Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review of McLean, Hellenistic and Biblical Greek

Bradley H. McLean, Hellenistic and Biblical Greek: A Graduated Reader. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. xxxiv, 509. ISBN 9781107686281. $39.99 (pb).

Reviewed by Mark Glen Bilby, Claremont School of Theology (mgb8n@virginia.edu)


This text fills a major gap in the available scholarly literature for the pedagogy of Hellenistic Greek, especially for students of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. While numerous Greek readers, extracts, selections, chrestomathies, and anthologies have appeared over the past few hundred years, none explores the breadth of Jewish and Christian Hellenistic Greek literature more ably, thoroughly, and expertly than does this one. Many readers simply provide excerpts with little in the way of historical and literary introduction, grammatical notes, or vocabulary lists, but McLean provides these for every text. (Indeed, these supplements are so well-written that this reader could easily double as a sourcebook for the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity!) Though many Greek readers are not structured or populated with developmental educational concerns in mind, this one is carefully constructed to start simple, work gradually up to much more difficult samples, and build cumulative vocabulary competency throughout. And while other readers typically select from a narrow range of texts, whether in terms of canonicity, authorship, or genre, McLean’s selections prove diverse in all of these respects.