A simple, interactive beginners guide to studying Koine Greek, the language used to write the New Testament.
UPDATE: A huge thank you to all of the backers and those who have helped spread the word. My wife and I are amazed and encouraged by the response! Make sure to check out the new demo video, and remember that you can still contribute and claim your copy before the project ends and the book is available through the iBookstore in the fall!
As discussed below in the FAQ, this text does not seek to replace any available first year Greek grammars. Not only is this unnecessary given the quality and availability of options, but is also simply beyond my current ability. Rather, it exists to serve as an on-ramp to any number of Greek grammars for those in Middle or High School or working adults that wish to learn Greek on their own.
Just a quick look at a few of the features!
ABOUT ANCIENT GREEK
Saint Paul. Plato. Saint Luke. Aristotle. Josephus. Saint Peter.
All of these ancient authors wrote in the Greek language—even though many of them claim a different mother tongue. Why? The language of the Greeks (especially during the Koine period from roughly 400 BC to AD 400) was the common language of the day for a vast majority of the Greco-Roman world. Koine (a Greek word for "common") Greek was the people's language. If you had a message, and you wanted to reach the widest audience, you would write that message in Greek. And so they did...
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to read their great works in their original language? Are you starting seminary soon and worried about learning Greek? Are you starting your second semester of Greek and worried that you forgot everything you learned in the first semester? Doesn't a part of you always want to learn a new language? Aren't you tired of hearing the following joke:
What do you call people who know three languages? "Trilingual"
What do you call people who know two languages? "Bilingual"
What do you call people who only know one language? "American"
Me too. Let's learn Greek!
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is best seen as a very basic introduction to the Ancient Greek language. In many ways it serves as a "course-in-a-book". By the end of the course, you should expect to be able to read short selections from the New Testament, early Christian writings as well as bits of Plato. If you are wanting to become a proficient reader of either Classical or Koine Greek, you will need much more than this book. If you finish the book and don't have a desire to continue, you will find that your reading of the New Testament (even in English) will benefit greatly from understanding a bit about the Greek language. You will also be much better prepared to read a variety of New Testament commentaries.
Having tried several approaches to learning the language myself, I am convinced that a basic and interactive overview of the language will prove to be quite helpful whether you decide to further your Greek education or not.
One more quick note: in case you are thinking "What? I could never learn Ancient Greek!" I want you to know that this book is being written with a middle and high school audience in mind.
As a digital book, there are relatively few startup costs (other than ISBNs ... who knew that they could be so expensive?) and this is a project that I will likely work on regardless of funding. So why use Kickstarter? Three main reasons:
1. To help spread the word about the joys of learning Ancient Greek
2. To see if there is enough interest to go through with selling the book
3. I absolutely love what I do. But I would also like to be able to raise a family and continue my studies on what I make. As a teacher this is sometimes a tall order...
WHY BACK THE PROJECT?
Because you love one or more of the following:
The New Testament, philosophy, theology, reading, languages, impressing friends, me, my wife*, Greek, trying again, history, starting new things, buying books, reading most of the books you buy, or puppies.
*she is much cooler than I am so chances are you loved her first
In order of emphasis, the primary audience for this text would be:
1. High School students using this text as part of a course
2. Adults who wish to begin learning the Ancient Greek language on their own or in a group setting
3. Adults who have been away from Greek for some time and want to pick it back up (either for fun or in preparation for an upcoming course)
If you are teaching in a Middle or High School setting, I believe that this book can serve as a text for your course. If you already have a Greek text, or teach at a higher level, I recommend using this book as either:
1. Assigned reading before the course begins (as a "crash course" that covers some of the basics that can cause students to stumble in a first-semester course)
2. Assigned reading between first and second semester Greek courses
AGES doesn't exist to reinvent the wheel. It exists to ease the transition between not knowing that wheels exist and driving a car.
Far from seeking to replace any serious first-year Greek grammars, Ancient Greek for the Everyday Scholar seeks to ease the transition from English to Greek over the course of any where from a few weeks to a full year. In a High School classroom setting, AGES can be used as a text for the course, provided that both students and teachers understand the basic introductory nature of its content. In an undergraduate or seminary context, AGES can be assigned as required reading before beginning the first-semester or between the first and second semesters of Greek.
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