Re: classical greek

From: John Oaklands (
Date: Sun May 09 1999 - 23:59:51 EDT

Thank you Carl for this material. I value very much what you have
written and especially what you have said about Homer--I'll do more on
that now. However, I want to study through in more detail what you
have written here. I appreciate your reply.


--- "Carl W. Conrad" <> wrote:
> At 6:21 PM -0700 5/9/99, John Oaklands wrote:
> >Hi Carl
> >
> >Just a question probably of interest to others too,
> concerning John
> >5:26 and what you wrote. Do you know of anything
> in classical Greek
> >that would have any bearing on what is written in
> John 5:26? If so I
> >would be grateful for any suggestion for I think
> that classical Greek
> >must also be taken into account when were reading
> the NT. Do you see
> >it that way too?
> I can give you my opinion on this, but I know very
> well that you'll
> hear/read a great variety of discordant responses to
> your question. Here
> are two or three thoughts:
> (1) I don't think of anything specifically to be
> learned from classical
> Attic that has more bearing on John 5:26 than what
> one would learn by
> studying Koine by itself. My guess is that the ideas
> in this verse would
> probably be expressed in a somewhat tighter
> formulation in classical Attic;
> in particular I think that the infinitive phrase
> would be clearly marked
> off by an article governing the whole phrase and in
> the accusative showing
> that the phrase functions as the object of EDWKEN.
> That is, I don't think
> the syntax would be different, but I think it might
> be more obvious.
> (2) I believe that Greek from earlier and later
> periods in the language's
> history are of immense value for illuminating a
> Greek passage from any
> particular period, but some (obviously) more than
> others. I think that one
> who tries to read and interpret fifth and fourth
> century classical
> literature without knowing Homer is crippled at the
> outset. As for reading
> the NT, one ought also to know something (the more
> the better) about how
> Semitisms have affected the Greek written in the LXX
> version of the OT and
> that much of what we find in NT Greek has to be
> understood in the light of
> Semitisms carried over into Greek in ways that alter
> normal older Greek
> patterns--but I also think one can overstate the
> case for Hellenistic
> Jewish Greek models for NT Koine as being more
> important than earlier
> non-Jewish Greek--there are many formative factors,
> and one shouldn't try
> to emphasize one to the exclusion of others. And I
> would certainly add from
> my own experience that I feel like I've found some
> peculiar NT Koine usage
> illuminated from what I've learned of changes in the
> language in the two
> millennia since the NT period--so that what one
> learns of Modern Greek also
> is somewhat helpful toward understanding NT Koine.
> I'm not sure that is really much help with your
> question. Most of it is
> simply an application of a principle I deeply
> believe: the more you know
> about any category, the better equipped you are to
> deal with anything
> encountered within that category--but that doesn't
> mean that your
> 'equipment' won't sometimes fail you when dealing
> with specific problems.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University
> Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC
> 28714/(828) 675-4243
> WWW:
> ---
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John V. Oaklands
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