Greek (and A Few Latin) Readers - A Gallery
I love reader’s versions of ancient texts. I think they are a great thing for learning. So in my continual attempt at not being completely useless, I present to you a gallery of readers for ancient Greek, with a few Latin sprinkled in for good measure (all pulled from my library save one). I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, some of you may not be familiar with these resources though you should be. Second, though some of these are out of print and/or not directly relevant to my perceived audience, I want to give you some samples to spark your thinking. I’ll be following up with a post tomorrow, based on this one, with some of my musings on what makes a good reader and where that can fit into one’s education.
I broke out my scanner this time, so the images should be a little better than the ones I have been taking with my digital camera. Anyway, without further ado, the readers.
- A Reader’s Lexicon - Kubo
- The Reader’s Greek New Testament
- Koine Greek Reader - Decker
- A Patristic Greek Reader - Whitacre
- A Hellenistic Greek Reader - Colwell and Mantey
- A Beginner’s Reader / Grammar for NTG - Colwell and Tune
- Graded Reader of Biblical Greek - Mounce
- Colson’s Greek Reader
- JACT’s Reading Greek
- JACT’s The Triumph of Odysseus
- JACT’s A Greek Anthology
- JACT New Testament Greek: A Reader
- Lucian: Selections Edited with Notes and Vocabulary - Keith Sidwell
- Aeneas to Augustus - by Hammond and Amory
- Columbus’ First Voyage - Iacona and George
- 38 Latin Stories - Groton and May
Technically Kubo is not a reader. It is a "Reader’s Lexicon". It did for me and the NT what Perschbacher’s Refresh Your Greek should have done for reading the NT (because it was better, in my opinion, and was out of print by the time I knew enough to want it). It is a specialized lexicon that you can use while reading the lexicon that breaks down not-so-common words by verse so you don’t have to lookup everything in BDAG. It assumes a knowledge of every word occurring over 50 times in the NT. All words that occur in a given book that occur between 5 and 50 times is included before the book in a special list. Here’s a sample page:
Even though having the vocabulary notes on the page are more convenient than in a separate book, this has been one of my all-time top Greek books.
Perschbacher’s volume didn’t make it, but A Reader’s Greek New Testament came in to fill the void.
This volume has vocabulary in footnotes for every work that occurs less than 30 times in the New Testament. It looks like all of the notes are vocabulary-related.
Decker’s Koine Greek Reader is a nice workbook-size Greek reader. It has selections from the New Testament, Septuagint, and some early Christian writers and creeds. This leads me to think that it is very poorly named, as it doesn’t have anything outside of Jewish/Christian religious literature but is called Koine. But it is good anyway.
It has vocabulary, morphological, syntax and some more general study notes. The data for his readings is kinda spread out, so I have to show you several screenshots for you to get a good idea of what it offers:
Another nice volume. A Patristic Greek Reader contains texts from a number of Christian fathers with vocab, morphological, and syntactical notes.
It has horrible typesetting though you should get it if you can because it is a useful volume. It was published in 1939 and is now out of print. It has selections from Christian and Jewish Greek, as well as selections from papyri and pagan Hellenistic Greek.
The vocabulary is not listed on the page (as you can see in the screenshot), but is included in a list in the back of the book.
Published originally in 1965, A Beginner’s Reader-Grammar for New Testament Greek is now being reprinted by Hendrickson for fairly cheap. Apparently back in the day they were complaining about textbooks then as well, so Colwell and Tune decided to write a different grammar, so this is technically a beginning grammar, not a reader. They succeeded in being different. Is it an improvement? I’m not sure yet.
This volume starts with basic grammar and syntax before moving to a graded reader made up of adapted New Testament texts. Here’s a screenshot of the last page of the grammar and first of the reader:
This Graded Reader of Biblical Greek is for those who have been through Mounce’s popular NT Greek textbook, though could be used after any first year NT Greek course. It is workbookish in size and contains 19 selections from biblical text and one from the Didache.
The reader includes both vocabulary and syntax notes. I’m not sure why the text is spaced out so much. I would go for less space and a smaller volume, but that’s just me...
This volume published in 1947 is out of print, and probably has been for a very long time. It’s subtitle is "Stories and Legends: A First Greek Reader". It comes with introductory remarks (about 17 pages of notes on syntax), texts, has exercises, and vocabulary lists (one for proper names and the other for other words) in the back. Below is a screenshot of the text followed by a one of the two vocabulary lists.
I don’t see anywhere where it says, but I would imagine that these are not selections directly from actual texts. My assumption is that the audience is classical.
The JACT’s Reading Greek textbook comes with a reader to work through as you go through the text. In the first edition the vocab was in the grammar volume, which I think was just a horrible idea. In the second edition it is included in the volume with the reader. Here are some screenshots:
Along with vocabulary notes it has some nice pictures. From what reading I’ve done in it, it appears to frequently switch from narrative to dialogue. It adds a nice flavor.
In what was an incredibly good idea, JACT decided to create a series of reader books that assume what you learn in their basic text. A great idea. This is the first one of those exhibited here (and there are several that I don’t have). The Triumph of Odysseus contains books 21 and 22 of the Odyssey.
Its notes are primarily vocabulary in focus, though it does branch out to historical background and story arch occasionally. Also, as you can see from the screenshot, readings are given context by a brief overview in English just before the reading (which is both good and bad, in my opinion).
This is another in the series of JACT readers. While the latter gave you a good long section from a single work to read through, this one, called A Greek Anthology, gives you smaller portions from multiple authors. Selections from the following are included in the volume:
- The New Testament
Unlike most volumes in JACT’s Reading Greek series, their New Testament Greek: A Reader does not assume the vocab of JACT but rather the top 350 words by occurrence in the NT. If my calculations are correct, that means you would need to know every word that occurred 43 or more times in the NT.It also contains a short essay on the differences between Classical and New Testament Greek. The following are the selections contained in the work:
- Luke 1 and 2
- Mark 2-5
- Matthew 5-7
- John 9-11
- Luke 22-24
- Acts 1-2:21; 16-19
- Romans 4-6
- 1 Corinthians 12-15
- Hebrews 3-5:10
- James 1 and 2
- Revelation 21 and 22
This volume does not belong to the JACT series, but assumes the JACT vocabulary nonetheless with Lucian-specific vocabulary to be learned as well. First published in 1986, Lucian is still in print and you can get it from Amazon. The whole book looks like it was done with a typewriter so it can be hard on the eyes, but the content makes having it worth it for sure. The reader includes content from the following works:
- Dialogi Deorum
- Iuppiter Confutatus
- Dialogi Mortuorum
- Verae Historiae
- De Mercede conductis
- Quomodo Historia
Some Latin Readers
These are not of direct relevance for Greek readers, but here are three more samples of readers from the world of Latin. I’ll be drawing on them in my follow-up post.
Aeneas to Augustus: A Beginning Latin Reader for College Students is long for a reader being over 400 pages. It contains 90 selections from Latin works and contains notes primarily on vocabulary.
Columbus’ First Voyage: Latin Selections from Peter Martyr’s De Orbo Novo is creative in terms of content, for sure. I am not used to seeing readers for this late of literature. It contains notes on vocabulary as well as pictures and little bits of historical data. This strikes me as perfect for a home-schooling family who is learning Latin. It is rather short (39 pages), but will make for interesting reading when I get around to learning Latin for real.
38 Latin Stories contains short bits of Latin based on ancient authors and is meant to be used with Wheelock’s Latin textbook. Some are pure fabrications, some are adapted selections from actual Latin texts. The notes seem to be entirely vocabulary related.
So there you go, a bunch of readers. Go out and read! It’s the best way to learn. Anybody have any readers that they think are noteworthy? If you’ve got a blog, post about it, let me know, and I’ll append a link. If not, leave a comment below!