- Paperback: 230 pages
- Publisher: Hendrickson Pub; PAP/CDR BL edition (January 1, 2007)
- Language: English, Ancient Greek
- ISBN-10: 1565635760
- ISBN-13: 978-1565635760
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,258,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mastering New Testament Greek: Essential Tools for Students (English and Ancient Greek Edition) Paperback – January 1, 2007
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About the Author
Thomas A Robinson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge. He is also the author of Greek Verb Endings.
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And I cannot say enough about how clear the sound is. Worth the investment.
In his book "Mastering Greek Vocabulary," Robinson has managed to make Greek vocabulary considerably more frustrating and hard to learn than previous books. His idea is to arrange vocabulary according to roots and frequency. More frequent roots occur higher in his list, and beneath the root are various vocabulary words derived from the root. Robinson breaks down words where possible, showing the prefixes and suffixes attached to the root to form the new word.
The problem with this approach is that it is actually more confusing to study words derived from a single root all at once, as opposed to studying them in isolation. If you learn that the root 'echo' means 'have or hold', and then successively learn the words 'anechomai', 'apecho', 'katecho', 'parecho', and so forth, you are bound to get them mixed up with one another. Robinson, I suppose, would answer that if you learn your prefixes and suffixes well, it should be easy to derive the meanings of words without rote memorization and to keep their meanings straight. But, e.g., he gives the meaning of the prefix 'par' as "beside, disordered, negative." The meaning of the root 'echo' is have/hold. He gives the meaning of 'parecho' as "cause." Beside + have = cause? No, the only way to learn this word is via rote, and when you learn it with five other 'echo' words you can be guaranteed confusion and frustration.
A better approach, I think, is Bruce Metzger's "Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek". Robinson's book was meant to be an improvement on Metzer, but why tamper with a classic? Although he also has a separate section on roots, Metzger orders words according to their frequency regardless of roots, and is much easier for students. My only complaint is that he doesn't use a two-column format for the Greek and English words, which makes it hard to cover the page to test oneself. Bill Mounce also has a useful set of flash cards ordered according to word frequency. Either of these tools, in my opinion, would be better than the confusing approach of the Robinson book.
The list of 250 Greek words which directly correlate to English is worth gold for one starting out learning Greek.
The Cognate groupings of words are beautifully laid out.
Then all the prefixes and suffixes are listed alone.
Great Job Thomas!!
Grouping words by their roots is not a silver bullet that makes learning vocabulary effortless, nor does it relieve the student of the responsibility to learn the various nuances of the prefixes, suffixes, and compounded words that Greeks used to express variant meanings of those roots. Nor should such an expectation be set for the student.
What it DOES do is make a very difficult and time-consuming task significantly easier. That is worth something!
The quick-start list is an excellent way to get the student engaged.
Listing words by the number of occurrences, while it should not be the only consideration, definitely can provide help for setting priorities on which words to concentrate on in memorization and testing.
As a side note, the word families also double as a great research tool (along with bible software that allows searching by Strong's numbers), if you are trying to get an in-depth understanding of how a particular Greek word or family of words was used by the 1st century writers.