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For many years, Homeric Greek has been a standard textbook for first-year Greek courses in college and preparatory schools. It offers students the exciting experience of learning to read a Homeric poem in the original language, while introducing them to the fundamentals of ancient Greek. This fourth edition addresses the needs of today’s teachers and students, while retaining those elements of the original book responsible for its longevity. Written and subsequently revised by Clyde Pharr, Homeric Greek was further revised by John Wright in 1985. Paula Debnar has revised the book once again by significantly expanding the introductory material in its first forty lessons.
Notable features of this new edition include:
· Clear definitions of grammatical terms and explanations of forms and syntax
· Easy-to-read charts of grammatical paradigms
· A new reference map of the Aegean region, including sites mentioned in the first book of the Iliad
· An index of the book’s section on grammar
· A larger, more attractive format for the entire text, including more legible Greek characters
Ideally suited for classroom use but also accessible to independent learners, this fourth edition of Homeric Greek ensures continued life for a book that has stood the test of time.
Posted June 13, 2001
Homeric Greek is the 'manager's key' to all later ancient and midaeval Greek. The Homeric literature is the 'manager's key' to almost all other ancient Greek and Roman literature. This book teaches Homer's Greek in a way that will stick, using Book I of the 'Iliad.' It helps to know standard English grammar. If this is your first Greek, and you've never learned a similar language (German, Slavic, Latin, Old Armenian, Old Persian or Sanskrit), give yourself extra time and drilling to let the details sink properly into your brain. Your patience will reward you richly!
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Posted October 10, 2014
Professor Paula Debnar has refashioned the 3rd edition of Pharr's (1959) to suit the tastes and style of contemporary Elementary Greek textbooks. [The 3rd edition retained the 'mean and lean' format of the early 20th century where the student was constantly made to refer to the grammar section contained in the back of the text, a format employed in other classics of that time, such as Allen's First Year of Greek (1917)] Instead of forcing students to turn back and forth, Debnar loads all the explanatory matter into the chapter/lessons themselves —the result being that what was 1 page in the 3rd edition becomes 7 pages in the 4th. The early edition depended VERY MUCH on the in-class explanations of an expert teacher; Debnar imbeds that explanation in the chapters themselves making the 4th edition much more useful for independent learners.
Professor Debnar's recasting of the material opens the way for the 21st century student to BEGIN their study of ancient languages with Greek rather than Latin — the historically correct way to begin classics.
The ONE thing that can be said to be missed in the 4th edition is Pharr's original introductory essay — "Homer and the Study of Greek." In this essay Pharr argued that the study of Greek should begin with Homer (rather than with Xenophon — as was the late 18th and early 19th century rule); he detailed how it is more exciting, simpler, and historically accurate to begin Greek with Homer rather than Attic. It seems unfortunate that this lead essay of the text's original author has be omitted from the 4th edition. [An earlier version of the argument can be found in Classical Journal 13.5 (1918).]
Preference for either the simplified 3rd or the expanded 4th edition will depend on ones own learning style. The earlier editions date back to the day when 12 year old boys and girls were made to learn Homer. The curtness of presentation is better suited to that age, since it presents the younger student with a manageable task and demands that he or she grapple with the attached grammar section and FIGURE OUT for themselves what is up. Since students then already had a year or two of Latin, this "figuring out for themselves" was not as formidable to them as it would be for a present day beginner. Debnar's explanations suit contemporary needs.
One could also object that the actual bits of the Iliad that are presented (5 to 10 lines a lesson) beginning at lesson 13 have been LOST TO VIEW amid the expanded format. The beauty of Pharr's approach was that one learned the basic grammar of Greek NOT through a made-up story in fabricated Greek (as in the popular high-school Attic Greek textbook, Athenaze) but through the actual Greek of the Iliad. That this important fact is less than apparent to the casual viewer of the 4th edition of Homeric Greek is (I think) unfortunate. I wish the bits of authentic Homer had been presented in a larger BOLD font: it is a shame that they are less than immediately visible.
The true shame is HOW DIFFICULT it is to get collegiate students to pre-read lessons, before the professor presents the in class. Debnar imagines the IDEAL student.
My own Three Quarrels (soon to appear) is a teacher's manual/self-tutorial textbook tailored for use in conjunction with Homeric Greek. Its running vocabulary to Iliad BK I bristles with pointers to Smyth's Greek Grammar and other advanced works; it links the student with my own live-online instruction: www. d
Posted July 27, 2014
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