Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

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.
Post Reply
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:42 am

Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by NuGrkStu » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:23 pm

This comment is in regards to mwh's comment about 'read more greek' and 'consult a grammar preferably NOT a NT Grammar.' What would be your recommendations to help broaden my interpretations as a 2nd year self taught Koine student. I'm primarily interested in bible but if reading other Greek works will help my understanding I would be willing to do that.

I do have several volumes of 'Polybius the Histories' from the Loeb Classic Library. I've also run across a book called 'A Greek Boy At Home' by W. H. D. Rouse that seems pretty basic. Anabasis seems popular too.

I will admit all I've read to this point is I, 2, 3 John and his gospel. And the only grammars I have are Mounce, Wallace, Robertson. What 'non NT Grammar' would you recommend? What non NT Lexicon? And best non NT reading for 2nd years student?

Any other tips?


C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:15 pm

There is no reason for a 2nd year self taught Koine student to venture into difficult territory. Furthermore you don't need a lexicon for Classical greek until you get there and LSJ is available online so no need for a hard copy. I never use mine and gave away my most recent version. I do use LSJ intermediate and the little student version, both are online. Don't waste money on lexicons. You will eventually need BDAG but you can get by just fine with the first or second edition. I have studied the differences between Grimm_Thayer and BDAG for decades and really it doesn't matter much. For a student the difference is a non-issue.

From the Johannine literature you should move to a different Gospel, Matthew is different but not much more difficult than John. Mark is somewhat more demanding than Matthew. Luke-Acts is third year material. Pretty demanding. Paul's epistles will just confuse you. Paul's grammar is broken syntax. You don't need to be reading broken syntax in your second year.

The Old Greek (LXX) Genesis and Exodus are fairly easy. If you want to read outside the canon, the apostolic fathers are somewhat more demanding than the gospel of John.

If you are already on the Mounce-Wallace track then stick with them until you build your confidence. You can outgrow them later. Robertson is not light reading. You might like the field guide to Roberson, Dana & Mantey, which is very old school traditional like Wallace. You can pick one up for the price of a latte or less.

Extra Biblical Greek

I tried going into classics after working through Gsp John and Apocalypse. It was a disaster. I picked up the unabridged Richard Jebb from the City Lib and started reading Oedipus Rex. It didn't fly. The historical narratives (some of them) are not as difficult but still they are very different from Johannine literature. Making that jump on your own is very likely to be a discouraging experience. You do not need to be discouraged at this point. So take on something that is just a little bit more demanding, not a totally different world from what you are currently familiar with. OTHERWISE, your likely to just give up.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

User avatar
Posts: 3191
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by jeidsath » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:42 pm

Grammars: Morwood has created a very good beginner's grammar. The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek.

Dictionaries: Again, try Morwood. The Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary. Beyond that, there is either the Middle Liddle, or the LSJ. All of these cover NT words as well as classical Greek.

For things to read, Greek Boy is very good. A textbook called Thrasymachus follows the same style. Zuntz is good, if you can find him. JACT too.

For real Greek outside the NT, Lucian is wonderful. Everything here makes for easy reading, and is free: http://www.faenumpublishing.com/. I read Xenophon's Anabasis a million times, starting out. Within the New Testament I'd take a serious look at Mark, then Matthew, then Luke and Acts (in that order).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:54 pm

... furthermore

Matthew's gospel uses participles to introduce narrative transitions. Getting a heavy dose of participles is very a healthy experience for understanding NT discourse structure, a topic that isn't well developed in the textbook grammars.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 8:08 pm

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by marxbert » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:08 am

B. H. McLean has a graduated reader for students that have presumably gone through a 1st year grammar and the epistles of John or Revelation.

I feel this is probably a good book for independent study. I got it through an interlibrary loan briefly, but there is free supplementary material (a good deal of it) offered by the publisher that should definitely be of interest. The book is set up in a similar format to the supplement (textbook has few more notes to help with grammar)--so if you like the supplement, get the book.

Bryn Mawr Review:

http://www.cambridge.org/files/9314/044 ... Online.pdf

I bought a Middle Liddell but use it rarely between perseus website and the free U of Chicago Logeion phone app (has LSJ, install a greek keyboard). Buy a reader's edition of the NT, and make your own vocab lists as you go for the LXX. I'll defer to others on the appropriate grammars.
Last edited by marxbert on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 964
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:19 am
Location: Nanchang, PRC

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:25 pm

NuGrkStu wrote:I do have several volumes of 'Polybius the Histories' from the Loeb Classic Library.
Polybius is good. The difference in vocabulary might knock the wind out of you for a while. But, if you aim to acquire that vocabulary as well as your "target" NT vocabulary, you shouldn't lose heart because of that. An unfamiliar text will get you off your training wheels, because you will no longer be in familiar territory.

There are a number of ways to learn/read Greek using a parallel translation. So long as you don't simply look for the equivalent Greek word for the English, you should be right.

One method might be the questioning on that follows, but you need to adapt to whatever you feel okay with.
Polybius, Histories 33.13.3 wrote: [3] ποιησάμενος δὲ τὸν πλοῦν ἐφ᾽ Ἑλλησπόντου καὶ συνάψας ταῖς πόλεσι ταῖς ὑπὸ Προυσίαν ταττομέναις ἀποβάσεις τε συνεχεῖς ἐποιεῖτο καὶ κακῶς διετίθει τὴν χώραν.
Having sailed to the Hellespont, and reached the cities subject to Prusias, he made frequent descents upon the coast, and greatly harassed the country.
It should be easy for you to get the "meaning" (lexical meaning for the Greek words from the English), but to get the grammatical meaning, you will need to explore the Greek grammar and construct the syntax.

If you have been handling the Greek in terms of its grammar, that won't be too difficult, but it you have been relying on rendering into English to get meaning, there might be a steep learning curve ahead. Here are a few questions:
  1. How does ποιησάμενος work together with other words in the syntax?
  2. What does the tense of ποιησάμενος tell us?
  3. What does the voice of ποιησάμενος tell us?
  4. What part of speech is πλοῦν?
  5. What function does πλοῦν play in the syntax?
  6. What case does ἐπὶ govern here? (Why?)
  7. What is the syntactic or discourse function of καί?
  8. How does συνάψας work together with other words in the syntax?
  9. What does the tense of συνάψας tell us?
  10. What does the voice of συνάψας tell us?
  11. What are the syntactic functions of πόλεσι?
  12. What requirements of word order constrained ὑπὸ Προυσίαν to be where it is?
    Where else would the authour have been most likely to put it?
  13. What are the syntactic roles of ταττομέναις?
  14. What do we use to determine the syntactic role of ἀποβάσεις?
  15. What are the possible functions of τε in the psssage or clause?
  16. What does the voice of ἐποιεῖτο tell us?
  17. What is the syntactic role of κακῶς?
  18. Why does διετίθει not have a dative together with it in the syntax?
There could easily be another 20 questions besides these ones too. Formal questions about parsing could be asked for every word besides the the extra 20 too.

Whether you know the "correct" response to all those is not the point. They shouldn't be alien questions. If you have been working with the Greek, at least some of them are issues that you should have struggled with to date in your reading. If you have been translating and just sticking English meanings together, then the second year is a great time for building grammar awareness and understanding together with your continued reading. Intellectual engagement with the text at a metalinguustic level will deepen your understanding of this text and the language.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 8:08 pm

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by marxbert » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:00 am

2nd year may also want to look at Curtis Vaughan's "workbook" approach to NT Greek grammar:
https://www.amazon.com/Greek-Grammar-Ne ... 0805413782

Many sellers for very cheap.

Perhaps a detraction: Much much focus is on "diagramming" sentences. Whatever, take as much as you want.

Benefits: Grammar workbook is keyed to several grammars (Moulton, Robertson, etc.). What is very useful is an introduction of grammar that will then direct to particular translation exercises in the NT that should familiarize the reader with the concept.

User avatar
Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Extra Biblical Greek Reading For 2nd Year Students ???

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:06 pm

Some really excellent suggestions here. I've not used but have heard good things about:

https://www.amazon.com/Hellenistic-Bibl ... stic+Greek

I heartily echo Joel's recommendation of Lucian. More fun than this will you never have reading ancient Greek. :lol:
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Post Reply