Textbooks for Hellenistic and Classical Greek

From: Edward Hobbs (EHOBBS@wellesley.edu)
Date: Mon Aug 11 1997 - 17:31:08 EDT

Dear Colleagues of B-Greek:

Textbooks for teaching N.T. Greek are often discussed on our
List, with candidates galore these days. From time to time,
someone asks about a good textbook teaching Classical Greek to
those who already can read the N.T., and the answer is (sadly)
that such a book does not exist. Blass-Debrunner is an advanced
grammar for persons going in the opposite direction, but nothing
yet exists precisely meeting the need for NT-to-Classical.

But there IS being planned (by Focus Publishing) a textbook for
HELLENISTIC Greek (not just NT), which will include "Septuagint"
[Old Greek], Jewish writers of the period, and early Christian
writers outside the NT. The book will also include exercises for
translation of English into Greek. It is my belief that, if it
is done well, this book will fill a genuine need, even if not a
"felt" need.

Of course I have not seen this book; it is in the planning stage
(though I suspect it is already in at least first draft), and
classics profs are being polled to see what they want it to
include. Carl has probably already sent his response in; I've
just finished mine and mailed it off. The author (name unknown
to me) apparently lives at least some of the time in Cyprus;
he/she has taught classical Greek for thirteen years followed by
seven years of teaching New Testament Greek.

I call this to your attention both (1) to alert you to the future
possibility of a textbook which may greatly expand the range of
grammar and texts of your students, AND (2) to mention that Focus
publishes a really remarkable textbook for a "beginning course in
Classical Greek," which may to some extent fill the need some of
you have expressed:
     Anne Groton, _From Alpha to Omega_ (Revised Edition), 1996.
Focus Publishing, PO Box 369, Newburyport, MA 01950. The book
costs $32.95, and is well worth it. The exercises are extremely
good, including translation in both directions; the text
selections are superb, starting with a number of Aesop's Fables.
This can lead one up to reading Plato. For those of you who wish
to teach yourselves to read Classical Greek, this may be your
best bet, especially since there is an Answer Key (which I have
not seen) for $8.95. Anne Groton teaches Greek at St. Olaf
College, in Minnesota ("across the valley from Carleton"!).

Disclaimer: I do not know the author, or the publisher; I have
no stake of any kind in this book. This seems to meet an oft-
expressed need on this List. Of course, the two volumes by Zuntz
might be better--but they are far more difficult to use, probably
too difficult for the average American student to handle on
his/her own. And don't forget that Answer Key!

Edward Hobbs
Wellesley College; retired from everywhere else

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