[B-Greek] Introductory Grammar Suggestions

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Tue Aug 17 17:01:22 EDT 2010

On Aug 17, 2010, at 4:54 PM, Tony Lester wrote:

> Barry,
> My initial inclination was to start with a New Testament grammar.  However, the more research I did, the more inclined I became to starting with Attic.  You mention that learning Attic first allowed you to more easily transition to both Homer and to koine.  What are your thoughts on beginning with Homer?  It is certainly the long way to getting at koine.

It's not difficult to move on with a solid foundation in Attic either to reading Homer or to reading NT Koine. My own favorite of the textbooks I discussed in my earlier response is Reading Greek, which has a section in the second half which does parts of the beautiful sixth book of the Odyssey (Odysseus' arrival on Phaeacia and the meeting with Nausicaa on the shore as she is playing ball with her friends after washing. It also has a section from Herodotus and a section from Euripides.

What I would not advise is the sequence I went through in college way back in the 1950's: we did NT Koine in my first year, Homer in the second year, then in the third year went straight to reading Sophocles and Aristotle. These adjustments can be made, but they demand a very heavy commitment. The move from Attic outwards to earlier or later is much easier.


> > Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2010 13:59:53 -0500
> > From: nebarry at verizon.net
> > To: cwconrad2 at mac.com
> > CC: geekgreek at hotmail.com; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> > Subject: Re: Re: [B-Greek] Introductory Grammar Suggestions
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Aug 17, 2010 05:56:25 PM, cwconrad2 at mac.com wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > On Aug 17, 2010, at 9:44 AM, Tony Lester wrote:
> > 
> > >It should be noted that all of the above are primers of Attic, NOT NT Koine, Greek. But even if NT Koine is what you're interested in, it will not hurt you at all to get a good grounding in Attic Greek first. Other list-members will dispute that, but I firmly believe it. In fact, you may expect to find a wide range of judgment regarding these textbooks among B-Greekers.
> > 
> > I absolutely and whole-heartedly endorse Carl's observation here. Starting with Attic very much worked for me. As a parallel, not only did I have very little trouble with reading the NT (except for the normal intermediate student sorts of things), but reading Homeric Greek was a smooth transition, despite an even wider divergence in forms and vocabulary. For the NT, I had the most problem with some of the more common NT vocab which wasn't so common in Attic, but conversely, knew many of the rarer words in the NT...
> > 
> > Athenaze and JACT both take a reading intensive, inductive approach. The real question is what you feel more comfortable with -- a more traditional, grammatical approach, or the more inductive? These texts still present grammar formally -- they just do it with lots more reading and somewhat less obtrusively than, say, Crosby & Schaeffer, which I currently use as a text for our beginning students. The real question is which approach yields the best approach for you. For myself, I learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew from very traditional classroom instruction, and I personally feel the most comfortable using that approach in teaching, though I have begun experimenting with some alternative approaches, particularly using spoken language acquisition strategies.
> > 
> > So my suggestion is to examine these texts, if possible, and choose the one which seems best to resonate with your learning style. I also suggest that autodidacts use more than one text. For my beginning Greek class starting next year, I plan shamelessly to steal the readings from Athenaze to supplement C&S... :)
> > 
> > N.E. Barry Hofstetter
> > Classics & Bible
> > The American Academy

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

More information about the B-Greek mailing list