Re: introduction

From: Trevor Jenkins (
Date: Sat Apr 03 1999 - 03:33:39 EST

> wrote:
>> I am happy to have found this list and would like to ask my first
> question; Can anyone recommend a good text book that can be used for a
> beginner who intends to be self-taught?
> Catharine,
> Welcome to b-greek. I can recommend J. W. Wenham's The Elements of New
> Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press as a good beginning textbook.

If Catherine is going to teach herself then I would recommend Ian MacNair's
"Teach yourself New Testament Greek" (In England it's known as "Discovering
..." there being a "Teach Yourself ..." book already.)

> I, like yourself, have been teaching myself, and I have found this text
> very helpful. He takes time (space?) to explain some of the finer points
> of greek grammar using actual NT examples, is well keyed to an english
> grammar introduction, and has lots of exercises. There is also a summary
> of the morphology at the end. I wish the exercises had more examples from
> the NT text itself, but all in all, I've been happy with it. I checked,
> and this text is available at

MacNair's book is also available via Amazon. Though I picked up my copy in
a local bookstore.

There are differences in approach between the books. Wenham assumes that
you are "au fait" with grammar, which was the case when he wrote his book
back in the 60s. MacNair knows that you are unlikely to have had formal
grammar studies and therefore does not rely upon such knowledge. Wenham is
formal; MacNair is humorous (Scottish rather than English---but that's no
problem as there are neither Scots nor English in Jesus). Wenham doesn't
discuss breathing at all; MacNair covers them (very well) in the first
lesson. I find that a major problem with Wenham. Wenham is intended for
class study, which makes it difficult to use for self-study; MacNair is
geared to personal study, which makes it useful for both class and

I have copies of both books. Wenham lay on my bookshelf for almost 25
years. MacNair has not been put on the shelf since I bought it last year.

I will admit to a personal bias for MacNair. I knew him back in the 80s
when he was associate pastor of a church where I was a deacon. That said I
haven't seen him for about a decade.

Regards, Trevor


<>< Re: deemed!

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