May 26, 2008

Greek Study

Next year, my son has decided he wants to study New Testament Greek. I am on board with this decision because it is something I have wanted to do for a long time as well. I have looked at Christianbook.com and Rainbow Resources and am stumped on which program to try. We dabbled a little bit with Rosetta Stone this past year and found the visual/immersion approach difficult (great for romance languages/not so great for Greek, Russian, Chinese, etc.). I think we need a more traditional approach, one that uses workbooks and cassettes/CDs.

I would like a program that includes reading and translation OVER the traditional grammar approach. I think one that offers a bit of both would be perfect. Here are two programs that look interesting to me:

Elementary Greek by Christine Gatchell

"The primary textbook for "Koine for Beginners" covers the material needed to successfully complete this 30 lesson course. Greek letters and their pronunciation, vocabulary, grammatical rules, and translation are explained and reviewed in simple, uncomplicated terms. Memory and verbal exercises are emphasized in this text, and it includes a teacher's key for the complementary workbook." - CBD

This looks like a pretty traditional course and would allow us to study 3 years total (10th-12th grades). The price is good too -- not too expensive. I am not sure though if this is the way I want to learn (reminds me of Wheelock's Latin - ugh!)

Option number two is Athenaze: Intro to Ancient Greek Books 1 and 2 written by Gilbert Lawall and Maurice Balme. I like this approach better as it starts off teaching the student to read and translate the language. It just seems more interesting to me. This is the blurb from Rainbow Resources:

"There is so much to like about this course that it’s difficult to know where to begin. First, all language instruction is within the context of ancient Greek culture. A story line runs through the chapters, and although this has been created to serve the instructional purposes of the book, there are subplots based on the writings of Homer, Herodotus, and Thucydides. It is set in the time period of the beginning of the Peloponnesian Wars. The characters are fictional but the story line has been developed from Greek historians and utilizes Greek myths and stories as well as the writings of Greek philosophers. There is a gradual progression toward reading the Greek of these ancient authors. With numerous illustrations drawn from ancient works of art and architecture, most chapters contain essays in English which deepen the student’s understanding of the history and culture of the Greeks." - RR

This is a two-year program for high-school to adults and is comparatively priced (always important). I am leaning towards this curriculum, simply because it sounds more interesting to me.

DS would also like to study Hebrew at some point, so I like the idea of taking 2 years of Greek, followed by 1 year of Hebrew.

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