Preparing for Patristic Greek

Posts: 46
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 7:10 pm
Location: Clarks Summit, PA

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by RDecker »

Unfortunately, there is not much else I have seen has vocabulary and grammatical explanations as you go along (ie, a reader format).
If I may offer a "shameless plug," :oops: you might look at my Koine Greek Reader as a stepping stone to Whitacre's reader. KGR has selections from the Apostolic Fathers and early creeds--with vocab, parsing, and grammar help. You can find it on amazon for less than $20: ... 825424429/

Kregel, 2007, ISBN: 9780825424427
Rodney J. Decker
Baptist Bible Seminary
Clarks Summit, PA
(See profile for my NTResources blog address.)
Posts: 53
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 11:16 am
Location: Kansas City

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by refe »

RickBrannan wrote:
James Ernest wrote:Also, Charlie, where are you going to start? Rod Whitacre's Patristic Greek Reader (published by Hendrickson, now with Baker Academic [disclaimer (or would it be "claimer"): I work for Baker] gives an excellent set of selections with notes to help you through them. Or you could start with the Apostolic Fathers.
Since you're starting from NT Greek, I second this recommendation. Whitacre's stuff is good and helpful, and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers are the logical next step, both chronologically and in similarity to the NT, if you're progressing into Patristic stuff. Start with Polycarp and some Ignatius, when you're feeling good hit 1 Clement (though it's 65 chapters, so have realistic expectations). Stay away from Diognetus for awhile. I think Hermas' Shepherd is some of the easier Greek in the corpus, but it is long, so don't feel bad about hitting selections from it instead of reading the whole thing.


Overall, if you're comfy with the Greek in the NT, I'd say just start reading something and use grammars as reference along the way. Note BDF cites Apostolic Fathers, as does BDAG, so reference searches of those in software packages that include them can be very helpful.
I have had a lot of success doing exactly this, and it sounds like you probably have a few good years of Greek on me. I started with Ignatius because since he wrote all 7 letters around the same time he uses fairly consistent vocabulary, so once you read one of his letters it get's progressively easier to read on. My primary tool is BDAG, and for unfamiliar constructions I simply refer to the same grammars I use for NT studies.

I'm not sure how linear the progression is from NT through the Apostolic Fathers on to the later Patristics, but chronologically speaking it seems to make the most sense to work your way up as others have suggested.
Charlie Johnson
Posts: 32
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 6:44 am

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by Charlie Johnson »

Thanks, Dr. Decker. I would follow your recommendation, but I already read through your reader sometime in the last few years. I especially appreciated the N-C Creed.

By the way, I'm thinking of creating "reader's" editions of texts I read as I go, so I would love your input on this thread: ... f=28&t=272

To all, thanks. I probably should have been more clear in my opening post. I have dabbled in the Patristics before. I'm not dabbling anymore. I'm seriously reading whole books in Greek. So, I'm asking what I need for that. I think I do have a pretty clear answer now.

Lampe's Patristic Greek Lexicon includes only words not found in LSJ. It's 1600 pages. Really, Church Fathers?
Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1971
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Charlie Johnson wrote:Lampe's Patristic Greek Lexicon includes only words not found in LSJ. It's 1600 pages. Really, Church Fathers?
Of course not. From Lampe's introduction:
Relevant citation from Lampe
Relevant citation from Lampe
lampe.gif (25.4 KiB) Viewed 2161 times
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
Charlie Johnson
Posts: 32
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 6:44 am

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by Charlie Johnson »

Well, to give an update, I've procured Lampe's Patristric Greek Lexicon and Whitacre's Reader. So far, they've both been very helpful.

However, since I'm leading a study of Galatians in Greek on Thursday mornings, for now Chrysostom's commentary in Greek and Augustine's in Latin are my main foci.
Jeremy Spencer
Posts: 14
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 5:00 pm

Re: Preparing for Patristic Greek

Post by Jeremy Spencer »

26 June 2011


Just a suggestion, but, if you can read the NT well in Greek, then I think you can pretty much plunge into whatever patristic author interests you, given a degree of fortitude and perseverance. For example, I plunged right into one of Cyril of Alexandria's letters awhile back, and I found that LSJ was basically what I needed; still, I found it slow going. Online I found the text I was looking for in Migne's PG. I started reading, but soon came to a word I couldn't locate in LSJ or any other source. I wondered about this for quite awhile, until I realized that in Migne the "Beta" and the "Theta" look somewhat alike. Suddenly, the light bulb went on. Guess I'm no an Einstein in Greek. But the real point of writing here is just to be encouraging: I am something of a Greek dabbler, so if I can do it.... Anyway, I think your NT Greek has given you the basic framework for moving on in any direction you want to go, and that's as exciting as it is freeing.

Best wishes,
Jeremy Spencer
Post Reply

Return to “Church Fathers and Patristic Greek Texts”