[b-greek] FYI Only: Proposed revision of BG-FAQ

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 16 2001 - 12:34:10 EST

Dear B-Greekers:

Since the Summer of 1997 general information about the list, a tabular
clarification of transliteration schemes commonly used on the list, and a
few brief rules of netiquette have been posted at the list's home page,
posted at intervals in a general message to the list-members, and mailed
out regularly as a welcome message to new list-members. There have been
very few changes made over the past four years and those have been almost
exclusively in order to update information about subscribing and
unsubscribing and about the list's governing staff.

In the course of the summer and early fall I have been exploring
alternative formats that will provide both more helpful information to
list-members wishing to make occasional changes to their own mail settings
and some clearer indications of the precise focus of list correspondence
and of the kinds of matters that may legitimately be discussed on the list
and those that may not. Taking a cue from Wayne Leman (presumably with the
assistance of Mike Sangrey) and the B-Translation list, I've tried to
reformulate this information in a question-and-answer format that might
make it more helpful as a quick reference to those consulting it for a
quick answer to a question.

What I am making public to the list now is a PROPOSAL for revision of our
FAQ; it has NOT yet been adopted. It does give expression to a number of
principles governing regulation of the list that the list-owner and
co-chairs have based actions on for many months hitherto, so there
shouldn't be anything really be any surprises in this document.

I am posting this now fundamentally for informational purposes and I am NOT
inviting public on-list discussion of the document. I welcome OFF-LIST
comments that any list-member wishes to offer. I realize that some may feel
that the focus spelled out here is narrow, but I hope that the guidelines
may be clearer and also that more useful information may hereby be made
available to subscribers for dealing with mail problems.

B-Greek mailing list FAQ (proposed revision, November 16, 2001)


1. What is the B-Greek mailing list?

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. B-Greek was established in 1992 by David Marotta at the
Center for Christian Study, an independent Christian ministry at the
University of Virginia. In 1998 the list changed its venue to metalab at
UNC-Chapel Hill after 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 probed in ongoing conversation by an eclectic
group of beginning students and veteran teachers, lay persons and clergy,
conservatives and liberals, earnest inquirers and academic scholars
--equally committed to probing the Biblical text in the original Koine, and
jointly exploring the mysteries and probabilities of Biblical Greek
morphology and syntax.

2. Who can subscribe to the list?

Anyone interested in New Testament Studies is invited to subscribe, but
list-members will be assumed to have at least a working knowledge of
Biblical Greek. While "lurkers" are welcome to receive and read list
correspondence, posts to the list are expected to pose questions about
Biblical Greek--even at the lowest levels--or questions/comments relating
directly to a Greek text. This is not a general discussion list for
Biblical matters. While one need not be a Greek scholar to subscribe, one
should at least be taking the first serious steps in the study of Biblical

3. What if I'm not sure if I want to subscribe?

Topics typically discussed and normally avoided are indicated
below(questions 4 and 5). Anyone at all is welcome to read current and
previous messages in our list archives, although the privilege of posting
is reserved for subscribed list-members):


4. What topics are ordinarily discussed on B-Greek?

Some topics ordinarily discussed on B-Greek are:

--The Greek language of the Bible and related texts such as the Greek
OT(Septuagint/LXX), Koiné Greek texts illustrative of the practice of
speakers and writers of Greek in the NT era, Patristic Greek texts, etc.;

--Resources for teaching and learning (Biblical) Greek: lexica, grammars,
morphological charts, web-sites, discussion-lists, etc.--including answers
to questions raised by beginners, whether they are working their own way
through a Greek textbook or studying Greek formally in schools;

--Bibliography pertaining to Biblical Greek topics;

--Specific Greek passages in the Biblical text about which one wishes to
raise questions or suggest alternative approaches;

--questions about Greek textual variants bearing on the interpretation of a
particular passage may be appropriate (but not general discussion of
textual criticism itself--for which there is a special list of its own); .

5. What topics are ordinarily avoided on this list?

The moderators of the list have found that some issues readily evoke
responses that can be offensive to individuals or groups and thereby
undermine the comity and peace upon which the usefulness of this forum
depends. Some of these are:

--General Bible issues, except insofar they may bear specifically upon
interpretation of a particular Greek text;

--General or specific hermeneutical or theological issues: our list-members
hold beliefs and perspectives ranging over a broad spectrum regarding such
issues as inerrancy, the meaning of inspiration, the relevance or value of
historical-critical methodologies for understanding the Biblical text,
etc.; it is almost impossible to broach such issues without arousing
intense controversy;

--B-Greek must not be used either to attack or to defend any particular
doctrine deemed "orthodox" by one or another individual or group; this is
not the forum for apologetic controversy.

--Comments should focus upon issues directly related to Biblical Greek or a
biblical Greek text. If, in the judgment of list-moderators, discussion is
moving beyond parameters deemed appropriate for the list, a thread may be
closed;those who continue to post on a closed thread may lose list

6. What if someone posts rude, inappropriate, or off-topic messages that
bothers the group?

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.

7. Who are the administrators of B-Greek?

The List-Owner: Jonathan Robie

The Co-Chairs: Carl Conrad

Carlton Winbery


8. How do I subscribe?

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.

As a last resort, contact the list-owner or one of the co-chairs who can
make the change for you at the web-site by accessing your settings file.

9. How do I unsubscribe?

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 or one of the co-chairs who can
make the change for you at the web-site by accessing your settings file.

10. How do I post a message to the entire list?

Send your e-mail message to: <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu>
The entire mailing list will receive your message.

11. Must I identify myself in messages sent to the list?

Yes. It is a courtesy expected of B-Greek subscribers; even if the "From"
header includes one's personal name as well as the e-address, posters
should append personal names below their messages. 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.

12. Can I post messages in another language if my native language is not

Yes, but we would appreciate it if you would send a copy of your message to
someone else, who could be another member of the mailing list, who can
translate your message to English.

13. May I cite off-list messages of others in posts to B-Greek?

It is considered to be in very poor taste to post to the list items that
haven 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 necessary.

14. Are messages sent to the list monitored before distribution?

The first two messages posted by each new subscriber are monitored to
assure due observance of list-protocol. Posters who violate list-protocol
may be monitored or, if they persist, may be removed from the

15. How do I reply to a message?

The software used by the B-Greek list automatically formats replies to go
to the original sender. If you wish your responses regularly to go to the
list as well, you should set this the settings preferences of your e-mail
program to put <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu> automatically in the cc:
header, or you can copy <b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu> into the cc: line in
your reply message header. Please be careful in this regard; an error may
result in your general response going only to the original sender.

16. Can I send a private message?

Yes, and some inquiries will invite private ("off-list") responses; in that
case, simply send a message directly to another member of the list, without
copying your message to the entire list. Your message will be private. No
one else will be able to read it. We ask that as many messages as possible
be posted to the entire list so everyone can benefit from the discussion,
but when a private message is truly desired, you always have that option.

17. Can I promote products, services or public causes on this list?

No. We do not permit messages on this list which can be interpreted as
being of a commercial or business nature, including sales messages from
non-profit organizations. We especially do not permit messages which spam
and/or cross-post religious discussion lists trying to get people to
purchase products or visit various web sites. Advertisements or
job-postings are not allowed without the approval of the list-owner,
Jonathan Robie <jwrobie@mindspring.com>. Please clear your requests before
posting. Those directly related to the subject matter of B-GREEK will
probably be approved.

18. Is there a certain e-mail format in which list messages should be posted?

Yes, when posting messages to this discussion list, we request that you
post using Plain-Text-only format. Although some e-mail programs (AOL
especially)make this difficult, we would prefer that all messages be sent
in plain-text ASCII format only, and not in styled, MIME, or HTML format.
The default format setting for many e-mail programs is for dual-format
postings(usually mislabeled `HTML text') which creates two copies of a
single message for our list, one in HTML (web-based) format and the other
in Plain Text. We request you not to use this dual format. Preferences can
be set so that postings are in only one format, that of HTML. Since this
format will not be readable by all our subscribers, we ask list-members not
to use it for messages to B-Greek but rather to set their e-mail programs
to post in Plain-Text-only.

If you are using Outlook Express, you can select the address for the
B-Greek discussion list in your Address Book, then specify that all
messages posted from your program to this discussion list will be in Plain
Text. To change this setting in Outlook Express, be sure you have an entry
for this discussion list in your Address Book. Find that address in your
Address Book, double-click on it, click on the Name tab, then put a check
mark in the box at the lower left corner of the message screen.

In Eudora, select Tools/Options/Styled text, then select either "send both
plain and styled" or "send plain text only." You can also check "Ask me
each time," in which case you make the selection on an individual message

The "Unofficial AOL E-mail FAQ"
(http://members.aol.com/adamkb/aol/mailfaq/#aol6html) offers the following
advice on avoiding the HTML formatting in AOL6.0:

"With the release of version 6.0 of its client software, AOL began to
embrace the use of full HTML in e-mail (see FAQ item 8). This included a
controversial feature in the sending of e-mail to the Internet, in which
messages were sent in a format known as multipart/alternative, which uses
MIME enclosures to include two copies of every message: one in plain text,
and one in HTML. Ideally, Internet mail programs should be designed to
display the version that they understand. HTML-compliant programs can
display the HTML section, showing the formatting that the original sender
included with the message; while text-only programs would only show the
text section. Even HTML-enabled programs could be made to allow their users
to choose (or switch to) the text portion if they prefer simplicity.
However, some Internet e-mail programs were never designed to recognize
these MIME sections, resulting in the recipient of such a message seeing
both the plain text and HTML versions of the e-mail.

"Solution: When communicating with Internet recipients who are not using an
e-mail program capable of selecting which MIME section to view, an AOL 6.0
user can turn off the HTML by taking the following steps exactly as
1. Change your global e-mail preferences (only needs to be done once):
a. Go to Keyword: Preferences (or choose Preferences from the Settings menu
on the AOL 6.0 toolbar).
b. Click on Font, Text, & Graphics Preferences.
c. Click on the Reset button at the bottom of the resulting window. Do not
make any changes in the Font Preferences area of the window.
d. Click on the Save button.
2. Change a specific e-mail to plain text (must be done for every e-mail):
a. Compose and address the e-mail as desired.
b. Choose Select All from the Edit menu to highlight the entire message.
c. With the mouse arrow somewhere over the highlighted text, click the
Right mouse button, revealing a contextual menu (AKA Right-Click).
d. Choose Normal from the Text menu.
e. Taking care not to make any further changes to the message, send it.

"Note that changing the text to normal will eliminate the "blue bar" quoted
text indicator, but will not remove some HTML elements of the quoted text.
The entire quoted section must be deleted (or simply not quoted in the
first place), followed by the re-entry of the text quoted manually, prior
to changing the text to normal. Changing the text to normal will also
eliminate any styled text that would have been seen by AOL recipients of
the message, which cannot be re-added. Testing also suggests that messages
with hyperlinks cannot be converted to normal text, requiring the prior
removal of the link.

"If this process is unappealing, other options include reverting to a prior
version of AOL or using AOL Mail via the web."

There is likely a similar way to configure the format of messages in other
e-mail programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Netscape, Pegasus, etc. If you
have one of these programs and wish to share how to configure it, we would
be interested. With Plain-Text-only, not only will your messages be easier
to read for some subscribers who use older e-mail programs (such as Lotus
cc:Mail), but you will save bandwidth and transmission time, since HTML
messages (those sent with two formats) take up more cyberspace than

19. How can I manage my list member account information?

1. Access the list's web-site at
2. There you will need to enter your e-address and your password (IF you
have selected one, if not, leave it blank; if you wish to set one, you can
do so within the settings file).
3. On the menu presented you is an item entitled "Your Settings": open this
and make whatever modifications you choose; here you can choose whether to
receive list messages as they come to the list or in a daily digest or list
of topics discussed; here too one can suspend mailings for the duration of
an absence from one's e-mail server (choose "no mail").
4. Whatever choices you have made, be sure to save them before leaving the

20. How do I transliterate Greek in messages sent to B-Greek?


        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)

21. Where can I find other resources about Biblical Greek?
There are several Internet websites devoted to Biblical Greek, including:
Mark Goodacre's British site: "Greek New Testament Gateway"
at http://www.ntgateway.com/greek/
Marc Huys' Belgian site: "Greek Grammar on the Web"
at http://perswww.kuleuven.ac.be/~p3481184/greekg.htm

22. Where are the web-site and archives for B-Greek?

B-Greek Home Page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek/
Here you will find a text of this FAQ, easy e-mail links for subscribing and
unsubscribing, and links to the B-Greek Archives.

B-Greek Archives: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek/archives/index.html 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 others.
Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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