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koine is weird

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koine is weird

Postby Nooj » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:40 am

I stay away from Koine Greek usually, because I'm not really interested in Koine literature, but I was bored and started reading the NT. I don't know if it's just me, but I get this strange feeling when I read Koine. Most of it is familiar, but it's familiar in a peculiar way.

I get less of that feeling when I read Medieval Greek, because it's different enough from Classical Greek that I can separate it in my head. And of course moreso with Modern Greek.

But Koine is a strange one, because I feel like it's just...'wrong' Greek. And I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that it makes me uncomfortable. Does anyone else get that feeling?
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Re: koine is weird

Postby Polyfloisbos » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:37 am

I feel that way too. But I get that feeling everytime I read authors I'm not familiar with; it's like reading Herodotus when you're familiar with Thucyidides, say. Anyway, koiné has much more regularized words (πλοῖον instead of the super-irregular ναῦς, for example) that makes reading it a much more easy task than reading other authors does. My opinion is: read it, enjoy it, and forget all the empty opinions of the "superiority" or "authenticity" of Classical Greek. Koiné is way more influential to our culture than Classical, so it's a pity that it isn't studied in most Universities.
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Re: koine is weird

Postby Nooj » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:27 am

Anyway, koiné has much more regularized words (πλοῖον instead of the super-irregular ναῦς, for example) that makes reading it a much more easy task than reading other authors does.

I actually like all the irregular words. :twisted: I felt a little sad that Koine got rid of the -mi verb terminations.

My opinion is: read it, enjoy it, and forget all the empty opinions of the "superiority" or "authenticity" of Classical Greek.
Oh no, I don't think that at all. I can appreciate that Koine is its own dialect of Greek, not some corruption of the pure classical tongue.

Koiné is way more influential to our culture than Classical, so it's a pity that it isn't studied in most Universities.
Well from what I've heard, it's harder to read Classical if you only know Koine than the other way around, so I presume that they expect you to just pick Koine up after learning Classical. As is the case with my university. A NT class is offered in the second year, for one semester. Everything else is Classical.
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Re: koine is weird

Postby John W. » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:59 pm

Polyfloisbos wrote:Koiné is way more influential to our culture than Classical ....


I was interested to read this, and I wonder if you'd care to expand.

If you have the New Testament in mind, the influence of that surely isn't primarily linguistic; as regards language, I'd have thought that the contribution (in fields such as history, philosophy and science) of Classical Greek was markedly greater, and over a much wider range of disciplines. But I may be wrong! :)

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Re: koine is weird

Postby Polyfloisbos » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:34 pm

John W. wrote:
Polyfloisbos wrote:Koiné is way more influential to our culture than Classical ....


I was interested to read this, and I wonder if you'd care to expand.

If you have the New Testament in mind, the influence of that surely isn't primarily linguistic; as regards language, I'd have thought that the contribution (in fields such as history, philosophy and science) of Classical Greek was markedly greater, and over a much wider range of disciplines. But I may be wrong! :)

Best wishes,

John


I basically meant koiné literature and its world. I'll explain:

To me, later Antiquity states the bases of all modern culture (much more than medieval times). Of course this is a simplified vision, but we have to consider that Classical era is much more distant, culturally speaking. In Classical era there are still traces of orality, not only in literature, but also in science (as M. Eliade and modern studies on hippocratic corpus have demonstrated), in the vision of the past (Herodotus sources are mostly oral; the first to use modern techniques of research is, of course, Thucydides), in practices such as magic or marriage, etc. But Hellenistic times are an almost total written culture such as ours (note how this cannot be applied to medieval times, with poems such as Beowulf, the mester de juglaría, etc.). In Classical era the notion of the ego isn't developed (this is a reminiscence of Homeric times, where the gods were supposed to treat men like puppets), but Hellenistic literature and philosophy focuses on the ego (stoicism, epicureism, the epigrams of Callimachus and so), much more like we do. It's also a much more international, interconnected world, where the greek glory is gone but not its prestige. It's also the era of the growing of our dominant religion (but also Buddhism), with lots of theological and philosophical disputes and schools based on the Classics (isn't this what we do nowadays?). It's also the time of the formation of what would ultimately be modern greek; the art, the natural sciences and philology were perfectionated to unimaginable levels (in Plato, a φιλόλογος is merely a chatterbox, but it's Eratosthenes who fills it with our modern sense); it's also the time of the change from scrolls to codex (with the following change of mentality), from a Classical plain view of the Earth and a limited knowledge of geography to the notions of the globe and the silk road; it's the time where lots of cultures begin to use scripture (such as the inscriptions of Maurya Aśoka or those of Kaniśka), where cavalry was widely used, where libraries were founded, where kingdoms and dinasties returned... I know that Hellenistic times start with Alexander, but I think that is a much more powerful metaphor to start them with the Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC), where the old, Classical greek phalanx was destroyed by the modern, and much more versatile, Roman legion. I think it's kind of pretty to see how the times they are a-changing, don't you? :D.
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Re: koine is weird

Postby pster » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:37 am

In English, "Late Antiquity" does not mean "after the Classical Period." Stoicism and Epicureanism were founded more than a half a millenium before Late Antiquity begins.

But if we are going to make sweeping claims, how about this? Koine is when Western Civilization started to go down the crapper and Late Antiquity is when it finally did. :lol:
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Re: koine is weird

Postby Polyfloisbos » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:58 am

pster wrote:In English, "Late Antiquity" does not mean "after the Classical Period." Stoicism and Epicureanism were founded more than a half a millenium before Late Antiquity begins.

But if we are going to make sweeping claims, how about this? Koine is when Western Civilization started to go down the crapper and Late Antiquity is when it finally did. :lol:


Hmm sorry about that. I'm not familiar with this kind of nomenclature in English :oops: .
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Re: koine is weird

Postby daivid » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:35 pm

Polyfloisbos wrote:
John W. wrote:To me, later Antiquity states the bases of all modern culture (much more than medieval times). Of course this is a simplified vision, but we have to consider that Classical era is much more distant, culturally speaking. In Classical era there are still traces of orality, not only in literature, but also in science (as M. Eliade and modern studies on hippocratic corpus have demonstrated), in the vision of the past (Herodotus sources are mostly oral; the first to use modern techniques of research is, of course, Thucydides), in practices such as magic or marriage, etc. But Hellenistic times are an almost total written culture such as ours (note how this cannot be applied to medieval times, with poems such as Beowulf, the mester de juglaría, etc.). I.
<snip>


You have redefined koine as helenistic. The everyday language may have been koine but other than
private letters excavated in Egypt what survives is pretty much classical Greek . Is it really
true that Eratosthenes wrote in koine?

koine is often called new testament greek for a reason.

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Re: koine is weird

Postby Polyfloisbos » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:10 pm

daivid wrote:
Polyfloisbos wrote:
John W. wrote:To me, later Antiquity states the bases of all modern culture (much more than medieval times). Of course this is a simplified vision, but we have to consider that Classical era is much more distant, culturally speaking. In Classical era there are still traces of orality, not only in literature, but also in science (as M. Eliade and modern studies on hippocratic corpus have demonstrated), in the vision of the past (Herodotus sources are mostly oral; the first to use modern techniques of research is, of course, Thucydides), in practices such as magic or marriage, etc. But Hellenistic times are an almost total written culture such as ours (note how this cannot be applied to medieval times, with poems such as Beowulf, the mester de juglaría, etc.). I.
<snip>


You have redefined koine as helenistic.


Well, koiné is Hellenistic Greek.

The everyday language may have been koine but other than
private letters excavated in Egypt what survives is pretty much classical Greek. Is it really
true that Eratosthenes wrote in koine?


The basic sources for koiné are the NT, Polibius and Epictetus (some include also John Malalas), as far as I have been taught. These works are basically written in koiné; nevertheless, all the other literature of Hellenistic times is deeply influenced by it. That's why I talk of "koiné lierature and its world" -I'm sorry if I haven't been clear-, because lots of authors use koiné words, expressions, and a much more simplified grammar than that of Attic. Some examples are Athenaeus, Galenus, the Hellenistic fragments of the Bibliotecha by Photius, John Philoponus, Libanius... That is to say, names that lots of people totally ignore, though they are as good as any Plato :twisted: .
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Re: koine is weird

Postby Prometheus2012 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:39 pm

I feel that too. For me the classical greek is a way easier.
May be I am strange but I love greek verbs ( from linguistic perspective ) since the ver-system of Ancient Greek was the most advanced one from all Indo-Europian Languages.
Koine hasn't regularized nothing actually. Greek was regular already. Basic rules of morphophonology explain all this "irregularities". Koine has lost it's clearness and exactness. For example while Ancient Greek used often just case endings Koine added a lot of prepositions. There re many compound words in Koine.
The NT is the most loved book but it was written by jewish fisherman. Greek was they SECOND language.It content is the treasure.
Anyway Koine is simplified and language gets simpler with time.
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