Brantley's Reviews > New Testament Greek Primer: From Morphology To Grammar

New Testament Greek Primer by Gerald L. Stevens
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May 06, 12

bookshelves: foreign-language
Read from April 05 to May 06, 2012

I took Dr. Stevens' Greek class in the fall semester of last year and ended up dropping out to retake it this past semester. Although I took a two semester introductory Greek class in my undergraduate studies, it was nowhere as intense or comprehensive as Dr. Stevens' class. Both semesters of a normal Greek intro class were crammed into one, and the teacher expected most everything to be memorized.

I don't think this was a bad thing at all. I found Dr. Stevens to be a very knowledgeable man not only in the Greek language and hermeneutics, but also in the history of the language itself and in effective teaching methods. Dr. Stevens is not only brilliant, he is also a very kind and caring man who seeks to help students to make the most of their learning experience.

The book follows well with Dr. Stevens' class progression. However, I wonder how easy it would be to teach from for someone who is not as knowledgeable about Greek as Dr. Stevens. The book follows a progression that builds upon the prior material (as most Grammars do), but sometimes finding the information in past chapters that needed to be brushed up on was a little difficult, but not impossible or overwhelming.

Dr. Stevens put in an English grammar section as an appendix which does a fantastic job of expressing its grammatical concepts. Dr. Stevens is right when he says that the problem with learning the language is not with the student's knowledge of Greek, but with their knowledge of English. Honestly, after about three intense class periods and several nights of reading in the book, I came away with a better understanding of the English language than I ever had in grade school!

The homework sections in the text replace the necessity of a separate workbook. For a one semester class meeting twice a week, the book homework is great, but if the class were to do a two semester intro, I think more homework material would probably be helpful.

The most amazing part of the book is Dr. Stevens' method of learning verbs. I have used another book in the past for my undergraduate class that basically left verb structure in a rather mysterious light, but Dr. Stevens explains the logic of the Greek verbal structure as well as presents an easy way to recognize the type of verb through a system of dividing the verb into 6 possible parts (not all 6 used at one time). Whereas verbs were a chore to memorize on a giant chart in my previous class, Dr. Stevens' system breaks down the monstrosity of the Greek verb into a simple algorithmic collection of paradigms, principle parts, and verb slots (none of this will really make sense until one studies his system).

Overall, I thought the book was good. As mentioned above, it was difficult for a forgetful person like myself at times to go back and find some of the information from previous chapters that needed refreshing, but that was really the only problem I had with it. Even that problem was not really problematic since dialogue with both other students and Dr. Stevens supplemented such issues. For anyone seeking a great supplement to their Greek curriculum, I would definitely recommend Dr. Stevens' Primer.
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04/10/2012 page 333
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