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Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook Hardcover – November 18, 2014
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From the Back Cover
--Mark L. Strauss, Bethel Seminary San Diego
"A wonderful Koine Greek grammar for the twenty-first century. Unlike most grammars currently in print, Decker's work is up to date with the cutting-edge issues in Greek linguistics, including verbal aspect, voice, lexical semantics, and pronunciation. This grammar demonstrates clear pedagogical concern, making the material accessible and teachable."
--Constantine R. Campbell, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Reading Koine Greek reflects the most recent discussion of the Greek language, presented in a clear and practical way. Naturally, it will be especially attractive to Greek instructors in colleges and seminaries who share Decker's understanding of Greek verbal aspect. Even those who understand the topic differently may be tempted to use this work, given the attractive features of this introductory grammar."
--Roy E. Ciampa, Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
"It is a joy to see a new textbook in Biblical Greek in keeping with the best of traditional pedagogy that is also attuned to more recent insights into how students learn and how the language works. I am particularly pleased to see Greek voice forms and usage presented in terms of the newly emerging consensus in this area."
--Carl W. Conrad, Washington University in St. Louis (retired)
"Decker's decades of experience teaching Greek shine through this beautifully laid-out textbook. It is strongly recommended for teachers who want their students to get a thorough grounding in both Greek and exegesis, as well as for those wanting to recharge their Greek."
--Stephen C. Carlson, Uppsala University
"Rodney Decker's consummate skill as both a Greek scholar and a teacher is clearly evident in Reading Koine Greek, which draws heavily on insights from modern linguistics while always remaining very accessible. Students will find using Reading Koine Greek to be like having a master teacher guiding them through the sometimes turbulent waters of learning the language of the New Testament."
--Martin Culy, editor, Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament
About the Author
- Item Weight : 2.95 pounds
- Hardcover : 704 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801039282
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801039287
- Product Dimensions : 7.19 x 1.56 x 10.29 inches
- Publisher : Baker Academic; Workbook Edition (November 18, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #111,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Most first-year Greek students are assigned a textbook by their professor, probably Bill Mounce, Stanley Porter, or David Alan Black. (Perhaps Machen, Summers, etc., are still used by some.) I would recommend Decker's Reading Koine Greek as a great alternative. If you are attempting to renew your Greek abilities from classes long ago, this is an outstanding place to start. But Mounce has the advantage of video lectures to help you if you want that.
First, this grammar is 667 pages long. Decker includes (1) a more extensive explanation of the material than Mounce, which is helpful if you don't have a teacher to explain it; (2) a more informed discussion of linguistics, including supplemental materials and sidebars that are very helpful (quotes by Silva, etc.); and (3) an integrated "workbook," (but this is rather thin). A supplemental workbook would be far better.
Second, Decker is a well-respected scholar with advanced publications on Greek verbal aspect, perhaps second only to Porter for those who have published beginning grammars. Decker advocates for three aspects: Perfective, (aorist tense-form); Imperfective, (present and imperfect tense-form); Stative, (perfect and pluperfect tense-form). He substantially agrees with Porter and Constantine Campbell (although Campbell does not view the stative as an aspect). The understanding of Greek aspect is widely debated by scholars with publications by McKay, Porter, Fanning, Decker, Black, et al. I believe it is important to include verbal aspect in first-year classes so that a student's misunderstanding does not need to be corrected in 2nd year classes. Not much is included by Decker regarding Aktionsart, because that is a 2nd year topic. So his book's length is not because of the inclusion of a lot of second-year material.
Third, the number of vocabulary words is less than other grammars, far less than Porter's. But Decker does a better job than all others because he includes extended definitions with the vocabulary (more than a BDAG-type definition), rather than a 1-2 word gloss. So we begin by learning vocabulary with greater depth. (The word "Logos" has a range of meaning far greater than "word.")
Fourth, the book is linguistically informed. The older grammars are really out of date because they could not include the advances in linguistic studies during the past 35 years (since the Porter, Fanning publications). This grammar, like Porter's, understands that linguistics is important.
Fifth, it has great appendixes, including reference charts (as all have). But it also has its glossary with extended definitions and explanations, and a helpful participle chart.
Sixth, we study verses from the LXX, so this is a Koine Greek grammar, not just a NT grammar. Students will enjoy working with the Greek of the Old Testament as they learn. What a great idea.
Seventh, I hope someone is working on a companion workbook with extended exercises. The exercises in this text are helpful, but too few.
Conclusion. Sadly, not everyone sees the value of NT Greek since we have so many great exegetical commentaries available. But if you like eating what you kill, your understanding of NT Greek will greatly benefit with this book. If you are really interested in studying Koine Greek, you will not be disappointed. And if you agree that an understanding of NT Greek is priceless, then do not hesitate to purchase this book. Instructors in first-year Greek may choose a different grammar for you, but you will be fortunate if your instructor chooses this one. If Greek is going to be important to you, then use this to supplement any other grammar you are using.
'Reading Koine Greek' includes all the content of what one would traditionally learn in first and second semester Greek in seminary. It is basically all the grammar of basic Greek plus it includes a number of concepts from intermediate Greek.
1. It covers all the basic concepts you will find in Mounce and David Alan Black, plus some. You will not be missing anything if you study basic Greek with Decker alone.
2. Thorough explanations and examples that flesh out concepts that beginners may find difficult to grasp.
3. Lots of interaction with Greek sentences if you do your exercises. But make sure you do them!
4. Some grammatical concepts find better explication in Decker than any other beginning grammar I have consulted. These concepts can have significant exegetical ramifications in applied exegesis. I'm well into intermediate Greek and spend significant time in my Greek New Testament. As I do, I find myself regularly consulting Decker to refresh certain concepts. After learning the material, Decker has become a useful reference book for perpetual consultation.
1. Too verbose for a beginning grammar. Chapters can be over 20 pages long. Superfluous words abound.
2. Sentences in the exercises can be too advanced for beginners (e.g. many are from the Septuagint). Decker makes you consult a lexicon a lot to "crack the code."
3. Does not include parsing exercises (only what is done in translation).
4. Uses confusing terminology, like "perfective aspect" to describe the aorist (not the perfect, which he says is "stative"). I prefer to call the aorist "undefined."
5. No accompanying workbook. I really enjoyed working through Mounce, where each chapter had workbook exercises to complement the material. I wish Decker had done something similar.
Having studied Mounce, David Black, some others, I still prefer Mounce. And I love Black's conciseness (but I think he's too concise for the beginner, who needs more explication unless they have a background or experience in learning second languages or linguistics).
Mounce's chief distinctive virtue: user-friendliness.
David Alan Black's chief distinctive virtue: concise, lucid brevity.
Decker's chief distinctive virtue: thoroughness.
I must say, Decker's verboseness did bother me quite a bit. When I study something of this nature, I want to get straight to the essential material and drill it deep into my memory banks. But over the year I used this textbook, I would have to flip back and forth between many pages to find the key facts to memorize. It is lacking in summaries of key data; the info is spread too widely.
If you are self-learning Greek (which is very difficult), I think Decker is the best way to go. He gives you more explanation. Since the self-taught do not have a personal teacher to instruct them, you may need his more thorough explanations just to grasp certain concepts.
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Parabéns ao autor e à editora. Este livro é uma joia da humanidade. Deus abençoe ao seu autor ricamente.