The additional resources on this site are organized according to each chapter and section of the Athenaze text. This was first done with the 2nd edition of the text. 3rd edition owners can still use the materials since the chapter structure is the same between editions. The vocabulary and stories are nearly identical, so 3rd edition users simply have to be aware of some minor variations.
The goals for using these audio/visual materials for learning Biblical Greek with the Athenaze curriculum are:
- To read ancient Greek (including biblical Greek) as quickly, thoroughly, and enjoyable as possible
- To speak and compose ancient Greek
- To get a feel for ancient Greek culture
As you can see the materials on this site for each chapter of the textbooks are not a republication of the printed text. The student is expected to obtain a copy of the textbook and read it in conjunction with the materials provided on this site for each chapter. The material on this site provides audio and visual additions, supplemental teaching, and modifications to focus the grammar on how it relates to learning biblical Greek.
Working through the curriculum with the materials on this site provides both an inductive and deductive learning experience. Between the textbook and recorded lectures, there is plenty of grammatical explanation for each chapter and concept. The important distinctive of using working through the grammar with this site is that it will train students to internalize the language rather than merely teach them to translate. The grammar translation method is the standard for nearly all classical language courses. Students using this method learn grammatical and syntactical structures of the language and how to convert linguistic data points into English where they then interpret the meaning. The Greek language is meaningless per se until they deal with it in English. This method does have value but should really be presented as a tools-based approach where some of the references tools are memorized. If someone is willing to invest a couple of years of learning in this area, why not internalize the language to actually understand it prior to translation.
One doesn’t have to decide between internalizing and depending on translating. One can have an immediate understanding of the easiest vocabulary and grammar and translated the rest. We actually do this with every language. I have to use reference materials for my first language at times.
Internalization is the method used for learning modern languages, where people learn the meaning of the language per se. They don’t have to translate it. They simply understand it. They can speak it and think in it. In fact, the language becomes such a way of thinking that they ending up dreaming in it. Internalizing Greek is the only way of achieving the goal of reading Greek quickly and enjoyably so that students are reading pages rather than decoding passages. This is accomplished with modern language learning and can be done with the classical languages as well.
Speaking and composing sentences are necessary parts of internalization. So this site focuses on exercises and recourses that promote these skills. If you can speak in Greek, only then can you ask questions of the text like “Why didn’t the author say it like …?” This is in contrast to passively decoding whatever is served up by the author.
It is important that the student stays in the target language (Greek) as much as possible. It is difficult to train yourself to this, but it is part of learning how to learn a language. This site offers plenty of additional materials such as questions and answers about stories and pictures to help.
Athenaze provides a great story driven approach. This provides continuity and context from chapter to chapter and gives us a glimpse of ancient life discussed in the ancient language. It also provides a fantastic opportunity for retelling parts of the story in your own Greek words, which is the final test for internalization. Athenaze also provides a New Testament reading in most chapters.
Please enjoy all of the additional materials on this site as you work through the curriculum at your own pace.