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Greek Grammar Revised ed. Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674362505
ISBN-10: 0674362500
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (January 1956)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674362500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674362505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Blackwelder on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent reference book! It has passed the test of heavy usage, and it has outlasted many academic fads.
Smyth does a thorough yet concise job on the known varieties of written Greek usage from the Homeric epics up to the beginning of the Hellenistic period .
Smyth does not cover Hellenistic (Koiné) Greek as much, especially not for texts that have Semitic or Egyptian "flavors:" the Septuagint, New Testament and Egyptian Greek papyri. For real grammars on those, look up these authors: Wallace, Dana, Mantey, Robertson, Blass, Debrunner, Funk, Conybeare, Stock and Zerwick.
Some writers in the centuries between the reigns of Augustus and Constantine, and the Byzantines afterward, tried to "return" to Classical Attic usage in writing, with mixed results. When reading them, use both Smyth and a Hellenistic/Koiné grammar together, carefully.
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Format: Hardcover
In this review I discuss two different editions of this book; Amazon will not allow me to separate my reviews by edition.

1. One of my students bought a paperback of this book (2010, Benediction Classics). There is a serious problem with it. This is a reprint of the _first_ edition of Smyth, copyright 1905. The _standard_ edition, and the one that every Greek commentary in the world will refer to, is a later edition (copyright 1920, revised by Gordon Messing in 1956). You might think that this would not matter, but it does: not only is the pagination different, but the reference numbers have all changed in the later, standard edition. So my poor student reads in his commentary that a concept is explained at Smyth paragraph 256, goes there and discovers that _his_ paragraph 256 has nothing to do with that grammatical problem.

My guess is that the publisher of this book found a copy of the first edition, realized that the copyright had run out, and slapped together a cheap reprint. It's not worth your $29. Buy the later edition from Harvard U. Press, and you'll be on the same page as the rest of the Greek-reading world.

2. On the NEW paperback by Martino Press (2014):

We seem to be in murky waters.
From what others have said, the Martino edition is an exact facsimile of the Harvard U. Press edition, first produced by H. W. Smyth, updated in 1956 by Gordon Messing. So in terms of quality, this book is what you want.

The question I have regards copyright. Harvard owns the copyright to Messing's updates of Smyth's 1920 edition - so how is it that Martino Press is publishing this book?
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Format: Hardcover
Smyth is the only grammar for ancient Greek worth buying (besides the advanced treatments of specialized topics like Goodwin on the moods and tenses and Denniston on the particles). Unlike Latin, where the field of grammars is much wider, Smyth is the only English grammar of ancient Greek comprehensive enough to warrant any attention from Hellenists. Goodwin and Gulick's volume is too sparse in comparison (but note they cover prosody and Smyth does not) while Kaegi's is a step below theirs in depth. Ideally all intermediate level Greek students will begin to use this text as a reference grammar. Very reasonably priced for the wealth of information it contains. The book itself is also durable and will endure years of constant thumbing.
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Format: Hardcover
Not for the beginner (or the fainthearted!) this nevertheless is a nonpareil of a reference for Greek grammar. While a book with chapter titles like "The Antecedent Of Relative Clauses" isn't going to hit the Barnes & Noble front window any day soon, those engaged in the lifetime study of Greek would do better to refer to this than to Goodwin, except perhaps for information on moods. There is an excellent overview of variation in dialects, and the examples given are well-chosen and helpful. I see I am the first to write a review for Mr Smythe -- now, gods, stand up for grammars!
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Format: Paperback
Like Kirk Ormand, I first learned of this fraudulent publication when I saw it in the hands of my Greek students. Those who had the genuine Smyth were able to find the passages I referred to; those with this fraudulent version were confused. When I inspected a copy I discovered precisely what Prof. Ormand did: that it is not Smyth's "Greek Grammar" at all, but Smyth's earlier and much shorter "Greek Grammar for Schools and Colleges." As Prof. Ormand points out, this not only causes confusion in class, but it will also result in bafflement when one follows references to "Smyth" in standard school editions of Greek texts (e.g. James Helm's popular edition of Plato's "Apology"), only to discover that the section numbers in the Benediction edition are totally different.

But the reason I am writing this review is not only to heartily second Prof. Ormand, but also to protest several levels of fraud here. First, there is the fraud being perpetrated by Benediction Classics---I shall henceforth think of them as Malediction Classics. As you can see from the photo, the front cover simply states "Greek Grammar. Herbert Weir Smyth"---with no hint that this is not the Smyth "Greek Grammar" one should be getting. But it gets worse. If you inspect the copyright page, you will find...precisely nothing. Indeed, nowhere in the entire Malediction edition is there the slightest hint that this is not, in fact, Smyth's "Greek Grammar" as we have come to know and love it. This strongly suggests intentional deception.

But the next levels of fraudulence are the work of Amazon, I'm sorry to say---though perhaps not fully intentional fraudulence. First, there is the fact that if you enter "Herbert Weir Smyth Greek Grammar" this "Benediction" edition is the first thing to pop up.
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