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Koine or Attic Greek?

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    Koine or Attic Greek?

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking about studying Greek. My main reason is to read the New Testament in its original language, but I might also be interested in reading a little Aristotle. I have a couple questions that some of you might be able to help me with.

    1. Should I start by learning attic (classical) Greek and then move on to koine, or should I start with koine?

    2. What program should I use? I'm almost finished with Henle's Second Year Latin, and so I'm not new to learning a highly inflected language. Therefore, I'm not really interested in an elementary program; in fact, I wouldn't mind an intense program.

    Hoping to hear from somebody,
    Maria

    #2
    Hi Maria,

    I have never learnt Greek myself, so I'm not really qualified to answer. However, I do know a good place to look.

    Have you encountered http://www.textkit.com ? If not, I highly recommend it. They have a large collection of Greek and Latin textbooks and readers available for download as pdfs. They also have a very friendly forum, ready to answer all your questions.

    On the forum, I found a link to this webpage - http://www.aoidoi.org/articles/dialects.html - which seems to answer all your questions. It appears that if you only want to read the New Testament, you would be fine starting with that. However, if you want to read other works as well, you should start with Attic or Epic (Homeric). Koine, being the people's language, has a simpler grammar than Attic. From the webpage:
    Starting with the Koine, cons: because of the Koine's simplifications of morphology and syntax, going back to read Attic or Epic Greek is much harder than moving in the other direction.
    There are also recommendations for textbooks for each dialect on that page, including intensive books for people who have already learnt Latin.

    I hope that helped somewhat!
    Amanda
    [URL="http://educatingmyself.blogspot.com/"]Educating myself[/URL]

    Comment


      #3
      Melime,

      Thank you! Yes, I had known about textkit.com but hadn't explored it much. I took a better look at it today and was impressed; it's very informative. I think it will be very helpful.

      Gratefully,
      Maria

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        #4
        For young children, I advocate beginning with Koine regardless of whether you plan to teach Attic (or other dialects) later on. But since you're an adult (or nearly?) and since you've had a reasonable amount of experience with Latin so far, I think you ought to begin with Attic. "Reading Greek" from JACT is a good course, readily available, and there's an "Independent Study Guide" available now as well. Going from a solid background in Attic to Koine is really pretty easy, and it will give you the most flexibility in what you can read.

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          #5
          Thank you, Abbey!

          Maria

          Comment


            #6
            This reply is coming much later than your original post, so maybe it is too late to be of help. Here are some thoughts on texts: Introduction to Attic Greek by Mastronarde is very intense and detailed. Since you have been through Henle, you would have good preparation, and there is some on-line support, I think. A little less intense would be First Greek Book by John Williams White, available free at textkit.com. You can also find this book used from used booksellers such as at Amazon. This is an excellent book but would be too difficult to do independently without knowing Latin. Since you know Latin, it should not be a problem. You can take a look at it at textkit to get an idea of its potential value to you. Of equal value is An Introduction to Greek by Crosby/Schaeffer. This has been re-published by Bolchazy-Carcducci, but the original publication from 1928 is still available from used booksellers. (The paper and binding of the original 1928 edition is of high quality.) You can purchase an answer key for Mastronarde, but White and Crosby/Schaeffer do not have answer keys that are widely available. White begins readings from Xenophon's Anabasis early on and continues throughout the book. Readings in Crosby/Schaeffer are from various sources. If you are interested in Koine, Machen is good and thorough. I think an answer key to the first edition is available. There is no disadvantage to learning Attic in order to read the New Testament. It will not somehow strain your brain in some painful way. But--and this might be a big factor for you--if you choose a Koine text, you will be learning vocabulary that is useful for reading the NT. If you learn from an Attic text, when you are ready to read the NT, you would need to study NT vocabulary. There are some fine vocabulary tools that present NT words in order of frequency beginning with the words that appear in the NT most frequently. This sort of tool would be helpful if you chose an attic text. I hope you do study Greek. It is a wonderful language. You can find on-line study groups through a website called greekstudy. New groups begin occasionally. Hope this little bit helps. MAS

            Comment


              #7
              MAS,

              Thank you for the thoughtful post! Yes, I've already bought a Greek textbook by now--J. W. Wenham's Elements of New Testament Greek--however, I needed a push to get started. Your post got me all excited to start up.

              Maria

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