Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek

The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek is not intended for beginner-level Greek learners, but as clearly stated in the introduction, for second-year or beyond Greek students.  The book basically lays out “handy” charts for grammatical and usage references, i.e. syntax, conjugation, phrase diagramming, etc.

Huffman has composed a basic but accessible reference book that would be a great accompaniment to a full-sized textbook, but I think it would also be a useful tool for anyone studying Greek whether in school or out.  I found his inclusion of a Select Bibliography in Greek studies particular helpful in finding other works that could be used alongside the handbook.

All that said, I do have some critiques in terms of layout that might be addressed in future editions:

There’s very little that separates chapters and sections.  The entire book is printed in orange and black.  So if you’re hoping to quickly turn to and recognize a section that you’re studying, you’ll have to first take the time to look in the table of contents and find the page number. 

It seems to me if a press was going to take the resources to print in color, it could have changed up the colors for each section.  Tabs would have been a useful addition too, and maybe even a spiral binding so that the book can sit open flat in the section that you’re studying.  For an example of a great pocket style grammar manual (English not Greek) see Diana Hacker’s “A Pocket Style Manual”.

Also, I didn’t really see the logic in the organization within the three main sections.  Why go from nouns, to adjectives, to adverbs, to articles, to pronouns, to prepositions, to verbs?  It seems a little more logical to group parts of speech in the sense that they affect one another, for example adverbs affect verbs but they’re several pages away from one another. 

Overall, I think this was a great first edition, but I’d love to see a little better approachability in future editions.  There’s not much here that makes it a “quick” reference, just a lighter reference than carrying around a textbook.

The publisher provided a copy of this text in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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