Rucks' Ancient Greek

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Mon Jan 18 09:41:52 EST 1999

At 11:40 PM -0500 1/17/99, Nicholas Wynder wrote:
> I  purchased  Carl A.P. Rucks'  Ancient  Greek  at  my  local  Waldens.
>After  reading  the  first  couple  of  pages  I  was  informed  that  this
>book  teaches  Erasmian  Greek. Is  there  much  difference  between
>Erasmian  and  Biblical  Greek? My  level  of  understanding  is  still  at
>a  very  basic  level (Im  still  on  the  alphabet) but  my  main  concern
>is  down  the  road  will  this  effect  my  ability  to  translate
>Biblical  texts? Thank  you
>Nicholas  Wynder

If this is a currently in-print book, it must be the third edition. I've
used it a couple times to teach with, but it was back in the 70's and I'm
sure it's a better work now than then. Fundamentally I think it does more
to teach people to think in Greek than any other beginning text: if you're
asked questions in Greek about the reading and you have to reply in Greek,
it will certainly have that effect. I found ultimately that the JACT
course, _Reading Greek_ was more on target for what I thought the purpose
of studying ancient Greek was: learning to read original Greek texts
competently with standard helps.

As for the question on "Erasmian" and "Biblical" Greek, that question is
phrased in "apples and oranges" language. "Erasmian" is generally used of a
manner of pronouncing Greek--whether one is reading Homeric, Attic, or
Biblical texts. There are significant differences between Homeric,
Classical Attic, and the Koine Greek of the Biblical books but these are
all clearly forms of the same language. In some ways the Koine is simpler
than classical Attic or Homeric Greek, but it would be more accurate to say
that it is just a later development of the same language, somewhat less
complex but also showing some new ways of expressing a number of
fundamental notions. You will hear very different views about the utility
of learning classical Greek (as in Ruck) when what you want to read is New
Testament, but my own view is that, even if your primary goal is to read
NT, the effort to learn the classical Attic first is not wasted.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at OR cconrad at

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