Classical Greek

The first two years of the Great Books Tutorial focus on Greek literature. This tutorial will give students the opportunity to develop the reading knowledge of ancient Greek that will allow them to read at least portions of our Great Books readings in their original language. Our text will be Introduction to ANCIENT GREEK, Third Edition by Mollin/Williamson. This tutorial is available free to all GBT II students and the class recordings are available free to all ETS students.

If students would like to take Classical Greek, I highly recommend planning at least 10 hours a week of study time. If you would like to start working on some of the lessons before class starts, please email me and I will give you the address for the class recordings.

If you will be taking Greek with me please try to master as much of the alphabet and basic paradigms as you can before class begins. You will assisted in your understanding of these files by watching the introductory lesson using the webex player (scroll down and you will find it). Your learning the Greek alphabet will be aided by using our Greek alphabet song. (parts) (youtube recording) Please make sure to install the Greek font and see the bottom of the alphabet page for instructions on learning to type the letters. Click here for a great history of the alphabet - you can use the ESC key to pause the demo.  Students looking to improve their Biblical greek should use Mastering New Testament Greek.

Course Description
The aim of the Classical Greek Tutorial is to provide students with the vocabulary and grammatical skills necessary to read ancient Greek authors. The translation exercises are chosen from the texts read in GBT I and II and also from writings prior to the GBT authors that provide historical and philosophical context to our GBT readings. The course will cover the paradigms and vocabulary for a reading knowledge of Greek, but each tutorial will go at a pace suited to the majority of the students in the class.
Greek Resources page

1. Why Study Greek?

    Learning ancient Greek is an invaluable part of a classical education. The Greek language of the classical age (roughly speaking, from Homer to Alexander the Great, or about the eighth to the fourth centuries B.C.) gave to western civilization the great myths, fables, plays, prose and poetic forms, philosophies, scientific and medical studies, political ideas, and histories which have informed our culture beyond calculation. Think of the Trojan War, the tragedy of Oedipus, Socrates' dialogues, Plato's philosophy, Aristotle's science, and Plutarch's biographies. The very similar Greek of the Hellenistic age (Alexander to Constantine, or about 330 B.C. to A.D. 330) was the language of an equally wide variety of literatures, including especially the writings of the New testament and Greek church fathers. Greek along with Latin was part of everyone's education in the ancient Roman world, Greek was the language of medieval Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean (the Byzantine empire) as Latin was in the west, and ancient Greek again became part of the common education in the western world from the Renaissance onward until less than a hundred years ago. Modern Greek is much closer to its ancient and medieval roots than most other European languages are to theirs, so the history of the language is more continuous and uninterrupted by great changes.

    A student who learns ancient Greek will have direct access to the great literature of the ancient and early Christian world unimpeded by translations, and this is particularly important to the Christian who wishes to read the New testament (and the Old testament too, in the Septuagint, the Greek translation made long before Christ's time) in the original language.

2. Does Greek fulfill the foreign language requirement for high school?

You should contact the school you are applying to to make certain however, usually yes. It is accepted by most California private colleges as well as the University of California system.

3. Why Study Homeric and classical Greek?

    His relationship to literature: "Homer is the best possible preparation for all later Greek literature, much of which is unintelligible without a fair knowledge of him. He was to Greek literature what the Bible has been to English... The student who has taken only a very little of beginning Greek, even if he has progressed no farther than the end of the first book of the Iliad, has come into vital contact with the magic and the music of the Greek language, used in one of the most beautiful, one of the most varied, and one of the most influential literary compositions of all ages; and though he may have devoted considerable labor to mining the gold, he cannot truthfully say, and probably will not want to say, that Greek for him has been a waste of time."

    His relationship to the New testament: "It is generally recognized that for the best results in the study of the New testament, students should read a considerable amount of other Greek first. In the whole circle of Greek literature the two authors most important for the student of the New testament are Homer and Plato. Herodotus informs us that Homer and Hesiod were the chief sources of the Greek popular religion; and certainly one cannot obtain a clear grasp of the forces opposed to Christianity without a good knowledge of Homer and of the hold that Homer had upon the popular mind. If one is to read intelligently the works of the early church fathers, he must be well acquainted at first hand with Homer. It is Homer, Homer's religion, and Homer's gods which recur constantly in their works and which are attacked over and over again as being the bulwarks of the heathen faith which they are striving to supplant. Homer and the ideas he represents are infinitely more important for the student of the New testament and of the early church than is Xenophon; and if one can study not more than a year or so of Greek before taking up the New testament, he should be all means have some Homer followed by Plato. Experience has shown that after a year of Homer, students can and do pass with little difficulty into the New testament. The passage from Homer to Attic, or to Hellenistic, Greek is of course a great deal easier than vice versa, and occupies very little time and effort."

      "I have become convinced that of all that human language has produced truly and simply beautiful, I knew nothing before I learned Greek...Without a knowledge of Greek there is no education." --Leo Tolstoy

      "Learn Greek; it is the language of wisdom." --George Bernard Shaw

      "I would make everyone learn English; then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honor--and Greek as a treat." --Sir Winston Churchill

      "The only purpose of education is to enable one to read Homer in the original Greek." --Sir J. T. Sheppard, Provost of King's College, Oxford

      "To read Homer in Greek is the best lesson in poetry." --Hugh McCarron.

      "Owing to the exigencies of the present educational situation, many who desire to use the Greek testament are unable to approach the subject through a study of classical Attic prose. The situation is undoubtedly to be regretted, but its existence should not be ignored. It is unfortunate that so many students of the New testament have no acquaintance with classical Greek..." --J. Gresham Machen

      "It cannot be said too often that Greek is an evolving language and that an understanding of ancient Greek includes mastery of both Attic [Classical] and koine. The former was the language of the great works of history, literature, and philosophy of the classical period that have had such a profound influence on our Western culture. Koine Greek, on the other hand, is the dialect of the New testament writers who recorded the beginnings of the most significant religious movement of the West. Whatever the student's or scholar's own particular interests, he cannot fully appreciate the one without an understanding of the other and of the relationships between the two." --Stephen Paine

      "And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." --St. Luke

      "To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury.... I thank on my knees him who directed my early education for having put into my possession this rich source of delight. I would not exchange it for anything which I could then have acquired and have not since acquired." --Thomas Jefferson

Thanks to Mr. Callihan for furnishing the content of this page!

Greek weekly assignments

Week #

Assignment

1

 

2

Learn the Alphabet, Read the words in the alphabet file and learn to type with the Greek font.

3

pages 8-12
 4 pages 12-18

5

pages 17-23

6

pages 18-24

7

pages 22-25

8

pages 26-30

9

pages 30-35

10

pages 33-35

11

page 34, 57

12

pages 50 - 59 

13

pages 59-61

14

 

15

 

16

 

17

 

18

 

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

31

 

32

 

33

 

34

 

35