Today I have a review of A Primer in Biblical Greek, by Professor N. Clayton Croy. You can also read, rate, and comment on my review at Amazon. Prof. Croy personally responded to my Amazon review, too, so take at its comments!
This was our main textbook for a Biblical Greek summer intensive course in seminary and I think Professor Croy set up this introductory text in a helpful way.
Lessons build on one another, definitely relying on the lessons that come before it, including terms, vocabulary, and translation tactics. Each lesson starts with vocabulary, introduces the new concept, gives more details and examples, and ends with exercises. The exercises are broken into three types: practice and review sentences Croy wrote himself that have a “Biblical” feel, passages from the LXX Septuagint (featuring lots of Tobit!), and passages from the Newer Testament. The original exercises only use vocabulary learned so far and there’s a vocab list for anything new that might crop up in the Scripture-based exercises. It was honestly fun to pick up on themes and sometimes humorous storylines Croy creates in the practice and review sentences he wrote, too.
In terms of pace, we examined one, sometimes two lessons per day and it worked well. At that rate, no lesson appeared to reach too far in providing an over-abundance of information. I also appreciated that all of the vocabulary lessons (not including words beyond their roots) appear in these Biblical Greek Vocabulary Cards so studying was a breeze.
Students who think they can read this on their own and skip class will be mistaken. The lessons are excellent yet I didn’t find them all 100% clear without guidance from our course’s instructor each day. There was a day or two I had to miss class and found the lessons’ introduction paragraphs difficult to decipher on my own. That could speak to my abilities as a new student in Biblical Greek just as much as the text or the class, I admit. But I thought it’s worth mentioning. There’s also no answer key and the new copy I bought in 2012 had no answer key CD. One could use a Scripture translation for the Newer Testament passages to at least some limited success, however. *UPDATE* 01.10.2013 | As Professor Croy points out in the Amazon review comments, there is indeed an answer key available online for free at: […]
I purposefully bought the print version instead of the ebook because it’s the sort of text that demands the ability to jot down notes – in both English and Greek! – in the margins quickly to keep up in a classroom setting. Thanks for reading. thelifemosaic
As noted above, Professor Croy responded to my review and here is my response to him:
Thank you for the information, Professor Croy. I’ve updated my review to include this information. Additionally, I’d like to mention our class genuinely enjoyed some of the common themes that kept cropping up in the practice and review sentences you created. Sometimes, it almost felt like there were underlying story threads throughout the entire text. I was especially fascinated by how many people like to throw stones at boats! 🙂 Our class got a particular kick out of Lesson 17, Practice and Review sentence #12. Struggling through translation as beginner students and ending up with a sentence with a touch of humor helped the work go better.
Gotta say, that’s pretty cool Professor Croy takes the time to engage persons who read and use his book in this way. I was surprised and appreciated it.