Comments onNew Testament Greek - An Introduction, B. H. McLean
, University of Toronto
When I saw an advertisement on this book, I was hooked by two things. It taught the historical Greek pronunciation and it used a section of the Bible for instruction. As a bonus, there were audio resources online.
From the book description:
"Each lesson is structured around equipping students to read passages drawn directly from the Greek New Testament. In addition to the traditional Erasmian system, students are offered the option of using a historical Greek system of pronunciation... Audio recordings of all vocabulary words and translation passages, using the historical Greek system of pronunciation, are provided online... Students will read continuous sections of Greek New Testament (John 1-6, Matt 9:9-13)."
http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Gre ... 056&sr=8-2
After I ordered the book, I found Rod Decker's informal review of Mclean's book. His comments are found at http://ntresources.com/blog/?p=1406
I was beginning to feel disappointed.
The book arrived and I gave it browse.
The general approach of this book does not seem any different to me than the other 10 primers on my shelf. In his introduction, he spends 2.5 pages emphasizing getting the translation of key words right. Χαρις must not be thought of as simple gloss, "grace." In context it can have other meanings. "The lexicographer Frederick Danker laments those who take refuge in such 'sanctified vagueness' for 'despite the patina of centuries of usage,' this practice 'may invite liability to the charge of linguistic incest'" (Mclean, p. 14).
Before lesson one, I was pretty sure this was not a book that would fit with my thinking on language acquisition. I guess we dare not trust ourselves to take a basic meaning and try to figure out the nuance from the context.
My interest dipped further as I paged through the book and found the traditional method of listing grammatical terms, explaining them, and then offering me a list of forms to memorize. As Decker noted in his comment, very, very slim on examples. The lessons, as far as I could tell, were not In fact, I couldn't even find a reference to the translation selections for each lesson. They are simply assigned in the online workbook.
Speaking of which, how about the audio and other online content? http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/i ... #prim_tabs
It took me awhile to find the resources. I finally found it through a link in Decker's comments. Then, it took me a few emails to convince Cambridge that I should have a "lecturer's account" and unlock the resources. With permission granted, I downloaded them and took a look today.
The audio consists of 43 files. 24 of those are a reading of vocabulary. The pronunciation is consistent and accurate to my ear. It is not, by the way, Restored Koine/Buthian. Οι is ee and η is ee. But the recording is very poor (pops & bumps at every aspirated consonant) and contains no natural speech pauses - not at all useful for assimilation. "OneαγγελοςTwo.αμηνThree.ΓαλιλαιαFour..."
The other 19 files are simply readings of the translation selections: 18 small selections from John 1-6 and one from Matthew 9. The recordings are quite a bit better in these readings than in the vocabulary. But it's nothing special – certainly not as good as Buth's John reading. Again, there is a skimping on natural pauses of speech (though I'd say Buth could breathe a bit more, too) and there are again recording pops and such. For the wedding at Cana, a dialogue is done between two readers. But they are both women with very similar voices and the absence of pauses between thoughts makes it far less than what it could have been.
This may be a fine book for someone who wants to take a Wenham/Mounce/Croy etc. approach. I haven't made a comparison with those because that approach doesn't interest me. I'll stick with Dobson and Hale and adding in auditory from here and there.... until Louis Sorenson writes his dream primer, http://schole.ning.com/forum/topics/my- ... ent%3A9983