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Intermediate Greek

GREEK 551/552

Intermediate Greek

  • Course ID:GREEK 551/552
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Tom Cox

Description and Objectives

You survived Greek I and are now poised to finish studying the grammar alone and will begin to read the actual authors from the Greek tradition spanning from the 8th century BC to the 15th century AD. One of the biggest hurdles this year will be the Greek verb system, but I will attempt to make it easier by having each of you adopt three different verbs. This adoption will allow you to become an expert in the three major types of verbs in Greek (contract, -μι, and -ω verbs).  But it won’t all be just grammar. An additional goal of the course is to expose you to larger and larger passages of reading to increase your confidence in tackling large texts and your facility with reading Greek for enjoyment, rather than simply as a grammatical puzzle.

We will certainly use a great many pagan authors to sharpen our Greek skills, but the New Testament writers are particularly well-suited for Christian boys to practice their Greek because of their familiarity with the text in English. We will grow even more familiar with the English text, outlining each chapter and understanding the overall structure of The Acts of the Apostles. 


Chase, Alston Hurd & Phillips, Henry A New Introduction to Greek Third Edition.

ISBN: 978-0674616004

Goodrich, Richard & Lukaszewski, Albert A Reader’s Greek New Testament: Third Edition.

ISBN: 978-0310516804

Course Requirements

Every day begins with a quiz, usually alternating between a grammatical concept and a vocabulary quiz. Once a week there will be a translation quiz, though these will not begin until the second quarter. In order to take the quiz, you must come prepared with a clean sheet of loose leaf and your own pen. Failure to come prepared results in an automatic failure of that day’s quiz. Stealing someone else’s loose leaf, or begging for it right before or during class, will also result in automatic failure. You will also be expected to outline a chapter of a specific gospel, and I’ll give you a schedule at the beginning of each quarter. The first quarter will be focused on review of the concepts learned last year, firming up the foundational concepts before we move on. Every day, class will be broken into roughly three sections, outlined below:


Daily Quiz Gospel Work Daily Lesson Work
~10 minutes ~10 minutes ~25 minutes


On test days, the test will be designed to take most of the period. If all the students finish early that day, though, we will go straight into Gospel Work. Regardless of whether or not we get to Gospel Work that day, the outline is due on a clean sheet of loose leaf with your name on it. I will teach you to outline a chapter on the first day.


In doing the work of translation, you will be taught a specific way of annotating and analyzing a text. Some of you may remember these “translation notes” from Latin. All of this annotation must go in your notebook, which will be periodically checked (about twice per quarter) for a grade. Essentially, your translation notes will not be an English rendering of the Greek written into your notebook. This prevents you from interacting with the language you are trying to learn. Rather, you will have columns of information that you can easily consult that contain the information you need to jog your memory and help you prepare well for quizzes. Your headings in your notebook will look something like the following:


Exercise # or Line # in Margin Greek word Syntax of the word Appropriate English equivalent in this context
#3 πιστεύειν Pres. Act. Inf. to believe / think
line 15 στρατιωτῶν Masc. Gen. Pl. [Partitive] of the soldiers


Class participation will be graded each day as we check the Silent Work together. The quarter grade will consist of the daily quizzes, the daily silent work, the daily Gospel outline, a few tests, and an essay every quarter. Any day you miss, you are still responsible for the daily quiz and the daily Gospel outline. You are exempted from having to make up that day’s Silent Work, though you should consult the notes of a friend.

Successful Students

The goal of this course, above any other, is to help you develop for yourselves a daily habit of reading Greek. Learning any language that you don’t plan to use regularly is a waste of your time. To that end, you are issued a Reader’s Greek New Testament. While your knowledge of Greek will give you the ability to read a bit of Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Thucydides, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, the early Church Councils, Euclid, Plutarch, Archimedes, or Galen, you will likely only dip your toe into any of these authors and not read much of them regularly. I myself have not read anything from almost half the authors on the list above. You will be best served by reading a bit of the Gospels in their original language every day until you die. Once you have grown comfortable reading the Gospels, you can move into Acts and the Letters of Paul and eventually be reading, in about 15 minutes a day, the New Testament in its entirety every year or two. If this becomes a habit you won’t find it very hard to pick up any of the above-listed authors and, with the help of a good dictionary for unfamiliar words, read through all of them with relative eases (Sophocles, Homer, and Thucydides are hard, though, so the more years of Greek you take here, the easier it will be to read those guys when you’re 30, 40, or 50).


Why did I write all this under the heading of homework? I did so because many high-schoolers see homework as a necessary evil. I see it neither as necessary nor evil. So I set my class up accordingly and ask you to do two things. The first is to come to class ready to learn. This mostly means that you are well-fed and well-rested. It also means that you are putting in the time to work with the language. Looking at homework as a necessary evil encourages you to be a box-checker with respect to it. Don’t ask yourself, “Did I finish my homework?” That’s a question your mom asked you in 4th grade. Rather, ask yourself, “What don’t I understand?” or “Do I know what I don’t know?” or “Can I ask some good questions about this tomorrow?” That kind of curiosity and self-knowledge will make Greek much easier and more enjoyable for all of us.


So, on to the actual homework policy. Most days, there is none. I will always encourage you to read 5 verses or so of the Gospels to yourself in the chapel, trying to read for understanding, not translation. Reading 5 verses 5 times to yourself without translating is often more profitable than translating ten verses into English. You’re trying to learn a language, not decode the back of a cereal box. Immerse yourself in the language every day, but don’t drown yourself in it and don’t think that you’re exposing yourself to a language when you’re just converting it to English in your head. Fluency is hard, but it is the goal. So, homework. In the Chase & Philips book, during the first quarter, we’ll go through the Review Exercises I and II for most of the chapters up through Participles.


Once the second quarter has begun, I will allot four days for normal chapters and five days for harder ones. The schedule will work as follows for those days:


Lesson Day 1 Lesson Day 2 Lesson Day 3 Lesson Day 4 Lesson Day 5


QUIZ Easy Vocabulary (matching quiz printed from Quizlet) Grammar Quiz: One or two of the forms given in the Lesson, usually just reproduction of the chart from memory. Medium Vocabulary Quiz (half matching and half fill-in-the-blank [some English, some Greek]) Translation Quiz, unless there is a fifth day, in which case this will be the second Grammar Quiz Translation Quiz
GOSPEL or PLUTARCH Brief (< 5mins) presentation from the student to whom the reading was assigned. See Day 1 Occasionally skipped on a fifth day to make more time for solidifying grammatical concept(s).
WORK READING Day 1 READING Day 2 English Sentences (prepared at home, assigned beforehand, randomly presented in class) Rev. Ex. I Look for examples in the Gospel or Plutarch; Fill any holes; Mind all Gaps.


Any work that we do not finish in class (except for English Sentences) will be carried over to the next day. Anything incomplete still by the end of the fourth day will be homework to be turned in on loose leaf and graded out of 10 points (that is, 10 pts. for the Reading, 10 pts. for the English Sentences, 10 pts. for the Rev. Ex.). We will go over this in class until it makes sense and is a habit. Furthermore, the Google Doc shared with your by the beginning of the school year will be updated regularly with the latest assignments and clarity on what is expected from whom.

Summer Assignment

Greek 551-552 Summer Assignment

The entire first quarter will consist of a rapid review of all of last year’s grammatical and lexical material. You’ll have a Google document shared with you by the last week of August that will have all the assignments for the first quarter. All additional assignments will go there and that will be the master syllabus from which all of us will work. If you’d like access to this spreadsheet during the summer, be sure to email Mr. Cox at If you do not email him, he will ask for your email on the first day of class and grant you access by the end of the first week of school.

There is a Quizlet notecard set that I have made for all the vocabulary in Chase and Phillips. Use it to keep your vocabulary fresh over the summer. My Quizlet decks can be found at

Your summer assignment is to drill vocabulary, particularly the first three principal parts of all the verbs you have learned thus far, as we will be adding considerably to that foundation and it needs to be strong.

Additionally, I’m asking all of the students to read the Acts of the Apostles in English to familiarize themselves with the stories that we’ll be studying in Greek throughout the year.

The first few days will have a small quiz every day, which will set the tone for the rest of the year wherein every class day will include a quiz. The first three quizzes are as follows:

Day 1 – The Greek Alphabet

Day 2 – The First Declension Noun

Day 3 – Act of the Apostles Quiz (in English)