Beyond the Greek New Testament: Advanced Readings for Students of Biblical Studies by Max Botner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book/reader is specifically targeting students of biblical and religious studies (which I am) with the presumption they learned Greek as part of their studies (which I have not … yet). As such, this was a bit more that I had originally had hoped for and there, unfortunately, elements of the book that I am not qualified to evaluate; however, it also appears that this work will be an important companion when my studies intersect with it. While I am more comfortable with transliterated Greek and there is a substantial amount of original Greek, there is still a lot a more casual reader can extract from it. An extended introduction provides a good review of Greek vocabulary, grammar and discourse along with recommended additional resources (such as The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek CGCG, which is cited in several places throughout) and where the author states his presumption that readers are familiar with Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics … which is very helpful in identifying a learning strategy if nothing else.
The book is organized into eight (8) parts that examine different types of classic Greek literature with specific translation techniques and issues the author wants to highlight to enable the learner to appropriately recognize translation nuances. Each part has a brief overview of the genre covered within that I found very helpful. Each part was further divided into examples with a more specific summary of the example along with a callout box that provided supplemental information … such as a recommended [online] translation (if available otherwise it was a citation to a printed translation) and supplemental scripture references. It is quite obvious here this is intended to be a companion resource and not a standalone guide. Finally, each subpart or section ends with a series of notes and observations about the translation that is extremely helpful in understanding why the translator made the choices evident in the cited work as well as where the author of this book may have seen or favored a different choice. These notes draw from a variety of sources and traditions contemporary with the original text and it was for these comments that I wanted to review the book … and I was not disappointed; although I would have been a little happier with a little more here. Finally, nearly half of the 400 some odd pages are citations and references at the end of the book to help further study.
Part 1 - Reading the Septuagint
1.1 LXX Deuteronomy
1.2 LXX Isaiah
1.3 2 Maccabees
Part 2 - Reading the Apostolic Fathers
2.1 1 Clement
2.2 Ignatius of Antioch
2.3 Polycarp of Smyrna
2.4 The Epistle of Barnabas
2.5 The Epistle of Diognetus
Part 3 - Reading Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
3.1 The Letter of Aristeas
3.2 Joseph and Aseneth’s Conversion
3.3 Sibylline Oracles
3.4 The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides
3.5 Fragments of Hellenistic Jewish Writers
Part 4 - Reading Philo
4.1 Allegorical Commentary
4.2 Exposition of the Law
4.3 Historical and Apologetic Works
Part 5 - Reading Josephus
5.1 Jewish War
5.2 Jewish Antiquities
5.4 Against Apion
Part 6 - Reading Historians and Biographers
6.3 Diodorus Siculus
6.4 Dio Cassius
Part 7 - Reading Philosophers and Rhetoricians
7.4 Dio Chrysostom
7.6 Diogenes Laertius
Part 8 - Reading Poets and Playwrights
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.