What Next after First Year Greek?

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Louis L Sorenson
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What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by Louis L Sorenson »

I'm sure that many who have spent the time and effort to study through a whole year of Greek are wondering where do I go from here. Do I read through a book of the New Testament? Should I get a Greek reader like Mounce's Graded Reader or Deckert's Koiné Greek Reader? Should I read through another beginning grammar to reinforce what I don't know very well? If so, which one?

What books should I have on my shelf when I take this next step? Do I really need to spend the $150 and get the big BDAG Greek lexicon? When should I read through Wallace's Grammar Beyond the Basics? What about secular Greek? Is Attic similar to Koiné? How different is Homer?

While I have some of my own opinions, I sure that no one learns the same way as another, and that interests, access to resources, the presence of mentors or lack thereof, and of course time, all make a difference. The one thing that I would encourage all, is that once you are able to read passages in the New Testament with some ease, you will never regret it. It takes work. But the effort is worth the reward.

So what advice would you give? What questions do you have?
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Re: What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by cwconrad »

BDAG? Yes. Personally, I find this works best with a tagged GNT that can go to the BDAG definition by clicking on a word -- this in a software package (I use Accordance, but other Bible Software packages have the same feature, I imagine); I personally think that Louw & Nida is worth having also: it may not have been the compilers' intent, but what they have produced is an excellent resource for exploring words that are closely related in meaning and differentiating them from each other in much the same manner as a good thesaurus will do for English words.

LSJ -- the unabridged -- is valuable and ordinarily worth checking even when you use BDAG, fortunately the unabridged edition is on line at Perseus Philologic at UChicago.

Smyth's grammar is a sine qua non. Although I own a dog-eared hard copy that I've had for more than 50 years, I find myself regularly consulting it online at the Perseus Philogic site at UChicago. It's useful for all ancient Greek, including Hellenistic Koine and Homer.

BDF is useful, but more useful to those who have studied some Classical Attic than to those who have studied only the Koine. I don't know of an online digital BDF other than in the Logos package, but it too is easier to use in a digital edition.

A.T. Robertson: at some point one ought to start working through the big grammar of ATR. It's now available in a digital edition in most Bible software packages and also in formats prepared by none other than Louis Sorenson.

I haven't put up the URLs for these items, but they can surely be located quickly via internet search.

ABOVE ALL: I'll cite George Somsel's admonition and repeat it ad nauseam: READ, READ, READ! Read (Greek, that is) early, read late, read when you have leisure, read Homer, read the Classical authors, read the Apostolic Fathers. For God's sake! This language you've begun to acquire is the medium of a vast amount of the best writing ever put by pen to paper by human hands. Explore it's heights and depths and breadth. Read it with the boundless interest and curiosity of an Odysseus ready to be sidetracked by fascinating new things every time his ship touched on a new shore.

Still accessible for those interested is a web page that I prepared over a decade ago -- before I retired from active teaching; some of the links may be dead but the suggested books can probably be located. It's entitled, "Reading to Extend and Keep Alive Greek Skills": http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/moregrk.html
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
Bob Nyberg
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Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:06 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by Bob Nyberg »

I would suggest A Summer Greek Reader by Richard J. Goodrich & David Diewert.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Greek-Read ... 0310236606

Product Description:

A Summer Greek Reader is the first practical text specifically designed to help students of introductory Greek Strengthen their grasp of the essentials over the summer. By spending just twenty minutes a day, students not only maintain when they've learned in their first-year class, but will also build their working vocabulary and gain practice with extended Greek New Testament passages. This volume is perfect for students who want to begin reading complete passages of the Greek New Testament while avoiding the complexities encountered in intermediate and advanced studies.


Week 1: 1 John 3:22-5:6
Week 2: John 16:1-33
Week 3: Mt. 16:13-17:16
Week 4: John 6:25-59
Week 5: John 12:44-13:30
Week 6: John 13:31-14:31
Week 7: Mt. 26:27-63
Week 8: Mt. 22:20-23:13
Week 9: John 6:60-7:24
Week 10: John 8:12-45
Week 11: Mk. 13:3-37
Week 12: John 5:1-38

I copied these selected verses from my Bible program and pasted them in an MS Word Document. Then my Greek study buddy and I translated the verses into English. It was very profitable.
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Location: Kansas City

Re: What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by refe »

Mounce's Graded Reader is great - I used it and found it very helpful. Decker's Koine Reader is even better - reading non-NT texts at that stage is vital and his reader really is well put together. However, once a student is done with these transitional materials I think they need to stop 'translating' and start reading. I just posted this to a similar topic, but I think it is a good strategy for moving beyond 'beginner' level Greek:
For the student who has just finished a year of Greek (or anyone attempting to transition from 'beginner' to 'intermediate' for whatever those terms are worth) I recommend spending as much time in the text as possible. I think the best route is to put down the Reader's New Testament and pick up a text that doesn't come with glosses. Read through a section (maybe a paragraph if you only have 15-30 minutes and an entire chapter if you an hour) without assistance, even if you don't understand all of what you're reading. If you choose a book or passage that corresponds to your level of proficiency (maybe 1 John or John if you are a relative beginner, Mark or Matthew or even something from Paul if you are further along) you should be able to get a basic idea of what you are reading. Then, go back through it with BDAG and Wallace (or another reference grammar) close by. When you get to a word you don't understand, look it up and take notes. When you get to a clause or grammatical structure you don't understand, look it up and take notes. This is akin to what you described in your flute playing: you are not just practicing reading Greek, you are paying attention to what in the reading is tripping you up, and where you could be improving your skills.

It may be slow going at first, but after a while you will notice that you are looking things up less and less and reading with comprehension more. This way everything is rooted in the text, inductively, rather than simply isolated drills or flashcards, etc. If you switch it up on certain days of the week with review or further reading in something like Beyond the Basics by Wallace, or Idioms by Porter, you'll be in good shape.
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Re: What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by JBarach-Sr »

This question was put on the email list to which I responded. Bear with me if I am repeating something you have already heard.
My suggestion is to memorize a chapter or more of the NT.
Try John ch. 1 since it is not too difficult.
The memorized passage will stick with you all through your life.
John Barach, Sr
καὶ ἀνέγνωσαν ἐν βιβλίῳ νόμου τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐδίδασκεν Εσδρας καὶ διέστελλεν ἐν ἐπιστήμῃ κυρίου καὶ συνῆκεν ὁ λαὸς ἐν τῇ ἀναγνώσει. (Neh. 8:8)
Justin Cofer
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Joined: October 20th, 2012, 12:25 pm

Re: What Next after First Year Greek?

Post by Justin Cofer »

I know this is an old thread ... but speaking from personal experience I would second obtaining Decker's Graded Reader. It inductively gets the Greek student with at least a year of grammar under his belt into the Greek text. It also introduces the Koine Greek student into other texts other than the New Testament, such as the Septuagint, the early church creeds, etc. I would add that a helpful aspect of Decker's book is that he gets the student's vocabulary from 50x or more down to 25x or more, thereby allowing him or her to utilize the UBS Greek Reader edition which requires a vocabulary of 30x or more.
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