[B-Greek] Fw: Recommendation for Koine Greek text

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Wed Apr 14 14:44:56 EDT 2010

On Apr 14, 2010, at 2:00 PM, Mark Lightman wrote:
> Gene wrote:
> Without Machen's
>> style of repetition, simple introductory exercises, and
>> English to Greek
>> translation I would never get through to these
>> students. 
> and Kevin wrote
> <I would recommend the Dan McCartney's revision of Machen.>
> and Michael L wrote
>> I am on the last chapter of the first edition of Machen's
>> New Testament
>> Greek for Beginners.... Overall, despite
>> criticism of the book
>> being antiquated by some in b-greek, 
>> the book's main benefit is the English to Greek translation
>> exercises in my
>> opinion. 
> Hi, Gene and  Kevin and Michael,
> I think it is good to hear from people who like Machen.
> Opinion has always been divided on B-Greek between those
> who want to praise Machen and those who want to bury him.

Er ... was Machen's last name "Caesar"?

> Without weighing in on this myself, 
> I would only point out four indisputable facts:

Indisputable? Lightman Lists (patent applied for but not yet granted) are always provocative.

> 1.  Machen is the best introductory Greek text book published during the Harding Administration.

I think I'd want to check which other textbooks were published in the years 1921-23 before affirming that; 
there may have been another. Maybe even two.

> 2.  The name "Machen" is a little easier to pronounce than the name "Mounce."

If two syllables are easier to pronounce than one, how could anyone doubt this?

> 3.  Carl Conrad learned to read Greek from a text book which he admits is WORSE than
>     Machen, and Carl's Greek is pretty good.

No thanks to the textbook (Rife, oddly still in print). I have said (almost ad nauseam if not in fact all the way ad nauseam) 
that learning Greek has more to do with the student's ability and desire to learn and the teacher's ability to explain things
and inspire enthusiasm than it does with a textbook. I don't doubt that there are students who can and have learned using
Machen's textbook, but I would be inclined to think that those who do learn using Machen do so more in spite of the
textbook than because of it.

I've objected to Machen more often than I have stated what my objections are. Simply put, the sentences for conversion
from Greek to English are often very unidiomatic and occasionally grammatically inaccurate; they often give the impression
of being composed in English and then converted to Greek sentences. The sentences to be  converted from English to Greek 
seemed to me to be phrased in a way that suggests questionable Greek idiom. I'd like to think this is something improved 
considerably in the revised edition.

> 4.  Machen is the only commonly used text book to be dedicated to one's mother, which is why
>      it is very popular in my house.  :)

I knew there had to be a reason; for everything there is a reason -- or is that supposed to be "a season"?
Mother's Day is icumin in.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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