When I first took Elementary Greek back in the fall of 1998, we used the Revised Edition of David Alan Black's first-year grammar, Learn to Read New Testament Greek (Nashville: B&H Academic, 1994). I have loved Black's book, and when I started teaching Elementary Greek in the fall of 2008 I went with what I knew. But I don't want to be blindly loyal to Black, so I've taken occasion to look at a number of comparable books:
- William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), is simply too much material, in too much detail, to be helpful for my purposes. I also strongly dislike the order in which Mounce covers the material; even with the two-track option, I can't understand why anyone would present the entire nominal system before introducing verbs. Mounce is a great supplement for my more advanced students, and it comes with great support materials (a CD, along with its own website), but it isn't right for my class.
- Jeremy Duff, The Elements of New Testament Greek (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), which I really like. But I could never get past the decision to omit accent marks from the text. I was worried that my students would be intimidated by the sudden intrusion of accents on nearly every Greek word when they looked at the Greek New Testament. Given how strange the unaccented text in Duff looked to me, I didn't want my students to react similarly (perhaps even more strongly) to their GNTs.
- James Hewett, New Testament Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), which I haven't looked at in as great detail. One of my teaching assistants and former Greek students looked through the first couple chapters and liked a lot of Hewett's explanations. But his rather informed opinion matched my more superficial one: Black was still the better choice for my students.
- And last month I received an examination copy of the long-anticipated Fundamentals of New Testament Greek (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), by Stanley Porter and friends. If Mounce is too much information in too much detail, Porter & Co. is that much again. I love this book. I would use it if I ever taught first-year Greek to a class of students who've had at least a year of Greek and are retaking the course in preparation for seminary, graduate school, or any other academic pursuit. But even I can't impose this book on unsuspecting nineteen-year-olds.
But now I think I've found the book that will pull me away from Black. My Greek lab assistant recommended I look at N. Clayton Croy's introductory grammar, A Primer of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). There's nothing sexy about Croy's book (the same could be said about Black's, at least before the release of the third edition last year). But I like Croy's order of presentation as well as his selection of material to present; I like his explanations of Greek grammar, syntax, and morphology, and I even prefer some of his pedagogical methods over Black. At this point I think I'm 75-25 in favor of Croy for the Fall 2011 semester. In the next week or two I'll explain why I'm contemplating the switch.
My hopes, however, are that some of you with experience with Croy, Black, or any other first-year Greek grammar would chime in, critique my thinking, come to the defense of your favorite text, or whatever. What have you found most helpful in learning/teaching Greek? Or even, Is the choice of textbook not a/the most significant factor affecting student comprehension and enjoyment of the language? I would greatly appreciate your input and/or feedback with this.