Sources and links for those interesting in starting and especially improving their reading skills in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or Latin. This list also contains links to popular texts. Designed for those who self-study.
The main focus is on open access or free internet tools and resources. A little bit of attention is paid to third party apps and software. For those using third party apps or paid software, your feedback on their usefulness would greatly be appreciated.
This is not exhaustive but will help you get started.
Everybody should learn to read ancient Greek! The following links will help the beginner to start their journey and especially for those wanting to expand their knowledge of New Testament Greek. Tools and tips for upgrading your skills into classical and ecclesiastical works.
For the beginner
The B-Greek Forum
A very helpful website and active community that covers everything from beginner to advanced.
Bill Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek
It is very popular and highly recommended.
A website devoted to almost anything Greek, from beginner to advanced, modern Greek, current politics, New Testament and Septuagint texts and more.
Daily Dose of Greek
A website devoted to those who want to learn the Greek of the New Testament from scratch.
Greek numbers in English
Many Greek texts are structured with a Greek numbering system. This webpage helps you understand the Greek numbering system.
Tuft University’s Perseus Greek/Latin Dictionary
University of Chicago’s Logeion website.
Perseus’s online dictionary can break down a word from any form to its root. An alternative that often finds words that Perseus does not have in its database is Lexigram.org
Thesaurus Linguae Graecae
This excellent software produced by the University of California, Irvine, contains a large array of Greek texts. Better yet, its search engine creates a very powerful and quick user experience. It has an abridged version for free but it is very limited. The paid version is the one you want. Most people access it through a university portal.
Roger was one of the first persons to post a site on the internet about the Church Fathers. He started with Tertullian and his energy has never ceased. There is an abounding amount of source material with added explanations on his site. Plus, he is a nice person and thoughtful with his answers.
Affordable iOS options
Brian Davidson, a Greek enthusiast, language nerd, and teacher, posted helpful tips on using your iOS based phone or tablet for studying or resourcing Greek texts.
Attic Greek Verbs
Quickly and efficiently converts a Greek root word into all its possible conjugations.
Links and resources for studying the Septuagint.
The Unbound Bible
Hosted by Biola University, this is a Bible search site that not only does searches in Greek, but in many other languages as well. The interface allows four different languages to be retrieved on any given text. This is great for comparative studies. It also gives the option of searching different Greek manuscripts. The only drawback is that the Greek text does not have any diacritics.
This site is fast and has some quick definitions by pointing over the text. However, I am not sure which Greek edition it draws from. Great for quick reference, maybe not so good for critical studies.
Elpenor’s Greek-English New Testament and Septuagint
It is unclear which manuscripts the Septuagint are based on. The New Testament follows the the text prepared by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (1904/12). The interface is dated and needs some refinement. Regardless, this is a very helpful site.
Online Greek Bible
An excellent search engine with the ability to search different versions of the Greek text.
Migne Patrologia Graeca
This large 167 volume set spans a collection of almost 16 centuries of church writings. Not all of them are collected from the best manuscripts and the whole series is full of controversy surrounding its founder and editor, J.P. Migne. However, this collection is the best attempt to bring all of the writings together in one central place. It is a good place to start any critical historical studies. However, this massive volume is yet to be digitized. It is only available as pdf images. You have to leaf through page by page.
- Here is a list of where you can find various pdf versions throughout the internet: Patristica.net. An alternative is Roger Pearse’s website, Patrologia Graeca (PG) PDF’s.
- Wikipedia has a list of authors and the era for each volume of MPG. This is very helpful for finding a specific author like Cosmas Indicopleustes, Nicephorus Gregoras, or other names that are relatively unknown to the English speaking world
Helpful Greek articles
Translation Tips on the Greek Church Fathers
Information on where to start, resources and strategies.
A Sample Process of Translating Alexandrian Greek
An outline of how to approach and translate Alexandrian Greek.
Diacritics in Ancient Greek
How to recognize and respect the diacritic markings in Ancient Greek.
Ancient Digitized Greek Dictionaries for download
A special download site for those who want a quick and easy way to download important dictionaries. This is a very popular article that caused DropBox to temporarily suspend my account for the amount of megabytes being used for downloads.
Greek Lexicon Searches using Google Books
How to utilize Google Books to do ancient Greek word searches. Not always reliable, but when it does, it is a real time-saver.
The Various uses of the infinitive in ancient Greek
Examples and solutions to the wide range use of the infinitive in ancient Greek.
Patrology and Greek Philosophy
Why understanding classical Greek philosophy is a critical requirement in translating Greek Patristic writings.
How to Read a Greek Minuscule Text
If you come across a medieval Greek text that looks more like handwriting or chicken-scratch, you are likely seeing a Greek minuscule text. This is a primer for learning to read this cursory style of writing.
Re-conceiving the Middle Voice for Greek and Latin Students
A handy article by the Patrologist on the use and uniqueness of some Greek and Latin verbs using the middle voice.
Readers and Supplementary
1-3 John: A General Reader
Edited by J. Klay Harrison and Chad M. Foster, aims to target those finished with the basics of New Testament Greek and want to advance their skills — an area that is greatly lacking in resources and may be the source of why so many abandon Greek studies.
Articles and resources on Hebrew literature. These references assume at least an elementary understanding of Hebrew. The priority is given to those that are openly accessible and free resources available on the internet.
A Grammar for Gemara and Targum Onkelos
Attempts on Translating Rashi and Jewish Aramaic
Tools and Methods to translate Rashi.
Existing English Translations of Rashi
A brief survey of where to find comprehensive English translations of Rashi’s works.
Notes for Learning Ancient Hebrew
Why learning modern Hebrew is the best place for the beginner to enter into the world of ancient Jewish literature.
A History of Chapters and Verses in the Hebrew Bible
The complex story on the present chapter and numbering system of the Hebrew Bible.
The Influence of Aramaic on Hebrew
How Aramaic typography ruled the writing world of the ancient Hebrews from the first century onwards.
A review of this must-have book for anyone wishing to read or translate the Talmud.
Hebrew Dictionaries and Texts
A Hebrew – English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition
The Old Testament with the Hebrew text paralleled with the English one. Great for a quick reference. Not a source for any critical analysis of the Hebrew text.
A digitized version of the text found in the Westminster Leningrad Codex.
A modern Hebrew website that is both Hebrew and English sensitive. The dictionary can capture both ancient and modern nuances. Lots of irritating popup ads.
Sefaria.org – dictionaries
This site has Marcus Jastrow’s Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature along with Kleine’s Dictionary digitally captured and searchable. A must have tool.
Sefaria.org – texts
A great site with a vast library of Jewish writings including the Talmud in the original languages and often with English translations. The English is somewhat confusing and better versions do exist out there. All in all the best multi-lingual site of this nature.
The Hebrew Numbering System
Do you come across a Hebrew or Aramaic text and the numbering system is only in these languages? If you are like me, you sometimes forget. This handy chart helps you quickly identify them.
The Talmud and other related documents at a modern Hebrew Wiki site. Knowledge of Hebrew is required to use this site.
An odd looking interface for a website that assists in studying the Talmud both in the original and English. However, after getting over the initial hurdle, it is a very helpful resource for readers with English as a first language and know a little Aramaic.
A great resource for anything related to the Syriac New Testament. Designed for the new learner or the advanced Syriac reader. It connects with the common Syriac dictionaries too.
The Syriac Old Testament
Finding an online Syriac New Testament is rather easy. Finding the Old is a little more difficult. Here are two sites: Mandenka. This site is entirely in Syriac only. The CAL Lexicon by Hebrew Union College. The interface is not very intuitive. You need to go down the page to 62001 P Gn to begin reading or examining the OT texts.
BibleHub Syriac New Testament
If reading a Syriac New Testament including the page, title, and headers, with no English references at all is a little overwhelming, then this site will help you overcome this problem.
A list of hyperlinks to good Syriac resources.
Syriac Dictionary in Four Languages
A handy and easy to use Syriac dictionary.
Uhlemann’s Syriac Grammar
A clear, concise Syriac-English grammar. It is old, probably outdated, but it is free for download and easily available.
Latin is the major door to the realm of Christian literature from the most ancient times until almost now. This language has shaped the Western Christian mind and its impressions are clearly evident on the English Bible.
The following are helpful sites with an emphasis on free or open source. These sites have also existed for a long period of time. For whatever reason, many sites on the Latin language come and go.
William Whitaker’s Words
A quick, no nonsense, Latin-English word search tool. It contains 90% of the words you are looking for.
This site has many Latin dictionaries to choose from.
The search is quick but the results are limited. My preference is Whitaker’s Words but that may be a personal bias.
This used to be partially free and have open access. Today a subscription is required. Searches produced better than average results. The interface is really helpful and combines both lemma and meaning in its searches.
A handy dictionary for hard to find words.
Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar
A digitized version that can help you with Latin grammar.
New Latin Grammar
By Charles E. Bennett. My personal choice of grammars. This is the one I used for learning and consulting Latin early on.
If you want to learn Latin, this is a typical place to start. It is inexpensive relative to the typical costs of textbooks.
Patrologia Latina Database
This site is an entire digitized copy of Migne Patrologia Latina: a compendium of church writings from 200 to 1216 AD. A major timesaver. A subscription is required. Best to access through a university library portal.
Perseus Greek and Roman Materials
Perseus has a wide selection of Latin texts throughout the centuries to choose from.
The Latin Bible with a parallel English text. Fast, easy to use, but a good search function lacking.
It is an OK site but it is not designed for research or analytics.
The Clementine Vulgate
Great search engine. Latin only.
The Unbound Bible
You can compare two Latin versions against each other, plus almost any other language or text. Great for comparative analysis.
Tips on reading Latin:
Latin and the Subjunctive
The subjunctive is on of the most difficult aspects of the Latin language to learn. This post is a little guide on how to approach it.
The Mysterious Latin Gerundive
The gerundive is a Latin form that is not always understood or consistently translated into English. This post goes over the various options the English translator has when encountering this.
3 thoughts on “Translation Aids”
Dear Mr. Sullivan:
I recently came across to your wonderful website and, well, I would like to thank you for such a display of useful resources regarding our shared academic interests. Currently I am devouring both sections and posts, since I have found in your work a great asset in my approaching to the texts.
I encourage you to go through with it and, needless to say, if anytime you want me to include some of your thoughts, essays or papers in Studia Hermetica Journal, you will be very welcome.
Warm regards from Spain,
What a great resource! Have you ever considered a “Wine in the Bible Project” that would pattern itself after the Gift of Tongues Project?
Thank you very much for your compliment. I have never heard of a “Wine in the Bible Project” before. What is it?