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"Intermediate" Greek Questions

Are you learning Koine Greek, the Greek of the New Testament and most other post-classical Greek texts? Whatever your level, use this forum to discuss all things Koine, Biblical or otherwise, including grammar, textbook talk, difficult passages, and more.

"Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby big_anemone » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:45 am

By way of a background, I passed Greek 3 (Attic) about seven years ago; over the last several months, after deciding to bring my Greek back up to speed, I've worked my way through Mounce's grammar and workbook. Koine is very hard, but easier than Attic! After getting through Mounce, I picked up Rodney Decker's Koine Greek Reader, along with Black's intermediate grammar and the short New Testament lexicon from the University of Chicago Press. I'm enjoying Decker's reader a lot; it seems like the perfect way to build up skill and confidence on the way to dealing with whole texts.

Anyway, I have a couple questions for more experienced hands.

1) Decker's reader moves from New Testament readings into the Septuagint (and then into the apostolic fathers). I'm not sure if my short lexicon will be adequate for the readings from the Septuagint. Decker's text assumes possession of the full BDAG. This brings up my real question. If I'm going to want to read lightly to moderately in the Septaugint, what will I need for a lexicon? Will the full BDAG (which I haven't yet purchased) be enough, or will I need a specialized lexicon? If so, which one? If it helps, I'm mostly interested in the Torah/Pentateuch, at least for the foreseeable future.

2) Some time over the next several months, I'd like to begin to gradually feel my way into earlier forms of Greek. I'm especially interested in Homer and Plato, although there is no major figure in Greek literature who doesn't hold at least some interest for me. But I'm also interested in synergy and (relative) ease. Which leads into my question: can anyone give me any thoughts or advice (especially recommended texts ) to move from Mounce, Black and Decker into other texts, with Plato and Homer as at least long term goals?
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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby ragnar_deerslayer » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:15 pm

It's been nearly two weeks and nobody's given you an answer, so I'll chime in. I'm not quite as advanced as you are, but the BDAG has been tremendously useful for my NT study. It's full title, though, is A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, so it doesn't deal with the LXX. I'd go ahead and get the BDAG, and then, if you need something specialized for LXX work, try Taylor's Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint. It's only $30 on Amazon, and the definitions are based on the $80 Lust & Eynikel Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. Alternatively, just go with Taylor, and purchase the BDAG when your NT study seems like it would benefit.

Having given all this advice, I feel obliged to point out that I'm still in Mounce, so I can't actually speak from experience with the LXX (although Decker is sitting on my shelf, urging me on).

As for Homer, you might ask on the Homeric Greek board.
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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby Markos » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:57 pm


As to your first question, BDAG will not work with the Septuagint, as there are many, many words in the LXX that will not be found there. BDAG is very good for the Apostolic Fathers, and, of course, for the NT, but outside of that, you will need another lexicon.

I would recommend you get the LSJ MIddle. It has all the words in the GNT, in Homer, and will cover most of the Septuagint. If you are going to read widely in Greek, you need something inclusive and yet easy to thumb through.

As to your second question, you are looking for Greek which is easy, close to the NT and good. These three factors tend to cancel each other out. To deal with this very problem, I devised something called the GRONT scale. You can read about it here

http://www.vnoel.com/component/option,c ... emid,1068/

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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby big_anemone » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:51 pm

Thanks so much for the responses, Markos and Ragnar. I guess I'm putting off telling my wife that I'm spending $130 on a lexicon as long as possible! I actually own a copy of LSJ Middle; it hadn't occured to me that it would be a good enough tool for reading the Septuagint - who knows why I didn't think it would be suitable. Probably it just never occured to me, because I find Liddell & Scott to be a little clumsy for reading the NT (although as my vocabulary improves, I'm sure I'll mind it less). Anyway, I think my plan, once I've progressed to that point, will be to rely on a combination of Liddell & Scott and the BDAG (which I'll presumably have by then), and if I want something more, to go ahead and invest in Lust & Enikel. Thanks again.
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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby calvinist » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:33 pm

big_anemone wrote: I guess I'm putting off telling my wife that I'm spending $130 on a lexicon as long as possible!

Ah, yes... the tomes can be quite expensive, and difficult to justify when they reference a "dead" language. :(
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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby refe » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:45 pm

I would just like to say that the Lust & Eynikel LXX lexicon is wonderful, but $80 is very steep. Mine came in small paperback printings, the first covering A-I and the second K-Omega. The difference in quality between these and BDAG is incredible, but I suppose the LXX is a smaller market...
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Re: "Intermediate" Greek Questions

Postby jswilkmd » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:20 am

Well, here's a copy of Lust for only $44. It's not exactly dirt cheap, but not a bad deal: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used
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