BG-FAQ, including Transliteration Schemes

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Jan 10 2000 - 06:20:30 EST

<x-rich>At 7:39 PM -0800 1/9/00, wrote:

> I would like to thank Dr. Carl for his very prompt response to my

>question concerning 1 Cor. 7.26, and, it seems that he promptly
responds to

>any question that appears in b-greek, as well as keeping this vehicle

>running smoothly--Thank You, Dr. Carl.

> Now, a "help". Where do I get a "map" for the transliteration from

>Greek alphabet to the nasty English letters? Is there no way we can
get a

>Greek font set-up for this very needed tool?


>Gordon Goltz

Are new subscribers currently NOT being sent copies of the Welcome
Message which includes the FAQ and transliteration scheme? I thought
this was set up automatically. At any rate. as by policy we post the
FAQ on-list at least once quarterly, here it is:

B-Greek FAQ 99/09/19


The Biblical Greek Mailing List

Contents of this information message:

A. Description of the list

     1. Purpose

     2. The B-Greek Community

B. Posting to the List

     1. Where to send commands and messages

     2. "Reply" function of mailing programs

C. Housekeeping:

     1. subscribing

     2, unsubscribing

     3. easier yet: use the B-Greek Home Page e-mail links

D. Netiquette

E. Transliteration Schemes

F. Website and Archives


     1. Purpose: B-GREEK is an electronic conference designed to foster
communication concerning the scholarly study of the Greek Bible and
related Jewish and Christian Greek texts, matters of concern to
beginning and advanced students of Biblical Greek such as textbooks,
reference works, bibliography and research tools, with a fundamental
focus on understanding the Greek text of the Bible. Anyone interested
in New Testament Studies is invited to subscribe, but the list will
assume at least a working knowledge of Biblical Greek.

     2. The B-Greek Community: B-Greek was started by David Marotta at
the the Center for Christian Study, an independent Christian ministry
at the University of Virginia. In 1998, David asked to step down as
list owner. We are grateful to David for his vision of a forum where
the Greek text and language of the Bible are discussed in detail by an
eclectic group of beginning students and veteran teachers, laymen and
clergy, conservatives and liberals, earnest inquirers and academic
scholars - all equally committed to probing the Biblical text in the
original Koine, and jointly exploring the mysteries and probabilities
of Biblical Greek morphology and syntax.

        3. The List-Owner: Jonathan Robie



        4. The Co-Chairs: Carl Conrad



                Carlton Winbery





     1. Where to send commands and messages: Remember two simple

If it's a command (SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE), send it to the list

If it's a message for general distribution to the members of the list,
send it to the list:

     2. "Reply" function of mailing programs

The software used by the B-Greek list automatically formats replies to
go to the list. If you wish to respond directly and off-list to the
sender of a message, be careful to copy that person's e-address into
the TO: line in your reply message header. Please be careful in this
regard; neglect of it may result in an embarrassing distribution of
what you meant to be a private message to the whole list.



     1. Subscribing: You may SUBSCRIBE by sending an e-mail message to

with the following request as the text of the message.


If you want to subscribe to only a digested version of the list, then
give the command


You can be subscribed to both the immediate version and the digested
version of the list at the same time.

     2. Unsubscribing: If you wish to GET OFF THE LIST follow these
instructions: (You don't need to send both the B-GREEK and the
B-GREEK-DIGEST versions unless you are subscribed to both.)

Try sending the following message to



As a last resort, contact the list-owner at, but
there isn't anything that he can do other than what is listed here
which you can do.

     3. Easier yet: use the B-Greek Home Page e-mail links: point your
web browser to:

You will find there convenient automatic mail links that will send
"subscribe" or "unsubscribe" requests directly to

D. Netiquette:

     1. Respectful discourse: Those who participate in the conference
represent a wide range of theological and denominational perspectives,
perhaps even including some whose interests are purely academic. Deep
religious convictions surely characterize many, perhaps most, of the
list-participants, and some of these convictions bear directly upon how
the Biblical text is to be understood. At the core of our discussion,
however, is not what our convictions are but what the Greek text may
legitimately be understood to mean. If discussion of this nature is to
succeed, proper respect and courtesy to other list members is
important. While scholarly debate, including disagreement, is
encouraged as a goal of this conference, attacks upon the character,
intelligence, or faith of those participating are not acceptable.
Criticism must focus upon the arguments of others; it may not be
directed to the individual. Those who violate this policy will be
contacted politely by the B-Greek staff and requested to conform to
these guidelines. Those who continue to violate the policy will no
longer be welcome in the conference.

     2. It is considered to be in very poor taste to post to the list
items that have been sent off list. Before doing so always consult the
author to see if this is acceptable. Complaints from authors of
messages that have been posted to the list without their consent will
be reviewed by the BG Staff and appropriate action will be taken, if

     3. No advertisements or job-postings are allowed without the
approval of the list-owner, Jonathan Robie <<>.
Please clear your requests before posting. Those directly related to
the subject matter of B-GREEK will probably be approved.

     4. Signatures: It is a courtesy expected of B-Greek subscribers
that messages should indicate, at least in the "From" header, the
personal name as well as the e-address, or else should at least sign
their posts with personal names. Indications of the locality from which
they write would help personalize further for others the sender of a
message. Academic or institutional information may be appended also,
but there is no privilege associated with any academic or institutional
status so-indicated.

E. Transliteration Schemes:


     B-Greek has from the beginning allowed every poster to use

any scheme he/she found comfortable, since we all could usually

figure out what text was meant. For those who wish some

guidance, a generally accepted scheme has evolved on the List,

with two or three matters still not fully settled.

(1) CAPITALS are used when transliterating Greek letters, on a

one-to-one basis, reserving lower-case {i} to represent

iota-subscript and lower-case {h} to represent rough breathing.

No accents, no smooth breathings. And no distinction between

medial and final Sigma.

(2) If accents are really necessary, to distinguish otherwise

identical words, acute is represented by {/}, grave by {\}, and

circumflex either by tilde {~ [preferable]} or {=} -- always

AFTER the vowel over which it would be written.

(3) A few characters without Roman single-character form are

usually done with almost-look-alike Roman characters otherwise


     Theta = Q

     Eta = H

     Psi = Y (upsilon is always U)

     Omega = W

(4) Digraphs (in the usual Roman transliteration) are handled in

three different ways to avoid two-letter transliterations, all

involving otherwise-unused Roman letters:

     THeta uses Q ("look-alike", as above).

     PSi uses Y ("look-alike", as above).

     PHi uses F (sound equivalence).

     CHi uses C (first letter of traditional digraph).

(5) Xi and Chi: There being no single Roman letter for "Xi"

other than X, the "look-alike" use of X for "Chi" is confusing,

though some use it. And some seem to like to use C for "Sigma."

Since S is otherwise unused, and poses no confusion whatever,

using C for "Sigma" makes for problems in decoding back to Greek,

especially since it is the only letter available for "Chi"

(unless X is used, thus posing a problem for "Xi"). And

occasionally someone uses P for "Rho", making problems for how to

represent "Pi".


               Usual in Traditional

               B-Greek (uses macrons and digraphs)

alpha A a

beta B b

gamma G g

delta D d

epsilon E e

zeta Z z

eta H e with macron

theta Q th

iota I i

kappa K k

lambda L l

mu M m

nu N n

xi X x

omicron O o

pi P p

rho R r

sigma S s

tau T t

upsilon U u

phi F ph

chi C ch

psi Y ps

omega W o with macron

rough breathing h h

iota-subscript i (i)

F. Web-site and Archives:

     1. B-Greek Home Page:

     Here you will find a text of this FAQ, easy e-mail links for
subscribing and unsubscribing, and links to the B-Greek Archives.

     2. B-Greek Archives:

     Here may be found the correspondence accumulated from list-members
since the inception of the list in 1992. There are gems here, and to
assist you to discover them, the webmaster, Jonathan Robie, has
provided a powerful search engine that will quickly enable you to find
discussions on a topic of interest to you, if in fact, that topic has
at some point in the history of the list also been of interest to


end of B-Greek FAQ as revised 99/09/19

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics/Washington University

One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018

Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649



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