Re: ei=i, (was Accent)

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2000 - 07:49:50 EST

<x-flowed>To: Randy Buth,

<< Perhaps some perennial questions can be cleared up by focusing on one
piece at a time. [D. Charles] Pyle wrote: << What I suppose that I am
trying to say is that because it is not known precisely how ancient Koine
Greek was framed with the lips, there really is no correct or incorrect way
to pronounce the tongue for one's own purposes. >> Well, 'Yes' and 'No'.
The logic of this moves in the direction of saying something like "because
we don't know everything, anything goes". Actually, we can say things like
'ei' (e-psilon and iota) was pronounced the same as 'i' (iota) in first
century Greek. This would have been true for majority, common Greek, Greek
in Judea, and even Greek among the educated classes. Thus, Paul, Gamliel,
Josephus, the disciples and Jesus, Epictetos, "Apostolic fathers". Anybody
seriously disagree? >>

Actually, I thought the advice given by D. Charles Pyle was more or less
correct. Although it seems to be true that most of the EI diphthongs were
pronounced like an Iota (Horrocks [1997] claims that EI followed by a
consonant was not always pronounced like EI followed by a vowel), is such a
fact really important when reading Hellenistic literature? Do you think it
wrong to read Josephus with a pre-Koine Attic or Erasmian accent? If so, why?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
FWIW: I'm neither a clergy-person, nor an academic (and I have no post-grad

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