Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

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Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by bpk » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:04 pm

I am curious if anyone here has much experience with Modern Greek translations of the Bible/New Testament.

Which ones are used mainstream in Greece among different churches (that aren't traditionally reading the original)?

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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by Sofronios » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:06 am

interesting question.. since no one answering..

most Greek I met, do not read a bible
if there happen to be the most religious of them, there is a great chance that he uses the original (PT1904)
why? if you ask a Greek mind
you'll get as follows
why would we need another Greek of this very Greek writings?

but I maybe wrong
ὁ δὲ εἶπε· πῶς γὰρ ἂν δυναίμην, ἐὰν μή τις ὁδηγήσῃ με;
Qui ait : Et quomodo possum, si non aliquis ostenderit mihi ?

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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by anphph » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:17 pm

This seems to offer a relatively simple introduction to the thing.

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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by Pneumaticus » Tue May 21, 2019 1:19 pm

Maybe anyone knows whose translation is this: ... &q&f=false

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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by BrianB » Tue May 21, 2019 2:56 pm

You could try asking the Bible Society, formerly known as the British & Foreign Bible Society, which apparently published that edition in the 1830s or earlier. The society still lists a bilingual NT (if “bilingual” is the correct term in this case), though presumably with a more recent Modern Greek text:

The “Look Inside” feature shows just one double page spread, with the opening verses of Acts 16.

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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by Scribo » Thu May 23, 2019 8:50 am

Ouf, just saw this.

Yeah, translations aren't really a thing for this text in Greece to be honest. The bible has had a large effect on the Greek language and students are heavily exposed to Ancient Greek in schools, reading the original text isn't at all difficult for most people who try. The Orthodox church places a huge emphasis on the Koine, as you can imagine. When it was first translated into the vernacular (early 20th c) there were riots lol.

The two most popular would be by Spyros Filos (fairly cheap, everywhere, everyday Greek and 'permitted' for Orthodox) and Vasilios Vellas (team led, I think this one has academic backing?). You can also find old curiosities, like the famous translation by Neofytos Vamvas in pseudo-classical Greek pretty cheaply.
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Re: Modern Greek Translations of the Bible/New Testament

Post by Diachronix » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:50 pm

Thank you so much to Pneumaticus for posting this link: ... g=GBS.PA96

I'm certain that translation linked there is Seraphim of Mytilene's 1703 translation, since it was edited by August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), who was 40 at that time and long-dead by 1830, when that online edition was published.

I posted a synopsis of my ongoing research on Modern Greek translations of the bible on B-Greek: The Biblical Greek Forum, which I'll simply copy here for anyone interested in the topic:

Bible literacy among the laity is not generally promoted by the Orthodox Church, though it may not be actively discouraged. It's widely believed among these communities that interpretation of biblical texts is best left to the clergy. And the clergy sticks to the Orthodox Church's official version of the "original" Greek text - codified in the 1904 edition of the New Testament Patriarchal Text (AKA The Antoniadis Text). This is a Byzantine text with some eclectic readings.

The history of Modern Greek translations of the Greek bible is quite interesting and complicated. The history is rife with scandals, since the concept of paraphrasing the "original" holy text in the modern vernacular was looked down on for a very long time as a "corruption" of the Holy Writ.

The first version to be published, that I'm aware of, was Maximos Gallipoli's Vernacular Greek NT (printed in Geneva c. 1638). It was reportedly translated about 10 years earlier, per the initiate of Patriarch Cyril Lucaris of Constantinope, who was later strangled!

According to Wikipedia, "Since Patriarch Lucaris had been strangled Maximos' New Testament was hardly used". That explanation seems quite inadequate to me. I would guess that the base text for this version was probably the Textus Receptus (TR), since it was printed 5 years after the 2nd edition of Elzevir's Bible.

Seraphim of Mytilene''s Modern Greek New Testament was published in 1703, and quickly condemned by the Orthodox Church in 1704 - specifically by Gabriel III of Constantinople. Seraphim was exiled to Siberia (presumably for his role in the production of the translation). And in 1705 Gabriel III forbade Greek students from studying in London (again, presumably, due to the connection with this unsolicited Modern Greek translation).

I imagine Seraphim's version must have improved upon Gallipoli's version or been based on it. Alternatively, if Gallipoli's version had been suppressed somehow, maybe Seraphim started from scratch. I'd really love to know more about this whole history. But it's a mystery to me, since I've never seen Gallipoli's version and I haven't been able to find much information about it.

The next translation into Modern Greek was Vamvas' New Testament (New Testament published in 1833 / Old Testament published in 1850). It was based on the TR and written in a form of Katharevousa that was extremely close to the original "Koine" Greek. It reads more like a paraphrase than a translation. It was not well received by the Orthodox Church. But it's become the official version of the Greek Evangelical Churches. So, to answer the original question - which Modern Greek bibles are used mainstream in Greece - it's Vamvas.

The turn of the 20th century saw the near-simultaneous release of 3 Modern Greek translations of the Greek New Testament that had significant political consequences. They were the cause of the Gospel riots, which resulted in an official ban against Modern Greek bible translations. More about this can be read on the Wikipedia article about the Gospel Riots:

First there was the "Anaplasis Paraphrase" of Matthew in 1900. This Katharevousa version inspired Queen Olga's Translation of the Gospels (by Ioulia Somaki; edited by Prokopios, Pantaazidis & Papadopoulos), which had the periphrastic (translation) text printed on the opposite page from the original "Koine" Greek vorlage.

In that same year (1901), Pallis' Evangelika (a Demotic Greek translation of the Gospels), which was quickly condemned by the Orthodox Church. In a sharp departure from tradition, this edition was based on the emerging Critical Text, not the Textus Receptus or Byzantine Text-Type. This edition is actually available in print, unlike all of the other aforementioned versions (as far as I've aware). It was reportedly wholly independent from Queen Olga's endeavor, with all of the translation work and publication taking place in London. However, the general public (due to complete ignorance and/or conspiracy theories) conflated Pallis' version with Queen Olga's translation, which instigated the famous "Gospel Riots" - which resulted in the deaths of several civilians.

The next Katharevousa translation/paraphrase, published in 1967, was Vasilios Vellas' version, which was derived from Vamvas.

The first complete Demotic translation of the whole bible was Today's Greek Version (published 1985 and updated in 2003), based on the official Antoniadis Text and approved by the Greek Orthodox Church.

The next Demotic translation was the Spyros Filos' Bible (in several editions from 1993, 1995 - the 1st monotonic edition, 2008 & 2013).

Another Demotic version is the Antonis Malliaris (Malliaris-Paideia), which was published in 2012 and approved by the Greek Orthodox Church. This version is an extremely liberal, loose paraphrase of the original Greek text.

I’ve made a side-by-side comparison of the various version of the Gospels in Modern Greek that I’ve been able to get my hands on.

I’m not sure which verses would be ideal for illustrating the differences between them. If anyone would like to suggest verses for further comparison, I’d be happy to add them here.

Here is a comparison of Mark 1:2, which has small textual variants that hint at which underlying Greek texts were used by the translators:


Nestle-Aland 28 - Critical Text (2014):
Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ· Ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου·

Antoniadis Text - Koine (1904):

Ὡς γέγραπται ἐν τοῖς προφήταις, ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου·


Seraphim (1703):
Καθὼς εἶναι γεγραμμένον εἰς τοὺς προφήτας· Ἰδοὺ, ἐγὼ στέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν ἐμπροσθέν σου, ὁ ὁποῖος θέλει ἑτοιμάσει τὸν δρόμον σου ἐμπροσθέν σου.

Vamvas (1833):
Καθώς είναι γεγραμμένον εν τοις προφήταις· Ιδού, εγώ αποστέλλω τον άγγελόν μου προ προσώπου σου, όστις θέλει κατασκευάσει την οδόν σου έμπροσθέν σου·

Alexandros Pallis (1901):
Ὅπως εἶναι γραμένο μέσα στὸν Ἠσαΐα τὸν προφήτη Νά, στέλνω τὸν ἄγγελό μου προτύτερά σου, ποὺ θὰ φτιάσει τὴ στράτα σου.

Vasilios Vellas (1967):
σύμφωνα μὲ ἐκεῖνο ποὺ εἶναι γραμμένον εἰς τοὺς προφήτας: Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὶν ἀπὸ σέ, ὁ ὁποῖος θὰ προετοιμάσῃ τὸν δρόμον σου ἐμπρός σου.

Today’s Greek Version (2003):
Στα βιβλία των προφητών είναι γραμμένο: Στέλνω τον αγγελιοφόρο μου πριν από σένα, για να προετοιμάσει το δρόμο σου!

Spyros Filos (2013):
Καθώς είναι γραμμένο στους προφήτες: «Δες, εγώ στέλνω τον αγγελιοφόρο μου πριν από την προσωπική σου παρουσία, που θα ετοιμάσει τον δρόμο σου μπροστά σου».

Maliaris-Paideia (2012):
καθώς ήταν γραμμένο από τους Προφήτες, κατά τους οποίους, ο ίδιος ο Θεός απευθύνεται στον Υιό Του και Του λέει, με το στόμα του Προφήτη Μαλαχία. «Να, Εγώ θα στείλω τον Απεσταλμένο Μου πριν από σένα στον κόσμο, για να προετοιμάσει το δρόμο, από τον οποίο θα περάσεις για να φτάσεις στις ψυχές των ανθρώπων".

*Note that Pallis was clearly the only translator to depart from the traditional Byzantine reading of "ἐν τοῖς προφήταις", in favor of the Alexandrian/Western reading "ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ". So I assume he probably used Westcott-Hort as his source text.

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