[B-Greek] Learning Attic Greek (a journey)

James Spinti JSpinti at Eisenbrauns.com
Tue Jul 17 08:44:31 EDT 2007

I agree that Smyth is an indispensable item; I have used mine
extensively. But, there are times when he seems a bit overwhelming to
the new student. A book that I like because it is concise is Bevier,
"Brief Greek Syntax" (http://tinyurl.com/233qae), available in paper or
cloth (I bought the paper version years ago, when that's all there was).
Most of his examples are from Xenophon, and he is clearly aiming at the
second year student, which is good and bad :) It makes a good bridge
reference in going from Koine to Attic.

As far as I know, it is not available electronically.


James Spinti
Marketing Director, Book Sales Division
Eisenbrauns, Good books for more than 30 years
Specializing in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Studies
jspinti at eisenbrauns dot com
Web: http://www.eisenbrauns.com
Phone: 574-269-2011 ext 226
Fax: 574-269-6788 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Louis Sorenson
> Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 8:32 PM
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Cc: jmlineb at comcast.net
> Subject: [B-Greek] Learning Attic Greek (a journey)
> I learned Koine/NT Greek in 1976 from Sumner's Grammar and 
> got a minor in NT 
> Greek from a Baptist Bible College.  In 1980, I started 
> studies at the 
> University of Minnesota toward a major in Classical Greek.  I 
> skipped the 
> first year courses. (I think this was a mistake on some level 
> - I did not 
> want to pay for it.)  My first University class was reading 
> The Oddysey, 
> Greek poetry (nothing like that in NT studies) with William 
> MacDonald (he 
> smoked a pipe in the classroom - not PC in todays world!  I 
> loved the smell 
> of flavored pipe tobacco.).  Later on, I took courses in 
> Euripides (2x), 
> Aristophanes (2x) and Herodotus.  At the time, I felt I was a 
> fish out of 
> water.
> Looking back, I am absolutely happy that I started reading 
> Homeric Greek 
> first (after Koine). Homeric Greek seems to be much closer to the 
> 'philological' approach. One runs up against uncontracted 
> endings -oio, etc. 
>   I was taught all the philology in Sumner, but never really 
> dealt with it.  
> Homeric Greek let me 'see the philology in  action.' 
> Uncontracted noun case 
> endings.  Objects of prepositions before prepositions.  
> Prepositions joined 
> to verbs, but separated from the verb by their objects.  
> Meanings of words 
> were not the same.  But what I held on to was the Homeric 
> Greek is an early 
> form of Ionic -- some similarities to the NT Koine.  (Doric 
> Greek to NT 
> Students is way out there - an enigma.)
> MY BIG REGRET. I as a frugal student, was unwilling to pay to 
> have to learn 
> beginning Greek (Attic)  all over again. I never took a college-level 
> beginning Attic Greek Course.  Looking back at it all, I regret that 
> decision (30 years later).  Aristophanes and Euripides are Attic.
> What happens to a NT student when they start reading Attic 
> Greek?  First, 
> many lot of the fine distinctions of Attic are leveled in 
> Koine. You were 
> never taught the distinctions, so when you run up against 
> syntax (which 
> occurs in the NT), you 'assume' and read them the same way as 
> NT Greek.    
> So when a NT student starts reading Attic Greek, they do not 
> pick up on the 
> variations of the language. (If a NT student would go through 
> a good Attic  
> First Year Grammar, this could be avoided.)  I am an avid 
> student of Smyth's 
> Grammar.  If you are a student of NT Greek and do not own 
> this work, BUY IT. 
> (I think one of the most significant aids to NT students 
> would be if a good 
> Attic/Koine classisist would update Smyth's Grammar to 
> include NT/Koine 
> features and examples.)
> For the NT-learned-it-first student, the best thing is to buy Smyth's 
> Grammar ('Which is chiefly Attic')  and READ THE EXAMPLES.  
> Smyth not only 
> includes the Greek text, but includes English glosses for the 
> Greek text 
> DIFFERENCES.  You have 
> to question everything you learned as a NT student (in regard 
> to syntax).
> After a hiatus of 20 years, I again started reading ancient 
> Greek.  I never 
> felt I could get a handle on  the NT unless I kept reading 
> 'non-biblical' 
> Greek.  So currently my time is spent reading 1/3 NT and 2/3 
> other authors.  
> I feel I am balanced by that approach. I am blessed by the 
> desire I have to 
> read non-biblical Greek.  Not all students of the NT are 
> given that gift.
> The best help I have found when reading non-NT Greek, is to 
> get your hands 
> on a good commentary for the selection you are reading. I 
> went through 
> Benner's 'Selections from Homer's Iliad with vocabulary' 
> commentary.  It 
> helped me more than most other books on getting a handle on 
> the differences 
> between the Greek dialects.  The second most important thing 
> to do is to 
> read LSJ when looking up lemmas and READ THE EXAMPLES.
> Greek literature that most NT students are interested in 
> ranges over 1500 
> years (800 B.C. to 700 A.D).  There are many dialectical 
> differences, which 
> really don't matter that much, but which I think one needs a 
> 'go-to' book to 
> understand the changes.  (Smyth is not that book.)  I am 
> still looking for 
> that book - It is the next item on my to-do list.
> There is a Greek Study Group which is not NT based.    The 
> website address 
> for one group is http://www.quasillum.com.  So you are not 
> left alone with a 
> Greek Attic textbook, lexicon and yourself.  There are others 
> out there (not 
> all NT buffs) who can help you learn Attic.
> Hope this rambling helps someone point in the right direction.
> Louis Sorenson
> >From: b-greek-request at lists.ibiblio.org
> >Reply-To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> >To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> >Subject: B-Greek Digest, Vol 55, Issue 17
> >Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 12:00:02 -0400
> >
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> >
> >Today's Topics:
> >    9. How to Self-Study Attic Greek? (John M. Linebarger)
> >-------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> >------------------------------
> >
> >Message: 9
> >Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 15:20:37 +0000
> >From: jmlineb at comcast.net (John M. Linebarger)
> >Subject: [B-Greek] How to Self-Study Attic Greek?
> >To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> >Message-ID:
> >	
> <071620071520.9805.469B8CC5000B7DF70000264D22007354460D0A02070
> 40306 at comcast.net>
> >
> >
> >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?
> >
> >Eulogetoi!
> >
> >John M. Linebarger
> >
> >
> >------------------------------
> _________________________________________________________________
> http://imagine-windowslive.com/hotmail/?locale=en-us&ocid=TXT_

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