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GREEK 405 A: Undergraduate Seminar in Classics

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:20pm - 4:50pm
* *
Joint Sections: 
CLAS 405 A, LATIN 405 A
James J. Clauss

Syllabus Description:

Classics/Greek/Latin 405

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


Summer 2021

TTh 2:20-4:50

Remote learning via Canvas

Instructor: James J. Clauss


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

Office Hours: by appointment via Zoom


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 and world religion but for 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; students signed up for Classics should be able to read both languages. 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 begin at the beginning of the OT and read the opening 24 chapters of Genesis. We will then read the Gospel of Matthew. Our focus will not only be on enhancing reading skills but also on modes of representation of God and the ancient Hebrew patriarchs, who are quite different from their Greco-Roman heroic equivalents. The Gospel of Matthew was such a favorite among ancient readers that it was placed first in the canon; most scholars agree that Mark was earlier. 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 Bible that 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 for both the class and the textbook.


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:


Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan (edd). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford 1993.

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

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

Bruce Louden, Greek Myth and the Bible. London/New York 2019.




Week 1                        Introduction                                       

Gen. 1-3


Week 2                       

Gen. 4-7

Gen. 8-11


Week 3                        Gen. 12-15

                                    Gen. 16-18


Week 4                        Gen. 19-21

Gen. 22-24


Week 5                        Midterm exam

                                    Matthew 1-4.11         


Week 6                        Matthew 4.12-7.29

                                    Matthew 8.1-12.21                


Week 7                        Matthew 12.22-15.39

                                    Matthew 16.1-19.15              



Week 8                        Matthew 19.16-22.46

                                    Matthew 23.1-25.46


Week 9                        Matthew 26.1-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 read the rest in English.  My hope is to read as much as possible in the original languages. It should get easier as we get further into the readings.  Learning is our main goal.




There will be two take-home essay exams based on our reading and class discussions. The time set aside in class for the exams will involve a discussion in light of the essays. My hope is that your ideas and reactions will create an opportunity to further assimilate what we are reading. Everyone will be expected to contribute to the discussion. Question that will come up in both exams will include: What surprised you about our readings? What did you learn that you did not already know?




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: 
February 26, 2021 - 9:54pm