Dec 29, 2015 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Decker's Reading Koine Greek

Rodney Decker No doubt, anyone who knew Rod Decker still feels his absence. I did not know him well, but had met him at biblical conferences where I had conversations with him that were never long enough. An Accordance user since the early days, Decker posted frequently in our forums. However, what really stands out to me when I think of Rodney Decker is the high praise that always came from those who took his classes, especially the courses on Koine Greek.

Long before his grammar was published, the notes from his classes were frequently shared on the Internet. There had long been talk about Decker publishing a Greek grammar, and it was finally released posthumously last year, about a year after his untimely death from cancer. We released the Accordance edition of Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook in time for November’s ETS and SBL conferences. In all of that end-of-year busyness, I admit that I only began exploring Decker’s Greek grammar recently. And wow—what a wonderful contribution to Greek studies he has produced!

Even if you believe that the market is oversaturated with Koine Greek grammars, I encourage you to take a look at Decker’s work. As I have been exploring it, I have been struck by the freshness of approach beyond the “rules, paradigms, and practice” model that so many grammars take. First, of all, it should be noted that Decker does not limit his instruction only to New Testament Greek. He introduces the student to the wider Koine world by incorporating the Septuagint and even the Pseudepigrapha and Apostolic Fathers. Having taught seminary-level Greek myself, I know at times how restricting it was trying to pull grammatical examples only from the New Testament. Introducing students to the wider body of literature from the beginning would certainly be very helpful.

Koine Greek includes not just introductory material, but intermediate as well. This means that it could be used in both first and second year classes with the beginning student skipping the more advanced material until later. Moreover, if you’re a few years out of school and your Greek skills have lapsed, Decker’s grammar, with his more comprehensive approach, might just make the perfect refresher text because it covers more than just the basic kind of content found in most introductory grammars.

Decker's Koine Greek

Click on the image above for a larger view of Rod Decker's Koine Greek.

Besides content tagged according to 11 separate fields (more about that below), ability to amplify, and hyperlinking that integrates Decker’s Koine Greek with the rest of the titles in your Accordance Library, there is another advantage the Accordance edition has over print. Greek excerpts and vocabulary have an audio component that can be played from right from within Accordance. The recorded voice is clear and moves at a very reasonable pace allowing the new Greek reader a chance not only to learn how to read Greek texts, but how to pronounce words as well.

I should also remind Accordance users that beginning with Accordance 11 released last year, notes can be taken on all titles including grammars. That means that answers to the integrated workbook exercises can be answered right in the Accordance Notes feature and displayed in parallel with Decker's grammar on the screen.

The Accordance Team has carefully analyzed all text in Decker’s Koine Greek and identified content according to the following fields: Titles, Section Numbers, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Table Titles, Captions, Bibliography, and Page Numbers. Such precise classification of content allows the user to find the exact content needed quickly and efficiently.

Having spent some time with Rodney J. Decker's Koine Greek, I now understand why his students appreciated his classes so much. If you are a student or instructor, a layperson considering learning Koine Greek, or someone who just needs a refresher, I can easily recommend adding this title to your personal Accordance Library.

 

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Reading Koine Greek (Rodney Decker)

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