Koinonia, a blog hosted by Zondervan Publishers, provided a copy of Keep Your Greek to me for review as part of their Keep Your Greek blog tour.
Keep Your Greek is written by Con Campbell of Sydney’s Moore College. The book is a helpful exhortation for those who have studied New Testament Greek but whose fluency (such as it ever was) may have atrophied (to put it mildly). It sounds like I’m the target demographic.
Based on a series of posts from Campbell’s former blog Read Better Preach Better, in expanded and supplemented form, the book is an insightful exploration of the reasons why biblical Greek skills falter and a constructive set of suggestions about how to reverse that decline.
(Campbell has indicated that he will now be posting at the new Moore College faculty blog, Think Tank, in the future.)
Anticipating the busyness of many who would be helped by the book, it is a mercifully short ninety pages, which provide for ten crisp chapters. In what could otherwise be a heavy and guilt ridden exercise, the tone of the book is one of engaging encouragement. As a carry over from the material’s blog origins each chapter concludes with comment interactions from Campbell’s original posts, providing practical interactions flowing from the preceding material.
The chapter titles are:
Ready every day
Burn your interlinear
Use software tools wisely
Make vocabulary your friend
Practice your parsing
Use your senses
Get your Greek back
Putting it all together
The content of the book is helpful in that it unpacks how tools, methods and good intentions can actually make recovering and maintaining Greek more difficult than it need be, while providing advice which would help someone get good value from a diligent and committed effort to recover and retain lost skills.
(Sadly sleeping with the book under your pillow at night will not enhance your Greek language skills. Effort will be required.)
Probably the single most encouraging point in the book for me was Campbell’s point that working toward some fluency from a backslidden position will come more quickly than it came the first time when working from a position of no knowledge at all.
Theological Colleges could do worse than purchase a couple of cartons of this book and hand them out at Assembly meetings or post them off to their graduates.
In summary, a helpful and encouraging book, full of practical and positive suggestions for busy people whose fluency in biblical Greek has atrophied (or backslidden). It would also be a very useful read for those in the initial stages of language study who want to avoid bad habits right from the beginning and also those who have maintained good Greek skills and want to avoid falling into counterproductive practices.