Carlton L. Winbery (
Mon, 27 May 1996 16:41:20 +0400

Edgar Krentz wrote;

>While I realize that he did not write any so-called dialect Greek,
>Philodemus is another native of Gadara, the polis related to Hamat Gader.
>And that leads me to wonder out loud: Is there any Greek that is not a
>dialect? Attic is in the Fifth century BCE. Which also raises another
>question for me: Do special lexica for individual authors or small
>collections, e.g. the NT, help students to understand the grid of possible
>meanings or obscure it? I am coming more and more to the latter conclusion.

These are two very interesting questions. I don't think that I have read
much discussion of either one. Would we consider Hellenistic (Koine) Greek
a dialect or a matter of spreading Greek in a world that was less Greek
than Greece. A kind of popularizing the language, comparable to English
today. Is that properly a dialect (hH DIALEKTOS - *she* can be a tough
taskmaster), if by that we mean "native language."

To the second question I would say, reservedly, yes; if the editors of such
tools have read and worked in the language on a broader scale. Bad things
can happen either way, etymology is interesting, but when made normative
for meaning to the ignoring of the context it is detrimental. On the other
hand meaning that is limited only to the Hebrew background of Paul (W.D.
Davies) can distort Paul by ignoring his obvious knowledge of the Greek
world and philosophy. That is not to say that Greek had not had its
influence even in Jerusalem itself.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College