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dweissma
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First post

Post by dweissma » Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:48 am

Hi,
I’ve been attempting to learn Greek (especially Homeric) for more than 30 years. I never got very far mostly because I had to earn a living etc. Now that I’m semi-retired I have more time to devote to it. I’m using Pharr’s Homeric Greek, which I think is an excellent and beautiful book. I also like the Geoffrey Steadman annotated books and Draper’s annotated book 1 of the Iliad.

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bedwere
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Re: First post

Post by bedwere » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:50 am

Welcome to Textkit!

Aetos
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Re: First post

Post by Aetos » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:22 pm

Welcome to Textkit!
Like yourself, I carried Pharr around for years (40+!), having started it at college and after retiring made finishing it one of my first goals in continuing the study of Greek. I went through Pharr cover to cover, doing all the exercises, learning all the forms, doing the scansion, and of course, enjoying the text! After finishing, I went back through and reread the text, which really didn't take very long, a little over a week. Per Hylander's suggestion, the second time around I made it a point to read it metrically in order to fully appreciate the verse. Having done all this, I've pressed on to the 2nd book of the Iliad, using the Leaf & Bayfield edition(also dragged around from college days). This does not make me an expert in Homeric Greek, not even a talented amateur; but I can tell you I found Pharr very worthwhile and still recommend him highly. I will point out that I'm in the minority. Most of the folks here will advise starting with Attic Greek. Depending on how far along you are in Pharr, you may just want to continue, which is what I did and I'm pretty sure that I would have stuck with Pharr and Homeric Greek anyway. The bonus is I've learnt a lot about meter and poetry, thanks to Hylander and have learnt to love it!

I'm going to drop a few names: mwh, Hylander, Barry Hofstetter. There are a bunch of others who are also extremely knowledgeable, but these three stand out in several ways: they're professional; they have taught, teach or could teach both Greek & Latin and usually monitor the forums on a daily basis. If you get stumped, these guys can furnish both reliable and accurate help. I wish I could have had any one of them in my classroom when I was at school. The depth and breadth of their knowledge is truly impressive.

Lastly, if you do decide to continue with Pharr, I would recommend purchasing the 4th edition, revised by Paula Debnar and then go to her site for all the extra resources: https://commons.mtholyoke.edu/hrgs/. The resources can be used with any edition, but are especially tailored to the 4th edition, as they provide keys to the exercises based on the 4th edition. There are no real keys to the exercises from the earlier editions.
Good Luck!

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Re: First post

Post by mwh » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:15 pm

I may be in the minority, but I will say that I do not like Pharr at all. His exercises, and his entire approach, give a most misleading impression of Homeric versification. Even Paul Derouda, who successfully learned Homer through Pharr, does not recommend the exercises.

Aetos
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Re: First post

Post by Aetos » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:27 pm

As you can see, there is some definite disagreement on the relative merits of Pharr! All you have to do is search for "Pharr" on the forums and you'll see what I mean. mwh mentions Paul Derouda's thoughts on Pharr and I will say that for the most part, I agree with Paul's view. By the time I found this forum, I had completed most of the exercises. Perhaps I wouldn't have done, had I found the forum sooner. The problem, you see, as Hylander and mwh will point out, is that there is no such thing as "Epic prose", so doing prose composition exercises in a dialect that was specifically developed for poetry is not going to help you write good authentic Greek prose. I did the exercises not knowing any better and still feel they helped me internalize the vocabulary and the forms, but that's about it. The big benefit, as Paul will say, is that you get to read the Iliad!
Which I think is pretty cool.

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Paul Derouda
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Re: First post

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:16 pm

Welcome!
I see that I've been mentioned here. Here's a link to the thread in question: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=68309#p197989.

To reiterate my point in short, I didn't do the English to Greek translations in Pharr, and wouldn't recommend them. The rest is more useful, but the best thing in Pharr is that you get to read real Homer almost immediately. In many respects, I agree that his approach to Homer is misleading indeed, but there aren't really other options - if you just want to read Homer and not Attic Greek for the present, work through the book once and then it's time for something completely different (for example: more real Homer).

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