Mike Aquilina

A Great Way to Learn Greek

Monday June 18th 2007, 3:03 am

From Hendrickson comes a dream of a book: A Patristic Greek Reader, by Rodney A. Whitacre. This is more than a book, actually. It’s an opportunity to learn Greek from a superlative teacher and to learn Christianity from the greatest ancient masters. Says the publisher: “Passages that have played a major role in the history of Christian thought are included, as well as passages that contribute to matters of spirituality and pastoral care. Several passages are of more purely historical interest.” The book includes Greek texts, English translations, and abundant helpful notes. Here’s the table of contents, lifted from the Library of Congress:

Introduction
The Two Main Goals of This Reader
The Meaning of “Patristic”
An Approach to Reading the Fathers
The Selections from the Fathers
The Greek Notes
Suggestions for Using This Reader
Suggestions for Further Reading in the Fathers
Texts and Notes
1. Didache
2. 1 Clement
3. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Romans
4. Epistle to Diognetus
5. Martyrdom of Polycarp
6. Justin Martyr, First Apology
7. Melito of Sardis, On Pascha
8. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies
9. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History and Life of Constantine
10. Athanasius, On the Incarnation
11. Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations
12. Desert Fathers and Mothers, Apophthegmata Patrum
13. John Chrysostom, Homiliae in Matthaeum
14. Hesychios the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness
15. Symeon the New Theologian, Hymns
16. Translations of All Texts
Appendix A: Vocabulary: Words Used 50 Times or More in the Greek NT
Appendix B: Principal Parts of Common Verbs
Appendix C: The Selections Arranged in Order of Difficulty
Bibliography
Greek Resources
Resources for Individual Selections

Dr. Whitacre’s anthology is unique, a model of both pedagogy and mystagogy. The Spirit has been leading the churches to “return to the sources,” and A Patristic Greek Reader is a beautiful beginning for that journey. Very highly recommended.

Amazon says the book will be out at the end of July. The galleys I’ve had since May look pretty finished to me. So pre-order your copy today!