It’s all (New Testament) Greek to Divinity students

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A project and website to help Divinity students (and any other keen language students) learn New Testament Greek will launch this month.

We want to encourage applications from people of all backgrounds – and this is just one of the things we can do to help make the study of biblical languages feel less daunting.

Jane McLarty

All first year undergraduates in Theological & Religious Studies at Cambridge must take a scriptural language paper – with New Testament Greek proving the most popular option among the choices of Greek, Hebrew, Qu'ranic Arabic, and Sanskrit.

An ability to read New Testament Greek helps students as they begin to delve into the texts of the New Testament, part of the Scripture of Christianity and the basis of all Christian Theology.

David Goode, of the Faculty of Divinity, said: “The purpose of this project is to demystify the language, give students greater confidence in their ability to cope with it, and start them on learning some of the fundamentals of the language."

Jane McLarty, affiliated lecturer in the Faculty in New Testament Greek, added: “Most students now arrive in Cambridge without knowledge of any foreign language and are therefore apprehensive about learning a complex language in an unfamiliar alphabet.

“We want to encourage applications from people of all backgrounds  – and this is just one of the things we can do to help make the study of biblical languages feel less daunting.”

The Faculty believes that all Theological & Religious Studies students should have a year’s study of the original languages in which the texts of the major world religions were written. The online course should therefore ease the transition for students during their first year of study.

The website: www.greek.divinity.cam.ac.uk offers a mixed media course with frequent quizzes to ensure students are absorbing the material. Another aim of the project is to alter the balance of  the first year language course so that students can return to spending more  time during Full Term studying 'real Greek', the most rewarding part of any language  course, rather than ploughing through grammar and syntax.

The project will launch in early September, ready for students beginning to read Theology in October.


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