice may be, it is possible to be overly critical, or to pick the wrong venue, and I think he has managed both here.

A slightly less dismissive way to phrase that comment might have been:

'This is a fun and inexpensive resource. However, it may not be appropriate for those students or teachers to whom authentic pronunciation is an important consideration. Those people might prefer to look at... [insert advertspam here]'