Item description for A New Testament Greek Primer by S. M. Baugh...
Overview An outstanding resource! Baugh's innovative new Greek primer combines grammar and exercises in one convenient volume. Thirty lessons based on the best modern linguistic principles, plus paradigms, parsing and answer keys, a glossary, and subject index give you a strong foundation in New Testament Greek. Ideal for self-study and review.
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Studio: P & R Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.9" Width: 8.4" Height: 0.6" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Jul 31, 1995
Publisher P & R Publishing
ISBN 0875520995 ISBN13 9780875520995
Reviews - What do customers think about A New Testament Greek Primer?
Author's Note Fall 2007--Revision Planned! Nov 15, 2007
First, let me thank the reviewers who have taken the time to note their concerns and appreciation for my Primer. I hope to complete a revised manuscript of the Primer in mid-2008 and many of the weaknesses of the work that have been pointed out will be fixed. I hope so anyway!
Let me say as background that this book was primarily written for our intensive five week introductory Greek class here at Westminster Seminary California. Our previous text by J. G. Machen had gone up to $53.00 in the early 1990s which motivated me to start this grammar--which was six years in development by the way. Bill Mounce and I were working on NT Greek grammars at the same time but unknown to each other.
Some of the things in the Primer were the result of my own language learning experience (including classical Greek using a dreadful little grammar), language teaching experience (almost 25 years now), and from research into teaching foreign languages for reading knowledge. I was experimenting a bit with the Primer, though not always successfully. I hope to fix these problems and make a better work that will be useful for the variety of classes and students who use the Primer around the world.
Thanks again faithful Greeks!
S. M. Baugh, Ph.D. Professor of New Testament Westminster Seminary California
Useful but not perfect Nov 10, 2006
I have used this book both in my own learning and in teaching NT greek. I found it helpful and useful in avoiding many issues that are not central to learning the language (one thinks fo the two or three chapters in Machen's book dedicated to accents). Baugh's division of chapters as well as his organization of vocabulary is well thought out and a benefit to those who might easily become overwhelmed by language study. The most problematic issue with the book falls in the translation practice. All of the practice examples are bible verses (a common thread in most Greek primers) which creates issues on two fronts: 1) Well known verses do not require you to know Greek to translate them, and 2) There are many practice examples in which vocabulary is used which the student has not yet learned and some which is not present even in the glossary at the end of the book. All of that being said I still recommend this book and will continue to use it in the future.
A Compentent but Deeply Flawed Primer Nov 22, 2004
I am completing lesson 27 in this book and have been frustrated with it from lesson 2. I have referenced Bill Mounce's book/workbook/cd from time to time during the course in order to clarify what in the world Baugh is talking about and I have frequently wished that I could have used his format (with its deficiencies) instead.
First of all, I do in fact like the way this book is arranged over that of Mounce. He introduces verbs in lesson 5 and that way the student can begin to read Greek much earlier in the course than with Mounce. This is about the only positive thing I have to say about this primer.
Critique 1) It constantly seems that Baugh has fellow Greek teachers in mind rather than the basic student in that he consistently clouds simple concepts with lengthy discussion of the finer and rarer points of Greek that no introductory student could be expected to understand or remember. My professor was regularly saying, "I know what Baugh is saying, and technically he is correct, but that is confusing for your level of proficiency." 2) The way the lessons themselves are organized is confusing. The paradigms are listed first, with no explanation, and then they are "explained" in paragraph form rather than graphically or spacially...or simply. Remember also that these paragraphs are riddled with the intricacies of the paradigm and the Greek language rather than with help demonstrating to the reader how to take what they already have learned and apply this new info. 3) He assumes the student has a significant understanding of English grammar and grammatical terms - pronomial, predicate nominative, etc. 4) While he overexplains the complex things, the necessary and basic concepts or lists in his book receive inadequate treatment. For example, under adjectives, he goes on and on about adj's in the attributive, substantive, and predicate position to the point of utter confusion but nowhere that I can find does he list the simple translation tool that attributives have an article and noun, substantive have and article an no noun, and predicates don't have an article. Simple, and simply missing from Baugh. 5) As all the other critical reviewers have indicated, he constantly uses study guide questions that contain words and concepts that the student hasn't been exposed to. This is understandable in the first few chapters, but afterwards he shouldn't have to list 15-20 vocab words above the exercises. 6) He doesn't explain the answers in the answer key but simply lists the correct answer. 7) He frequently uses alternative translations of texts in the exercises so that Bible software is useless in helping the student to determine why they got a particular question wrong.
All in all, this primer seems like an untested first draft. Even though there are many things I do not like about Mounce's approach, he is simple and straightforward and has a way of making complex things understandable rather than how Baugh tends to make the most basic things quite confusing.
Wish I could give it a higher review... Oct 29, 2003
but I can't. This beginner level Grammar of NT Greek is a very fine effort in certain ways that are important. But as I labored through it as part of my seminary curriculum, I simply found too many things about it that were downright distressing, thus the mixed review I'm giving it.
On the positive side, this Greek Grammar workbook is quite thorough for a beginner level grammar. Those wanting the basics of NT Greek will find that Baugh covers a surprisingly comprehensive array of topics and principles that are really quite essential. He appropriately breaks from Metzger in focusing the beginner level student on more reasonable levels of vocabulary memorization that provide far more 'bang for the buck' then Metzger's approach. In addition, he covers nouns up through the third declension, including prominent exceptions, as well as verbs and participles of multiple tenses, voices, and moods. While I will heavily criticize his workbook exercises later, it should be noted that the answer key for the exercises is needed and does allow the student, depending on his/her aptitude, to independently work through his Grammar. Also, his glossary of many grammatical terms is also a welcome part of this Grammar, particularly those who struggle with grammatical terminology in English (ie: what is a 'predicate nominative'). This glossary will help in that regard, and this is important since such grammatical terms are used with regularity in this Grammar, as they should be.
Now for the negatives. Baugh's thoroughness on balance is good but he does at times devote too much ink to peripheral and decidedly secondary concepts that too often fog up his book. And this really comes through when Baugh attempts to present more complex areas such as participles and even adjectives or pronouns. There are much easier ways to effectively teach participles, contract verbs, adjectives, and irregular aorist forms then what we see from Baugh here. Participles and irregular aorists in particular are difficult enough on their own without Baugh making them more confusing, often unnecessarily. And this leads to my last major problem with the book - its completely unnecessary introduction of arbitrary difficulties into the workbook exercises. With aggravating regularity, Baugh pollutes his workbook exercises either with vocabulary words that haven't been taught yet, concepts that haven't been introduced yet, and in unnecessarily emphasizing minute points (usually without explanatory resolution based on what the student should know from the applicable lesson) that in many cases are purely academic and matters of translation philosophy rather then basic issues of grammar. I understand that there is a certain teaching philosophy that believes that these forms of instructional 'sneak attacks' serve the noble purpose of stretching the student which is supposed to lead to increased inquisitiveness and the like. Well, as a student trying to learn a completely new language, Greek (like English) has plenty of built-in irregularities and oddities to keep students on their heals without Baugh's help. The level of confusion he unnecessarily introduces into the workbook exercises goes a long way towards making his Grammar inaccessible and unhelpful to those who are unfortunate enough to not be studying under a good professor who can compensate.
This Grammar had the potential of being truly great. It is thorough and carries with it the great potential of instilling a very good foundation for more advanced study and literacy of NT Greek. Unfortunately, if Baugh's book is any indication of the effectiveness of traditional forms of teaching NT Greek, it is little wonder why so few have achieved a genuine level of competence in interacting with the language. And such a result is very sad indeed since God chose this language as the tool to communicate his special revelation starting with the Gospels.
Self-Study Students: Steer Clear! Aug 19, 2003
If you're considering this book for self-study (i.e., unless it's an assigned text for a course), keep looking because this one may really hinder and frustrate you in learning Greek. Its problems are not only with its content but with the physical construction of the book itself.
The Primer is supposed to be used as a workbook as evidenced by the format of many of the exercises (the "circle this" and "underline that" variety), and the fact that the book is pre-punched to fit in a three-ring binder. That's all very fine and good except with just a month's heavy use, the binding falls apart and you'll have individual pages coming detached from the rest; if you want to take the whole thing apart to put in a binder, you will find that the glue is just strong enough that you'll rip and mangle more than a few pages in the process. In addition to this, there just isn't enough room to perform the translation exercises in the workbook unless you can write very small and legibly, so part of the exercises will be in the workbook and the other part you will have to do on other paper.
As for problems with the content:
First, when Baugh uses Greek sentences to illustrate points of grammar, he very often uses both vocabulary and word forms that haven't yet been learned. So, the beginning student really cannot understand the example sentences in the early lessons until he has nearly completed the course. This greatly hinders the student's ability to understand the point (since he doesn't have a comprehensible example), and causes a lot of frustration and self-doubt ("Have I forgotten this? Did I somehow miss this word in the vocabulary? Why doesn't this make sense to me???") It's only now that I'm reviewing for my final exam that I understand many of the early examples! I'm reading through chapter 10 (adjectives), and one example sentence uses a third-declesion noun (chapter 11) and an infinitive (chapter 25) plus two vocabulary words that aren't learned until chapters 11 and 20. There are only five words in the sentence!
Second, Baugh only uses actual Scripture in the translation exercises. While I can understand why this might seem desirable, it turns into a conscious or unconscious crutch for students who know the English Bible. J. Gresham Machen's ("New Testament Greek for Beginners") approach of using Scripture-like language-but without using Scripture itself-is to be preferred, because it forces the student to rely on basic parsing techniques to translate rather than some combination of parsing and unintended recall of familiar English Scripture passages.
Even though I've had only bad things to say about the book, now that I've finished the course, I'm quite comfortable reading New Testament Greek, so it can't be all bad! But, I was assigned this as a text for a seminary Beginning Greek class, so I also had the benefit of excellent classroom instruction and peer interaction. So, if you're a seminary student assigned this book, now you know what to expect. If you're a self-study student, keep looking-there must be something better!