Saturday, 20 June 2015
Book review: Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament
This book is the first non-fiction I've reviewed, and let me tell you how glad I am to have picked it up. With my background in Archaeology, ancient languages has always fascinated me. While I studied Biblical Hebrew, my husband studied Classical Greek for his four years of undergraduate study and during his two year master's program in Classical Studies. Armed with this, and with my own studies of the New Testament via word studies (and with the memorization of the Greek alphabet for my sorority) I was ready for this book.
It blew my mind. Perhaps I've been out of academia for too long, reviewing fiction novels, but this book has changed the way I look at not only studying the New Testament, but learning ancient languages and understanding my own. The background of the study of this language was immensely helpful as a way to set the stage for what was to come. While some terms weren't defined right away, he devoted full chapters to specific concepts I had an issue with.
What really struck me is how it has changed the way I study the New Testament. I'm a believer in going back to the original text using word studies. Looking at the Greek has helped me understand difficult passages, and has changed my perception of other passages still. Campbell has, without my having to sit in a classroom, given me a greater desire to learn more about this language and the culture behind it. He has given me a desire to go beyond simple word studies. I likely won't be one of his hopeful categories, the one who will come out with my own advances in the language. But I know that this book has given me the foundation I need to start.
Within his book, Campbell shows various and conflicting arguments about Koine Greek, from the legitimacy of deponency (I had to ask the husband about that term when I first stumbled upon it) to the proper pronunciation and why it's important to know. This wide overview was comprehensive and appreciated from someone outside that part of academia.
Each chapter works mostly as an overview, but Campbell gives the reader resources to use as further reading to continue learning about a specific subject. This is an added benefit to the reader. Personally, it has helped me and my husband when discussing various aspects of Campbell's arguments (for example, we discussed chapter 9, in which Campbell discusses the proper pronunciation of Koine Greek and how this can be discovered through the study of papyri dating to the proper period.)
In order to fully appreciate this book, I believe some background in Greek would be beneficial, although not necessarily a full working knowledge of the language. Or, at the very least, some knowledge of languages whether it's ancient or not. Overall, Campbell has written a clear and concise book about how the study of Koine Greek has developed, focusing on its history as well as modern advances.
You can buy the book on Amazon starting July 28, 2015
Visit the author's website