Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar
eBook - ePub

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar

Fourth Edition

William D. Mounce

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eBook - ePub

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar

Fourth Edition

William D. Mounce

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About This Book

Clear. Understandable. Carefully organized. Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar by William D. Mounce is the standard textbook for colleges and seminaries. Since its initial publication in 1993 its integrated approach has helped more than 250, 000 students learn New Testament Greek.

The fourth edition of Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar has been updated throughout based on continuing feedback from professors, students, self-learners, and homeschoolers, making it even more effective for today's students. Other improvements have been made based on recent developments in scholarship.

The key to the effectiveness of Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar in helping students learn is in how it introduces them to the language. Students learn about the features of the Greek language in a logical order, with each lesson building upon the one before it. Unnecessary obstacles that discourage students and hinder progress are removed, such as rote memorization of endless verbal paradigms. Instead, students receive encouragement along the way to assure them they are making the necessary progress. Detailed discussions are also included at key junctures to help students grasp important concepts.

By the time students have worked their way through Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar they will have learned:

  • The Greek Alphabet
  • Vocabulary for words occurring 50 times or more in the Greek New Testament
  • The Greek noun system
  • The Greek verbal system, including indicative and nonindicative verbs, and participles

A robust suite of learning aids is available for purchase to be used alongside the textbook to help students excel in their studies. These include a workbook, video lectures for each chapter featuring the author, flashcards keyed to vocabulary in each chapter, a laminated quick study sheet with key concepts, and audio of the vocabulary for each chapter to aid in acquisition.

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Section Overview 1

Chapters 1–4

Before every major section of the grammar I will give you an overview of what is to come. A more detailed multimedia overview is given on the website. If you do not understand everything I say here, don’t worry; it will all come clear in time.

Chapter 1

We start by looking at a brief history of the Greek language and especially its relationship to English.

Chapter 2

Before we start to learn Greek, it is best to review a few helpful study habits.

Chapter 3

We will learn the twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet and how to pronounce and write them, along with their transliterations.You will also learn about diphthongs and breathing marks.

Chapter 4

Now that you know the individual letters of the alphabet, it is time to string them together into syllables and words, and to separate them with punctuation marks. We will also jump into the wonderful world of vocabulary acquisition, and skim over the topic of Greek accents.

Chapter 1

The Greek Language

The Greek language has a long and rich history stretching all the way from the fourteenth century bc to the present. The earliest form of the language is Mycenaean Greek that used a script called “Linear B.” The form of Greek used by writers from Homer (8th century bc) through Plato (4th century bc) is called “Classical Greek.” It was a marvelous form of the language, capable of exact expression and subtle nuances. Its alphabet was derived from the Phoenicians as was that of Hebrew. Classical Greek existed in many dialects, of which three were primary: Doric, Aeolic, and Ionic. Attic was a branch of Ionic.
Athens was conquered in the fourth century bc by King Philip of Macedonia. Alexander the Great, Philip’s son, was tutored by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Alexander set out to conquer the world and spread Greek culture and language. Because he spoke Attic Greek, it was this dialect that was spread. It was also the dialect spoken by the famous Athenian writers. This was the beginning of the Hellenistic Age.
As the Greek language spread across the world and met other languages, it was altered (which is true of any language). The dialects also interacted with each other. Eventually this adaptation resulted in what today we call Koine Greek (or more inexactly, “biblical Greek”). “Koine” means “common” (from the phrase κοινὴ διάλεκτος, the “commmon language”) and describes the common, everyday form of the language used by everyday people. It was not a polished literary form of the language, and in fact some writers of this era purposefully imitated the older style of Greek (which is like someone today writing in Elizabethan English).
Because Koine was a simplified form of Classical Greek, many of the subtleties of Classical Greek were lost. For example, in Classical Greek ἄλλος meant “other” of the same kind, while ἕτερος meant “other” of a different kind. If you had an apple and you asked for ἄλλος, you would receive another apple. But if you asked for ἕτερος, you would be given perhaps an orange. But in the Koine, ἄλλος and ἕτερος were interchangeable. It is this common Koine Greek that is used in the Septuagint, the New Testament, the Apostolic Fathers, the New Testament Apocrypha, Josephus, Plutarch, and to some degree Philo.
The Koine period lasted until the fourth century, which saw the rise of Byzantium, whose name was changed to Constantinople and eventually Istanbul. Byzantium Greek describes the language until 1453 when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, and from that date until now we call the language Modern Greek.
For a long time Koine Greek confused scholars because it was significantly different from Classical Gree...

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