Top critical review
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A worthy challenge
on 11 February 2013
This is an honest attempt to present New Testament Greek to the learner without frightening him/her off within the first few pages. If one is prepared to concentrate, spend time and do the exercises then slowly but surely the excitement grows and one really does begin to understand the glorious truths of the New Testament in their original tongue. This is the third edition but there is still room for improvement. Those who were taught Greek early in life usually accepted the fact of having to grind their way through the multitudinous Greek conjugations and declensions; indeed as youngsters under the rule of their master or mistress they had no choice. However, as an adult coming to greek for the first time (and as a modern languages teacher for over 40 years) at times I was irritated by the rushed approach. For example: practice exercises are often given where the necessary vocabulary has not yet been presented (one constantly has to refer to the end of the chapter to find the new words. A short glossary before the exercise would solve this irritation). One meets this situation as early as Practices 2.1; 2.2; 2.3.3
In chapter 3, Cases and Gender, the feminine and neuter nouns are clumped together. There should be a short
separate exercise on the feminine; then the neuter could be presented.
Overall the declension grids are clearly set out but at times it can be dizzying to have so many on a double page (for example pp.36 - 37. And, by the way, the page numbers are too faint - white on light grey!)
I wondered if the timing of the presentation of the variant feminine noun forms were essential but on reflection they are necessary at that point as long as one takes a deep breath (doxa IS a glorious word!).
p. 39 section 3.6 is introduced too soon. An exercise needs to precede it practising masculine, feminine and neuter nouns.
p.44 the diagram helps the learner to remember the basic prepositions. No doubt if one were in a classroom there would be a lot of movement and miming but the solitary learner such as myself needs all the help he can get.
p.46 The grids of prepositions here are a massive and daunting overdose. This is a genuine threat to progress. They need to be broken down into bitesize chunks, preferibly with memorable NT phrases that will stick in the mind, or even illustrations ( I drew my own).
I could go on but I'm sure you get the points. To be fair, the explanations of the grammar try to break down or warn of the problems and irregularities. Sometimes they come too thick and fast, e.g. p.56 top but the author means business and he means us to mean it too.