[B-Greek] How to Self-Study Attic Greek?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 16 13:18:55 EDT 2007

When I was using it as a text as an undergraduate, I hated it, but over the years I have come to appreciate Crosby & Schaeffer. _An Introduction to Greek_.  It follows rather traditional methods of instruction but includes sections from many authors as well as choice aphorisms (in Greek, of course).


Publisher: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers; Bilingual edition (July 2003) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0865165548 
ISBN-13: 978-0865165540 

Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth, 
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, 
defend the truth till death.
- Jan Hus

----- Original Message ----
From: Carl W. Conrad <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
To: John M.Linebarger <jmlineb at comcast.net>
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 11:30:10 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] How to Self-Study Attic Greek?

On Jul 16, 2007, at 11:20 AM, John M. Linebarger wrote:

> Like many on this list, I received the advice (in the posting about  
> how *not* to learn Koine Greek) with mixed emotions.  On the one  
> hand, I agree with the recommendation conceptually.  On the other  
> hand, I have absolutely no idea how to go about implementing it,  
> since all of my training is in Koine Greek, and I don't think a  
> course on Attic Greek is even offered by any of the colleges in my  
> area.  (Ironically, our local state university does teach a course  
> in Koine Greek.)
> So my question to the purists and paedogogs out there is this.  How  
> would one go about self-studying Attic Greek?  And how extensive  
> should that study be (number of years; books read at the end; etc.)
> Please be extremely detailed in your response, and lay out things  
> like textbooks and grammars to use for each year, workbooks and  
> assignments, and crucial readings.  And if you can recommend texts  
> and editions, that would be great.  Even better, if you have course  
> syllabi to pass on, please do so!
> One other thing.  Why Attic Greek?  Why not Homeric Greek, then  
> Attic Greek?

I think I've responded to this question several times over the past  
several years. My own recommendation is to use the JACT "Reading  
Greek" series. Here's what's available at Amazon.com -- and probably  
elsewhere (I'm not promoting Amazon, just using it as a reference for  
publication data of what's available.

My list:
There are two main elements of the beginning course:

1. Reading Greek: Text (Reading Greek)  by Joint Association of  
Classical Teachers (Paperback - Dec 29, 1978)

2. Reading Greek: Grammar and Exercises (Reading Greek)  by Joint  
Association of Classical Teachers (Paperback - Jul 31, 2007)

Perhaps a useful adjunct for self-study (I’ve never looked at it): An  
Independent Study Guide to Reading Greek  by Joint Association of  
Classical Teachers (Paperback - Dec 30, 2006)

Follow-up books for use after completion of the basic Reading Greek  

a. The Intellectual Revolution: Selections from Euripides, Thucydides  
and Plato (Reading Greek)  by Joint Association of Classical Teachers  
(Paperback - Sep 30, 1980)

b. A World of Heroes: Selections from Homer, Herodotus and Sophocles  
(Reading Greek)  by Joint Association of Classical Teachers

c. Greek Anthology (Reading Greek) (Paperback) by Joint Association  
of Classical Teachers

d. The Triumph of Odysseus: Homer's Odyssey Books 21 and 22 (Reading  
Greek) (Paperback)
by Joint Association of Classical Teachers

I have a Supplement to the JACT "Reading Greek" course that I  
prepared for my own students several years back; I can make it  
available in a PDF format.

A somewhat easier alternative to the JACT "Reading Greek" course is  
Oxford UP's "Athenaze" sequence -- it is similar in approach through  
reading of connected narrative with vocabulary and Greek morphology  
and syntax keyed to the narrative selections. But the JACT follow-up  
books work nicely after one's finished the basic course; I taught the  
basic JACT course in two semesters of four classes per week but one  
might take longer in self-study. I had two tutorial students who  
worked through "Reading Greek" by themselves in one semester using me  
as a consultant. I think "Reading Greek" is a nice starter,  
especially because of the varied types of sequence -- you really need  
to look at the self-help materials available when you do a search for  
JACT at Amazon or elsewhere.

Why not Homeric Greek, then Attic? You could do this, and if it's  
what you want to do, I'd suggest that you start wtih

Homeric Greek: A Book For Beginners (Paperback)
by Clyde Pharr (Author)

and I'd suggest following it up with

Selections from Homer's Iliad (Paperback)
by Mark W. Edwards (Foreword), Allen Rogers Benner (Editor)

The problem with starting with Homer is that it's a much earlier form  
of the morphology and much of the vocabulary is different from what  
is used in either Classical Attic or in Biblical Koine. A better  
route would be to do the Attic with "Reading Greek" and move from  
that into "A World of Heroes" when one has completed "Reading Greek."

I would NOT recommend the sequence I followed as an undergraduate in  
1952-4: NT Koine (reading Mark's gspel) in the first year; Homer's  
Iliad in the second year; Aristotle and Sophocles in the third year.  
A very imperfect analogy to that sequence might be for one learning  
English to read Ernest Hemingway in the first year, Beowulf in the  
second year, and Shakespeare and Milton in the third year. It can be  
done -- but it's hardly a "natural" sequence.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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