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Ancient Greek and Koine vs. Modern Greek

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by JLanguage, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    What are the differences? Are native Grecians, able to understand the Language of Ancient Greece or is this an acquired ability? This would be the language used in the classics, such as the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, correct? Is the Koine Greek used in the Christian Bible the same type of Greek? I was wondering because although I am not Christian, I would like to read the New Testament and the Classics in their original language.

    Cheers and Shalom,
    -Jonathan
     
  2. yolanda_van huyck Senior Member

    CASTELLON, SPAIN
    SPAIN_SPANISH
    I think there are some big differences; i studied Ancient Greek and my teacher used to say that for exemple, Ancient had more declensions than Modern. Anyway, i think the Bible wasn't written in Greek, could someone help here?
    Anyway, good luck with the reading!
     
  3. yolanda_van huyck Senior Member

    CASTELLON, SPAIN
    SPAIN_SPANISH
    i just took a look to this; the Bible has two parts, Old Testament, written in Hebrew and "arameo" (i don't know the English word for this, i'll ask it in the forum), the New one is in Koinè. Hope this helps you a little bit.
     
  4. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), included in modified form in the Christian Bible as the Old Testament, was written mostly in Biblical Hebrew. Parts of Daniel and Ezra, a sentence in Jeremiah and a two-word toponym in Genesis were written in Aramaic, albeit still in Hebrew script.. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek according to most scholars, but some attest that it was originally written in Aramaic.
     
  5. yolanda_van huyck Senior Member

    CASTELLON, SPAIN
    SPAIN_SPANISH
    thanx! you made me learn something really interesting today!


    cheers
     
  6. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    [size=+1]You're right on almost all points, JLanguage. The original languages of the Tanakh were Hebrew and, in parts, Aramaic. You've done your homework. It is now commonly believed by Bible scholars that the New Testament was translated into Koine Greek from either Aramaic, Hebrew, or both.

    Koine Greek was used by the Jews at that time, and represents 'translation Greek'. The language of the Jews was either Aramaic or Hebrew (probably Aramaic). Greek was a Gentile language to the Jews, and they probably translated their Aramaic gospels into a literal, word-for-word Greek that no Greek person spoke.

    Anyone who has studied classical Greek will tell you that there's little syntactic or morphological resemblance between the two forms of Greek. The same applies to the Greek translation of the Tanakh, called the Septuagint. Picture of group of students who are learning French trying to translate the American Declaration of Independence into French. You know how that would come out.



    [/size]
     
  7. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    Were the writers of the New Testament Jewish? I know that Jesus only preached to Jews, and it was only posthumously that Christianity came to be comprised of Pagan converts. But my question is this: Time-wise when did this occur? At what date did Christianity cease to be a deviant sect of Judaism and become a separate religion? Aramaic was the common language of many Jews during the time of the Roman Empire. Greek was also a common language of the Mediterranean, a remnant of the dominance of the Hellenic Empire.

    I believe that most Hellenised Jews, would probably have been familiar with both Greek and Aramaic. Most pharisaic Jews, the only group to keep its identity after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE would probably have shunned Greek as a language of the Gentiles. Jesus was a pharisee from the Galilee; Most Jews in the Galilee were pharisees. If the gospels were originally written by Jews, then they probably written in Aramaic and translated to Greek. If not, then they probably were written originally in Greek.

    Most scholars believe that the linguistic quality of the New Testament suggests that it indeed not translated from Aramaic, but written in Greek originally. I may be wrong on a lot of points. I'm not a history buff and would like to have someone verify or refute my points. I will research this topic myself and see what I find.
     
  8. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    [size=+1]You've asked so many questions, I'll have to copy your post and then erase it in order to answer all of them.

    ALL of the writers of the New Testament were Jewish. They were to be the first evangelists. As to when Christianity became a separate religion, different scholars will give different answers.

    The Hellenized Jews were undoubtedly fluent in Greek, but it's anybody's guess as to how familiar they were with Aramaic. A similar situation exists today in Russia. Russian Jews, who speak Yiddish as well as Russian, are only familiar with the Hebrew they hear in the synagogue. When they migrate to Israel, they have to be taught modern Hebrew. If the followers of Jesus (who was not a Pharisee) were the ones who translated their gospels into a Gentile language, they did it on behalf of the Jews of the Diaspora (exiled Jews) who had little or no knowledge of Aramaic.

    With the discovery of new texts and the assistance of computers and sophisticated software, more and more scholars are of the opinion that the originals were written in a semitic tongue... and it's only logical.

    Do your research, JLanguage, and be thorough. When I finished my research, I had read both the pros and the cons; and I'm convinced the autographs (original manuscripts) were in Aramaic or Hebrew.
    [/size]
     
  9. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    I doubt your interpretation, Eddie, because the majority of the texts in the New Testament were letters written to Greek cities, and from Greek cities. Besides, the writers, whether the apostle Paul, who was born in Tarsus, a Greek city in Asia Minor, or the apostle John, who wrote his Gospel while ministering in a Greek region, or Luke, who was writing to a Greek person, all of them knew the Greek language fluently, so that it is unlikely that those were written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek. I think there are one or two books where that did happen, or maybe four or five, but not in the majority. The majority must have been written in Greek.

    Regarding the Koine Greek, I have always heard that it was the common, popular, colloquial Greek of the First Century, not the literary Greek.

    Going back to JLanguage, you can read them in the original language just for fun, but if you really want to understand the text, it is going to take more than just a couple of courses. With only a few college or seminary courses in Greek or Hebrew, you are not going to achieve the degree of understanding that a well known translation can give you. For example, if you think that with a Greek dictionary in one hand and a Greek Grammar in the other you can do a better job than the translators of the King James Version or the NASB, you are in for a great surprise.

    I am not telling you this in order to discourage you, but rather to encourage you to study more than a few courses.
     
  10. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    [size=+1]Hi, Sergio.

    It's a pleasure to meet such well-informed people on this forum. You'll notice that I pretty much limited my comments to the four gospels. Like you, I also believe that the apostolic letters were written in Greek.[/size]
     
  11. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)

    Well, Eddie, we agree there to a certain extent. Regarding the gospels of Matthew and Mark, there is a debate about their original languages, which may have been Aramaic, but I don't think there is the same controversy about the gospels of Luke and John. Luke himself being a Gentile, was writing a letter to Theophilus, another Gentile, the same to whom the Book of Acts was sent as a second letter, and the Gospel of John was written probably very late in the First Century, either from Ephesus or Patmos, after the Apostle John had lived and ministered for many years among Greek speaking people. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark are the ones that most probably were written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek.
     
  12. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    [size=+1]There is nothing more stimulating than a friendly discussion between people whose research has led them to differing points of view.

    Scofield Reference Notes
     
  13. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    Scofield, eh? Anyway, let's go to the textual evidences: The passage you quote, Colossians 4:14, reads "Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings."

    If you go up a few lines, you will notice that he talks about Aristarcus, Barnabas' cousin Mark, and Jesus called Justus (vv.10-11).

    Now the interesting part: Before he mentions Luke, he tells about the people named above, that they "are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision" (v.11); then, and only then, he names Luke as one from the other group. What are we to interpret from that?

    It seems logical to think that Luke was not one "from the circumcision."
     
  14. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    [size=+1]Sergio, you raise an interesting point that bears investigation, which I will have to put off for tomorrow. Here in New York City, the time is now a quarter after midnight (daylight savings time). It's time for my beauty sleep. I'm just going to respond to a private message, and then hit the sheets. Have a good night/day?[/size]
     
  15. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    Fine, we will continue some other time.

    Eddie, I enjoy having these talks with people like you in a civil manner, without offending each other.

    Here in California is still 8:30 pm, so I will probably have a cup of decaf tea or coffee while doing some crossword puzzles with my wife before going to bed. (I cannot drink regular coffee nowadays, although my mom used to drink regular coffee without any problems up until she died at the age of 90)

    In our state, we will lose an hour of sleep tonight when we advance the clocks for DST (Daylight Savings Time). I know some states don't do this.
     
  16. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    A very hearty good morning to you and your wife, Sergio! Well, I've done my research as I promised, and I am now inclined to believe that Luke was a Gentile convert.

    I was most impressed by your recourse to the textual authority of the Bible, which I feel is the final authority in all matters dealing with the interpretation of Scripture. With all due respect for Mr. Scofield and his monumental research, I find him in error on this point. I don't know where he got his information from.

    I thank you not only for adding to my knowledge of New Testament history, but also for giving me the opportunity to share my understanding of the Bible with someone else of obviously superior academic credentials.

    May your mother's longevity also be your genetic endowment, as well as that of your wife. Have a great day!

    בִּרְכַּת-יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם
     
  17. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    A very hearty good morning to you too, Eddie. I am glad to see you not slacking in your research. I appreciate your diligence in the matter. I was not expecting something so soon.

    Eddie, you are in good company there, apparently some very godly and learned people said it in 1646 (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter I, Paragraph IX):

    IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=westminster_conf_of_faith.html

    I think we don't share the same feelings about Mr. Scofield. I hope that will not be an obstacle to our continued friendship.

    Let me set the record straight: I don't have any "obviously superior academic credentials." The truth of the matter is, I just "happened" to bump into that information after reading your posting. I don't want to give the wrong impression that I am any sort of authority in the matter any more than you are or anyone else in this forum is.

    I have no idea of what that means, because I don't know Hebrew: There goes your theory about my having "obviously superior academic credentials." I am impressed that these computers can write from right to left on the same line with an English text (I know you didn't do that, by I tried and it works).

    And by the way, in case you are wondering, I don't know Greek, either.

    It has been a pleasure talking to you, Eddie.
     
  18. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    Hi, Sergio!


    I have no ill feelings towards people who have opinions or doctrines that are counter to mine. We all have feet of clay, and will not know if our concept of the truth is the correct one until we step into eternity.

    The Hebrew sentence I posted means, God bless you. You is in the plural form because I am including your wife.

    With this, I end my participation in this thread lest we abuse the graciousness of our moderators in allowing us to stray slightly off course. Until the next time.
     
  19. sergio11 Senior Member

    Los Angeles and Buenos Aires
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    Yes, I thought about it as well, but looking at it again, in hindsight, I consider all our discussion relevant to the original topic. That is why I don't think we needed to switch to private messages.

    Best wishes. God bless you too!
     
  20. caju90212

    caju90212 New Member

    Miami
    Israel-Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, English
    Blessing-Jahiva your God = בִּרְכַּת-יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם
     
  21. DPR New Member

    US (English)
    Seems Caju90212 is referring to the term YHWH/Yaweh/Jehova (a Biblical Hebrew name for God), for those not familiar...in a sense a literal translation of "God" in the original sentence.
     

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