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Posts 10
Vince Romao | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jul 5 2010 6:37 PM

Hello Johnny,
 
I am starting to use the "Learn Greek & Hebrew videos", working on the Greek currently. I have no previous Koine Greek language background or training. As I have listened to some of your teaching, and as you have begun to explain some of the rules of Koine Greek that differ from English, I began to wonder:
 
1. Is Koine Greek a  "live" language that is still being spoken today? My assumption is no.
 
2. Therefore, if my assumption is correct, how do we know what the rules of grammer are for this language? How do we know them to be true and accurate if the language is not used and spoken?
 
I am sure there are books written surrounding these two questions, but I was hoping for a very simple basic answer to my questions and if you want please suggest references for further education and understanding.
 
Thank you for your efforts to put these video's together!

Vince

Posts 5571
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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 5 2010 7:02 PM

VinceRomao:
I am starting to use the "Learn Greek & Hebrew videos", working on the Greek currently. I have no previous Koine Greek language background or training. As I have listened to some of your teaching, and as you have begun to explain some of the rules of Koine Greek that differ from English, I began to wonder:
 
1. Is Koine Greek a  "live" language that is still being spoken today? My assumption is no.
 

I'm not Johnny, but I think I can respond to these two questions.

Your assumption is correct.

VinceRomao:
2. Therefore, if my assumption is correct, how do we know what the rules of grammer are for this language? How do we know them to be true and accurate if the language is not used and spoken?

Grammatical rules are deduced from usage. That is, they are descriptive, rather than prescriptive. By comparing usage, we can then predict how the grammatical syntax should function is specific situations.

You should understand that Koine Greek, is "common" or "every day" Greek, as opposed to "formal" Greek. In many ways it is a simplification of classical Greek, which has been widely studied as well. Koine is a way of speaking the Greek of the New Testament period. It is not a distinct language, any more than "Texas Friendly" is a distinct language (it is a way of speaking southern American English with Texas twist). In other words Koine Greek shares all the basic grammatical characteristics of formal Greek, and most of those of classical (the optative having nearly fallen out of  use, by NT times, e.g.).

There are also ancient grammatical and syntactical comments made by ancient writers that give insights in to the subtleties of language, and centuries of grammatical study from which modern scholars can draw. So, while the language is not spoken now by any people group, it has been widely studied since ancient times, including the times of Koine Greek. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons the early Church fathers are so important, as are other non-Biblical contemporaries and near contemporaries of NT writings such as Josephus and Philo.

In other words, you can have a great deal of confidence about the grammatical structure of Koine Greek, even though there are sometimes debates as to how to precisely apply the grammatical rules to particular situations.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 10
Vince Romao | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 5 2010 7:31 PM

Richard, thanks very much for the reply, it was very helpful. I had wondered, but didn't state it in my original post, to what degree classical Greek grammatical structure influenced Koine Greek. Though I am not from Texas, I recently moved to Atlanta so your "southern american english" analogy brought home the point (and I am not intending to be critical of how anyone speaks in the south!!!).

Thanks again Richard!

Vince

 

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 5 2010 8:07 PM

VinceRomao:
1. Is Koine Greek a  "live" language that is still being spoken today? My assumption is no.

While modern Greek is different from koine, it is clearly in the same tradition.  It is somewhat similar to the relationship between modern English and Shakespearean English (or perhaps Chaucer).  It is still comprehensible, but it does cause some difficulties.  Have you noticed that even those who favor using the AV [aka: KJV] still have difficulty when they attempt to compose a simple sentence in Shakespearan English?  In one sense therefore I would say that koine is still alive just as modern English is still a recognizable development of koine.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 6 2010 12:55 PM

George Somsel:
In one sense therefore I would say that koine is still alive just as modern English is still a recognizable development of koine.

Oops !  That should have been "earlier forms of English."  Too late to edit the postl.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 762
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 7 2010 3:34 PM

The late Dr. Spiro Zodhiates used to advise Biblical scholars to use modern Greek pronunciation while learning their Biblical Greek.  Modern Greek is less phonetic in that there are more homonyms; i.e., characters with the same sound.   This makes it more difficult for the ear to distinguish.  His advice suggests that there is enough similarity between Koine and modern Greek to be useful.

BTW: The story I read was that Biblical scholars during the 1800's had isolated some dozens of Greek words from the Bible which did not appear in classical Greek.  They had taken the position that the Bible was written in a special Holy Spirit inspired Greek dialect.  Then the archaeologists slowly began filling in the gaps by locating many of these words in common graffiti and street signs from the same era.  The final conclusion was that Koine Greek should be characterized as  "street" Greek of the time. 

Hearing this has softened my personal position on modern Biblical translations.  Clearly God chose to publish His word in the language of the common man.  Who are we to force His word to be conveyed in King George English?  :)

Posts 4508
Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 7 2010 4:27 PM

Richard...George, David...

We are blessed to have such helpful knowledgeable people here on the Logos forums...

I really appreciate the time it takes to answer what must seem elementary questions from us newbies....

God bless,

bob

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 71
Aeolus Jacobus | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 20 2010 12:39 PM

George Somsel:

VinceRomao:
1. Is Koine Greek a  "live" language that is still being spoken today? My assumption is no.

While modern Greek is different from koine, it is clearly in the same tradition.  It is somewhat similar to the relationship between modern English and Shakespearean English (or perhaps Chaucer).  It is still comprehensible, but it does cause some difficulties.  Have you noticed that even those who favor using the AV [aka: KJV] still have difficulty when they attempt to compose a simple sentence in Shakespearan English?  In one sense therefore I would say that koine is still alive just as modern English is still a recognizable development of koine.

Though I cannot speak to how different Koine Greek is from Modern Greek I do know my old Greek teacher traveled to Greece to take modern Greek classes for a few weeks to get ideas as to how to teach Attic Greek (I say Attic because she works at a secular university though I feel most people who learn Koine may overstep the differences as no one has been able to tell me what they are practically). So take that for whatever it is worth. 

I'd also like to note that not only is Shakespearean English is radically different than modern English, bur Chaucerian English (Middle English) is different to an even greater degree. To a point where some characters used in Chaucerian English would not be recognizable to the modern English speaker as they are characters carried over from Old English.

Posts 654
David Bailey | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 20 2010 12:58 PM

DavidEgolf:
Clearly God chose to publish His word in the language of the common man.  Who are we to force His word to be conveyed in King George English?  :)

Yes, I am glad God wants to communicate to us using common vernacular. Certainly it is a blessing to have copies of God's Word in English (or whatever language you use everyday).  Even today, I'm sure there are many people in the world who have no Bibles in their own languages.

David

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 20 2010 1:33 PM

Aeolus Jacobus:
as no one has been able to tell me what they are practically

For a detailed look, the section 'The Characteristics of the Vernacular Κοινή.' starting on page 60 of A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research is a good place to start.

The JACT Reader for NT Greek lists the following differences:

1. Accidence and Syntax were simplified.

2. In accidence, irregularities are frequently ironed out: unusual forms of the comparative adjectives are made regular, third declension adjectives are rare; monosyllabic (irregular) nouns are replaced; -mi verbs are given the endings of -o verbs; first aorists are often replaced by second aorists; middle verbs are often replaced by actives with reflexive pronouns; the dual number has disappeared.

3. Narrative is simplified. Elaborate subordination and parenthesis are avoided. Use of participles is restricted and the genitive absolute is uncommon. Accusative and infinitive constructions have become less frequent. Likewise connecting particles. The optative is mostly replaced by the subjunctive.

4. hina has acquired new jobs: introducing result clauses, indirect statements and indirect commands.

5. Purpose is often expressed by the infinitive alone or with a neuter genitive singular of the definite article.

6. Prepositions are used where case alone would have sufficed, and there are changes to the cases that prepositions take. Pronouns are used where the sense would have been clear without them. Diminutive forms of nouns are used where the regular form would have sufficed.

7. There are 900 words in the NT not found in Classical authors.

8. There are numerous Semitic idioms.

This is just a big picture view - there are other changes to the way some verb paradigms are forms, other spelling changes, etc.

Posts 1
Father William Burton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 26 2012 8:09 AM

Dear All, I've been considering the purchase of Rosetta Stone to learn Modern Greek as a help for improving my facility with Koine.  I've been studying and teaching Koine for many years.  While I understand the profound differences/developments from Koine to modern Greek, I've had an experience that suggests facility with modern Greek would be a great help with Koine. 

The experience was many years ago when I was teaching New Testament at DePaul University in Chicago.  For some reason, one section of the class was filled with undergrads of ethnic Greek background.  Almost all of these students had been "forced", as kids, to attend Saturday Greek school to learn modern Greek.  And while they all moaned as they recalled the experience, to a person, these students could pick up NA 27 and with only a few glitches, reading and understand it with a very high level of comprehension.

This tells me that there must be some significant advantages to knowing modern Greek for studying Koine.

Has anyone else had this or similar experience?

 

Thanks,

Bill B.

Posts 7
donald j perry | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 20 2012 4:13 PM

"Hearing this has softened my personal position on modern Biblical translations. Clearly God chose to publish His word in the language of the common man. Who are we to force His word to be conveyed in King George English? :)"

The modern versions use old texts found,  which may not be the real texts at all and have the greatest differences and seem to have carried heretical ideas rejecting various qualities of the Godhead etc for what appears to be cultic purposes. The KJV used the texts currently in use and readily copied with vast similarities.  The crux of the argument  really has nothing to do with what you said.

However, after learning how the KJV translated Matthew 5:32 [But I say unto you, That whosoever shall aput away his bwife, saving for the cause of cfornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.] where divorced should be put away, completely changing the meaning of Christ and divorce on a number of different levels I now see the need to know Greek.

Jesus was not changing the law, nor insinuating that Moses was causing the people to go into adultery by keeping his laws on divorce as being ok in different circumstances. He was addressing put away without divorce at this point, an even common problem as it is today among the Jews.

 

Posts 7
donald j perry | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 20 2012 4:14 PM

"Hearing this has softened my personal position on modern Biblical translations. Clearly God chose to publish His word in the language of the common man. Who are we to force His word to be conveyed in King George English? :)"

The modern versions use old texts found,  which may not be the real texts at all and have the greatest differences and seem to have carried heretical ideas rejecting various qualities of the Godhead etc for what appears to be cultic purposes. The KJV used the texts currently in use and readily copied with vast similarities.  The crux of the argument  really has nothing to do with what you said.

However, after learning how the KJV translated Matthew 5:32 [But I say unto you, That whosoever shall aput away his bwife, saving for the cause of cfornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.] where divorced should be put away, completely changing the meaning of Christ and divorce on a number of different levels I now see the need to know Greek.

Jesus was not changing the law, nor insinuating that Moses was causing the people to go into adultery by keeping his laws on divorce as being ok in different circumstances. He was addressing put away without divorce at this point, an even common problem as it is today among the Jews.

 

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 20 2012 4:47 PM

donald j perry:
Jesus was not changing the law, nor insinuating that Moses was causing the people to go into adultery by keeping his laws on divorce as being ok in different circumstances. He was addressing put away without divorce at this point, an even common problem as it is today among the Jews.

Sorry to have to disillusion you, but he was speaking of divorce.

ἀπολύω

to dissolve a marriage relationship, to divorce

τὴν γυναῖκα one’s wife, or betrothed (1 Esdr 9:36; cp. Dt 24:1ff; the expr. ἀ. τ. γυν. Dionys. Hal. 2, 25, 7) Mt 1:19; 5:31f (Just., A I, 15, 3); 19:3, 7–9 (BWitherington, Matthew 5:32 and 19:9—Exception or Exceptional Situation?: NTS 31, ’85, 571–76); Mk 10:2, 4, 11 (GDelling, NovT 1, ’56, 263–74); Lk 16:18; Hm 4, 1, 6; ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ GJs 14:1. Of the woman ἀ. τὸν ἄνδρα divorce her husband (Diod S 12, 18, 1) Mk 10:12. This is in accord not w. Jewish (Jos., Ant. 15, 259), but w. Gr-Rom. custom (D has simply ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνδρός; on Roman custom relating to women s. MMcDonnell, American Journal of Ancient History 8, ’83, 54–80). See on divorce TEngert, Ehe-u. Familienrecht d. Hebräer 1905; AOtt, D. Auslegung d. ntl. Texte über d. Ehescheidung 1910; HNordin, D. ehel. Ethik d. Juden z. Zt. Jesu 1911; AEberharter, D. Ehe-u. Familienrecht d. Hebräer 1914; LBlau, D. jüd. Ehescheidung u. d. jüd. Scheidebrief 1911/12; RCharles, The Teaching of the NT on Divorce 1921; Billerb. I 303–21 al.; SJohnson, Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce ’45; FCirlot, Christ and Divorce ’45; JDerrett, Law in the NT, ’70; HCronzel, 363–88, L’Église primitive face au divorce, ’71; JFitzmyer, The Matthean Divorce Texts and Some New Palestinian Evidence: TS 37, ’76, 197–226; BVawter, CBQ 39, ’77, 528–42.

Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, s.v. ἀπολύω. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 20 2012 6:01 PM

donald j perry:
However, after learning how the KJV translated Matthew 5:32

Welcome Big Smile

My favorite Logos 4 feature is visual filter highlighting, which can highlight Greek morphological usage in English and Greek:

Also can display Louw-Nida #'s in interlinear resources for pop-up with contextual range of meaning.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 809
Josh Hunt | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 20 2012 8:01 PM

Vince Romao:
I have no previous Koine Greek language

 

For what it is worth, I think the key to learning any language is to learn what the words mean. there are greek vocab apps that have been a big help to. me. 

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