[B-Greek] How to convert 1960’s schoolboy Attic into usable Koinē

John Owlett owl at postmaster.co.uk
Sun Oct 18 09:37:15 EDT 2009

Hello everyone.  May I introduce myself and ask a question which, in one form or another, I’m sure you have answered before? … though not, as far as I can tell from the archives, in the last couple of years.

I’m not a beginner, but I haven’t formally studied Greek for 45 years, so I’ve forgotten a lot.  Like most Englishmen of my age and class, I had the opportunity to study Latin and Greek at school—which I loved doing.  I studied Classical Latin for 5 years, taking an English “ordinary level” at age 15, and then studying Mediaeval Latin for 2 years because it was fun.  I took a concentrated 2-year course in Classical Greek, taking an ordinary level at the same time as Latin.

Like quite a few people here it seems, I loved Mathematics as well as Classics.  I had to choose.

Now, three-quarters of a lifetime later, as a retired Internet security geek, I have the time to read and to study.  I set out on the expedition involved in reading Edward Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.  Much useful information (as well as all licentious information!) is in the footnotes and untranslated.  This has brought home to me how poor my Latin and Greek have become.  I can hammer my way through using an Elementary Lewis and a Middle Liddell (to which I’ve had to add Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin) but only just.

So what should I do?

Do I go straight to a study of New Testament Greek?  Or should I clean out the Attic, revisit Xenophon and Euripides (which would be fun), and then move across?  Or, since I have the time, should take the scenic route and start Greek afresh with Homer, and work my way forwards through the centuries?

And what course books and reference books do I need?  I have a Nouum Testamentum Graece (edited by Alexander Souter in 1910 for Oxford Classical Texts) and my father’s 7th edition Liddell & Scott.


Dr Owl

John Owlett, Southampton, UK

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