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CLAS 405 A: Undergraduate Seminar in Classics

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:20pm - 4:50pm
SAV 169
Joint Sections: 
LATIN 405 A, GREEK 405 A
Clauss with students in Rome
James J. Clauss

Syllabus Description:

Classics/Greek/Latin 405

Readings of the Old Testament and New Testament in Greek and Latin


Summer 2018

TTh 2:20-4:50

SAV 169

Instructor: James J. Clauss


Office: 228-B Denny Hall; Tel. 543-2266

Office Hours: TTh 1·30-2·20 and by appointment


Students with as little as one year of Greek and/or Latin are welcome to take this seminar. The OT and NT texts are remarkably easy to read in either language and the texts are incredibly important not only for Judeo-Christian religion but for the Western culture in general. Students with only Latin will read and translate in class the Latin texts and similarly those with only Greek will read Greek passages. I will introduce the Hebrew alphabet so that we can observe how Greek and Roman translators managed foreign words. I will at the same time discuss the Greek alphabet for those who have not yet learned it. It takes little time to become familiar with both.


We will start out with several OT passages, featuring Joseph, Samson, David, and Elijah. We will then read the Gospel of Luke. Our focus will not only be on language but also on modes of representation of Hebrew “heroes,” who are quite different from Greek heroes. The NT turns out to be a highly intertextual narrative, with many allusions and imitations of earlier OT stories and figures, much as one finds in Vergil’s Aeneid. Please note that this is not a course in Jewish or Christian religion. The focus will be on language, literature and the attempt to accommodate Hebrew constructs and language in Greek and Latin.


For such a mixed group, the best resource is The Polyglot Biblethat has the texts set side by side: Greek, Hebrew and Latin for the OT and Greek and Latin for the NT, with accompanying translations in English. This will be our text, so students will need to have access to the web. Should a student not have studied Latin or Greek yet, I am open to their participation if they are willing to work with one of the languages by gaining some basic vocabulary and grammar during the course.


Primary Resources




The Polyglot Bible:

Interlinear Bible: Greek and Hebrew:

Interlinear Vulgate Latin Bible:

Sacred Bible Interlinear:

English translation of the Septuagint:

Logeion (on-line Greek and Latin dictionary):

Prof. Scott Noegel’s amazing website:

Hard Copy:


F.C. Conybeare and St. George Stock, Grammar of Septuagint Greek, Hendrickson

Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft

Jay P. Green, The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English(English, Hebrew and Greek Edition), Hendrickson

J.D. Douglas (ed.), The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Tyndale

F.J. Long, T. M.W. Halcomb, A Parallel & Interlinear New Testament Polyglot: Luke-Acts in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, English, German, and French

Secondary Resources:


Michael Coogan and Cynthia Chapman, The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. Oxford 2018.


Martin, Dale B. New Testament History and Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.





Week 1                        Introduction                                        

Joseph Gen. 37.1-39.23 (skip chapter 38)


Week 2                        Joseph Gen.40.1-42.34

Joseph Gen. 42.35-45.28


Week 3                        Samson Judg.13.1-15.20

                                    Samson Judg.16.1-31; David 1. Kings(= 1 Sam.) 17.1-54


Week 4                        Elijah 3 Kings(= 1 Kings) 17.1-19.8

Elijah 3 Kings(= 1 Kings) 19.9-20.29 [Septuagint], 21.29 [Hebrew/Latin]

4 Kings(= 2 Kings) 1.1-2.18


Week 5                        Midterm exam

                                    Luke 1-3.20   


Week 6                        Luke 3.21-6

                                    Luke 7-9.36               


Week 7                        Luke 9.37-11.54

                                    Luke 12-15.10           



Week 8                        Luke 15.11-20.8

                                    Luke 20.9-23.12


Week 9                        Luke 23.13-end

                                    Final exam




Prepare passages for translation in class. Those students with only one year of Greek or Latin should try to complete as much of the assignment as possible and will not be penalized for not being ready to translate everything. My hope is to read as much as possible in the original languages. Students’ abilities differ and I will be aware of these differences.  Learning is our main goal.




20% Translating in class

40% Midterm

40% Final




Catalog Description: 
Seminar on a broadly defined topic in classics. Includes reading in Latin or Greek as appropriate for individual students. Additional readings of works in English translation and works of scholarship chosen to give undergraduate majors familiarity with research methods and perspective on the discipline.
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:12pm