Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

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CoxRox
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Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by CoxRox » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:36 pm

Hi guys. I need some help please: I was checking out a web site, and one of it's 'claims' is:

''Prior to the twentieth century scholars had never come across any document that was written in the same type of Greek as the Bible. So they assumed the Bible was written in a special language; a language made specifically and only for the Bible itself. But at the turn of the twentieth century, so many original Greek manuscripts were pulled from the sands of Egypt that the mass of material was measured in the tons. And it wasn’t long before archaeologists realized these tons of materials were all written in the very same Greek as the Bible itself.'' http://theunhiddenbible.org/

What the author goes on to claim, is that NT manuscripts were translated using classical Greek meanings, rather than Koine Greek meanings and so the Bible translations we have today, contain many errors that obviously cause the original meaning to be lost.

Upon trying to check out these things I noticed this book being recommended on some web sites : 'A Grammar of Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research' A. T. Robertson. Has anyone checked this book out? I'm wondering if this book would verify what the above website claims? Any help regarding this would be most appreciated.

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by Markos » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:29 am

No. The discovery of the papyri helped us pin down some nuances of a few Greek NT words, but they do not fundamentally alter our understanding of Ancient Greek in general or the Greek NT in particular. And anyway, several translations including the NIV and the NASB do make use of the papyri and/or lexcons (BDAG) that do so.

οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by CoxRox » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:22 pm

Markos wrote:No. The discovery of the papyri helped us pin down some nuances of a few Greek NT words, but they do not fundamentally alter our understanding of Ancient Greek in general or the Greek NT in particular. And anyway, several translations including the NIV and the NASB do make use of the papyri and/or lexcons (BDAG) that do so.


Thanks for your help Markos.

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by LSorenson » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:56 am

You can download Robinson in a MS Word format from http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources. An html version of it (in an entire file) can be found at

http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources/ ... ammar.html

This path will change some time in the future, but it is there for now.

The discoveries of the papyri told us that the Greek of the New Testament was not 'Special' Greek. Before then, many of the words in the Greek New Testament were hapax legomena (ἅπαξ λεγόμενα), words which were hitherto unattested in any Greek literature (Attic, Homeric). The papyri show us that the language of the New Testament was that of the common folk -- 'Street Greek', not that of erudite literature and not Attic.

Look at Robertson and read the relevant chapter.

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by CoxRox » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:40 pm

LSorenson wrote:You can download Robinson in a MS Word format from http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources. An html version of it (in an entire file) can be found at

http://www.letsreadgreek.org/resources/ ... ammar.html

This path will change some time in the future, but it is there for now.

The discoveries of the papyri told us that the Greek of the New Testament was not 'Special' Greek. Before then, many of the words in the Greek New Testament were hapax legomena (ἅπαξ λεγόμενα), words which were hitherto unattested in any Greek literature (Attic, Homeric). The papyri show us that the language of the New Testament was that of the common folk -- 'Street Greek', not that of erudite literature and not Attic.

Look at Robertson and read the relevant chapter.

Thank you so much. I've downloaded Robinson and saved it. :wink:

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by refe » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:12 pm

Wallace has a great history of Koine Greek and what we know about it in his intermediate grammar Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. It also includes a discussion of the level of Greek found in the various books of the New Testament, which he believes range from vulgar - or 'street-level' as someone else put it - such as the writings of John, conversational as in most of the writings of Paul, and literary Koine (not to be confused with Classical Greek) which you can find in Luke's writing, as well as 1 Peter, James, and Hebrews.
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http://www.GreekingOut.com

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Andrew Chapman
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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by Andrew Chapman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:42 pm

According to Adolf Deissmann, who is the man usually credited with showing the significance of the papyri to the study of the New Testament - his Light from the East can be found on archive.org - the first purchase of papyri made in Egypt was in 1778. Considerable numbers came into the museums in the period 1820-1840, and then there were major finds in the rubbish dumps of El-Fayum, and Oxyrhynchus (Behneseh) from 1877 onwards.

In 1929, J.H. Moulton (deceased) and George Milligan published their 'Vocabulary of the New Testament: Ilustrated from the papyri and other non-literary sources'. Milligan's General Introduction gives what seems like a very good and succinct account of the matter. He says that Deissmann's thesis (that the language of the New Testament is the common Greek of the period) had been anticipated by others from 1859 onwards, but little attention had been paid to their views.

One important example of the value of the finds is the word γένημα (Mark 14:25 etc). Before the papyri finds, this word was unkown outside the New Testament, and if you look it up in Thayer's Lexicon for example, you will see a suggestion that it may be a result of scribal error, and that it should have read γέννημα. The latter comes from γεννάω, whereas the former, of which many examples were found in the papyri, is said to come from γίνομαι.

There are at least three volumes of selections of the papyri in the Loeb Classical format, with English translations on the facing page. The editors were Hunt and Edgar.

Andrew

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by mwh » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:55 pm

CoxRox wrote: Hi guys. I need some help please: I was checking out a web site, and one of it's 'claims' is:

''Prior to the twentieth century scholars had never come across any document that was written in the same type of Greek as the Bible. So they assumed the Bible was written in a special language; a language made specifically and only for the Bible itself. But at the turn of the twentieth century, so many original Greek manuscripts were pulled from the sands of Egypt that the mass of material was measured in the tons. And it wasn’t long before archaeologists realized these tons of materials were all written in the very same Greek as the Bible itself.''
The quoted passage is quite correct (except maybe for the "tons"; and except for "prior to the twentieth century"--the big finds came towards the end of the 19th).

As is Andrew's excellent post.

Of course that's not to say the literary or stylistic quality is uniform throughout the various NT books, as refe points out; the same goes for the papyri. But they're all (the Apocalypse apart) written in more or less the ordinary Greek of the time (which is why it's now called koine, "common").

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by CoxRox » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:11 pm

I haven't checked this post for a long time and see there are some replies. Many thanks for the feedback. :)

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Re: Are these 'claims' about Koine Greek correct?

Post by Markos » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:34 pm

mwh wrote:
CoxRox wrote: Hi guys. I need some help please: I was checking out a web site, and one of it's 'claims' is:

''Prior to the twentieth century scholars had never come across any document that was written in the same type of Greek as the Bible. So they assumed the Bible was written in a special language; a language made specifically and only for the Bible itself. But at the turn of the twentieth century, so many original Greek manuscripts were pulled from the sands of Egypt that the mass of material was measured in the tons. And it wasn’t long before archaeologists realized these tons of materials were all written in the very same Greek as the Bible itself.''
The quoted passage is quite correct...
When I said in my earlier post that the claims in question are not correct, I was not referring to this quoted passage, but rather to what CoxRox quoted further down:
What the author goes on to claim, is that NT manuscripts were translated using classical Greek meanings, rather than Koine Greek meanings and so the Bible translations we have today, contain many errors that obviously cause the original meaning to be lost.
There are tons of things wrong with this statement. First of all, it is not clear what he means by "the Bible translations we have today." Again, versions like the NASB and the NIV make full use of the papyri. Secondly, even at the time of the KJV, "Koine Greek meanings" were sufficiently known from the massive amount of extant Koine writings apart from the papyri. Third, again the papyri do not, in any case, SIGNIFICANTLY alter any of the meanings of Greek words known before the late 1800's. As for Andrew's example:
Andrew Chapman wrote:One important example of the value of the finds is the word γένημα (Mark 14:25 etc). Before the papyri finds, this word was unkown outside the New Testament, and if you look it up in Thayer's Lexicon for example, you will see a suggestion that it may be a result of scribal error, and that it should have read γέννημα. The latter comes from γεννάω, whereas the former, of which many examples were found in the papyri, is said to come from γίνομαι.
There was never any question what γένημα means. In fact, γένημα and γέννημα are merely dialectical variants used interchangeably in the manuscripts and Gospel parallels. I once made the public, on-line challenge to show me one place where Thayer's pre-papyri definitions have been fundamentally altered by the papyri. Nobody has been able to come up with one. I'm willing to be to be proven wrong.

What bothers me about the statement made above is that it implies that the received versions of the Bible need to be fundamentally improved/replaced based on supposed "new discoveries." This is one of the things used to undermine the authority of the traditionally received versions Bible and to replace them with the subjective speculations of scholars, but it really has no basis in fact. Luther's Bible or the KJV do NOT "...contain many errors that obviously cause the original meaning to be lost." They have no need for revision based on the papyri, as far as I can tell.

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