- Course ID:GREEK 551/552
- Course Rank:Honors
- Teachers:Tom Cox
Description and Objectives
Fall 2020 – Spring 2021
Mr. Thomas Cox
301-365-0227 Ext. 226
6th Period (1:05 – 2:03)
Course Description and Objectives
You survived Greek I and are now poised to finish studying all of the grammar and morphology. As your mastery of these two increases, we 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, 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 is particularly well-suited for Christian boys to practice their Greek because of their familiarity with the text in English.
Chase, Alston Hurd & Phillips, Henry A New Introduction to Greek Third Edition.
Goodrich, Richard & Lukaszewski, Albert A Reader’s Greek New Testament: Third Edition.
The new afternoon Floater gives us more time together than the past two years which were interrupted by COVID and a truncated block schedule. When we are in person, we will have a quiz at the beginning of the period. In the meantime, we’ll workshop either the Greek to English Sentences (called “Readings” in Chase and Phillips) or the English to Greek Sentences.
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, help you prepare well for quizzes, and wrestle with the Greek afresh each time you see it. 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. Generally, the Greek to English exercises are graded out of 5 points and the English-Greek exercises out of ten. The quarter grade will consist of the daily quizzes, the daily silent work, a few tests. Any day you miss, you are still responsible for the daily quiz. You are exempted from having to make up that day’s Silent Work, though you should consult the notes of a friend.
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 in Greek 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, the Catholic Epistles and Revelation. Before you know it, you will have read the entire New Testament in a year or two, if you can read a page a day (about 10 minutes when your Greek gets up to speed). 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. It is neither 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 daily working with and in 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 (or any subject) much easier, more enjoyable, and more fruitful for you.
So, on to the actual homework policy. Most days, it’ll be a simple quiz. I will always encourage you to read five verses or so of the Gospels to yourself in the chapel, trying to read for understanding, not translation. Reading five verses five times to yourself without translating is often more profitable than translating twenty-five verses into English. You’re trying to learn a language, not get to the end of the maze on the back of a cereal box. Immerse yourself in the language every day, but don’t drown yourself in it. Don’t mistake exposing yourself to a language with converting it to English in your head. Translation and fluency are two different things. Translation is a skill, learned fairly quickly and easily by describing the grammar and syntax, and then loosing a student on a dictionary. Fluency is a habit of mind, one which does not require the consultation of a dictionary very often. 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)||Grammar Exercise||Medium Vocabulary Exercise
(half matching, half fill-in-the-blank)
|Second Grammar Exercise||Translation Quiz or New Testament Quiz|
|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.