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Euphony in Romans

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Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:48 pm

For a long time I have noticed that the introduction to Paul's letter to the Romans does not hit my ear like normal prose. Instead it is very sonorous. Now looking at it carefully, I notice the stretch of long syllables at the beginning, and throughout many dactyls and spondee.

Two conclusions from this: 1) Paul is sensitive to vowel length in the first century AD. This may put some geographical limitations on his Greek dialect. 2) Paul probably has a number of pet phrases -- listen to good American Black preachers in the South to hear this sort of thing -- that sound especially sonorous, and that he likes to sprinkle through his letters. The result isn't as lyrical as poetry, but isn't prose either.

It may even be possible that some lyrical sensitivity would help resolve a few minor textual questions.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:47 pm

I'm not sure I buy that Paul's spoken Greek made vowel-length distinctions. The view now is that vowel length was already disappearing in the 4th century BC in Athens among the common people. By the time of the 1st century the Koine had completely lost vowel length except among the very educated. Paul was well educated, and it's clear that he was familiar with Greek literature, so I would not be surprised if he had learned to read poetry in meter with vowel lengths, but that doesn't imply that his spoken Greek distinguished between ο and ω. Similar to how one can learn to read KJV English very well and even be able to imitate it and yet their everyday language is contemporary. Even if he were writing with an ear to the vowel lengths, the effect would be completely lost when the letters were read out loud in the congregations.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:55 pm

Joel -
1. Are you talking of syllables or vowels? It makes a difference.

2. I’m sceptical. I don’t see/hear anything really remarkable about it. Does Paul’s writing show sensitivity either to vowel length or to rhythm (which is a matter of syllabic sequence)? I’ve never investigated (though I’m sure others have), but reading it hasn’t left me with the impression that it does. Rather he wrote as he spoke—vigorous rhetoric, strong imagery. His training will have ingrained in him a feel for striking thought and correspondingly striking expression. I wouldn’t be too surprised if there are rhythmical elements in some of his clausulae, but if there are they’re neither prominent nor consistent (nor calculated?). I’d be extremely surprised if any geographical or textual conclusions can be drawn (unlike in Longus, say, where textual choices quite often depend on rhythmical considerations). What does Norden say in Die Antike Kunstprosa?
Last edited by mwh on Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:59 pm

Yes. I think that Horrocks, et al are clearly wrong about when vowel length distinctions began to disappear.

The Seiklos epitaph shows that pitch accent still had an effect on music as late as 1st or 2nd century AD (and Horrocks claims that pitch and length distinctions disappeared at nearly the same time as vowel length distinctions).

According to the Horrocks theory, Greek poetry continued to observe vowel length distinction for hundreds of years after no one cared about it anymore. Not impossible, I guess, even if it strains credulity. I certainly don't know the inscriptional and papyrological evidence well at all.

Yet here is a street preacher absolutely hammering the long vowels. Almost like he spoke to audiences that cared about them.

EDIT: Just saw Michael's comment, will reply shortly.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:20 pm

Control texts please. And how else would you say “Paul slave of Christ Jesus”? And the rest of the sentence has only one accented (i.e. potentially “hammered”) long vowel out of 19 syllables. …

I’m assuming you posted before seeing my post.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:04 am

I meant long syllables, either by nature (containing a long vowel), or by position (when a vowel is followed by a sequence of two consonants).

I didn't mean that he stressed these syllables as he spoke (which would not imply any relation to word accent), I just meant that he used lots of them in the introduction compared to the rest of the letter. A more precise way to state this would be:

Paul uses five or more long syllables in sequence several times in the opening of his letter to the Romans. In the argumentative parts of his letter, and in other parts of the NT, sequences of this length are comparatively rate.

Thank you for the recommendation of Die antike Kunstprosa. I skimmed through the Paul chapter just now, but my German isn't good enough to comprehend it in detail, although the book looks like a wonderful read. Much of the discussion in that chapter, so far as I could make out, had to do with characterization of Paul's rhetoric in comparison to Greeks (and others) of different times. But I didn't see anything about his speech rhythms (it could be there, my German is pretty bad still). There is an earlier chapter on Die rhythmische Prosa, but it seems to only cover to the ancients.

My statement about geography should probably have been left out of the post. My impression is that Eastern Greek, especially where it had much contact with Coptic, lost vowel distinction early.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:31 am

Sorry Joel it just won’t wash. There’s the opening Παῦλος δοῦλος χριστοῦ (which could sound impressive, but depends more on the “slave” idea for its effect), there’s a (Ι)ησου χριστου του κυρ(ιου), there’s another (Ι)ησου χριστου followed by a long after a comma, and there’s a quite unremarkable residue such as (δια των προ)φητων αυτου εν (γραφαις αυτου) and (χαρις) υμιν και ειρηνη (κεἰρηνη?)—nothing of significance. I see little sign here of him “absolutely hammering the long vowels” (still less the long syllables), regardless of what you mean by hammering. Only accented syllables would receive stress. I fear you’re fantasizing.

Looking at the previous page (Acts 28.17ff.) we have in the same length of text (chosen at random but I suspect not typical):
(συνκαλε)σασθαι αυτον τους οντας των (ι)ουδαιων πρωτοις (8 long sylls + 5)
(συν)ελθοντων δ’ αυτων (5)
ποιησας τω λαω η τοις (εθεσι) τοις πατρωοις δεσ(μιος) (6 or 8 + ?5)
(παρεδο)θην εις τας χειρας των Ρωμαιων, οι(τινες) (10)
(των Ι)ουδαιων ηναγκασθην (7)
ουχ ως του εθνους μου (5 or 6)
(δια) ταυτην ουν την αι(τιαν) (5)
For density of successive long syllables that more than matches what we have in the Romans greeting.

Of course there’s much more to euphony than syllable and vowel length, but my impression of Paul is that he’s very little concerned with euphony. The less the better, perhaps; I don’t think he’d want to sound smooth.

Just when and how various vowel lengths were levelled is a separate question, for which Pauline evidence is negligible, I’d say.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:49 am

jeidsath wrote:According to the Horrocks theory, Greek poetry continued to observe vowel length distinction for hundreds of years after no one cared about it anymore. Not impossible, I guess, even if it strains credulity. I certainly don't know the inscriptional and papyrological evidence well at all.

I don't find that it strains credulity to suggest that poetry continued to observe vowel length for centuries after it dropped out of the common speech. The poetry was produced by a highly educated upper class. It's indisputable that writers during the "Second Sophistic" intentionally wrote in an archaic ''Atticizing" style that is quite different from the Koine we find in the NT. Grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and even phonology can all be targets of a conservative style. Written Latin remained very conservative even as the early Romance languages were forming. In fact, it's hard for linguists to work out the exact details of how Latin broke up into the Romance languages because the educated people were not writing the way the language was spoken. Elements of the spoken language pop up here and there, but for centuries Late Latin pretty much ignored the spoken language and stubbornly adhered to an older form of the language.

As far as the evidence is concerned, Randall Buth gives an overview of some of the evidence here: http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/k ... unciation/ The inscriptional and papyrological evidence is one of the reasons the 'Greek-pronunciation-has-never-changed' fanatics have a leg to stand on. The evidence suggests that during the latter part of the Koine period the language was approaching the modern pronunciation, but they try to make it say much more, i.e. that Plato sounded just like a modern speaker in Athens.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:41 pm

@calvinist

I'm aware of the theory, I'm just not necessarily convinced by the evidence presented for it. The material in Bluth's pdf is mostly taken from Horrocks.

@mwh

You've convinced me that it's not sequences of long vowels, But all that I can say is that the opening of Romans hits my ear entirely differently from that section of Acts, which feels like normal prose. I'll see if I can find out why (or whether it's all in my head).
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:27 pm

Joel, I'm curious what kind of evidence you would expect to find. From what I understand the papyri show widespread confusion between ο/ω ε/αι υ/οι and ι/ει, but otherwise the spellings are pretty stable, i.e. η isn't confused with ι or ει, etc. I don't know how else to explain that except that the sounds were not distinguishable to the writers. Compare modern Spanish, which has a very phonetic orthography, but a common misspelling among uneducated writers is confusing b/v, precisely because those two letters represent only one phoneme in modern Spanish.

I know that in Latin quantitative meters were being used long after the vowel lengths dropped out of speech. For instance, from the appendix of A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin there are examples of both accentual (stress-based) and quantitative hymns. Veni Creator Spiritus and Gloria Laus are both hymns written in the 9th century and they are based on a quantitative meter, even though they were written at the same time as the Oaths of Strasbourg which are considered the first written example of Old French. The fact that Latin hymns were written in quantitative meter long after vowel length dropped out of Latin and even after the language morphed into the early Romance languages shows us the power that a prestigious form of a language can have such as Classical Latin or Classical Greek.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:40 pm

jeidsath wrote:But all that I can say is that the opening of Romans hits my ear entirely differently from that section of Acts, which feels like normal prose. I'll see if I can find out why (or whether it's all in my head).


You know, I wonder if what you are hearing is simply construct chains (strings of genitives) which can create a sort of harmony. I dusted off an unread monograph from the long past days when I was purcasing them at $5 a copy from a local book store. Listening to the Text: Oral Patterning in Paul's Letters, John D Harvey, Baker 1999. No discussion of vowl length that I could locate.

EDIT:

"oral style is not characterized by mechanical meter, but by
a rhythm that has ease of memorization as its aim” (Harvey 1998:4)


Harvey 1998:3 cites this example:

1John 1:1
Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς,
ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν,
ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν,
ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα
καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν
περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς



further reading on ORAL patterning:

Are We “Misreading” Paul?: Oral Phenomena and Their
Implication for the Exegesis of Paul’s Letters Sam Tsang Oral Tradition, 24/1 (2009): 205-225
http://journal.oraltradition.org/files/ ... 9_24.1.pdf


Finding and Translating the Oral-Aural Elements in Written Language: The Case of the New Testament Epistles Ernst R. Wendland 2008
https://www.academia.edu/2393184/Findin ... t_Epistles
Last edited by C. S. Bartholomew on Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:31 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:24 pm

Meter isn't discussed in most books on NT Greek. N. Turner in vol. 4, Style of Moulton_Howard_Turner pp. 106, 140 mentions meter in reference to Hebrews and 2nd Peter. Re: Hebrews " … skilled oratory, sense of rhythm, avoiding monotony by mingling meters of various kinds" cites Hebrews ICC J. Moffet, 1924, lvi-lxiv. According to Turner 2nd Peter appears to dabble in iambic meter, 2pet 2:1,3,4 ICC Bigg p227 and 2pet 1:19, 2:4,8,32 J. B. Mayor 2nd Peter & Jude, p lix.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:42 am

None of you know how to read Greek though..
.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSluzkp ... XClL3uuujV

I don't think Erasmian readers can honestly tell what hits their ears like "normal" prose as far as the Greek of Romans is concerned , IMHO.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:20 am

Joel, Could your impression by conditioned by what you hear as the sonorousness of the opening three or four words, enhanced by all the portentous phrasing that follows—that huge creed-like description of “his son,” the relentess piling up of phrases and clauses, the recurrence (hammering?) of “called” and “holy” and “Jesus Christ,” and so forth? It's intense. And all in a single monster sentence that just goes on unrolling. (It’s an OTT variant of the epistolary opening formula “X to Y χαίρειν.”) I’d look more to verbal and syntactical features (something like Stirling’s “construct chains” but more broadly conceived) than to purely phonetic ones.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:08 am

@mwh That's certainly possible, but whatever it is, I don't hear it so much in the modern Greek version (I listen to a fair amount of audio with a modern Greek pronunciation, and often enjoy it).

Here is my reading:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P8dpitDa4k

Here is someone reading Romans 1 in a modern pronunciation (I'm sorry that there's not much expression here. I also have a modern Greek pronunciation recording by Spiros Zodhiates which is far better):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYYZfQA ... F&index=15

And here I am again reading Acts 27, which we were comparing it to as normal prose. It certainly does not have (to my ear) whatever it is that makes Romans 1 interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiyXOp--QGQ
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:51 am

jeidsath wrote:@mwh That's certainly possible, but whatever it is, I don't hear it so much in the modern Greek version (I listen to a fair amount of audio with a modern Greek pronunciation, and often enjoy it).

Here is my reading:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P8dpitDa4k



This is not Greek reading. It is virtually impossible that Paul's contemporaries who spoke Koine sounded anything like this. But I must say that it's highly entertaining in a flamboyant sort of way - - to, to, ku ku, ka, ka ,toe toe, ouuu, kaie, oi (as in oil) etc. :D

Here is someone reading Romans 1 in a modern pronunciation (I'm sorry that there's not much expression here.):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYYZfQA ... F&index=15


This is great, and much more representative of how first century Greeks probably sounded. My own Koine is modelled after this.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:58 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
jeidsath wrote:But all that I can say is that the opening of Romans hits my ear entirely differently from that section of Acts, which feels like normal prose. I'll see if I can find out why (or whether it's all in my head).


You know, I wonder if what you are hearing is simply construct chains (strings of genitives) which can create a sort of harmony. I dusted off an unread monograph from the long past days when I was purcasing them at $5 a copy from a local book store. Listening to the Text: Oral Patterning in Paul's Letters, John D Harvey, Baker 1999. No discussion of vowl length that I could locate.

EDIT:

"oral style is not characterized by mechanical meter, but by
a rhythm that has ease of memorization as its aim” (Harvey 1998:4)


Harvey 1998:3 cites this example:

1John 1:1
Ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς,
ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν,
ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν,
ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα
καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν
περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς



further reading on ORAL patterning:

Are We “Misreading” Paul?: Oral Phenomena and Their
Implication for the Exegesis of Paul’s Letters Sam Tsang Oral Tradition, 24/1 (2009): 205-225
http://journal.oraltradition.org/files/ ... 9_24.1.pdf


Finding and Translating the Oral-Aural Elements in Written Language: The Case of the New Testament Epistles Ernst R. Wendland 2008
https://www.academia.edu/2393184/Findin ... t_Epistles


Obviously "Harvey" considered (bold above of 1 John 1:1) to be a complete sentence.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:18 am

Hitler Freaks Out About the Demise of the Erasmian Pronunciation...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAgVeda9-kg


Hitler: How can this be ? What is a seminary if not resistant to change and 20 or 30 years behind in all it does ? We have kept this all a secret for so long. We have produced generations of odd sounding biblical illiterates. They will truly get Greek now ? A new pronunciation , a new teaching and learning style,.. immersion and conversion. Students are supposed to fear and hate Greek. And most important of all, forget Greek immediately after they have taken it !

Henchman : This is how we advance our agenda of biblical illiteracy!

Hitler: Get the top scholars speak to publish and teach with Erasmian and with dry, boring grammars and we will remain victorious .If students learn to speak Greek which leads to thinking in Greek .. they will become better interpreters of the bible! This is dangerous.... And yes it has been working. But CKI is on the verge of something big!...Are you a turncoat, have you stopped using Erasmian? "WWWconversationalkoine.com" the conversational koine institute, ..."Get Greek." I guess it's true. ...
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:41 pm

Image

I wonder if he's trying to communicate to me in code? 13 hidden messages for the letter M, 14 for the letter N, etc.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:24 pm

Isaac, instead of mocking others' pronunciation like an immature child, why not be useful and make some recordings yourself? I use the reconstructed Koine pronunciation which seems to be the one that you are advocating. Make a separate recording for each chapter starting with Matthew and going all the way through Revelation. When you're done with that it would be great if you recorded the entire Septuagint as well. When all of that is done, since you are the only one around here who really understands Ancient Greek and has fluency in it, it would be a great service to us all if you wrote a number of short stories in idiomatic Greek.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:10 pm

calvinist wrote:Isaac, instead of mocking others' pronunciation like an immature child, why not be useful and make some recordings yourself? I use the reconstructed Koine pronunciation which seems to be the one that you are advocating. Make a separate recording for each chapter starting with Matthew and going all the way through Revelation. When you're done with that it would be great if you recorded the entire Septuagint as well. When all of that is done, since you are the only one around here who really understands Ancient Greek and has fluency in it, it would be a great service to us all if you wrote a number of short stories in idiomatic Greek.


I think the "reconstructed Koine" is Randal Buth's brainchild, I'm not advocating that, rather the Modern Greek pronunciation.

By the way, I wasn't "mocking" anyone, just being brutally honest.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:27 pm

Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods, but use whatever pronunciation you like. If you want to help others learn and internalize Greek, then you should use your abilities and compose some simple short stories in idiomatic Greek using a limited vocabulary. There is a great lack of simple Greek material for intermediate learners, so instead of complaining that no one understands Greek like you do, why not help produce the materials? If your fluency in Greek is as great as you claim it is, then maybe that is your calling.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:49 am

calvinist wrote:Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods, but use whatever pronunciation you like. If you want to help others learn and internalize Greek, then you should use your abilities and compose some simple short stories in idiomatic Greek using a limited vocabulary. There is a great lack of simple Greek material for intermediate learners, so instead of complaining that no one understands Greek like you do, why not help produce the materials? If your fluency in Greek is as great as you claim it is, then maybe that is your calling.


Calvinist, has it occurred to you that there was nothing to "destroy" here to begin with ? That by the time of Christ, [many of the] Koine verbs in the indicative and subjunctive moods were already being pronounced identically ? As for your comment concerning optatives in the NT, I think you're just wrong . . I did a statistical analysis and got the following results (there are only about 60 optatives in the NT, they were already virtually obsolete even as the NT was being penned ) :

(A) The following do not "destroy the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods" with modern pronunciation in the NT:

γένοιτο (17)
εἴη (12)
ποιήσαιεν (1)
δυναίμην (1)
εὕροιεν(1)
ἔχοιεν(1)
Εὐξαίμην(1)
δύναιντο (2)
δῴη(6)
τύχοι(2)
κατευθῦναι(3)
πλεονάσαι(1)
τηρηθείη (1)
λογισθείη (1)
ὀναίμην(1)
πληθυνθείη(3)
Ἐπιτιμήσαι (1)
---

(B) Following sound identical (to the aorist infinitive active) not because of modern pronunciation but due to identical spelling:

πληρώσαι (4) -- i.e. spells like πληρῶσαι
παρακαλέσαι(1) -- i.e. spells like παρακαλέσαι
κατευθῦναι(2) -- i.e. spells like κατευθῦναι
----

(C) That leaves us only with the following --

θέλοι (3) -- which in modern pronunciation sounds identical to θέλει
and
ἔχοι (2) -- which in modern pronunciation sounds like ἔχει and ἔχῃ
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:05 pm

Though wholly irrelevant to the point at issue and riddled with error, these figures are not without potential interest. In themselves they tell us very little, but if sorted by function and by author they become more significant.

E.g.
Luke and only Luke uses the optative in the classical way, in historic sequence. (I am bracketing Acts with the so-called gospel of Luke.) This accounts for all instances of ειη and εχοι, εχοιεν, and for the instances of ποιησαιεν, δυναιμην, -ντο, ευροιεν, ευξαιμην, and one of γένοιτο. He also uses opt.+αν, the "potential" optative (τί αν θελοι twice), uniquely(?) among NT authors. It’s well known that Luke’s Greek is more educated than all other gospel-writers’ (canonical and non-canonical alike). It’s striking that such use is totally alien to Paul (unless we count idiomatic ει τuχοι twice in 1 Cor.) and all the other NT letter-writers.

Most of the others are in Pauline (and “Pauline”) prayers, where naturally they tend to cluster (e.g. 1 Thess.3.11-12, 5.23). Opt. also in opening prayers in 1 and 2 Peter and Jude. Independent μη γενοιτο is frequent in Paul but occurs in Luke too. The prayers show, perhaps surprisingly, that the optative, in a wide variety of verbs and in a variety of tenses and voices, was still alive and well in its proper optative function.
Exx. are δῴη (4x, as distinct from δώῃ subj., to which however I expect it owes its form), κατευθύναι (as distinct from κατευθῦναι inf.), παρακαλέσαι opt., επιτιμήσαι, οναιμην, πληθυνθειη, τηρηθειη. Plus at least three missed by Isaac (perhaps he or his source mistook them for infinitives), περισσεύσαι, ἁγιάσαι, and στηρίξαι, each in company with others.

So while only Luke retains the full range of classical usage, the optative as optative (prayer, wish, curse) was still current for most if not all of the letter-writers, its use extending well beyond the all-too-familiar (ὃ) μη γένοιτο.
Last edited by mwh on Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:29 pm

mwh wrote:Though wholly irrelevant to the point at issue and riddled with error, these figures are not without potential interest. In themselves they tell us very little, but if sorted by function and by author they become more significant.



Point out these many, many errors (so we can all learn something).


E.g.
Luke and only Luke uses the optative in the classical way, in historic sequence. (I am bracketing Acts with the so-called gospel of Luke.) This accounts for all instances of ειη and εχοι, εχοιεν, and for the instances of ποιησαιεν, δυναιμην, -ντο, ευροιεν, ευξαιμην, and one of γένοιτο. He also uses opt.+αν (τί αν θελοι twice), uniquely(?) among NT authors. It’s well known that Luke’s Greek is more educated than all other gospel-writers’ (canonical and non-canonical alike). It’s striking that such use is totally alien to Paul (unless we count idiomatic ει τuχοι twice in 1 Cor.) and all the other NT letter-writers.

Most of the others are in Pauline (and “Pauline”) prayers, where naturally they tend to cluster (e.g. 1 Thess.3.11-12, 5.23). Opt. also in opening prayers in 1 and 2 Peter and Jude. Independent μη γενοιτο is frequent in Paul but occurs in Luke too. The prayers show, perhaps surprisingly, that the optative, in a wide of variety of verbs and in a variety of tenses and voices, was still alive and well in its proper optative function.
Exx. are δῴη (4x, as distinct from δώῃ subj., to which however I expect it owes its form), κατευθύναι (as distinct from κατευθῦναι inf.), παρακαλέσαι opt., επιτιμήσαι, οναιμην, πληθυνθειη, τηρηθειη. Plus at least three missed by Isaac (perhaps he or his source mistook them for infinitives), περισσεύσαι, ἁγιάσαι, and στηρίξαι, each in company with others.

So while only Luke retains the full range of classical usage, the optative as optative (prayer, wish, curse) was still current for most if not all of the letter-writers, its use extending well beyond the familiar (ὂ) μη γένοιτο.


Interesting that you're using my findings as a backdrop to make your arguments even though you claim my figures are "riddled with error."
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:32 pm

calvinist wrote:Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods …


Semantic distinctions are not dependent on sound distinctions. Randall Buth reminded me of this eons ago. I had received an early demo of his restored koine system in the mail. I raised a question about blending omicron and omega into one sound.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:54 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
calvinist wrote:Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods …


Semantic distinctions are not dependent on sound distinctions. Randall Buth reminded me of this eons ago. I had received an early demo of his restored koine system in the mail. I raised a question about blending omicron and omega into one sound.


Good point.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:21 pm

The optative in Hellenistic Greek: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3268663?seq ... b_contents

Use of the optative seems to be yet another connection between Luke and Josephus.

Regardless, I'm sorry for posting the audio and making this thread into another "What is the best way to pronounce ancient Greek?" discussion. I meant to illustrate what I'm hearing with Romans, and that I don't hear elsewhere in the NT (or any other Greek that I've read).
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:40 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
calvinist wrote:Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods …


Semantic distinctions are not dependent on sound distinctions.

Calvinist doesn’t need me to come to his defence, but this blindingly obvious fact (nothing is more sole-destroying than overcooking) misses his scarcely less obvious point, which was that the modern pronunciation “destroys” i.e. effaces the distinction among moods which remained graphically and semantically distinct but are now pronounced identically. Isaac’s response was hilariously obtuse: No it doesn’t, because they were pronounced identically!

@jeidsath. Off-topic though my last post also was, at least I have steered clear of "What is the best way to pronounce ancient Greek?" question. :) And I gave all I could to your topic.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby calvinist » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:22 pm

jeidsath wrote:Regardless, I'm sorry for posting the audio and making this thread into another "What is the best way to pronounce ancient Greek?" discussion. I meant to illustrate what I'm hearing with Romans, and that I don't hear elsewhere in the NT (or any other Greek that I've read).

Joel, I think the question of "What is the best way to pronounce Ancient Greek?" is a different question than the question of "How did the NT authors pronounce Greek?". The former is a personal opinion, the latter is especially relevant to the topic at hand. I'm open to the idea that vowel length may have still been phonemic at the time, but I think the evidence against it is compelling. I do believe there is a "euphony" in the opening of Romans, as I hear something of what you're talking about when I read it aloud with Buth's pronunciation. I think it has to do with the numerous genitives as Stirling has pointed out, which of course all have either ου or ων and account for most of the long vowels. But, again, the question of how it was pronounced is very relevant if we want to discuss sonic qualities of the text.
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:18 am

mwh wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
calvinist wrote:Isaac, the modern pronunciation destroys the distinction between the subjunctive, optative and indicative moods …


Semantic distinctions are not dependent on sound distinctions.

Calvinist doesn’t need me to come to his defence, but this blindingly obvious fact (nothing is more sole-destroying than overcooking) misses his scarcely less obvious point, which was that the modern pronunciation “destroys” i.e. effaces the distinction among moods which remained graphically and semantically distinct but are now pronounced identically. Isaac’s response was hilariously obtuse: No it doesn’t, because they were pronounced identically!

@jeidsath. Off-topic though my last post also was, at least I have steered clear of "What is the best way to pronounce ancient Greek?" question. :) And I gave all I could to your topic.


For the readers' edification here again is my actual statement:

"That by the time of Christ, [many of the] Koine verbs in the indicative and subjunctive moods were already being pronounced identically ? "


I'm also not surprised that mwh seems to be oblivious to the fact that Paul's contemporaries most likely pronounced the following verbs identically :

λῡ́ω (indicative)
λῡ́ω (subjunctive)

λῡ́εις
λῡ́ῃς

λῡ́ει
λῡ́ῃ

λῡ́ομεν
λῡ́ωμεν

etc...
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:28 am

calvinist wrote:
jeidsath wrote:Regardless, I'm sorry for posting the audio and making this thread into another "What is the best way to pronounce ancient Greek?" discussion. I meant to illustrate what I'm hearing with Romans, and that I don't hear elsewhere in the NT (or any other Greek that I've read).

Joel, I think the question of "What is the best way to pronounce Ancient Greek?" is a different question than the question of "How did the NT authors pronounce Greek?". The former is a personal opinion, the latter is especially relevant to the topic at hand. I'm open to the idea that vowel length may have still been phonemic at the time, but I think the evidence against it is compelling. I do believe there is a "euphony" in the opening of Romans, as I hear something of what you're talking about when I read it aloud with Buth's pronunciation. I think it has to do with the numerous genitives as Stirling has pointed out, which of course all have either ου or ων and account for most of the long vowels. But, again, the question of how it was pronounced is very relevant if we want to discuss sonic qualities of the text.


I agree (bold above).. Further, I bet the farm that the NT authors did not pronounce Greek using Erasmian, the 16th century Cuckoo lingo.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:12 am

mwh wrote:Joel, Could your impression by conditioned by what you hear as the sonorousness of the opening three or four words, enhanced by all the portentous phrasing that follows—that huge creed-like description of “his son,” the relentess piling up of phrases and clauses, the recurrence (hammering?) of “called” and “holy” and “Jesus Christ,” and so forth? It's intense. And all in a single monster sentence that just goes on unrolling. (It’s an OTT variant of the epistolary opening formula “X to Y χαίρειν.”) I’d look more to verbal and syntactical features (something like Stirling’s “construct chains” but more broadly conceived) than to purely phonetic ones.


Am I right to say that you go by the name "ACInstructor" at Carm ?

In any case, you wrote flashily and flamboyantly (no doubt to impress readers), yet said very little of substance. I think your posts would carry more weight if they were not so pretentious.
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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Re: Euphony in Romans

Postby Isaac Newton » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:46 pm

I just don't see how any serious person could think that Erasmain was ever actually spoken by the Greeks at any period of their history. This (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSluzkp ... XClL3uuujV) is apparently a good representative of the Erasmian system, yet all I hear from start to finish can be summarized at around the 55 second mark of the video - - crisp , somewhat shrill, bird like sounds .."ouu, tu ku, cu cu.." I'm afraid that it's rather bizarre . "Exotic" is the most charitable adjective I could think of to describe it.

The lingo reminds me a little of the sounds made by the !kung San Bushmen (perhaps because of the abrupt stops it incorporates, not so much the Bushmen clicks ) , with a tinge of old latin phonetics thrown into the mixture, and a few other hard to describe sounds. Even heard a Japanese sounding word (starting around the 40 second mark) .
Οὐαὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ πονηρὸν καλὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν πονηρόν, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ σκότος φῶς καὶ τὸ φῶς σκότος, οἱ τιθέντες τὸ πικρὸν γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ πικρόν
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