From: Kevin W. Woodruff (
Date: Fri Aug 08 1997 - 08:06:17 EDT

Smyth's Greek Grammar has a section on numerals. Actually two signs (the vau
and the koppa) which had dropped out of the Greek language before it was
finalized in 403 B. C. were used as numerals

At 07:27 AM 8/8/97 +0100, you wrote:
>In English we can write the number "two" either as a word - TWO - or as
>a cipher - 2. In many Greek papyri of parts of the New Testament, very
>roughly half of the numbers are written as words, and the other half as
>ciphers. Thus a lone Alpha with a superscript line is the cipher for
>the number one, and a lone Beta with superscript line is the cipher for
>the number two, used in roughly half of the instances of the numbers
>one and two, whereas elsewhere the numbers are written as the words
>EIJ and DUO, and so on.
>I am interested in finding out whether this is a characteristic of
>Christian writing in Greek. Does anyone know, please, whether
>manuscripts of Classical Greek literature use ciphers for numbers? Where
>can I read about this (apart from ploughing through facsimiles of
>Also, does anyone know how the Greek ciphers for larger numbers are
>worked out?! Maybe mathematics and B-Greek have something in common
>after all?!
>Brian E. Wilson
>Please visit my ** UPDATED ** home page at

Kevin W. Woodruff
Library Director/Reference Librarian
Cierpke Memorial Library
Tennessee Temple University/Temple Baptist Seminary
1815 Union Ave.
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404
United States of America
423/493-4252 (office)
423/698-9447 (home)
423/493-4497 (FAX) (preferred) (alternate)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:24 EDT