A Summer Greek Reader

By Richard Goodrich and David Diewert
Grand Rapids : Zondervan (2001). 112 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Paul Felix
13.1 (Spring 2002) : 126-127

 A Summer Greek Reader is a workbook designed to help the beginning Greek student maintain the essentials of the language. The targeted audience is the student who has just completed a year-long introductory Greek course and has the summer available to strengthen his knowledge of Greek while awaiting an intermediate Greek class in the fall. It is a well-known fact that many students who have expended great effort in learning the basics of the language, regress in their knowledge of Greek due to the lack of a systematic program to help maintain their skills during the summer. This workbook by Goodrich and Diewert addresses this situation.

The work has twelve chapters, each are devoted to the translation of a single block of text. The student has the opportunity to translate from Matthew (16:13–17:18; 22:20–23:13; 26:27-63), Mark (13:3-37), John (5:1-38; 6:25-59; 6:60–7:24; 8:12-45; 12:44–13:30; 13:31–14:31; 16:1-33) and 1 John (3:22–5:6). Each chapter consists of three sections: (1) There are six passages for translation consisting of four to seven verses each. Unfamiliar words are identified in the footnotes by listing the lexical form, English definition, and the number of occurrences in the Greek NT. A small set of parsing questions is asked. Space is provided for both the answers to these questions and the student’s translation of the passage. (2) A raw and unpolished English translation for each of the passages to be translated is given in the back of the book. (3) A list of new vocabulary words is supplied starting with the second chapter. Once the vocabulary lists are learned, the student will know all of the words that occur in the Greek NT twenty or more times. The vocabulary lists of twenty to thirty words are divided into three interesting categories: Friends (words that bear a strong resemblance either to a Greek word that has already been learned or to an English word), Cousins (words that have a more distant resemblance to familiar Greek or English words), and Strangers (words that could not readily be tied to a Greek word that is known or a familiar English word). Although this classification is clever, only time will tell if it is useful. It should be noted that the list of new words is not directly related to the passages to be translated.

This book is part of the larger family of Zondervan resources designed to help an individual in the accurate exegesis of biblical texts. In light of this, it is assumed that the reader already possesses a copy of William Mounce’s, Basics of Biblical Greek and Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. The former work is referenced frequently in the footnotes. Vocabulary counts and meanings are based upon Warren Trenchard’s work, The Student’s Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament.

Goodrich and Diewert are to be commended for producing a structured work that fills the “summer” void that students experience while waiting to take intermediate Greek. Instructors who do not utilize the whole Zondervan series of Greek textbooks will have to make adjustments for their students.