If It Ain’t Broke . . .

Greek teachers are frequently asked which text they recommend for introductory Greek.  Although many new textbooks have come along since 1928, when An Introduction to Greek by Henry Crosby and John Schaeffer was first published, none has rivaled, much less surpassed, this old warhorse.  It is not that the rivals are without merit.  James Allen’s First Year of Greek offers the most systematic presentation of grammar; Chase and Phillips is an attractive book whose quotations from Plato inspire philosophy students, while more recent texts such as Athenaze are designed with today’s students in mind.  Some more recent texts emphasize biblical Greek at the expense of Attic, while others ignore biblical Koine altogether.  Still others share the fate of all projects designed by committee, though the text produced by the J.A.C.T. is more ungainly and less serviceable than any camel.

Crosby and Schaeffer, by contrast, is a meat-and-potatoes introduction that sticks with single-minded doggedness to the main goal: to teach the student enough Attic Greek to be able to tackle Xenophon’s Anabasis in his second year.  This book, while teaching students Greek gram-mar, also introduces them to the Greeks’ achievement in the visual arts (with over 120 photographs included) and to their traditional “gnomic” wisdom  (close to 100 aphorisms...

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