So, you maybe know a usable amount, or a lot, of NT Greek. You did the basic grammar courses, added a syntax and exegesis course, and maybe a related preaching or teaching course. Lots of sweat and a little inspiration. And voila, usable Koine Greek (hopefully).
We all agree that this is invaluable if not vital do quality study, preaching and teaching of the Word.
Now the real challenge begins. Retaining a language that you do not actively speak every day means deliberately keeping it up. But how?
Keep Your Greek, Strategies for Busy People by Constantine Campbell was created to address this problem.
This book was not created in the vacuum of the academic study. Each chapter of the book was created through a blog post and associated blog comments (a subset of which are included in most chapters). I followed this process online and the result is a timely compendium which hits the mark.
The book is clearly written and addresses each issue concisely. There is lots of (Greek geek) humour and a point of view that those using Greek will appreciate. In short, it does the job in an engaging fashion, which is half the battle.
It is not that this book contains a lot of surprises, since there is little new under the language learning sun. However, it pulls together most of the tips and tricks appropriate to Koine under one roof. This is uniquely useful and encouraging.
The main requirement, as expected, is ongoing, consistent effort. No surprise there, but the encouragement is appropriate and appreciated.
Along with the expected suggestions (keep your vocabulary up, practice parsing), there are a couple of strategies for retention and increased usability that are not as often suggested:
– skim reading, as you would in English, to practice getting the ‘just’ of the text. This is rarely suggested for this type of language work, especially for the less advanced.
– varying reading speed deliberately.
Lastly, there is a section on recovering your dormant Greek.
Overall, this is a useful, engaging and most of all encouraging look at a problem shared by most serious bible students. It is a welcome addition. Constantine Campbell is to be commended.
I should close by mentioning that Zondervan gave me a copy of this book for review. Irregardless, I would likely have purchased it and my opinions to do consider that.