enough on the koine sound

Sam Johnson (buddy@connecti.com)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 12:15:57 -0700

I guess the saying you can't teach old dogs new tricks fits this
discussion. I know of too many scholars who use the Erasmus system of
pronunciation and they have obviously been faithful in a strict life of
DISCIPLINE to be able to achieve the incredible insights about the N.T..
I believe no matter what method of pronunciation is used it will require
discipline and a love for the language which for many of us is energized
by our love for the Lord.
I just can't believe that with the work of such scholars as
Robertson,etc there is any doubt that if a person were to begin with
modern Greek pronunciation he or she would have a firmer foundation to
begin with than someone who would use another method. To attain a good
working knowledge of the N.T. is going to take years of hard work but for
the beginner modern Greek is easier. There are over ten million people
who use this pronunciation. It doesn't mean people in Greece know the
etymology of a certain word but they don't struugle with the natural
phonetics of the language. Robertson on page 45 of his grammer
states'knowledge of the modern Greek helps the student to escape from the
"Procrustean bed of the old Greek" which he learned as a fixed and dead
thing'. On page 44 he satates 'The modern Greek popular speech does not
differ materially from the vernacular Byzantine, and thus connects
directly with the vernacular koine'.
I know a lot of Pastors who had Greek in Seminary and today never pick
up their Greek N.T.. I've oftened wondered if that is because they were
taught that it was a dead language and they never HEARD it as a living
language. Can you imagine how many people would never learn Spanish if it
were taught as a dead language and with an equivalent Erasmian
pronunciation. I do not what to make the mistake of saying modern Greek
is the way koine was pronounced; I just believe when teaching Greek why
not use modern greek pronunciation. Muller calls the"Erasmian
pronunciation false because it treats Greek as dead".
The person who taught me Greek was from athens and he insisted that
ancient Greek should be pronounced as modern Greek.
a novice of the language,