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Help for a Newbie

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Help for a Newbie

Postby achates1 » Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:35 pm

Hello everyone!

I'm extremely interested in learning Ancient and Koine Greek. I've got a lot of Latin experience (well, four years - I've read through most of the Aeneid, parts of Metamorphoses, poems of Catullus, etc.), and I'm wondering where to begin. I'd like to be able to read the LXX, New Testament, Xenophon, and Plato initially. I've heard it's a good idea to start with Ancient Greek, and that Xenophon is not too difficult.

What should I do?

Thanks, and thanks for such a fantastic web site!

Achates :)
P.S. I'm currently at a University, so I'd imagine the best idea would be to take a class. However, as far as scheduling goes, I wouldn't be able to take a class until at least Fall '05.
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Postby chad » Mon Dec 06, 2004 3:07 am

hi achates :) if you'd like to learn to read those authors, i think it'd be better to learn attic greek (rather than koine) first... lots of "teach yourself greek" type books teach you attic greek, including a few of the textbooks here on textkit in the "learn ancient greek" link.

having studied latin, you should have no probs starting with any of those books (some of which assume a latin background).

once you've studied the basics of attic, i think the best books to start with would be plato's euthyphro and apology. there's an apology annotated reader here on textkit, and the euthyphro is quite easy to read: it's once of plato's simplest texts. good luck with it :)
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Postby achates1 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 3:22 am

Thanks for the help.

Has anyone here read Mastronarde's book on Attic Greek? It is supposed to be really great for self-study.

Also, what do you think about this guy's suggestions (mainly the part about starting with Homeric Greek):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/gu ... 87-8361609

Thanks!

Achates
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Postby chad » Mon Dec 06, 2004 3:46 am

hi achates, a lot of us here would agree that starting with homer is the best way into greek. one of the experts here has written an article on the pros and cons of starting with different greek dialects:

http://www.co-prosperity.org/~annis/tex ... lects.html

if you want to learn homeric greek, you've come to the right place: you can download for free the best homeric greek textbook, by pharr:

http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/165/author_id/81/

lots of people are working through it here. you can check your answers against those of another expert here:

http://www.greekgeek.org/

furthermore, there are a few full commentaries of homer's iliad book 1 (and following) online, e.g.:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... ead%3D%231

also take a look at the introduction to pharr's textbook: he says it's a much better idea to begin with homer than with e.g. xenophon :)
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Postby achates1 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:41 pm

Haha, "the best Homeric Greek textbook by Pharr" - by far!

That article makes a heck of a lot of sense. My goal is not simply to quickly read certain authors, I want to get a solid education. I forgot to mention that I am a Philosophy and Religion major hoping to do graduate study in Christian Theology (whether in seminary or not), so ultimately I'd like to be proficient with the NT. However, I've read various things stating that it's a heck of a lot better for me to start from the beginning in order to get a better understanding of Koine, as the article suggests. Also, I would absoutely love to read Homer, especially since I'm in love with the Aeneid!

Starting with Homeric also seems to be a good idea, since the class at my university is Attic. A little self-study this semester in Homeric Greek will probably be a great thing to prepare me for Attic say, next fall. I had been a little worried about starting to study Attic on my own and then taking a class, as I'm sure the teaching style would be quite different.

I bet I can even get Pharr's text at my library (I already found "First Greek Book" and Mastronarde's) so I can have a hard copy.

Thanks so much, this is a fantastic resource for those of us who love classics!

Achates
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Postby messalina » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:42 pm

hey Achates,
in my greek class we have a mix of people who started off with a variety of different introductory texts - we have Hansen & Quinn, Mastronarde, and the Athenaze books represented.. i used H&Q, which i found dense and a bit dry, but i still use as a great reference. :) Mastronarde is supposed to be very good, but one thing that i have heard about it is that it doesn't introduce all principle parts of verbs until near the very end of the book, which seems weird to me. A friend of mine started off using Athenaze books, but has since picked up H&Q, as it is a better reference book (i have also heard that Athenaze is more Wheelock-esque which might make it better for self-study, if that makes any sense.. :wink:)

We have just finished the our first quarter of second-year greek, and the first book of the Anabasis. If you can find it, Robert Bonner's Greek Composition is a fantastic reference to the grammar in the first few books of the Anabasis. It's out of print, however... :cry:

Anyway, just thought i'd throw in my 2 (possibly slightly biased) cents about intro books.. good luck with your greek!

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