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CLYDE PHARR
HOMER AND THE STUDY OF GREEK

In Print:
The Original Greek New Testament

Excerpts from a study contained in Homeric Greek - A Book for Beginners, University of Oklahoma Press 1985. The text contains some words in Greek, download Greek fonts, if you don't have. 

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Page 9

    Some have urged that since the bulk of the work in the ordinary college course in Greek is in the Attic dialect, students who begin with this would get a firmer grasp of it than if they began with Homer. Some even feel that a student who did his beginning work in Homeric forms would never be able to feel thoroughly at home in Attic Greek. Yet few teachers would be rash enough to suggest that because a student has had a thorough training in Attic Greek he is thereby disqualified from doing first-class work in the language of the Hellenistic period, nor would many teachers of New Testament Greek, e.g., object to a student who wished to specialize in their subject, or even in Patristic Greek, if he came to them with a good knowledge of Plato. Students who wish to specialize in Pliny and Tacitus, or even in Mediaeval Latin, do not find themselves handicapped because they did their earlier work in such authors as Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, Horace, and Catullus. Teachers of the Romance languages also universally recognize that a thorough course in Latin is a prerequisite for the highest type of scholarship in their field, and no student could hope to do advanced linguistic work in any of these languages without a thorough training in Latin. In the same way Homer offers an unexcelled preparation not only for all later Greek literature but for the later language as well ; and instead of the present system of confusion in the teaching of Greek grammar, particularly with reference to the various dialects, some attempt should be made to develop the subject in a more scientific fashion.

    Some feel that Homer is too beautiful and too exquisite to be used as a corpus vile for the teaching of Greek grammar. But the very fact that he is so beautiful and so exquisite is the very reason why he should be used at this early stage, that the students may have an added incentive for learning their grammar, and may not come to hate and despise the whole subject. Thus they may see, even from the beginning, that Greek is something worth working at, and they may have material interesting enough that the necessary grammatical drill will not seem so much useless drudgery.

    A highly important consideration in placing Homer before Xenophon in the curriculum is the fact that as matters now stand such a large per cent of our students never reach Homer. The problem before us with regard to these students is whether we are to give them Xenophon or Homer. Since they represent a very large element, not all of whom are loafers either, we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of Greek, as well as to them, to give them that which will be of most lasting value to them.

      Furthermore, Homer is interesting not only to older students, but is particularly adapted to the youngest who now take Greek, as the earliest experiments, made with boys from nine to fourteen years of age, have amply demonstrated. He serves the double purpose of introducing them adequately to the language and of furnishing them with reading material as interesting as can be found in any literature, something too of permanent value ; and he should come by all means as early as possible in the course, that he may serve as a suitable basis for the development of those qualities of taste and appreciation, without which the study of all art is in vain. And after we have begun with him, we find his treasures inexhaustible. In Herbart's expressive phrase, "Homer elevates the student without depressing the teacher." (...)

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    Cf. The Complete Iliad ||| The Complete Odyssey

    Related:  Andrew Lang, We need Homer and the Study of Greek   Homer Bilingual (Greek English) Anthology  Homer : Greek - English Interlinear Iliad  A Commentary on the Odyssey Homer: Achilles' Grief, Returning to Ithaca & The Underworld Cavafy, The Horses of Achilles Helen Keller, It was the Iliad that made Greece my paradise,  Plato Home Page 

The Greek Word Course : Lessons in Ancient Greek


Cf. The Complete Iliad * The Complete Odyssey
Greek Grammar * Basic New Testament Words * Greek - English Interlinear Iliad
Greek accentuation * Greek pronunciation

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/lessons/pharr.asp?pg=9