[b-greek] re: Jerusalem

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Sep 25 2000 - 08:51:00 EDT

At 7:29 AM -0400 9/25/00, Rodney J. Decker wrote:
>At 05:40 AM 9/25/00 -0500, you wrote:
>>Well, actually there IS a dual in Greek with distinctive endings in each of
>>the 3 declensions for nom/acc and gen/dat respectively. They are not found
>>in ordinary prose in the Hellenistic period, but they are used in poetry
>>and prose of well-educated literary figures, all the more so in the second
>>century A.D. and beyond. But Jim is right to the extent that there's no
>>dual in the Greek of NT writers.
>Interesting. I knew there had been a dual in earlier stages of the
>language, but didn't realize that it was still found in the later koine. Is
>this an example of Atticism? Or has the dual survived throughout the
>Hellenistic period as a "native koine" form?

Well, of course, this is a quibble originating in my fidgeting every time I
see unqualified absolute assertions like Jim's "... in hebrew it is
yerushalayim.... a dual form. rendered in greek in the plural because
there is no dual in greek." But no, I'm not arguing that it is "native
koine" but rather that literary writers of the sort who practically live in
libraries--of which there were quite a few in Hellenistic antiquity--knew
how to use the language of Homer and Plato when they wanted to. One of the
more prominent poets of the Hellenistic Biblical era was Meleager of Gadara
as one of the more prominent philosopher-literati was Philodemus of Gadara;
Gadara, of course, is one of the cities of the Greek-cultured Decapolis on
the east side of the Jordan and is the site (in one version, at least) of
the encounter of Jesus with "Legion." These scholar-poets from Gadara knew
and used the dual when it suited their purposes. And yes, it's a revival,
as is much of the older morphology and syntax, in second-century Atticism.


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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